Federal Register Vol. 83, No.90,

Federal Register Volume 83, Issue 90 (May 9, 2018)

Page Range21165-21706
FR Document

83_FR_90
Current View
Page and SubjectPDF
83 FR 21333 - Imposition of Nonproliferation Measures Against Rosoboronexport, Including a Ban on U.S. Government ProcurementPDF
83 FR 21169 - Airworthiness Directives; Rolls-Royce plc Turbojet EnginesPDF
83 FR 21171 - Special Local Regulation; Wolf River Chute, Memphis, TNPDF
83 FR 21276 - Taking and Importing Marine Mammals; Taking Marine Mammals Incidental to Construction and Operation of the Liberty Drilling and Production Island, Beaufort Sea, AlaskaPDF
83 FR 21301 - National Institute on Drug Abuse; Notice of Closed MeetingPDF
83 FR 21300 - National Institute on Drug Abuse; Notice of Closed MeetingsPDF
83 FR 21302 - National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering; Notice of Closed MeetingPDF
83 FR 21304 - Center for Scientific Review; Notice of Closed MeetingsPDF
83 FR 21272 - National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence (NCCoE) Securing Picture Archiving and Communication System (PACS) Cybersecurity for the Healthcare SectorPDF
83 FR 21335 - Notice of Submission Deadline for Schedule Information for Chicago O'Hare International Airport, John F. Kennedy International Airport, Los Angeles International Airport, Newark Liberty International Airport, and San Francisco International Airport for the Winter 2018/2019 Scheduling SeasonPDF
83 FR 21278 - Renewal of the Market Risk Advisory CommitteePDF
83 FR 21182 - Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants: Final Rule To List the Taiwanese Humpback Dolphin as Endangered Under the Endangered Species ActPDF
83 FR 21235 - Air Plan Approval; California; Yolo-Solano Air Quality Management District; Negative DeclarationsPDF
83 FR 21233 - Approval and Promulgation of Air Quality Implementation Plans; Virginia; Interstate Transport Requirements for the 2012 Fine Particulate Matter StandardPDF
83 FR 21295 - Change in Bank Control Notices; Acquisitions of Shares of a Bank or Bank Holding CompanyPDF
83 FR 21318 - Proposed Collection; Comment RequestPDF
83 FR 21309 - Notice of Funds and Request for Applications for 2017 Hurricanes and Wildfires Disaster-Response Legal Services GrantsPDF
83 FR 21226 - Interstate Transport Prongs 1 and 2 for the 2012 Fine Particulate Matter (PM2.5PDF
83 FR 21340 - Agency Information Collection Activity Under OMB Review: Funeral ArrangementsPDF
83 FR 21214 - Ballast Water Management-Annual Reporting RequirementPDF
83 FR 21283 - 229 Boundary Notice for the Pantex Plant Administrative Support ComplexPDF
83 FR 21339 - Agency Information Collection Activities: Information Collection Renewal; Submission for OMB Review; Customer Complaint FormPDF
83 FR 21181 - Accelerating Wireline Broadband Deployment by Removing Barriers to Infrastructure InvestmentPDF
83 FR 21282 - Change in Control: Cameron LNG, LLCPDF
83 FR 21338 - Agency Information Collection Activities: Request for Comments for a New Information CollectionPDF
83 FR 21263 - Notice of Funding Availability: Inviting Applications for the Market Access ProgramPDF
83 FR 21295 - Common Formats for Patient Safety Data CollectionPDF
83 FR 21257 - Notice of Funding Availability: Inviting Applications for the Quality Samples ProgramPDF
83 FR 21260 - Notice of Funding Availability: Inviting Applications for the Technical Assistance for Specialty Crops ProgramPDF
83 FR 21269 - Notice of Funding Availability: Inviting Applications for the Foreign Market Development Cooperator ProgramPDF
83 FR 21265 - Notice of Funding Availability: Inviting Applications for the Emerging Markets ProgramPDF
83 FR 21284 - Combined Notice of Filings #1PDF
83 FR 21284 - Notice of Petition for Declaratory Order: Buckeye Pipe Line Company, L.P., Laurel Pipe Line Company, L.P.PDF
83 FR 21288 - Commission Information Collection Activities (FERC-917 and FERC-918); Comment Request; ExtensionPDF
83 FR 21291 - Notice of Intent to Prepare an Environmental Assessment for the Proposed Cheyenne Connector Pipeline and Cheyenne Hub Enhancement Projects and Request for Comments On Environmental Issues: Cheyenne Connector, LLC; Rockies Express Pipeline LLCPDF
83 FR 21293 - Notice of Electric Quarterly Report Users Group MeetingPDF
83 FR 21290 - Notice of Document Labelling Guidance for Documents Submitted to or Filed With the Commission or Commission StaffPDF
83 FR 21294 - Notice of Commission Staff AttendancePDF
83 FR 21285 - Before Commissioners: Cheryl A. LaFleur, Neil Chatterjee, Robert F. Powelson, and Richard GlickPDF
83 FR 21294 - Notice of Institution of Section 206 Proceeding and Refund Effective Date; NRG Energy Center Dover LLCPDF
83 FR 21293 - Notice of Institution of Section 206 Proceeding and Refund Effective Date; NRG Wholesale Generation LPPDF
83 FR 21294 - Energy Storage Association v. PJM Interconnection, L.L.C.; Renewable Energy System Americas and Invenergy Storage Development, LLC v. PJM Interconnection, L.L.C.; PJM Interconnection, L.L.C.; Notice of Technical ConferencePDF
83 FR 21287 - Combined Notice of FilingsPDF
83 FR 21290 - Combined Notice of Filings #2PDF
83 FR 21300 - Meeting of the Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Advisory CommitteePDF
83 FR 21297 - Waivers, Exceptions, and Exemptions From the Requirements of Section 582 of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act; Draft Guidance for Industry; AvailabilityPDF
83 FR 21307 - Notice of Lodging of Proposed Consent Decree Under the Clean Water ActPDF
83 FR 21319 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; Nasdaq PHLX LLC; Order Approving a Proposed Rule Change Amending Rule 1079, FLEX Index, Equity and Currency Options, and Rule 1059, Accommodation Transactions, To Allow the Closing of Flexible Exchange Options (“FLEX options”) in Cabinet TradingPDF
83 FR 21277 - Submission for OMB Review; Comment RequestPDF
83 FR 21276 - Submission for OMB Review; Comment RequestPDF
83 FR 21274 - Proposed Information Collection; Comment Request; Observer Programs' Information That Can Be Gathered Only Through QuestionsPDF
83 FR 21275 - Proposed Extension of a Currently Approved Information Collection; Comment Request; Aleutian Islands Pollock FisheryPDF
83 FR 21280 - Agency Information Collection Activities; Submission to the Office of Management and Budget for Review and Approval; Comment Request; Assurance of Compliance-Civil Rights CertificatePDF
83 FR 21308 - Inorganic Arsenic Standard; Extension of the Office of Management and Budget's (OMB) Approval of Information Collection (Paperwork) RequirementsPDF
83 FR 21280 - National Assessment Governing BoardPDF
83 FR 21324 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; Cboe Exchange, Inc.; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of a Proposed Rule Change To Extend the Operation of the SPXPM Pilot ProgramPDF
83 FR 21316 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; Cboe Exchange, Inc.; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of a Proposed Rule Change To Renew the Nonstandard Expirations Pilot ProgramPDF
83 FR 21335 - RTCA PMC Program Management Committee PlenaryPDF
83 FR 21327 - Meeting of the Interagency Task Force on Veterans Small Business DevelopmentPDF
83 FR 21299 - National Advisory Council on the National Health Service Corps; Notice of MeetingPDF
83 FR 21327 - Meeting of the Advisory Committee on Veterans Business AffairsPDF
83 FR 21279 - Proposed Collection; Comment RequestPDF
83 FR 21340 - Health Services Research and Development Service Scientific Merit Review Board; Notice of MeetingPDF
83 FR 21221 - Changes to the Claim Construction Standard for Interpreting Claims in Trial Proceedings Before the Patent Trial and Appeal BoardPDF
83 FR 21188 - Irish Potatoes Grown in Certain Designated Counties in Idaho, and Malheur County, Oregon; Modification of Handling RegulationsPDF
83 FR 21306 - Low Melt Polyester Staple Fiber (PSF) From Korea and Taiwan; Revised Schedule for Final InvestigationsPDF
83 FR 21307 - Certain Mobile Electronic Devices and Radio Frequency and Processing Components Thereof; Notice of Commission Determination To Amend the Notice of Investigation To Delete Certain Claims That Were Erroneously Included Due to an Apparent Typographical ErrorPDF
83 FR 21165 - Grapes Grown in a Designated Area of Southeastern California; Decreased Assessment RatePDF
83 FR 21304 - Office of The Director, National Institutes of Health; Notice of MeetingPDF
83 FR 21302 - National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases Notice of Closed MeetingsPDF
83 FR 21303 - National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases; Notice of Closed MeetingsPDF
83 FR 21304 - National Institute on Aging; Notice of Closed MeetingPDF
83 FR 21301 - Center for Scientific Review; Notice of Closed MeetingsPDF
83 FR 21279 - Submission for OMB Review; Comment RequestPDF
83 FR 21295 - Notice of Termination of ReceivershipsPDF
83 FR 21320 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; BOX Options Exchange LLC; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of a Proposed Rule Change To Adopt Price Protections for Complex OrdersPDF
83 FR 21167 - Regulation A: Extensions of Credit by Federal Reserve BanksPDF
83 FR 21328 - Agency Information Collection Activities: Proposed Request and Comment RequestPDF
83 FR 21310 - Northern States Power Company: Monticello Nuclear Generating PlantPDF
83 FR 21238 - Approval and Promulgation of Air Quality State Implementation Plans; California; Chico Redesignation Request and Maintenance Plan for the 2006 24-hour PM2.5PDF
83 FR 21309 - Notice of Intent To Grant Partially Exclusive Patent License; CorrectionPDF
83 FR 21174 - Approval and Promulgation of Implementation Plans; New Jersey; Motor Vehicle Enhanced Inspection and Maintenance ProgramPDF
83 FR 21178 - Approval and Promulgation of Implementation Plans; Texas; Revisions to Permitting and Public Participation for Air Quality Permit ApplicationsPDF
83 FR 21191 - Airworthiness Directives; ATR-GIE Avions de Transport Régional AirplanesPDF
83 FR 21196 - Airworthiness Directives; Airbus AirplanesPDF
83 FR 21194 - Airworthiness Directives; Airbus HelicoptersPDF
83 FR 21278 - Community Bank Advisory Council MeetingPDF
83 FR 21296 - Agency Information Collection Activities: Proposed Collection; Comment RequestPDF
83 FR 21254 - Outer Continental Shelf Air Regulations; Consistency Update for Massachusetts; Reopening of Comment PeriodPDF
83 FR 21199 - Airworthiness Directives; SOCATA AirplanesPDF
83 FR 21334 - Thirty Sixth RTCA SC-214 Standards for Air Traffic Data Communications Services PlenaryPDF
83 FR 21334 - Eighty Eighth RTCA SC-147 Plenary Session Joint With EUROCAE WG-75PDF
83 FR 21684 - Aviation Economic Regulation AmendmentsPDF
83 FR 21203 - Proposed Commission Interpretation Regarding Standard of Conduct for Investment Advisers; Request for Comment on Enhancing Investment Adviser RegulationPDF
83 FR 21342 - Reform of Generator Interconnection Procedures and AgreementsPDF
83 FR 21416 - Form CRS Relationship Summary; Amendments to Form ADV; Required Disclosures in Retail Communications and Restrictions on the Use of Certain Names or TitlesPDF
83 FR 21574 - Regulation Best InterestPDF

Issue

83 90 Wednesday, May 9, 2018 Contents Agency Health Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality NOTICES Common Formats for Patient Safety Data Collection, 21295-21296 2018-09870 Agricultural Marketing Agricultural Marketing Service RULES Decreased Assessment Rates: Grapes Grown in a Designated Area of Southeastern California, 21165-21167 2018-09817 PROPOSED RULES Modification of Handling Regulations: Irish Potatoes Grown in Certain Designated Counties in Idaho, and Malheur County, Oregon, 21188-21191 2018-09820 Agriculture Agriculture Department See

Agricultural Marketing Service

See

Commodity Credit Corporation

See

Foreign Agricultural Service

Army Army Department NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 21279 2018-09811 Consumer Financial Protection Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection NOTICES Meetings: Community Bank Advisory Council, 21278-21279 2018-09735 Centers Medicare Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 21296-21297 2018-09686 Coast Guard Coast Guard RULES Special Local Regulations: Wolf River Chute, Memphis, TN, 21171-21174 2018-09908 PROPOSED RULES Ballast Water Management—Annual Reporting Requirement, 21214-21221 2018-09877 Commerce Commerce Department See

National Institute of Standards and Technology

See

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

See

Patent and Trademark Office

Commodity Credit Commodity Credit Corporation NOTICES Funding Availability: Applications for the Market Access Program, 21263-21265 2018-09871 Applications for the Technical Assistance for Specialty Crops Program, 21260-21263 2018-09868 Inviting Applications for the Emerging Markets Program, 21265-21269 2018-09866 Inviting Applications for the Foreign Market Development Cooperator Program, 21269-21272 2018-09867 Inviting Applications for the Quality Samples Program, 21257-21260 2018-09869 Commodity Futures Commodity Futures Trading Commission NOTICES Charter Renewals: Market Risk Advisory Committee, 21278 2018-09891 Comptroller Comptroller of the Currency NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Customer Complaint Form, 21339 2018-09875 Defense Department Defense Department See

Army Department

NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 21279-21280 2018-09823
Education Department Education Department NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Assurance of Compliance—Civil Rights Certificate, 21280 2018-09833 Meetings: National Assessment Governing Board, 21280-21282 2018-09831 Energy Department Energy Department See

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

See

National Nuclear Security Administration

NOTICES Changes in Control: Cameron LNG, LLC, 21282-21283 2018-09873
Environmental Protection Environmental Protection Agency RULES Air Quality State Implementation Plans; Approvals and Promulgations: New Jersey; Motor Vehicle Enhanced Inspection and Maintenance Program, 21174-21178 2018-09788 Texas; Revisions to Permitting and Public Participation for Air Quality Permit Applications, 21178-21181 2018-09755 PROPOSED RULES Air Quality State Implementation Plans; Approvals and Promulgations: California; Chico Redesignation Request and Maintenance Plan for the 2006 24-hour PM2.5 Standard, 21238-21254 2018-09792 California; Yolo-Solano Air Quality Management District; Negative Declarations, 21235-21237 2018-09888 Interstate Transport Prongs 1 and 2 for the 2012 Fine Particulate Matter (PM2.5) Standard for Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming, 21226-21232 2018-09880 Virginia; Interstate Transport Requirements for the 2012 Fine Particulate Matter Standard, 21233-21235 2018-09887 Outer Continental Shelf Air Regulations: Massachusetts; Consistency Update, 21254-21256 2018-09646 Federal Aviation Federal Aviation Administration RULES Airworthiness Directives: Rolls-Royce plc Turbojet engines, 21169-21171 2018-09913 PROPOSED RULES Airworthiness Directives: Airbus Airplanes, 21196-21199 2018-09743 Airbus Helicopters, 21194-21196 2018-09742 ATR-GIE Avions de Transport Regional Airplanes, 21191-21194 2018-09746 SOCATA Airplanes, 21199-21203 2018-09602 NOTICES Meetings: Eighty Eighth RTCA SC-147 Plenary Session Joint with EUROCAE WG-75, 21334 2018-09444 RTCA PMC Program Management Committee Plenary, 21335 2018-09828 Thirty Sixth RTCA SC-214 Standards for Air Traffic Data Communications Services Plenary, 21334-21335 2018-09445 Submission Deadlines for Schedule Information: Chicago O'Hare International Airport, John F. Kennedy International Airport, Los Angeles International Airport, Newark Liberty International Airport, and San Francisco International Airport for the Winter 2018/2019 Scheduling Season, 21335-21338 2018-09894 Federal Communications Federal Communications Commission RULES Accelerating Wireline Broadband Deployment by Removing Barriers to Infrastructure Investment, 21181-21182 2018-09874 Federal Deposit Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation NOTICES Terminations of Receiverships, 21295 2018-09808 Federal Energy Federal Energy Regulatory Commission RULES Reform of Generator Interconnection Procedures and Agreements, 21342-21414 2018-08659 NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 21288-21290 2018-09859 Combined Filings, 21284-21285, 21287-21288, 21290 2018-09849 2018-09850 2018-09861 Environmental Assessments; Availability, etc.: Cheyenne Connector, LLC, Rockies Express Pipeline LLC; Cheyenne Connector Pipeline and Cheyenne Hub Enhancement Projects, 21291-21293 2018-09858 Guidance: Document Labelling Guidance for Documents Submitted to or Filed with the Commission or Commission Staff, 21290-21291 2018-09856 Institution of Section 206 Proceedings: NRG Energy Center Dover LLC, 21294-21295 2018-09853 NRG Wholesale Generation LP, 21293 2018-09852 Meetings: Electric Quarterly Report User Group, 21293-21294 2018-09857 Energy Storage Association v. PJM Interconnection, L.L.C. Renewable Energy System Americas and Invenergy Storage Development, LLC v. PJM Interconnection, L.L.C. PJM Interconnection, L.L.C.; Technical Conference, 21294 2018-09851 Petitions for Declaratory Orders: Buckeye Pipe Line Company, LP, Laurel Pipe Line Company, LP, 21284 2018-09860 Simultaneous Transmission Import Limit Values for the Southeast Region: CinCap V, LLC Duke Energy Beckjord, LLC Duke Energy Carolinas, LLC, et. al, 21285-21287 2018-09854 Staff Attendances, 21294 2018-09855 Federal Highway Federal Highway Administration NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 21338 2018-09872 Federal Reserve Federal Reserve System RULES Extensions of Credit by Federal Reserve Banks, 21167-21168 2018-09805 NOTICES Changes in Bank Control: Acquisitions of Shares of a Bank or Bank Holding Company, 21295 2018-09886 Food and Drug Food and Drug Administration NOTICES Guidance: Waivers, Exceptions, and Exemptions from the Requirements of Section 582 of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, 21297-21299 2018-09843 Foreign Agricultural Foreign Agricultural Service NOTICES Funding Availability: Applications for the Market Access Program, 21263-21265 2018-09871 Applications for the Technical Assistance for Specialty Crops Program, 21260-21263 2018-09868 Inviting Applications for the Emerging Markets Program, 21265-21269 2018-09866 Inviting Applications for the Foreign Market Development Cooperator Program, 21269-21272 2018-09867 Inviting Applications for the Quality Samples Program, 21257-21260 2018-09869 Health and Human Health and Human Services Department See

Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality

See

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

See

Food and Drug Administration

See

Health Resources and Services Administration

See

National Institutes of Health

NOTICES Meetings: Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Advisory Committee, 21300 2018-09844
Health Resources Health Resources and Services Administration NOTICES Meetings: National Advisory Council on the National Health Service Corps, 21299 2018-09825 Homeland Homeland Security Department See

Coast Guard

International Trade Com International Trade Commission NOTICES Investigations; Determinations, Modifications, and Rulings, etc.: Certain Mobile Electronic Devices and Radio Frequency and Processing Components Thereof, 21307 2018-09818 Low Melt Polyester Staple Fiber (PSF) from Korea and Taiwan, 21306 2018-09819 Justice Department Justice Department NOTICES Proposed Consent Decrees under the Clean Water Act, 21307-21308 2018-09842 Labor Department Labor Department See

Occupational Safety and Health Administration

Legal Legal Services Corporation NOTICES Requests for Applications: 2017 Hurricanes and Wildfires Disaster-Response Legal Services Grants, 21309 2018-09881 NASA National Aeronautics and Space Administration NOTICES Partially Exclusive Patent Licenses; Correction, 21309-21310 2018-09790 National Institute National Institute of Standards and Technology NOTICES Requests for Applications: National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence Securing Picture Archiving and Communication System Cybersecurity for the Healthcare Sector, 21272-21274 2018-09897 National Institute National Institutes of Health NOTICES Meetings: Advisory Committee to the Director, 21304 2018-09816 Center for Scientific Review, 21301-21302, 21304-21306 2018-09812 2018-09898 National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering, 21302 2018-09899 National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, 21302-21303 2018-09814 2018-09815 National Institute on Aging, 21304 2018-09813 National Institute on Drug Abuse, 21300-21301 2018-09900 2018-09901 Energy National Nuclear National Nuclear Security Administration NOTICES 229 Boundary for the Pantex Plant Administrative Support Complex, 21283-21284 2018-09876 National Oceanic National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RULES Endangered and Threatened Species: Listing the Taiwanese Humpback Dolphin as Endangered Under the Endangered Species Act, 21182-21187 2018-09890 NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 21276-21278 2018-09836 2018-09837 Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Aleutian Islands Pollock Fishery, 21275-21276 2018-09834 Observer Programs' Information that Can Be Gathered Only Through Questions, 21274-21275 2018-09835 Taking and Importing Marine Mammals: Construction and Operation of the Liberty Drilling and Production Island, Beaufort Sea, AK, 21276-21277 2018-09904 Nuclear Regulatory Nuclear Regulatory Commission NOTICES Exemptions: Northern States Power Co; Monticello Nuclear Generating Plant, 21310-21316 2018-09801 Occupational Safety Health Adm Occupational Safety and Health Administration NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Inorganic Arsenic Standard, 21308-21309 2018-09832 Patent Patent and Trademark Office PROPOSED RULES Changes to the Claim Construction Standard for Interpreting Claims in Trial Proceedings Before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board, 21221-21226 2018-09821 Securities Securities and Exchange Commission PROPOSED RULES Form CRS Relationship Summary and Form ADV: Required Disclosures in Retail Communications and Restrictions on the use of Certain Names or Titles, 21416-21571 2018-08583 Regulation Best Interest, 21574-21682 2018-08582 Standard of Conduct for Investment Advisers: Enhancing Investment Adviser Regulation, 21203-21214 2018-08679 NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 21318-21319 2018-09884 Self-Regulatory Organizations; Proposed Rule Changes: BOX Options Exchange LLC, 21320-21324 2018-09806 Cboe Exchange, Inc., 21316-21318, 21324-21327 2018-09829 2018-09830 Nasdaq PHLX LLC, 21319-21320 2018-09838 Small Business Small Business Administration NOTICES Meetings: Advisory Committee on Veterans Business Affairs, 21327 2018-09824 Interagency Task Force on Veterans Small Business Development, 21327-21328 2018-09827 Social Social Security Administration NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 21328-21333 2018-09802 State Department State Department NOTICES Imposition of Nonproliferation Measures Against Rosoboronexport, Including a Ban on U.S. Government Procurement, 21333-21334 2018-09928 Transportation Department Transportation Department See

Federal Aviation Administration

See

Federal Highway Administration

PROPOSED RULES Aviation Economic Regulation Amendments, 21684-21706 2018-08683
Treasury Treasury Department See

Comptroller of the Currency

Veteran Affairs Veterans Affairs Department NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Funeral Arrangements, 21340 2018-09878 Meetings: Health Services Research and Development Service Scientific Merit Review Board, 21340 2018-09822 Separate Parts In This Issue Part II Energy Department, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 21342-21414 2018-08659 Part III Securities and Exchange Commission, 21416-21571 2018-08583 Part IV Securities and Exchange Commission, 21574-21682 2018-08582 Part V Transportation Department, 21684-21706 2018-08683 Reader Aids

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83 90 Wednesday, May 9, 2018 Rules and Regulations DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Agricultural Marketing Service 7 CFR Part 925 [Doc. No. AMS-SC-17-0082; SC18-925-1 FR] Grapes Grown in a Designated Area of Southeastern California; Decreased Assessment Rate AGENCY:

Agricultural Marketing Service, USDA.

ACTION:

Final rule.

SUMMARY:

This rule implements a recommendation from the California Desert Grape Administrative Committee (Committee) to decrease the assessment rate established for the 2018 fiscal period for grapes grown in a designated area of southeastern California. The assessment rate will remain in effect indefinitely unless modified, suspended, or terminated.

DATES:

Effective June 8, 2018.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Maria Stobbe, Marketing Specialist or Jeffrey Smutny, Regional Director, California Marketing Field Office, Marketing Order and Agreement Division, Specialty Crops Program, AMS, USDA; Telephone: (559) 487-5901, Fax: (559) 487-5906, or Email: [email protected] or [email protected]

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

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

This action, pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553, amends regulations issued to carry out a marketing order as defined in 7 CFR 900.2(j). This rule is issued under Marketing Agreement and Order No. 925, as amended (7 CFR part 925), regulating the handling of grapes grown in a designated area of southeastern California. Part 925 (referred to as the “Order”) is effective under the Agricultural Marketing Agreement Act of 1937, as amended (7 U.S.C. 601-674), hereinafter referred to as the “Act.” The Committee locally administers the Order and is comprised of producers and handlers of grapes operating within the area of production, and a member of the public.

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

This rule has been reviewed under Executive Order 12988, Civil Justice Reform. Under the Order now in effect, grape handlers in a designated area of southeastern California are subject to assessments. Funds to administer the Order are derived from such assessments. It is intended that the assessment rate as established herein would be applicable to all assessable grapes beginning on January 1, 2018, and continue until amended, suspended, or terminated.

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

This rule decreases the assessment rate established for the 2018 and subsequent fiscal periods from $0.030 to $0.020 per 18-pound lug of grapes handled.

The Order provides authority for the Committee, with the approval of USDA, to formulate an annual budget of expenses and collect assessments from handlers to administer the program. The members of the Committee are producers and handlers of grapes grown in a designated area of southeastern California, and a member of the public. They are familiar with the Committee's needs and with the costs for goods and services in their local area and are thus in a position to formulate an appropriate budget and assessment rate. The assessment rate is formulated and discussed in a public meeting. Thus, all directly affected persons have an opportunity to participate and provide input.

For the 2016 and subsequent fiscal periods, the Committee recommended, and USDA approved, an assessment rate that would continue in effect from fiscal period to fiscal period unless modified, suspended, or terminated by USDA upon recommendation and information submitted by the Committee or other information available to USDA.

The Committee met on November 30, 2017, and unanimously recommended 2018 fiscal year expenditures of $119,000, with an estimated cash reserve of $115,000, and an assessment rate of $0.020 per 18-pound lug of grapes. In comparison, last fiscal year's budgeted expenditures were $108,500. The assessment rate of $0.020 is $0.010 lower than the rate currently in effect. The 2017 crop, at the higher assessment rate currently in effect, provided more income than required to cover expenses, resulting in an estimated financial reserve of $140,000. The financial reserves are sufficient to supplement this fiscal year's revenues at an assessment rate of $0.020 per 18-pound lug of grapes to fully fund the recommended 2018 budgeted expenditures.

The major expenditures recommended by the Committee for the 2018 fiscal year include $65,000 for management and compliance services, $25,500 in office expenditures, and $28,500 for research. Budgeted expenses for these items in fiscal year 2017 were $50,000 for management and compliance services, $28,330 in office expenditures, and $28,500 for research.

The assessment rate recommended by the Committee was derived by considering anticipated expenses, expected shipments of grapes in the production area, and the level of funds in the authorized reserve. Grape shipments for the year are estimated at 4.7 million 18-pound lugs, which should provide $94,000 in assessment income. Income derived from handler assessments, along with interest income and funds from the Committee's authorized reserve, should be adequate to cover budgeted expenses. Funds in the reserve (currently $140,000) would be kept within the maximum permitted by the Order (approximately one fiscal period's expenses as stated in § 925.42(a)(2)). The Committee would utilize approximately $25,000 of its reserve funds to fully fund the recommended 2018 fiscal year budget, while assessing the new 2018 fiscal year crop at the lower rate.

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

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

Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis

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

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

There are approximately 38 producers of grapes in the production area and approximately 14 handlers subject to regulation under the Marketing Order. Small agricultural producers are defined by the Small Business Administration (SBA) as those having annual receipts less than $750,000, and small agricultural service firms are defined as those whose annual receipts are less than $7,500,000 (13 CFR 121.201).

Eleven of the 14 handlers subject to the Marketing Order have annual grape sales of less than $7,500,000, according to USDA Market News Service and Committee data. In addition, information from the Committee and USDA's Market News shipping point pricing data indicates that at least ten of the 38 producers have annual receipts of less than $750,000. Thus, it may be concluded that a majority of the grape handlers regulated under the Marketing Order and at least ten of the producers could be classified as small entities under the SBA's definitions.

This rule decreases the assessment rate collected from handlers for the 2018 and subsequent fiscal periods from $0.030 to $0.020 per 18-pound lug of grapes. The Committee unanimously recommended fiscal year 2018 expenditures of $119,000 and an assessment rate of $0.020 per 18-pound lug. The assessment rate of $0.020 is $0.010 lower than the 2017 rate. The quantity of assessable commodity for the 2018 fiscal year is estimated at 4.7 million 18-pound lugs. Thus, the $0.020 rate should provide $94,000 in assessment income. Assessment income, interest income, plus the use of $25,000 in reserve funds, should be adequate to meet this 2018 fiscal year's expenses.

The major expenditures recommended by the Committee for the 2018 fiscal year include $65,000 for management and compliance services, $25,500 in office expenditures, and $28,500 for research. Budgeted expenses for these items in 2017 were $50,000 for management and compliance services, $28,330 in office expenditures, and $28,500 for research.

Prior to arriving at this budget and assessment rate, the Committee considered various options, such as maintaining the current assessment rate and expenditure levels. Alternative expenditure levels were discussed by the Committee, based upon the relative value of various activities to the grape industry. The Committee ultimately determined that 2018 expenditures of $119,000 were appropriate, and the recommended assessment rate and the use of $25,000 from the carry over financial reserves should provide sufficient revenue to meet its expenses.

A review of historical crop and price information, indicates that the shipping point price for the 2017 season averaged about $21.62 per 18-pound lug of California desert grapes handled. If the 2018 price is similar to the 2017 price, estimated assessment revenue as a percentage of total estimated handler revenue would be 0.09 percent for the 2018 season ($0.020 divided by $21.62 per 18-pound lug).

This action decreases the assessment obligation imposed on handlers. Assessments are applied uniformly on all handlers, and some of the costs may be passed on to producers. However, decreasing the assessment rate reduces the burden on handlers, and may reduce the burden on producers. In addition, the Committee's meeting was widely publicized throughout the production area. The grape industry and all interested persons were invited to attend the meeting and participate in Committee deliberations on all issues. Like all Committee meetings, the November 30, 2017, meeting was a public meeting and all entities, both large and small, were able to express views on this issue.

In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, (44 U.S.C. Chapter 35), the Order's information collection requirements have been previously approved by OMB and assigned OMB No. 0581-0189, Generic Fruit Crops. No changes in those requirements are necessary as a result of this action. Should any changes become necessary, they would be submitted to OMB for approval.

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

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

USDA has not identified any relevant Federal rules that duplicate, overlap, or conflict with this action.

A proposed rule concerning this action was published in the Federal Register on March 1, 2018 (83 FR 8802). Copies of the proposed rule were also mailed or sent via facsimile to all grape handlers. Finally, the proposal was made available through the internet by USDA and the Office of the Federal Register. A 30-day comment period ending April 2, 2018, was provided for interested persons to respond to the proposal. One comment was received in support of the decreased assessment rate. The commenter stated that a decreased assessment rate should result in lower costs to the industry and ultimately to the consumer. No changes will be made to the rule as proposed based on the comments received. The proposal contained administrative revisions to the Order's subpart headings to bring the language into conformance with the Office of Federal Register requirements. These revisions are not included in this rule as they were included in a technical amendment final rule published in the Federal Register on April 6, 2018 (83 FR 14736).

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

After consideration of all relevant material presented, including the information and recommendation submitted by the Committee and other available information, it is hereby found that this rule will tend to effectuate the declared policy of the Act.

List of Subjects in 7 CFR Part 925

Grapes, Marketing agreements, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

For the reasons set forth in the preamble, 7 CFR part 925 is amended as follows:

PART 925—GRAPES GROWN IN A DESIGNATED AREA OF SOUTHEASTERN CALIFORNIA 1. The authority citation for part 925 continues to read as follows: Authority:

7 U.S.C. 601-674.

2. Section 925.215 is revised to read as follows:
§ 925.215 Assessment rate.

On and after January 1, 2018, an assessment rate of $0.020 per 18-pound lug is established for grapes grown in a designated area of southeastern California.

Dated: May 3, 2018 Bruce Summers, Acting Administrator, Agricultural Marketing Service.
[FR Doc. 2018-09817 Filed 5-8-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410-02-P
FEDERAL RESERVE SYSTEM 12 CFR Part 201 [Docket No. R-1585; RIN 7100-AE 90] Regulation A: Extensions of Credit by Federal Reserve Banks AGENCY:

Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System.

ACTION:

Final rule.

SUMMARY:

The Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (Board) is adopting final amendments to its Regulation A to revise the provisions regarding the establishment of the primary credit rate in a financial emergency and to delete the provisions relating to the use of credit ratings for collateral for extensions of credit under the former Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility (TALF). The final amendments are intended to allow the regulation to address circumstances in which the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) has established a target range for the federal funds rate rather than a single target rate, and to reflect the expiration of the TALF program.

DATES:

The final rule is effective June 8, 2018.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Sophia H. Allison, Special Counsel, (202-452-3565), Legal Division, or Lyle Kumasaka, Senior Financial Analyst, (202-452-2382), Division of Monetary Affairs; for users of Telecommunications Device for the Deaf (TDD) only, contact 202-263-4869; Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, 20th and C Streets NW, Washington, DC 20551.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

The Federal Reserve Banks make primary, secondary, and seasonal credit available to depository institutions subject to rules and regulations prescribed by the Board. The primary, secondary, and seasonal credit rates are the interest rates that the twelve Federal Reserve Banks charge for extensions of credit under these programs. Under the primary credit program, Federal Reserve Banks may extend credit on a very short-term basis, typically overnight, to depository institutions that are in generally sound condition in the judgment of the Federal Reserve Bank. In accordance with the Federal Reserve Act, the primary credit rate is established by the boards of directors of the Federal Reserve Banks, subject to review and determination of the Board. The primary credit rate is set forth in § 201.51(a) of Regulation A.

Section 201.3(e) of Regulation A, adopted in December 2009, established criteria and procedures governing the acceptance by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York (FRBNY) of credit ratings issued by credit rating agencies in connection with extensions of credit under the former TALF. On June 30, 2010, the TALF was closed for new loan extensions, and the final outstanding TALF loan was repaid in full in October 2014.1

1https://www.federalreserve.gov/monetarypolicy/talf.htm.

I. Notice of Proposed Rulemaking

On December 8, 2017, the Board published a notice of proposed rulemaking in the Federal Register proposing amendments to Regulation A that would (1) revise the regulatory procedures for establishing the primary credit rate in a financial emergency; and (2) delete the provisions relating to the use of credit ratings for collateral for extensions of credit under the former TALF.2 Specifically, the Board proposed to amend § 201.51(d)(1) of Regulation A to provide that, in a financial emergency, the primary credit rate is the target federal funds rate or, if the FOMC has established a target range for the federal funds rate, a rate corresponding to the top of the target range. In addition, the Board proposed to delete § 201.3(e) of Regulation A as unnecessary given the expiration of the TALF program. The comment period on the proposed rule closed on January 8, 2018.

2 82 FR 57886 (Dec. 8, 2017).

II. Comments Received on the Proposed Rule and Adoption of Final Rule

The Board received five comments on the proposal. One comment supported the flexibility the amendment provides during times of crisis, and raised other issues regarding the size of the Federal Reserve balance sheet that were outside the scope of the proposal. Another commenter expressed support for the proposal as eliminating roadblocks while dealing with an emergency. The other three comments raised issues outside the scope of the proposal. Accordingly, the final rule adopts the proposal as proposed.

III. Administrative Law Matters A. Regulatory Flexibility Act

An initial regulatory flexibility analysis (IRFA) was included in the proposal in accordance with section 3(a) of the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA).3 In the IRFA, the Board requested comment on the effect of the proposed rule on small entities and on any significant alternatives that would reduce the regulatory burden on small entities. The Board did not receive any comments on the IRFA.

3 5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.

The RFA requires an agency to prepare a final regulatory flexibility analysis unless the agency certifies that the rule will not, if promulgated, have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. In accordance with section 3(a) of the RFA, the Board has reviewed the final rule. Based on its analysis, and for the reasons stated below, the Board certifies that the final rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities.

Section 201.51(d) of Regulation A. Currently, there are 1,523 depository institutions that are able to request primary credit that meet the definition of “small” business entity, out of a total of 2,777 institutions that are able to request primary credit. The final rule makes a ministerial amendment to conform the provision to the current operating framework of the FOMC in establishing a target range for the federal funds rate. The final rule affects the actions of the Federal Reserve Banks and the Board, and requires no action or changes in procedures for any depository institution, large or small, and so there are no costs associated with the final rule. In addition, the final rule clarifies the operation of the provision for reducing the primary credit rate in a financial emergency from its current level to a lower level based on the target federal funds rate or the target range for the federal funds rate. Any economic impact of the final rule on small entities would be beneficial, because the final rule enables large and small entities to obtain primary credit at an interest rate that would be lower than the existing primary credit rate. Accordingly, the Board believes that a reasonable basis exists for assuming that the economic effect of the final rule would be de minimis or insignificant for small entities affected by it.

Section 201.3(e) of Regulation A. The final rule deletes obsolete provisions applicable to credit extended under the TALF program. Since the TALF program no longer exists, the deletion of regulatory provisions governing the use of credit ratings in it will have no impact, economic or otherwise, on any credit rating agency. Accordingly, the Board believes that a reasonable basis exists for assuming costs would be de minimis or insignificant for small entities affected by it.

B. Paperwork Reduction Act Analysis

Office of Management and Budget (OMB) regulations implementing the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) state that agencies must submit “collections of information” contained in proposed rules published for public comment in the Federal Register in accordance with OMB regulations. OMB regulations define a “collection of information” as obtaining, causing to be obtained, soliciting, or requiring the disclosure to an agency, third parties or the public of information by or for an agency “by means of identical questions posed to, or identical reporting, recordkeeping, or disclosure requirements imposed on, ten or more persons, whether such collection of information is mandatory, voluntary, or required to obtain or retain a benefit.”

In accordance with the PRA, the Board reviewed the proposed rule under the authority delegated to the Board by OMB. The proposed rule contained no requirements subject to the PRA, and the Board received no comments on its PRA analysis in the proposed rule. The final rule adopts the proposed rule as proposed, and contains no requirements subject to the PRA.

C. Plain Language

Each Federal banking agency, including the Board, is required to use plain language in all proposed and final rulemakings published after January 1, 2000.4 The Board has sought to present the final rule, to the extent possible, in a simple and straightforward manner. The Board received one comment that addressed the extent to which the proposed rule used plain language. This comment expressed appreciation for the Board's plain language interpretation of the regulation as set forth in the proposed rule.

4 12 U.S.C. 4809.

List of Subjects in 12 CFR Part 201

Banks, Banking, Federal Reserve System, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

Authority and Issuance

For the reasons set forth in the preamble, the Board is amending 12 CFR chapter II as follows:

PART 201—EXTENSIONS OF CREDIT BY FEDERAL RESERVE BANKS (REGULATION A) 1. The authority citation for part 201 continues to read as follows: Authority:

12 U.S.C. 248(i)-(j) and (s), 343 et seq., 347a, 347b, 347c, 348 et seq., 357, 374, 374a, and 461.

§ 201.3 [Amended]
2. Section 201.3 is amended by removing paragraph (e). 3. Section 201.51 is amended by revising paragraph (d)(1) introductory text to read as follows:
§ 201.51 Interest rates applicable to credit extended by a Federal Reserve Bank.3

(d) * * *

(1) The primary credit rate at a Federal Reserve Bank is the target federal funds rate of the Federal Open Market Committee or, if the Federal Open Market Committee has set a target range for the federal funds rate, the rate corresponding to the top of the target range, if:

3 The primary, secondary, and seasonal credit rates described in this section apply to both advances and discounts made under the primary, secondary, and seasonal credit programs, respectively.

By the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, May 3, 2018.

Michele Taylor Fennell, Assistant Secretary of the Board.
[FR Doc. 2018-09805 Filed 5-8-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6210-01-P
DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration 14 CFR Part 39 [Docket No. FAA-2018-0287; Product Identifier 2018-NE-10-AD; Amendment 39-19263; AD 2018-09-07] RIN 2120-AA64 Airworthiness Directives; Rolls-Royce plc Turbojet Engines AGENCY:

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

ACTION:

Final rule; request for comments.

SUMMARY:

We are adopting a new airworthiness directive (AD) for Rolls-Royce plc (RR) Viper Mk. 601-22 turbojet engines. This AD requires removing the oil pump assembly, part number (P/N) V112027, and oil pressure filter, P/N V21264, from service and replacing them with parts eligible for installation. This AD was prompted by a report of an engine failure caused by installation of an incorrect oil filter. We are issuing this AD to correct the unsafe condition on these products.

DATES:

This AD is effective May 24, 2018.

The Director of the Federal Register approved the incorporation by reference of a certain publication listed in this AD as of May 24, 2018.

We must receive comments on this AD by June 25, 2018.

ADDRESSES:

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

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

Fax: 202-493-2251.

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

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

For service information identified in this final rule, contact DA Services Operations Room at Rolls-Royce plc, Defense Sector Bristol, WH-70, P.O. Box 3, Filton, Bristol BS34 7QE, United Kingdom; phone: +44 (0) 117 97 90700; fax: +44 (0) 117 97 95498; email: [email protected] You may view this service information at the FAA, Engine & Propeller Standards Branch, 1200 District Avenue, Burlington, MA 01803. For information on the availability of this material at the FAA, call 781-238-7759. It is also available on the internet at http://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2018-0287.

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-2018-0287; or in person at Docket Operations between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The AD docket contains this final rule, the mandatory continuing airworthiness information (MCAI), the regulatory evaluation, any comments received, and other information. The street address for Docket Operations (phone: 800-647-5527) is listed above. Comments will be available in the AD docket shortly after receipt.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Robert Green, Aerospace Engineer, ECO Branch, FAA, 1200 District Avenue, Burlington, MA 01803; phone: 781-238-7754; fax: 781-238-7199; email: [email protected]

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Discussion

The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), which is the Technical Agent for the Member States of the European Community, has issued EASA AD 2017-0197, dated October 6, 2017 (referred to after this as the MCAI), to address an unsafe condition for the specified products. The MCAI states:

An engine mainline bearing failure occurred on a Viper Mk. 632-43 engine because of debris being present in the engine oil system. The debris entered the oil system through a damaged oil pressure filter. Further investigation of this event revealed that, although the oil pump assembly was of post-modification (mod) CV4559 standard, the oil pressure filter fitted on the oil pump assembly was a pre-mod CV 4559 standard (Part Number (P/N) V21264). The purpose of modification CV4559 is to replace the oil pressure filter P/N V21264 with a more robust oil pressure filter (P/N 2526). Mod CV4559 was introduced in service by R-R Service Bulletin (SB) 72-198.

This condition, if not detected and corrected, could lead to an engine mainline bearing failure, possibly resulting in a complete loss of thrust and consequent reduced control of the aeroplane.

To address this potentially unsafe condition, R-R issued Alert SB 72-A208, providing instructions to identify and replace pre-modification oil filters.

For the reason described above, this [EASA] AD requires replacement of all oil pressure filters P/N V21264 found to be installed on post-mod CV4559 oil pump assemblies. This AD also requires replacement of all pre-mod CV4559 oil pump assemblies (P/N V112027) with post-mod oil pump assemblies (P/N V112225 or P/N NPN11962).

You may obtain further information by examining the MCAI in the AD docket on the internet at http://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2018-0287.

Related Service Information Under 1 CFR Part 51

We reviewed RR Alert Service Bulletin (ASB) Mk. 601-22 Number 72-A208, dated September 2017. The ASB describes procedures for inspecting and replacing a pre-modification oil pump assembly and oil pressure filter with parts eligible for installation. This service information is reasonably available because the interested parties have access to it through their normal course of business or by the means identified in the ADDRESSES section.

FAA's Determination

This product has been approved by EASA and is approved for operation in the United States. Pursuant to our bilateral agreement with the European Community, EASA has notified us of the unsafe condition described in the MCAI and service information referenced above. We are issuing this AD because we evaluated all the relevant information provided by EASA and determined the unsafe condition described previously is likely to exist or develop in other products of the same type design.

AD Requirements

This AD requires inspecting the oil pump assembly and oil pressure filter and replacing pre-modification parts with parts eligible for installation.

FAA's Justification and Determination of the Effective Date

An unsafe condition exists that requires the immediate adoption of this AD without providing an opportunity for public comments prior to adoption. The FAA has found that the risk to the flying public justifies waiving notice and comment prior to adoption of this rule because the compliance time for the action is less than the time required for public comment. EASA made a determination of an unsafe condition warranting regulatory action and compliance within 25 flight hours or 30 days. Therefore, we find good cause that notice and opportunity for prior public comment are impracticable. In addition, for the reason stated above, we find that good cause exists for making this amendment effective in less than 30 days.

Comments Invited

This AD is a final rule that involves requirements affecting flight safety and was not preceded by notice and an opportunity for public comment. However, we invite you to send any written data, views, or arguments about this final rule. Send your comments to an address listed under the ADDRESSES section. Include the docket number FAA-2018-0287 and Product Identifier 2018-NE-10-AD at the beginning of your comments. We specifically invite comments on the overall regulatory, economic, environmental, and energy aspects of this final rule. We will consider all comments received by the closing date and may amend this final rule because of those comments.

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

Costs of Compliance

We estimate that this AD affects 32 engines installed on 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
    Inspect and replace the oil filter 3 work-hours × $85 per hour = $255 $200 $455 $14,560

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

    On-Condition Costs Action Labor cost Parts cost Cost per
  • product
  • Replace the oil pump assembly 4 work-hours × $85 per hour = $340 $200 $540
    Authority for This Rulemaking

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

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

    This AD is issued in accordance with authority delegated by the Executive Director, Aircraft Certification Service, as authorized by FAA Order 8000.51C. In accordance with that order, issuance of ADs is normally a function of the Compliance and Airworthiness Division, but during this transition period, the Executive Director has delegated the authority to issue ADs applicable to engines, propellers, and associated appliances to the Manager, Engine and Propeller Standards Branch, Policy and Innovation Division.

    Regulatory Findings

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

    For the reasons discussed above, I certify this AD:

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

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

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

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

    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): 2018-09-07 Rolls-Royce plc: Amendment 39-19263; Docket No. FAA-2018-0287; Product Identifier 2018-NE-10-AD. (a) Effective Date

    This AD is effective May 24, 2018.

    (b) Affected ADs

    None.

    (c) Applicability

    This AD applies to all Rolls-Royce plc (RR) Viper Mk. 601-22 engines.

    (d) Subject

    Joint Aircraft System Component (JASC) Code 7900, Engine Oil System (Airframe Furnished).

    (e) Unsafe Condition

    This AD was prompted by a report of an engine failure caused by the installation of an incorrect oil filter. We are issuing this AD to prevent a failure of the engine oil system. The unsafe condition, if not addressed, could result in loss of engine thrust control, and reduced control of the airplane.

    (f) Compliance

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

    (g) Required Actions

    (1) For engines with an oil pump assembly, part number (P/N) V112225 or P/N NPN11962, installed:

    (i) After the effective date of this AD, within 30 days or 25 flight hours, whichever occurs first, inspect the oil pump assembly to determine the P/N of the oil pressure filter in accordance with the Accomplishment Instructions, Paragraph 2.A.(3), of RR Alert Service Bulletin (ASB) Mk. 601-22 Number 72-A208, dated September 2017.

    (ii) If an oil pressure filter, P/N V21264, is installed, replace the oil pressure filter before the next flight with oil filter, P/N 2526, in accordance with the Accomplishment Instructions, Paragraph 2.A.(3)(b), of RR ASB Mk. 601-22 Number 72-A208, dated September 2017.

    (2) For engines with an oil pump assembly, P/N V112027, installed:

    (i) After the effective date of this AD, within 30 days or 25 flight hours, whichever occurs first, replace the oil pump assembly with oil pump assembly, P/N V112225 or P/N NPN11962, in accordance with the Accomplishment Instructions, Paragraph 2.A.(2), of RR ASB Mk. 601-22 Number 72-A208, dated September 2017.

    (ii) Reserved.

    (h) Installation Prohibition

    After the effective date of this AD, do not install an oil pump assembly, P/N V112027, or an oil pressure filter, P/N V21264, on any engine, nor return any engine to service with an oil pump assembly, P/N V112027, or an oil pressure filter, P/N V21264, installed.

    (i) Alternative Methods of Compliance (AMOCs)

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

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

    (j) Related Information

    (1) For more information about this AD, contact Robert Green, Aerospace Engineer, ECO Branch, FAA, 1200 District Avenue, Burlington, MA 01803; phone: 781-238-7754; fax: 781-238-7199; email: [email protected]

    (2) Refer to European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) AD 2017-0197, dated October 6, 2017, for more information. You may examine the EASA AD in the AD docket on the internet at http://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating it in Docket No. FAA-2018-0287.

    (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) Rolls-Royce plc Alert Service Bulletin Mk. 601-22 Number 72-A208, dated September 2017.

    (ii) Reserved.

    (3) For Rolls-Royce plc service information identified in this AD, contact DA Services Operations Room at Rolls-Royce plc, Defense Sector Bristol, WH-70, P.O. Box 3, Filton, Bristol BS34 7QE, United Kingdom; phone: +44 (0) 117 97 90700; fax: +44 (0) 117 97 95498; email: [email protected]

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

    (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 Burlington, Massachusetts, on April 25, 2018. Robert J. Ganley, Manager, Engine and Propeller Standards Branch, Aircraft Certification Service.
    [FR Doc. 2018-09913 Filed 5-8-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910-13-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY Coast Guard 33 CFR Part 100 [Docket Number USCG-2018-0313] RIN 1625-AA08 Special Local Regulation; Wolf River Chute, Memphis, 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 Wolf River Chute in the vicinity of the Mud Island River Park near Memphis, TN. This action is necessary to protect spectators and vessels during the Duncan William Dragon Boat Races regatta. Entry of vessels or persons into this regulated area is prohibited unless authorized by the Captain of the Port Sector Lower Mississippi River (COTP) or a designated representative.

    DATES:

    This rule is effective from 7 a.m. through 4 p.m. on May 12, 2018.

    ADDRESSES:

    To view documents mentioned in this preamble as being available in the docket, go to http://www.regulations.gov, type USCG-2018-0313 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 about this rule, call or email Petty Officer Todd Manow, Sector Lower Mississippi River Prevention Department, U.S. Coast Guard, telephone 901-521-4813, email [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

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

    The Coast Guard is issuing this temporary final 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)(3)(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. The Coast Guard did not receive the event details in sufficient time to publish an NPRM. We must establish this special local regulation on May 12, 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 regulated area until after the date of the regatta and compromise public safety.

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

    III. Legal Authority and Need for a Rule

    The Coast Guard is issuing this rule under authority in 33 U.S.C. 1233. The Captain of the Port Sector Lower Mississippi River (COTP) has determined that potential hazards associated with the Duncan Williams Dragon Boat Races from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. on May 12, 2018 will be a safety concern for all navigable waters of the Wolf River Chute in the vicinity of the Mud Island River Park. This rule is necessary 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 7 a.m. through 4 p.m. on May 12, 2017 for all navigable waters of the Wolf River Chute from the Mud Island River Park Monorail Bridge at 35°08.9″ N, 090°03.4″ W, south to the mouth of the Chute at 35°08.5″ N, 090°08.5″ W, in Memphis, TN. The duration of the regulated area 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 shall transit the regulated area unless authorized by the COTP or a designated representative. A designated representative may be a Patrol Commander (PATCOM). The PATCOM may be aboard either a Coast Guard or Coast Guard Auxiliary vessel. The PATCOM may be contacted on Channel 16 VHF-FM (156.8 MHz) by the call sign “PATCOM”.

    All persons and vessels not registered with the event sponsor as participants or official patrol vessels are considered spectators. The “official patrol vessels” consist of any Coast Guard, state, or local law enforcement and sponsor provided vessels assigned or approved by the COTP to patrol the regulated area.

    Spectator vessels desiring to transit the regulated area may do so only with prior approval of the COTP or a designated representative and when so directed by that officer will be operated at a minimum safe navigation speed in a manner that will not endanger participants in the regulated area or any other vessels. No spectator vessel shall anchor, block, loiter, or impede the through transit of participants or official patrol vessels in the regulated area during the effective dates and times, unless cleared for entry by or through an official patrol vessel. Any spectator vessel may anchor outside the regulated area, but may not anchor in, block, or loiter in a navigable channel. Spectator vessels may be moored to a waterfront facility within the regulated area in such a way that they shall not interfere with the progress of the event. Such mooring must be complete at least 30 minutes prior to the establishment of the regulated area and remain moored through the duration of the event.

    Persons or vessels seeking to enter into or transit through the regulated area must request permission from the COTP or a designated representative. They may be contacted on VHF-FM channels 16 or by telephone at 1-866-777-2784. If permission is granted, all persons and vessels must comply with the instructions of the COTP or designated representative.

    The COTP or a designated representative may forbid and control the movement of all vessels in the regulated area. When hailed or signaled by an official patrol vessel, a vessel shall come to an immediate stop and comply with the directions given. Failure to do so may result in expulsion from the area, citation for failure to comply, or both.

    The COTP or a designated representative may terminate the event or the operation of any vessel at any time it is deemed necessary for the protection of life or property. The COTP or a designated representative will terminate enforcement of the regulated area at the conclusion of the event.

    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. This special local regulation will restrict vessel traffic for nine hours on a less than half-mile stretch of the Wolf River Chute for one day. Moreover, the Coast Guard will issue Broadcast Notice to Mariners (BNMs) via VHF-FM marine channel 16 about the regulated area, and the rule allows vessels to seek permission to enter the regulated area.

    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 regulated area 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 expenditure, we do discuss the effects of this rule elsewhere in this preamble.

    F. Environment

    We have analyzed this rule under Department of Homeland Security Management Directive 023-01 and Commandant Instruction M16475.lD, which guide the Coast Guard in complying with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4321-4370f), and have determined that this action is one of a category of actions that do not individually or cumulatively have a significant effect on the human environment. This rule involves the establishment of a special local regulation lasting nine hours for an event spanning 860 yards of the Wolf River Chute in the vicinity of the Mud Island River Park in Memphis, TN. It is categorically excluded from further review under paragraphs L61 of Appendix A, Table 1 of DHS Instruction Manual 023-01-001-01, Rev. 01. A Record of Environmental Consideration 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 § 100.35T08-0313 to read as follows:
    § 100.35T08-0313 Special Local Regulation; Wolf River Chute, Memphis, TN.

    (a) Location. (1) The following area is a special local regulation: All navigable waters of the Wolf River Chute forming the mouth of the Chute, from the Mud Island River Park Monorail bridge at 35°08.9″ N, 090°03.4″ W, south to the mouth of the Chute at 35°08.5″ N, 090°08.5″ W.

    (b) Regulations. (1) In accordance with the general regulations in § 100.801 of this part, no vessel or person shall enter the regulated area unless authorized by the Captain of the Port Sector Lower Mississippi River (COTP) or a designated representative. A designated representative may be a Patrol Commander (PATCOM). The PATCOM may be aboard either a Coast Guard or Coast Guard Auxiliary vessel. The PATCOM may be contacted on Channel 16 VHF-FM (156.8 MHz) by the call sign “PATCOM”.

    (2) All persons and vessels not registered with the event sponsor as participants or official patrol vessels are considered spectators. The “official patrol vessels” consist of any Coast Guard, state, or local law enforcement and sponsor provided vessels assigned or approved by the COTP to patrol the regulated area.

    (3) Spectator vessels desiring to transit the regulated area may do so only with prior approval of the COTP or a designated representative and when so directed by that officer will be operated at a minimum safe navigation speed in a manner that will not endanger participants in the regulated area or any other vessels.

    (4) No spectator vessel shall anchor, block, loiter, or impede the through transit of participants or official patrol vessels in the regulated area during the effective dates and times, unless cleared for entry by or through an official patrol vessel.

    (5) Any spectator vessel may anchor outside the regulated area, but may not anchor in, block, or loiter in a navigable channel. Spectator vessels may be moored to a waterfront facility within the regulated area in such a way that they shall not interfere with the progress of the event. Such mooring must be complete at least 30 minutes prior to the establishment of the regulated area and remain moored through the duration of the event.

    (6) Persons or vessels seeking to enter into or transit through the regulated area must request permission from the COTP or a designated representative. They may be contacted on VHF-FM channels 16 or by telephone at 1-866-777-2784.

    (7) If permission is granted, all persons and vessels must comply with the instructions of the COTP or designated representative.

    (8) The COTP or a designated representative may forbid and control the movement of all vessels in the regulated area. When hailed or signaled by an official patrol vessel, a vessel shall come to an immediate stop and comply with the directions given. Failure to do so may result in expulsion from the area, citation for failure to comply, or both.

    (9) The COTP or a designated representative may terminate the event or the operation of any vessel at any time it is deemed necessary for the protection of life or property.

    (10) The COTP or a designated representative will terminate enforcement of the regulated area at the conclusion of the event.

    (c) Effective period. This section is effective from 7 a.m. until 4 p.m. on May 12, 2018.

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

    Dated: April 23, 2018. R. Tamez, Captain, U.S. Coast Guard, Captain of the Port Sector Lower Mississippi River.
    [FR Doc. 2018-09908 Filed 5-8-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9110-04-P
    ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY 40 CFR Part 52 [EPA-R02-OAR-2017-0101; FRL-9977-61—Region 2] Approval and Promulgation of Implementation Plans; New Jersey; Motor Vehicle Enhanced Inspection and Maintenance Program AGENCY:

    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

    ACTION:

    Final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is approving a request from New Jersey to revise its State Implementation Plan (SIP) to incorporate revisions to the motor vehicle enhanced inspection and maintenance (I/M) program. New Jersey has made several amendments to its I/M program and has requested that the SIP be revised to include these changes. EPA is approving New Jersey's amendments to its I/M program to discontinue idle tests on model years 1995 and older light duty gasoline vehicles, idle tests on heavy-duty gasoline vehicles and gas cap leak testing. In addition, heavy-duty gasoline vehicles equipped with on-board diagnostics (OBD) will be subject to OBD testing with this revision. The intended effect of this action is to maintain consistency between the State-adopted rules and the federally approved SIP.

    DATES:

    This rule is effective on June 8, 2018.

    ADDRESSES:

    The EPA has established a docket for this action under Docket ID No. EPA-R02-OAR-2017-0101. All documents in the docket are listed on the www.regulations.gov website. Although listed in the index, some information is not publicly available, e.g., confidential business information 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 www.regulations.gov, or please contact the person identified in the For Further Information Contact section for additional availability information.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Reema Loutan, Air Programs Branch, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 290 Broadway, 25th Floor, New York, New York 10007, at (212) 637-3760, or by email at [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. What action is the EPA taking today? II. What was submitted by the NJDEP and how did the EPA respond? III. What comments were received in response to the EPA's proposed action? IV. What is the EPA's conclusion? V. Incorporation by Reference VI. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews I. What action is the EPA taking today?

    The EPA is approving a request from New Jersey to revise its SIP to incorporate revisions to the enhanced inspection and maintenance (I/M) program.

    II. What was submitted by the NJDEP and how did the EPA respond?

    On September 16, 2016, New Jersey submitted to the EPA revisions to the New Jersey SIP pertaining to New Jersey's motor vehicle enhanced I/M program. On October 6, 2017 (82 FR 46742), the EPA published a notice of proposed rulemaking to approve the revisions to the SIP for New Jersey's I/M program. The revisions submitted by New Jersey include:

    • Discontinuing the two-speed idle tests on model year 1981-1995 light duty gasoline vehicles, idle tests on pre-1981 model year light duty gasoline vehicles, and idle tests on heavy-duty gasoline vehicles;

    • Discontinuing the smoke opacity test for diesel-powered vehicles equipped with an on-board diagnostic (OBD) system;

    • Discontinuing the rolling acceleration smoke opacity test and the power brake smoke opacity test for heavy-duty diesel motor vehicles;

    • Replacing the fuel cap leak test or gas cap test for gasoline-fueled vehicles with a visual gas cap check to ensure the gas cap is present;

    • Requiring an OBD test for every vehicle subject to inspection that is required by the EPA to be equipped with an OBD system;

    • Requiring inspections for commercial vehicles;

    • Requiring that re-inspections of all vehicles be performed at New Jersey's decentralized I/M facilities;

    • Adding procedures for the diesel exhaust after-treatment checks; and

    • Authorizing inspectors of both gasoline and diesel vehicles to fail a vehicle if it is determined that there has been tampering with the vehicle's emission controls.

    The EPA's rationale for the proposed approval of the SIP revision was presented in the October 6, 2017 proposal, referenced above, and will not be restated here.

    III. What comments were received in response to the EPA's proposed action?

    The proposed action provided a 30-day public comment period. During this period, two comments were received. One comment discussed greenhouse gas concerns and is not relevant to the content of the I/M SIP revision submitted by New Jersey. The second comment and EPA's response is discussed below.

    Comment #2: An anonymous commenter asked “Why would we not test and control idling emissions? What is to be gained by not ensuring that this doesn't allow harmful toxins and particulate matter into the air? Do you want your child on line for the school bus that is idling and spewing?”

    Response: Under this SIP revision, New Jersey's revised SIP will expand inspection test requirements to all vehicles with OBD systems that are covered by New Jersey I/M testing program. Light duty gasoline vehicles from model year 1996 and later, and heavy-duty engines and vehicles between 8,500 and 14,000 pounds gross vehicle weight rating from 2008 and later are all required by EPA regulations to have OBD systems.

    The OBD system processes readings from sensors in the engine and along the exhaust system to monitor and record indicators of engine performance, performance of the fuel delivery system, and functioning of the emission control system. The OBD system thus monitors for nearly all potential emission control component malfunctions that may cause excess vehicle emissions, and an OBD inspection test provides technicians with timely and accurate emissions data and flags malfunctions early, which helps vehicle owners better maintain their vehicles. Thus, OBD inspection tests play a key role in helping states meet national air quality standards, and offers significant benefits to state and local agencies working to improve air quality through vehicle inspection and maintenance programs.

    New Jersey's SIP revision does eliminate tailpipe idle tests for model year 1995 and earlier light duty vehicles and all heavy-duty gasoline vehicles. However, the number of vehicles that will no longer require idle testing and that also do not have OBD systems is a small proportion of vehicles in New Jersey, and is reducing in volume each year. In 2006, pre-1996 model year vehicles subject to inspection under the existing rules represented 30% of initial inspections, whereas those vehicles represented only 3% of initial inspections in 2016.

    The commenter also expressed concern regarding school buses. All school buses in New Jersey undergo an annual emissions test, either an OBD test for gasoline vehicles or smoke opacity for the larger diesel vehicles. Finally, New Jersey's motor vehicle idling laws regarding driving behavior remain in effect and are unaffected by this rulemaking.

    IV. What is the EPA's conclusion?

    The EPA is approving New Jersey's revised I/M program discussed in the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking titled “Approval and Promulgation of Implementation Plans; New Jersey; Motor Vehicle Enhanced Inspection and Maintenance Program” (82 FR 46742). The EPA is approving New Jersey's request to eliminate exhaust emission tests or tailpipe testing for all gasoline-powered motor vehicles and require OBD testing for all vehicles, including heavy-duty gasoline vehicles, that are subject to inspection and required by the EPA to be equipped with an OBD system. The EPA is also approving New Jersey's revised procedures for diesel exhaust after-treatment checks, standards for fuel leak checks, and implementation of a visual gas cap check to ensure that the gas cap is present on gasoline-powered vehicles (as a replacement for the fuel cap leak test). For heavy-duty diesel-powered vehicles, the EPA is approving New Jersey's repeal of the rolling acceleration smoke opacity test and the power brake smoke opacity test. The State demonstrated that neither the elimination of the tailpipe tests nor the other amendments made under this SIP revision will result in an adverse impact to air quality. Please refer to the October 6, 2017 proposed rulemaking (82 FR 46742) for further details on all approved measures. The EPA's authority to approve New Jersey's enhanced I/M program is set forth at sections 110 and 182 of the Clean Air Act.

    V. 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 revisions to portions of Title 7, Chapter 27: Subchapters 14 and 15; Chapter 27A: Subchapter 3; Chapter 27B: Subchapters 4 and 5; and Title 13, Chapter 20: Subchapter 7, Subchapter 26, Subchapter 32, Subchapter 33, Subchapter 43 and Subchapter 44 of the New Jersey Administrative Code that implement New Jersey's Enhanced I/M Program, as described in section II of this preamble.

    The EPA has made, and will continue to make, these materials generally available through www.regulations.gov and at the EPA Region 2 Office (please contact the person identified in the For Further Information Contact section of this preamble for more information). These materials have been approved by the EPA for inclusion in the State implementation plan, have been incorporated by reference by the EPA into that plan, are fully federally enforceable under sections 110 and 113 of the CAA as of the effective date of the final rulemaking of the EPA's approval, and will be incorporated by reference by the Director of the Federal Register in the next update to the SIP compilation.1

    1 62 FR 27968 (May 22, 1997).

    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, 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);

    • 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, 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 July 9, 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, Incorporation by reference, Nitrogen dioxide, Intergovernmental relations, Lead, Ozone, Particulate matter, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Sulfur oxides, Volatile organic compounds.

    Authority:

    42 U.S.C. 7401 et seq.

    Dated: April 19, 2018. Peter D. Lopez, Regional Administrator, Region 2.

    Part 52 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 FF—New Jersey 2. In § 52.1570, the table in paragraph (c) is amended by: a. Removing the entry “Title 7, Chapter 27, Subchapter 14, Sections 14.2(old)”. b. Revising the entries “Title 7, Chapter 27, Subchapter 14, Section 14.1”, “Title 7, Chapter 27, Subchapter 14, Section 14.2”, and “Title 7, Chapter 27, Subchapter 14, Section 14.3”. c. Adding the entries “Title 7, Chapter 27, Subchapter 14, Section 14.4”, “Title 7, Chapter 27, Subchapter 14, Section 14.5”, “Title 7, Chapter 27, Subchapter 14, Section 14.6”, “Title 7, Chapter 27, Subchapter 14, Section 14.7”, “Title 7, Chapter 27, Subchapter 14, Section 14.10”, and “Title 7, Chapter 27, Subchapter 14, Appendix” in numerical order. d. Revising the entry “Title 7, Chapter 27, Subchapter 15”. e. Adding the entry “Title 7, Chapter 27A, Subchapter 3, Section 3.10” after the entry “Title 7, Chapter 27, Subchapter 34”. f. Adding entries “Title 7, Chapter 27B, Subchapter 4, Section 4.1”, “Title 7, Chapter 27B, Subchapter 4, Section 4.2”, “Title 7, Chapter 27B, Subchapter 4, Section 4.3”, “Title 7, Chapter 27B, Subchapter 4, Section 4.6”, “Title 7, Chapter 27B, Subchapter 4, Section 4.7”, and “Title 7, Chapter 27B, Subchapter 4, Section 4.8” in numerical order after the entry “Title 7, Chapter 27B, Subchapter 3”. g. Revising the entry “Title 7, Chapter 27B, Subchapter 5”. h. Removing the entry “Title 13, Chapter 20, Subchapter 7, Sections: 7.1, 7.2, 7.3, 7.4, 7.5, and 7.6”. i. Adding the entries “Title 13, Chapter 20, Subchapter 7.1”, “Title 13, Chapter 20, Subchapter 7.2”, “Title 13, Chapter 20, Subchapter 7.3”, “Title 13, Chapter 20, Subchapter 7.4”, “Title 13, Chapter 20, Subchapter 7.5”, and “Title 13, Chapter 20, Subchapter 7.6” in numerical order after the entry “Title 7, Chapter 27B, Subchapter 5”. j. Removing the entry “Title 13, Chapter 20, Subchapter 26, Sections 26.2 and 26.16”. k. Adding the entries “Title 13, Chapter 20, Subchapter 26, Section 26.2”, “Title 13, Chapter 20, Subchapter 26, Section 26.11”, “Title 13, Chapter 20, Subchapter 26, Section 26.12”, “Title 13, Chapter 20, Subchapter 26, Section 26.16”, and “Title 13, Chapter 20, Subchapter 26, Section 26.17” in numerical order after the entry “Title 13, Chapter 20, Subchapter 24, Section 20”. l. Revising the entries “Title 13, Chapter 20, Subchapter 32”, “Title 13, Chapter 20, Subchapter 33”, “Title 13, Chapter 20, Subchapter 43”, and “Title 13, Chapter 20, Subchapter 44”.

    The revisions and additions read as follows:

    § 52.1570 Identification of plan.

    (c) * * *

    EPA-Approved New Jersey State Regulations State citation Title/subject State effective
  • date
  • EPA approval
  • date
  • Comments
    *         *         *         *         *         *         * Title 7, Chapter 27, Subchapter 14, Section 14.1 Control and Prohibition of Air Pollution from Diesel-Powered Motor Vehicles/Definitions October 3, 2016 May 9, 2018, EPA approval finalized at [insert Federal Register citation] Title 7, Chapter 27, Subchapter 14, Section 14.2 Control and Prohibition of Air Pollution from Diesel-Powered Motor Vehicles/Applicability October 3, 2016 May 9, 2018, EPA approval finalized at [insert Federal Register citation] Title 7, Chapter 27, Subchapter 14, Section 14.3 Control and Prohibition of Air Pollution from Diesel-Powered Motor Vehicles/General prohibitions October 3, 2016 May 9, 2018, EPA approval finalized at [insert Federal Register citation] Title 7, Chapter 27, Subchapter 14, Section 14.4 Control and Prohibition of Air Pollution from Diesel-Powered Motor Vehicles/General public highway standards October 3, 2016 May 9, 2018, EPA approval finalized at [insert Federal Register citation] Title 7, Chapter 27, Subchapter 14, Section 14.5 Control and Prohibition of Air Pollution from Diesel-Powered Motor Vehicles/Motor vehicle inspections October 3, 2016 May 9, 2018, EPA approval finalized at [insert Federal Register citation] Title 7, Chapter 27, Subchapter 14, Section 14.6 Control and Prohibition of Air Pollution from Diesel-Powered Motor Vehicles/Motor vehicle standards October 3, 2016 May 9, 2018, EPA approval finalized at [insert Federal Register citation] Title 7, Chapter 27, Subchapter 14, Section 14.7 Control and Prohibition of Air Pollution from Diesel-Powered Motor Vehicles/Licensed emissions inspectors October 3, 2016 May 9, 2018, EPA approval finalized at [insert Federal Register citation] Title 7, Chapter 27, Subchapter 14, Section 14.10 Control and Prohibition of Air Pollution from Diesel-Powered Motor Vehicles/Penalties October 3, 2016 May 9, 2018, EPA approval finalized at [insert Federal Register citation] Title 7, Chapter 27, Subchapter 14, Appendix Control and Prohibition of Air Pollution from Diesel-Powered Motor Vehicles/Appendix October 3, 2016 May 9, 2018, EPA approval finalized at [insert Federal Register citation] Title 7, Chapter 27, Subchapter 15 Control and Prohibition of Air Pollution from Gasoline-Fueled Motor Vehicles/Definition October 3, 2016 May 9, 2018, EPA approval finalized at [insert Federal Register citation] *         *         *         *         *         *         * Title 7, Chapter 27A, Subchapter 3, Section 3.10 Civil Administrative Penalties and Requests for Adjudicatory Hearings October 3, 2016 May 9, 2018, EPA approval finalized at [insert Federal Register citation] *         *         *         *         *         *         * Title 7, Chapter 27B, Subchapter 4, Section 4.1 Air Test Method 4: Testing Procedures for Diesel-Powered Motor Vehicles October 3, 2016 May 9, 2018, EPA approval finalized at [insert Federal Register citation] Title 7, Chapter 27B, Subchapter 4, Section 4.2 Air Test Method 4: Testing Procedures for Diesel-Powered Motor Vehicles October 3, 2016 May 9, 2018, EPA approval finalized at [insert Federal Register citation] Title 7, Chapter 27B, Subchapter 4, Section 4.3 Air Test Method 4: Testing Procedures for Diesel-Powered Motor Vehicles October 3, 2016 May 9, 2018, EPA approval finalized at [insert Federal Register citation] Title 7, Chapter 27B, Subchapter 4, Section 4.6 Air Test Method 4: Testing Procedures for Diesel-Powered Motor Vehicles October 3, 2016 May 9, 2018, EPA approval finalized at [insert Federal Register citation] Title 7, Chapter 27B, Subchapter 4, Section 4.7 Air Test Method 4: Testing Procedures for Diesel-Powered Motor Vehicles October 3, 2016 May 9, 2018, EPA approval finalized at [insert Federal Register citation] Title 7, Chapter 27B, Subchapter 4, Section 4.8 Air Test Method 4: Testing Procedures for Diesel-Powered Motor Vehicles October 3, 2016 May 9, 2018, EPA approval finalized at [insert Federal Register citation] Title 7, Chapter 27B, Subchapter 5 Air Test Method 5: Testing Procedures for Gasoline-Fueled Motor Vehicles October 3, 2016 May 9, 2018, EPA approval finalized at [insert Federal Register citation] Title 13, Chapter 20, Subchapter 7.1 Vehicle Inspections April 26, 2016 May 9, 2018, EPA approval finalized at [insert Federal Register citation] Title 13, Chapter 20, Subchapter 7.2 Vehicle Inspections April 26, 2016 May 9, 2018, EPA approval finalized at [insert Federal Register citation] Title 13, Chapter 20, Subchapter 7.3 Vehicle Inspections April 26, 2016 May 9, 2018, EPA approval finalized at [insert Federal Register citation] Title 13, Chapter 20, Subchapter 7.4 Vehicle Inspections April 26, 2016 May 9, 2018, EPA approval finalized at [insert Federal Register citation] Title 13, Chapter 20, Subchapter 7.5 Vehicle Inspections April 26, 2016 May 9, 2018, EPA approval finalized at [insert Federal Register citation] Title 13, Chapter 20, Subchapter 7.6 Vehicle Inspections April 26, 2016 May 9, 2018, EPA approval finalized at [insert Federal Register citation] *         *         *         *         *         *         * Title 13, Chapter 20, Subchapter 26, Section 26.2 Compliance with Diesel Emission Standards and Equipment, Periodic Inspection Program for Diesel Emissions, and Self-Inspection of Certain Classes of Motor Vehicles April 26, 2016 May 9, 2018, EPA approval finalized at [insert Federal Register citation] Title 13, Chapter 20, Subchapter 26, Section 26.11 Compliance with Diesel Emission Standards and Equipment, Periodic Inspection Program for Diesel Emissions, and Self-Inspection of Certain Classes of Motor Vehicles April 26, 2016 May 9, 2018, EPA approval finalized at [insert Federal Register citation] Title 13, Chapter 20, Subchapter 26, Section 26.12 Compliance with Diesel Emission Standards and Equipment, Periodic Inspection Program for Diesel Emissions, and Self-Inspection of Certain Classes of Motor Vehicles April 26, 2016 May 9, 2018, EPA approval finalized at [insert Federal Register citation] Title 13, Chapter 20, Subchapter 26, Section 26.16 Compliance with Diesel Emission Standards and Equipment, Periodic Inspection Program for Diesel Emissions, and Self-Inspection of Certain Classes of Motor Vehicles April 26, 2016 May 9, 2018, EPA approval finalized at [insert Federal Register citation] Title 13, Chapter 20, Subchapter 26, Section 26.17 Compliance with Diesel Emission Standards and Equipment, Periodic Inspection Program for Diesel Emissions, and Self-Inspection of Certain Classes of Motor Vehicles April 26, 2016 May 9, 2018, EPA approval finalized at [insert Federal Register citation] *         *         *         *         *         *         * Title 13, Chapter 20, Subchapter 32 Inspection Standards and Test Procedures to be Used by Official Inspection Facilities April 26, 2016 May 9, 2018, EPA approval finalized at [insert Federal Register citation] Title 13, Chapter 20, Subchapter 33 Inspection Standards and Test Procedures to be Used by Licensed Private Inspection Facilities April 26, 2016 May 9, 2018, EPA approval finalized at [insert Federal Register citation] Title 13, Chapter 20, Subchapter 43 Enhanced Motor Vehicle Inspection and Maintenance Program April 26, 2016 May 9, 2018, EPA approval finalized at [insert Federal Register citation] Title 13, Chapter 20, Subchapter 44 Private Inspection Facility Licensing April 26, 2016 May 9, 2018, EPA approval finalized at [insert Federal Register citation] *         *         *         *         *         *         *
    [FR Doc. 2018-09788 Filed 5-8-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
    ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY 40 CFR Part 52 [EPA-R06-OAR-2017-0124; FRL-9976-95-Region 6] Approval and Promulgation of Implementation Plans; Texas; Revisions to Permitting and Public Participation for Air Quality Permit Applications AGENCY:

    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

    ACTION:

    Final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    Pursuant to the Federal Clean Air Act (CAA or the Act), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is approving four revisions to the Texas State Implementation Plan (SIP) submitted on December 12, 2016 and February 21, 2017, specific to air quality permitting and public notice for air quality permit applications.

    DATES:

    This rule is effective on June 8, 2018.

    ADDRESSES:

    The EPA has established a docket for this action under Docket ID No. EPA-R06-OAR-2017-0124. 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 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 either electronically through http://www.regulations.gov or in hard copy at the EPA Region 6, 1445 Ross Avenue, Suite 700, Dallas, Texas 75202-2733.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Adina Wiley, 214-665-2115, [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

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

    I. Background

    The background for this action is discussed in detail in our February 14, 2018, proposal (83 FR 6491). In that document we proposed to approve four revisions to the Texas SIP that revise the New Source Review (NSR) permitting and public notice requirements. We received one supportive comment from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. We also received six anonymous comments.1 These comments were not significant as they did not raise relevant points which, if adopted, would require a change in the agency's proposed rule. The EPA is finalizing as proposed; no changes have been made as a result of the comments received.

    1 The comments are available in the docket for this rulemaking.

    II. Final Action

    We are approving revisions to the Texas SIP that revise the NSR permitting and public notice requirements. We have determined that the revisions submitted on December 12, 2016 were developed in accordance with the CAA and EPA's regulations, policy and guidance for NSR permitting. Therefore, under section 110 of the Act, the EPA approves the following revisions to the Texas SIP:

    • Repeal of 30 TAC Section 116.120—Applicability—adopted on November 2, 2016, and submitted on December 12, 2016;

    • Repeal of 30 TAC Section 116.121—Exemptions—adopted on November 2, 2016, and submitted on December 12, 2016;

    • Repeal of 30 TAC Section 116.122—Contents of Compliance History—adopted on November 2, 2016, and submitted on December 12, 2016;

    • Repeal of 30 TAC Section 116.123—Effective Dates—adopted on November 2, 2016, and submitted on December 12, 2016;

    • Repeal of 30 TAC Section 116.125—Preservation of Existing Rights and Procedures—adopted on November 2, 2016, and submitted on December 12, 2016; and

    • Repeal of 30 TAC Section 116.126—Voidance of Permit Applications—adopted on November 2, 2016, and submitted on December 12, 2016.

    Additionally, we have determined that the revisions submitted on February 21, 2017, were developed in accordance with the CAA and EPA's regulations, policy and guidance for public notice for air permitting. Under section 110 of the Act, the EPA approves the following revisions into the Texas SIP:

    • Revisions to 30 TAC Section 39.405 adopted on December 9, 2015, and submitted on February 21, 2017;

    • Revisions to 30 TAC Section 39.411 adopted on December 7, 2016, and submitted on February 21, 2017;

    • Revisions to 30 TAC Section 39.419 adopted on December 9, 2015, and submitted on February 21, 2017;

    • Revisions to 30 TAC Section 39.603 adopted on December 7, 2016, and submitted on February 21, 2017;

    • Revisions to 30 TAC Section 55.152 adopted on December 7, 2016, and submitted on February 21, 2017;

    • Withdrawal of 30 TAC Section 55.156(e) from the Texas SIP as adopted on December 9, 2015, and submitted on February 21, 2017; and the

    • Repeal of 30 TAC Sections 116.130—116.134, 116.136, and 116.137 from the Texas SIP as adopted on November 2, 2016 and submitted on February 21, 2017.

    We also approve revisions to the amendatory language at 40 CFR 52.2270(c) to identify specific provisions adopted by the State not submitted for inclusion in the Texas SIP. We are revising the language at 40 CFR 52.2270(c) to clearly indicate that the Texas SIP does not include the revisions to 30 TAC Sections 39.405(h)(1)(A) and 39.602(c) as adopted on December 9, 2015, or 30 TAC Section 39.411(e)(10) as adopted on December 7, 2016.

    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 revisions to the Texas regulations as described in the Final Action section above. The EPA has made, and will continue to make, these materials generally available through www.regulations.gov and at the EPA Region 6 Office (please contact Adina Wiley for more information). Therefore, these materials have been approved by EPA for inclusion in the SIP, have been incorporated by reference by EPA into that plan, are fully federally enforceable under sections 110 and 113 of the CAA as of the effective date of the final rulemaking of EPA's approval, and will be incorporated by reference in the next update to the SIP compilation.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    The Congressional Review Act, 5 U.S.C. 801 et seq., as added by the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996, generally provides that before a rule may take effect, the agency promulgating the rule must submit a rule report, which includes a copy of the rule, to each House of the Congress and to the Comptroller General of the United States. 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 July 9, 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, Incorporation by reference, Nitrogen dioxide, Ozone, Particulate matter, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Sulfur oxides, Volatile organic compounds.

    Dated: April 27, 2018. Wren Stenger, Acting Regional Administrator, Region 6.

    40 CFR part 52 is amended as follows:

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

    42 U.S.C. 7401 et seq.

    Subpart SS—Texas 2. In § 52.2270(c), the table titled “EPA Approved Regulations in the Texas SIP” is amended by: a. Revising the entries for Sections 39.405, 39.411, 39.419, 39.602, 39.603, 55.152, and 55.156; b. Adding an entry for Section 116.127 in numerical order under the heading “Division 1—Permit Application”; c. Removing the heading “Division 2—Compliance History” and the entries that follow for Sections 116.120, 116.121, 116.122, 116.123, 116.125, 116.126, and 116.127; and d. Removing the heading “Division 3—Public Notice” and the entries that follow for Sections 116.130, 116.131, 116.132, 116.133, 116.134, 116.136, and 116.137.

    The revision and addition read as follows:

    § 52.2270 Identification of plan.

    (c) * * *

    EPA Approved Regulations in the Texas SIP State citation Title/subject State approval/
  • submittal date
  • EPA approval date Explanation
    *         *         *         *         *         *         * Chapter 39—Public Notice Subchapter H—Applicability and General Provisions *         *         *         *         *         *         * Section 39.405 General Notice Provisions 12/9/2015 5/9/2018, [Insert Federal Register citation] SIP includes 39.405(f)(3) and (g), (h)(2)-(h)(4), (h)(6), (h)(8)-(h)(11), (i) and (j) as adopted on 12/9/2015.
  • SIP includes 39.405(h)(1)9A) as adopted on 6/2/2010.
  • *         *         *         *         *         *         * Section 39.411 Text of Public Notice 12/7/2016 5/9/2018, [Insert Federal Register citation] SIP includes 39.411(a), 39.411(e)(1)-(4)(A)(i) and (iii), (4)(B), (e)(5) introductory paragraph, (e)(5)(A), (e)(5)(B), (e)(6)-(9), (e)(11)(A)(i), (e)(11)(A)(iii), (e)(11)(A)(iv), (e)(11)(B)-(F), (e)(13), (e)(15), (e)(16), (f)(1)-(8), (g), and (h) as adopted 12/7/2016.
  • SIP includes 39.411(e)(10) as adopted on 3/26/2014.
  • *         *         *         *         *         *         * Section 39.419 Notice of Application and Preliminary Determination 12/9/2015 5/9/2018, [Insert Federal Register citation] SIP includes 39.419(e) (e)(1) and (e)(2). *         *         *         *         *         *         * Subchapter K—Public Notice of Air Quality Applications *         *         *         *         *         *         * Section 39.602 Mailed Notice 6/2/2010 1/6/2014, 79 FR 551 SIP does not include 39.602(c) adopted on 12/9/2015. Section 39.603 Newspaper Notice 12/7/2016 5/9/2018, [Insert Federal Register citation] *         *         *         *         *         *         * Chapter 55—Requests for Reconsideration and Contested Case Hearings; Public Comment Subchapter E—Public Comment and Public Meetings *         *         *         *         *         *         * Section 55.152 Public Comment Period 12/7/2016 5/9/2018, [Insert Federal Register citation] SIP includes 55.152(a)(1), (a)(2), (a)(3), (a)(6), (a)(7), and (b). *         *         *         *         *         *         * Section 55.156 Public Comment Processing 12/9/2015 5/9/2018, [Insert Federal Register citation] SIP includes 55.156(a), (b), (c)(1), and (g). *         *         *         *         *         *         * Chapter 116 (Reg 6)—Control of Air Pollution by Permits for New Construction or Modification *         *         *         *         *         *         * Subchapter B—New Source Review Permits Division 1—Permit Application *         *         *         *         *         *         * Section 116.127 Actual to Projected Actual and Emission Exclusion Test for Emissions 2/9/2011 10/25/2012, 77 FR 65119 *         *         *         *         *         *         *
    [FR Doc. 2018-09755 Filed 5-8-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
    FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION 47 CFR Part 63 [WC Docket No. 17-84; FCC 17-154] Accelerating Wireline Broadband Deployment by Removing Barriers to Infrastructure Investment AGENCY:

    Federal Communications Commission.

    ACTION:

    Final rule; announcement of effective date.

    SUMMARY:

    In this document, the Commission announces that the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has approved, for a period of three years, the information collection associated with the Commission's discontinuance rules. This document is consistent with the Accelerating Wireline Broadband Deployment by Removing Barriers to Infrastructure Investment Report and Order, Declaratory Ruling, and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, FCC 17-154, which stated that the Commission would publish a document in the Federal Register announcing the effective date of those rules.

    DATES:

    The amendment to 47 CFR 63.60(d)-(i) and 63.71(k) published at 82 FR 61453, December 28, 2017, is effective on May 9, 2018.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Michele Levy Berlove, Attorney Advisor, Wireline Competition Bureau, at (202) 418-1477, or by email at [email protected] For additional information concerning the Paperwork Reduction Act information collection requirements, contact Nicole Ongele at (202) 418-2991 or [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    This document announces that, on May 1, 2018, OMB approved, for a period of three years, the information collection requirements relating to certain discontinuance rules contained in the Commission's Accelerating Wireline Broadband Deployment by Removing Barriers to Infrastructure Investment Report and Order, Declaratory Ruling, and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, FCC 17-154, published at 82 FR 61453, December 28, 2017, as specified above.

    The OMB Control Number is 3060-0149. The Commission publishes this document as an announcement of the effective date of the rules. If you have any comments on the burden estimates listed below, or how the Commission can improve the collections and reduce any burdens caused thereby, please contact Nicole Ongele, Federal Communications Commission, Room 1-A620, 445 12th Street SW, Washington, DC 20554. Please include the OMB Control Number, 3060-0149, in your correspondence. The Commission will also accept your comments via email at [email protected]

    To request materials in accessible formats for people with disabilities (Braille, large print, electronic files, audio format), send an email to [email protected] or call the Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau at (202) 418-0530 (voice), (202) 418-0432 (TTY).

    Synopsis

    As required by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3507), the FCC is notifying the public that it received final OMB approval on May 1, 2018, for the information collection requirements contained in the modifications to the Commission's rules in 47 CFR part 63. Under 5 CFR part 1320, an agency may not conduct or sponsor a collection of information unless it displays a current, valid OMB Control Number.

    No person shall be subject to any penalty for failing to comply with a collection of information subject to the Paperwork Reduction Act that does not display a current, valid OMB Control Number. The OMB Control Number is 3060-0149.

    The foregoing notice is required by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, Public Law 104-13, October 1, 1995, and 44 U.S.C. 3507.

    The total annual reporting burdens and costs for the respondents are as follows:

    OMB Control Number: 3060-0149.

    OMB Approval Date: May 1, 2018.

    OMB Expiration Date: May 31, 2021.

    Title: Part 63, Accelerating Wireline Broadband Deployment by Removing Barriers to Infrastructure Investment, WC Docket No. 17-84, FCC 17-154.

    Form Number: N/A.

    Respondents: Business or other for-profit entities.

    Number of Respondents and Responses: 58 respondents; 58 responses.

    Estimated Time per Response: 6 hours.

    Frequency of Response: One-time reporting requirement and third-party disclosure requirements.

    Obligation to Respond: Required to obtain or retain benefits. Statutory authority for this collection of information is contained in 47 U.S.C. Sections 214 and 402 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended.

    Total Annual Burden: 348 hours.

    Total Annual Cost: No cost(s).

    Privacy Act Impact Assessment: No impact(s).

    Nature and Extent of Confidentiality: The Commission is not requesting that the respondents submit confidential information to the FCC. Respondents may, however, request confidential treatment for information they believe to be confidential under 47 CFR 0.459 of the Commission's rules.

    Needs and Uses: The Commission is seeking Office of Management and Budget (OMB) approval for a revision to a currently approved collection. Section 214 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, requires that a carrier first obtain FCC authorization either to (1) construct, operate, or engage in transmission over a line of communications, or (2) discontinue, reduce or impair service over a line of communications. Part 63 of Title 47 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) implements Section 214. Part 63 also implements provisions of the Cable Communications Policy Act of 1984 pertaining to video which was approved under this OMB Control Number 3060-0149. In 2009, the Commission modified part 63 to extend to providers of interconnected Voice of internet Protocol (VoIP) service the discontinuance obligations that apply to domestic non-dominant telecommunications carriers under Section 214 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended. In 2014, the Commission adopted improved administrative filing procedures for domestic transfers of control, domestic discontinuances and notices of network changes, and among other adjustments, modified part 63 to require electronic filing for applications for authorization to discontinue, reduce, or impair service under section 214(a) of the Act. In July 2016, the Commission revised certain section 214(a) discontinuance procedures. OMB has approved the revised rules that: (1) Allow carriers to provide notice via email or other alternative methods to offer additional options to customers; (2) provide for streamlined treatment of applications to discontinue services for which the carrier has had no existing customers or reasonable requests for service during the previous 180 days; (3) make a competitive LEC's application for discontinuance deemed granted on the effective date of any copper retirement that made the discontinuance unavoidable; and (4) require that applicants must provide notice of discontinuance applications to federally-recognized Tribal Nations. OMB approval has not yet been sought for the additional section 214(a) discontinuance rules adopted in 2016 pertaining to streamlined treatment of discontinuance applications for legacy voice service as part of a technology transition or outreach requirements for such transitions, and approval of those rules and requirements will be addressed separately at a later date. In Accelerating Wireline Broadband Deployment by Removing Barriers to Infrastructure Investment, WC Docket No. 17-84, Report and Order, Declaratory Ruling, and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, FCC 17-154 (rel. Nov. 29, 2017) (Wireline Infrastructure Order), the Commission, among other things, reduced the public comment and auto-grant periods for applications that grandfather low speed legacy services and applications to discontinue previously grandfathered legacy data services. The Commission also held that if a carrier files an application to discontinue, reduce, or impair a legacy voice or data service below 1.544 Mbps for which it has had no customers and no request for service for at least a 30-day period immediately preceding submission of the application, that application will be automatically granted on the 15th day after its filing with the Commission, absent Commission notice to the contrary. The Commission will use the information collected under these revisions to 47 CFR part 63 to determine if affected respondents are in compliance with its rules and the requirements of section 214 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended.

    Federal Communications Commission. Marlene Dortch, Secretary, Office of the Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2018-09874 Filed 5-8-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6712-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 224 [Docket No. 160413329-8412-03] RIN 0648-XE571 Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants: Final Rule To List the Taiwanese Humpback Dolphin as Endangered Under the Endangered Species Act AGENCY:

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

    ACTION:

    Final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    In response to a petition by Animal Welfare Institute, Center for Biological Diversity, and WildEarth Guardians, we, NMFS, are issuing a final rule to list the Taiwanese humpback dolphin (Sousa chinensis taiwanensis) as endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). We have reviewed the status of the Taiwanese humpback dolphin, including efforts being made to protect the subspecies, and considered public comments submitted on the proposed listing rule as well as new information received since publication of the proposed rule. Based on all of this information, we have determined that the Taiwanese humpback dolphin warrants listing as an endangered subspecies. We will not designate critical habitat for this subspecies, because the geographical areas occupied by these dolphins are entirely outside U.S. jurisdiction, and we have not identified any unoccupied areas within U.S. jurisdiction that are currently essential to the conservation of the subspecies.

    DATES:

    This final rule is effective June 8, 2018.

    ADDRESSES:

    Endangered Species Conservation Division, NMFS Office of Protected Resources (F/PR3), 1315 East-West Highway, Silver Spring, MD 20910.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Chelsey Young, NMFS, Office of Protected Resources, [email protected], (301) 427-8491.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background

    On March 9, 2016, we received a petition from Animal Welfare Institute (AWI), Center for Biological Diversity (CBD), and WildEarth Guardians (Guardians) to list the Taiwanese humpback dolphin (S. chinensis taiwanensis) as threatened or endangered under the ESA throughout its range. We found that the petitioned action may be warranted for the species and, on May 12, 2016, we published a positive 90-day finding for the Taiwanese humpback dolphin (81 FR 29515), announcing that the petition presented substantial scientific or commercial information indicating the petitioned action may be warranted range wide, and explaining the basis for the finding. We also announced the initiation of a status review of the species, as required by section 4(b)(3)(a) of the ESA, and requested information to inform the agency's decision on whether the subspecies warranted listing as endangered or threatened under the ESA. On June 26, 2017, we published a proposed rule to list the Taiwanese humpback dolphin as endangered (82 FR 28802). We requested public comments on the information in the proposed rule and associated status review during a 60-day public comment period, which closed on August 25, 2017. This final rule provides a discussion of the public comments received in response to the proposed rule and our final determination on the petition to list the Taiwanese humpback dolphin under the ESA.

    Listing Determination Under the ESA

    We are responsible for determining whether species meet the definition of threatened or endangered under the ESA (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.). To make this determination, we first consider whether a group of organisms constitutes a “species” under the ESA, then whether the status of the species qualifies it for listing as either threatened or endangered. Section 3 of the ESA defines a “species” to include any subspecies of fish or wildlife or plants, and any distinct population segment of any species of vertebrate fish or wildlife, which interbreeds when mature. The Taiwanese humpback dolphin, S. chinensis taiwanensis, is a formally recognized subspecies (Wang et al., 2015; Committee on Taxonomy, 2016) and thus meets the ESA definition of a “species.”

    Section 3 of the ESA defines an endangered species as any species which is in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range and a threatened species as one which is likely to become an endangered species within the foreseeable future throughout all or a significant portion of its range. We interpret an “endangered species” to be one that is presently in danger of extinction. A “threatened species,” on the other hand, is not presently in danger of extinction, but is likely to become so in the foreseeable future (that is, at a later time). In other words, the primary statutory difference between a threatened species and endangered species is the timing of when a species may be in danger of extinction, either presently (endangered) or in the foreseeable future (threatened).

    Section 4(a)(1) of the ESA requires us to determine whether any species is endangered or threatened due to any one or a combination of the following five threat factors: The present or threatened destruction, modification, or curtailment of its habitat or range; overutilization for commercial, recreational, scientific, or educational purposes; disease or predation; the inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms; or other natural or manmade factors affecting its continued existence. We are also required to make listing determinations based solely on the best scientific and commercial data available, after conducting a review of the species' status and after taking into account efforts being made by any state or foreign nation to protect the species.

    In assessing the extinction risk of the Taiwanese humpback dolphin, we considered demographic risk factors, such as those developed by McElhany et al. (2000), to organize and evaluate the forms of risks. The approach of considering demographic risk factors to help frame the consideration of extinction risk has been used in many of our previous status reviews (see http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/species for links to these reviews). In this approach, the collective condition of individual populations is considered at the species level according to four demographic viability factors: Abundance and trends, population growth rate or productivity, spatial structure and connectivity, and genetic diversity. These viability factors reflect concepts that are well-founded in conservation biology and that individually and collectively provide strong indicators of extinction risk.

    Scientific conclusions about the overall risk of extinction faced by the Taiwanese humpback dolphin under present conditions and in the foreseeable future are based on our evaluation of the species' demographic risks and section 4(a)(1) threat factors. Our assessment of overall extinction risk considered the likelihood and contribution of each particular factor, synergies among contributing factors, and the cumulative impact of all demographic risks and threats on the species.

    Section 4(b)(1)(A) of the ESA requires the Secretary, when making a listing determination for a species, to take into consideration those efforts, if any, being made by any State or foreign nation, or any political subdivision of a State or foreign nation, to protect the species. Therefore, prior to making a listing determination, we also assess such protective efforts to determine if they are adequate to mitigate the existing threats.

    Summary of Comments

    In response to our request for comments on the proposed rule, we received a total of eight public comments from several non-governmental organizations as well as individual members of the public. All comments were supportive of the proposed listing of the Taiwanese humpback dolphin as endangered and the large majority provided no new or substantive data or information relevant to the listing of Taiwanese humpback dolphin that was not already considered in the status review report and proposed rule. We have considered all public comments, and we provide responses to all relevant issues raised by comments as summarized below.

    Comments on Proposed Listing Determination

    Comment 1: As mentioned previously, all public comments received were supportive of the proposed listing determination for the Taiwanese humpback dolphin as endangered. One commenter emphasized the detrimental ecosystem impacts that can result from species extinctions. The commenter also noted the importance of the United States to continue leading in the area of environmental preservation and expressed support for the proposed listing.

    Several commenters reiterated information and many of the points from the status review and proposed rule for the Taiwanese humpback dolphin, notably the subspecies' small and dwindling population, its restricted range in the shallow waters of the Taiwan Strait, the numerous anthropogenic threats the subspecies faces, and the need for more stringent regulations to protect the dolphin. The petitioners (AWI, CBD, and Guardians) also submitted a comment letter in support of our endangered listing determination for the Taiwanese humpback dolphin. The comment letter largely reiterated information from the status review and proposed rule and emphasized the severity of fisheries interactions, results of population viability models showing population declines, and the inadequacy of current laws to protect the dolphin. They also provided new scientific and commercial information regarding the emerging threat of acoustic disturbance to the subspecies (discussed below in Comment 2). The Marine Mammal Commission also submitted a letter of support regarding our determination that the Taiwanese humpback dolphin has a high risk of extinction throughout its range and warrants listing as an endangered subspecies.

    Response: We acknowledge the several public comments in support of our listing determination and the public interest in conserving the Taiwanese humpback dolphin.

    Comments on Threats to the Taiwanese Humpback Dolphin

    Comment 2: We received a comment letter from the petitioners (AWI, CBD, and Guardians) that provided some new scientific information related to the threat of underwater noise and acoustic disturbance to the Taiwanese humpback dolphin. Specifically, the commenters emphasized the emerging threat of pile-driving activities associated with the development and installation of offshore wind farms in close proximity to the dolphin's habitat. The commenters provided recent studies that evaluated the in-situ noise pressure levels from these types of activities (Chen et al., 2017a, 2017b) and referred to NMFS's technical guidance for assessing the effects of anthropogenic sound on marine mammal hearing to suggest that the development of offshore wind farms is a significant threat to the Taiwanese humpback dolphin. We received a letter from another group of commenters expressing similar concerns regarding the wind farm development on the western coast of Taiwan. The commenters stated that “offshore wind farms and their construction will exacerbate noise pollution that can be traumatically harmful to the dolphins.”

    Response: We agree with commenters that the development of offshore wind farms on the western coast of Taiwan is concerning for the Taiwanese humpback dolphin, particularly given the limited amount of suitable habitat available to the subspecies. We incorporated this new information into our status review report, and we agree that this new information further supports our endangered listing determination for the dolphin. As described in the status review report and proposed rule, acoustic disturbance is likely a threat that compounds other threats to the population by decreasing foraging success, increasing stress, and decreasing immune health. As such, we ranked this threat as “moderate,” meaning that it is likely that this particular threat contributes significantly to the subspecies' risk of extinction. We maintain our conclusion regarding this threat ranking for acoustic disturbance to the Taiwanese humpback dolphin. However, given the increasing development activities related to the installation of numerous wind turbines slated to occur within the dolphin's habitat in the next several years, we acknowledge that the threat of acoustic disturbance to the Taiwanese humpback dolphin population is likely to increase in the future.

    Summary of Changes From the Proposed Listing Rule

    We did not receive, nor did we find, data or references that presented substantial new information to change our proposed listing determination. We did, however, make some revisions to the status review report (Whittaker and Young 2018) to incorporate, as appropriate, relevant information that we received in response to our request for public comments or identified ourselves. Specifically, we updated the status review to include new information regarding the threat of acoustic disturbance to the Taiwanese humpback dolphin, particularly as it relates to the increase in underwater noise that is likely to occur from the construction of offshore wind farms within the subspecies' habitat.

    Status Review

    The status review for the Taiwanese humpback dolphin was completed by NMFS staff from the Office of Protected Resources. To complete the status review, we compiled the best available data and information on the subspecies' biology, ecology, life history, threats, and conservation status by examining the petition and cited references, and by conducting a comprehensive literature search and review. We also considered information submitted to us in response to our petition finding. The draft status review report was subjected to independent peer review as required by the Office of Management and Budget Final Information Quality Bulletin for Peer Review (M-05-03; December 16, 2004). The draft status review report was peer reviewed by three independent specialists selected from the academic and scientific community, with expertise in cetacean biology, conservation and management, and specific knowledge of the Taiwanese humpback dolphin. The peer reviewers were asked to evaluate the adequacy, appropriateness, and application of data used in the draft status review report as well as the findings made in the “Assessment of Extinction Risk” section of the report. All peer reviewer comments were addressed prior to finalizing the draft status review report.

    We subsequently reviewed the status review report, and its cited references, and we find the status review report, upon which the proposed and final rules are based, provides the best available scientific and commercial information on the Taiwanese humpback dolphin. The final status review report (cited as Whittaker and Young 2018) is available on our website (see ADDRESSES section).

    ESA Section 4(a)(1) Factors Affecting the Taiwanese Humpback Dolphin

    As stated previously and as discussed in the proposed rule (82 FR 28802; June 26, 2017), we considered whether any one or a combination of the five threat factors specified in section 4(a)(1) of the ESA is contributing to the extinction risk of the Taiwanese humpback dolphin. One commenter provided additional information related to threats, particularly underwater noise from coastal and energy development. The information provided was consistent with or reinforced information in the status review report and proposed rule, and thus, did not change our conclusions regarding any of the section 4(a)(1) factors or their interactions. Therefore, we incorporate and affirm herein all information, discussion, and conclusions regarding the factors affecting the Taiwanese humpback dolphin from the final status review report (Whittaker and Young 2018) and the proposed rule (82 FR 28802; June 26, 2017).

    Extinction Risk

    As discussed previously, the status review evaluated the demographic risks to the Taiwanese humpback dolphin according to four categories—abundance and trends, population growth/productivity, spatial structure/connectivity, and genetic diversity. As a concluding step, after considering all of the available information regarding demographic and other threats to the subspecies, we rated the subspecies' extinction risk according to a qualitative scale (high, moderate, and low risk). Although we did update our status review to incorporate the most recent threat information for the Taiwanese humpback dolphin, none of the comments or information we received on the proposed rule changed the outcome of our extinction risk evaluation for the subspecies. As such, our conclusions regarding extinction risk for the Taiwanese humpback dolphin remain the same. Therefore, we incorporate and affirm, herein, all information, discussion, and conclusions on the extinction risk of the Taiwanese humpback dolphin in the final status review report (Whittaker and Young 2018) and proposed rule (82 FR 28802; June 26, 2017).

    Protective Efforts

    In addition to regulatory measures (e.g., Taiwan's Wildlife Conservation Act and designation of Major Wildlife Habitat, etc.), we considered other efforts being made to protect the Taiwanese humpback dolphin. We considered whether such protective efforts altered the conclusions of the extinction risk analysis for the species; however, none of the information we received on the proposed rule affected our conclusions regarding conservation efforts to protect the dolphin. Therefore, we incorporate and affirm herein all information, discussion, and conclusions on the extinction risk of the Taiwanese humpback dolphin in the final status review report (Whittaker and Young 2018) and proposed rule (82 FR 28802; June 26, 2017).

    Final Listing Determination

    We summarize the factors supporting our final listing determination as follows: (1) The best available information indicates that the subspecies has a critically small population of less than 100 individuals, which is likely declining; (2) the Taiwanese humpback dolphin has a very restricted range, occurring only in the shallow waters off the western coast of Taiwan; (3) the subspecies possesses life history characteristics that increase its vulnerability to threats, including that it is long-lived and has a late age of maturity, slow population growth, and low rate of reproduction and fecundity; (4) the subspecies is confined to limited habitat in a heavily impacted area of coastline where ongoing habitat destruction (including coastal development, land reclamation, and fresh water diversion) contributes to a high risk of extinction; (5) the Taiwanese humpback dolphin is experiencing unsustainable rates of fisheries interactions, including mortality and major injuries due to bycatch and entanglement in fishing gear; and (6) existing regulatory mechanisms are inadequate for addressing the most important threats of habitat destruction and fisheries interactions. Based on the foregoing information, which is based on the best available scientific and commercial data, we find that the Taiwanese humpback dolphin meets the definition of an endangered species and list it as such.

    Effects of Listing

    Conservation measures provided for species listed as endangered or threatened under the ESA include the development and implementation of recovery plans (16 U.S.C. 1533(f)); designation of critical habitat, if prudent and determinable (16 U.S.C. 1533(a)(3)(A)); and a requirement that Federal agencies consult with NMFS under section 7 of the ESA to ensure their actions are not likely to jeopardize the species or result in adverse modification or destruction of designated critical habitat (16 U.S.C. 1536). For endangered species, protections also include prohibitions related to “take” and trade (16 U.S.C. 1538). Take is defined as to harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture, or collect, or to attempt to engage in any such conduct (16 U.S.C. 1532(19)). Recognition of the species' imperiled status through listing may also promote conservation actions by Federal and state agencies, foreign entities, private groups, and individuals.

    Activities That Would Constitute a Violation of Section 9 of the ESA

    On July 1, 1994, NMFS and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) published a policy (59 FR 34272) that requires us to identify, to the maximum extent practicable, at the time a species is listed, those activities that would or would not constitute a violation of section 9 of the ESA. The intent of this policy is to increase public awareness of the potential effects of species listings on proposed and ongoing activities.

    Because we are listing the Taiwanese humpback dolphin as endangered, all of the prohibitions of section 9(a)(1) of the ESA will apply to this subspecies. Section 9(a)(1) includes prohibitions against the import, export, use in foreign commerce, and “take” of the listed species. These prohibitions apply to all persons subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, including all persons in the United States or its territorial sea, and U.S. citizens on the high seas. Activities that could result in a violation of section 9 prohibitions for Taiwanese humpback dolphins include, but are not limited to, the following:

    (1) Delivering, receiving, carrying, transporting, or shipping in interstate or foreign commerce any Taiwanese humpback dolphin or any of its parts, in the course of a commercial activity;

    (2) Selling or offering for sale in interstate commerce any part of a Taiwanese humpback dolphin, except antique articles at least 100 years old; and

    (3) Importing or exporting Taiwanese humpback dolphins or any parts of these dolphins.

    Whether a violation results from a particular activity is entirely dependent upon the facts and circumstances of each incident. Further, an activity not listed here may in fact constitute a violation.

    Identification of Those Activities That Would Not Likely Constitute a Violation of Section 9 of the ESA

    Although the determination of whether any given activity constitutes a violation is fact dependent, we consider the following actions, depending on the circumstances, as being unlikely to violate the prohibitions in ESA section 9 with regard to Taiwanese humpback dolphins: (1) Take authorized by, and carried out in accordance with the terms and conditions of, an ESA section 10(a)(1)(A) permit issued by NMFS for purposes of scientific research or the enhancement of the propagation or survival of the species; and (2) continued possession of Taiwanese humpback dolphins or any parts that were in possession at the time of listing. Such parts may be non-commercially exported or imported; however, the importer or exporter must be able to provide evidence to show that the parts meet the criteria of ESA section 9(b)(1) (i.e., held in a controlled environment at the time of listing, in a non-commercial activity).

    Identifying Section 7 Consultation Requirements

    Section 7(a)(2) (16 U.S.C. 1536(a)(2)) of the ESA and joint NMFS/USFWS regulations require Federal agencies to consult with NMFS to ensure that activities they authorize, fund, or carry out are not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of listed species or destroy or adversely modify critical habitat. It is unlikely that the listing of the Taiwanese humpback dolphin under the ESA will increase the number of section 7 consultations, because this subspecies occurs outside of the United States and is unlikely to be affected by U.S. Federal actions.

    Critical Habitat

    Critical habitat is defined in section 3 of the ESA (16 U.S.C. 1532(5)) as: (1) The specific areas within the geographical area occupied by a species, at the time it is listed in accordance with the ESA, on which are found those physical or biological features (a) essential to the conservation of the species and (b) that may require special management considerations or protection; and (2) specific areas outside the geographical area occupied by a species at the time it is listed if such areas are determined to be essential for the conservation of the species. Section 4(a)(3)(A) of the ESA (16 U.S.C. 1533(a)(3)(A)) requires that, to the extent prudent and determinable, critical habitat be designated concurrently with the listing of a species. However, critical habitat cannot be designated in foreign countries or other areas outside U.S. jurisdiction (50 CFR 424.12(g)). The Taiwanese humpback dolphin is endemic to Taiwan and does not occur within areas under U.S. jurisdiction. There is no basis to conclude that any unoccupied areas under U.S. jurisdiction are essential for the conservation of the subspecies. Therefore, we do not intend to propose any critical habitat designations for this subspecies.

    Peer Review

    In December 2004, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issued a Final Information Quality Bulletin for Peer Review establishing a minimum peer review standard. We solicited peer review comments on the draft status review report from three scientists with expertise on cetaceans in general and specific knowledge regarding the Taiwanese humpback dolphin in particular. We received and reviewed comments from these scientists, and, prior to publication of the proposed rule, their comments were incorporated into the draft status review report (Whittaker and Young 2017), which was then made available for public comment. Peer reviewer comments on the status review are available at http://www.cio.noaa.gov/services_programs/prplans/ID370.html.

    References

    A complete list of the references used is available upon request (see ADDRESSES).

    Classification National Environmental Policy Act

    Section 4(b)(1)(A) of the ESA restricts the information that may be considered when assessing species for listing and sets the basis upon which listing determinations must be made. Based on the requirements in section 4(b)(1)(A) of the ESA and the opinion in Pacific Legal Foundation v. Andrus, 657 F.2d 829 (6th Cir. 1981), we have concluded that ESA listing actions are not subject to the environmental assessment requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).

    Executive Order 12866, Regulatory Flexibility Act

    As noted in the Conference Report on the 1982 amendments to the ESA, economic impacts cannot be considered when assessing the status of a species. Therefore, the economic analysis requirements of the Regulatory Flexibility Act are not applicable to the listing process.

    In addition, this final rule is exempt from review under Executive Order 12866.

    Paperwork Reduction Act

    This final rule does not contain a collection-of-information requirement for the purposes of the Paperwork Reduction Act.

    Executive Order 13132, Federalism

    In accordance with E.O. 13132, we determined that this final rule does not have significant federalism effects and that a federalism assessment is not required.

    List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 224

    Endangered and threatened species, Exports, Transportation.

    Dated: May 4, 2018. Samuel D. Rauch, III, Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine Fisheries Service.

    For the reasons set out in the preamble, 50 CFR part 224 is amended as follows:

    PART 224—ENDANGERED MARINE AND ANADROMOUS SPECIES 1. The authority citation for part 224 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    16 U.S.C. 1531-1543 and 16 U.S.C 1361 et seq.

    2. In § 224.101, amend the table in paragraph (h) by adding an entry for “Dolphin, Taiwanese humpback” under “Marine Mammals” in alphabetical order, by common name, to read as follows:
    § 224.101 Enumeration of endangered marine and anadromous species.

    (h) * * *

    Species 1 Common
  • name
  • Scientific
  • name
  • Description of
  • listed entity
  • Citation(s) for listing
  • determination(s)
  • Critical
  • habitat
  • ESA rules
    *         *         *         *         *         *         * Marine Mammals *         *         *         *         *         *         * Dolphin, Taiwanese humpback Sousa chinensis taiwanensis Entire subspecies [Insert Federal Register page where the document begins], May 9, 2018 NA NA *         *         *         *         *         *         * 1 Species includes taxonomic species, subspecies, distinct population segments (DPSs) (for a policy statement, see 61 FR 4722, February 7, 1996), and evolutionarily significant units (ESUs) (for a policy statement, see 56 FR 58612, November 20, 1991).
    [FR Doc. 2018-09890 Filed 5-8-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-22-P
    83 90 Wednesday, May 9, 2018 Proposed Rules DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Agricultural Marketing Service 7 CFR Part 945 [Doc. No. AMS-SC-17-0077; SC18-945-1 PR] Irish Potatoes Grown in Certain Designated Counties in Idaho, and Malheur County, Oregon; Modification of Handling Regulations AGENCY:

    Agricultural Marketing Service, USDA.

    ACTION:

    Proposed rule.

    SUMMARY:

    This proposed rule would implement a recommendation from the Idaho-Eastern Oregon Potato Committee (Committee) to revise the varietal classifications that determine the size requirements for Irish potatoes grown in certain designated counties of Idaho, and Malheur County, Oregon. As provided under section 8e of the Agricultural Marketing Agreement Act of 1937, the proposed modification would also apply to all imported long type Irish potatoes. This proposed rule would also make administrative revisions to the subpart headings to bring the language into conformance with the Office of Federal Register requirements.

    DATES:

    Comments must be received by July 9, 2018.

    ADDRESSES:

    Interested persons are invited to submit written comments concerning this proposed rule. Comments must be sent to the Docket Clerk, Marketing Order and Agreement Division, Specialty Crops Program, AMS, USDA, 1400 Independence Avenue SW, STOP 0237, Washington, DC 20250-0237; Fax: (202) 720-8938; or internet: http://www.regulations.gov. Comments should reference the document number and the date and page number of this issue of the Federal Register and will be available for public inspection in the Office of the Docket Clerk during regular business hours, or can be viewed at http://www.regulations.gov. All comments submitted in response to this proposed rule will be included in the record and will be made available to the public. Please be advised that the identity of the individuals or entities submitting the comments will be made public on the internet at the address provided above.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

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

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

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    This action, pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553, proposes an amendment to regulations issued to carry out a marketing order as defined in 7 CFR 900.2(j). This proposed rule is issued under Marketing Order No. 945 (7 CFR part 945), as amended, regulating the handling of Irish potatoes grown in certain designated counties in Idaho, and Malheur County, Oregon. Part 945 (referred to as the “Order”) is effective under the Agricultural Marketing Agreement Act of 1937, as amended (7 U.S.C. 601-674), hereinafter referred to as the “Act.” The Committee locally administers the Order and is comprised of potato producers and handlers operating within the production area.

    Section 8e of the Act provides that whenever certain specified commodities, including potatoes, are regulated under a Federal marketing order, imports of these commodities into the United States are prohibited unless they meet the same or comparable grade, size, quality, or maturity requirements as those in effect for the domestically produced commodities.

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

    This proposed rule has been reviewed under Executive Order 12988, Civil Justice Reform. This action is not intended to have retroactive effect.

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

    There are no administrative procedures which must be exhausted prior to any judicial challenge to the provisions of import regulations issued under section 8e of the Act.

    Under the terms of the Order, fresh market shipments of Idaho-Eastern Oregon potatoes are required to be inspected and are subject to minimum grade, size, quality, maturity, pack, and container requirements. This proposed rule would revise the varietal classifications that determine the size requirements for potatoes handled under the Order. As required under section 8e of the Act, the proposed revisions to the Order's varietal classifications would also be applied to imported long type potatoes.

    At its meeting on November 8, 2017, the Committee unanimously recommended revising the varietal classifications that determine the size requirements for U.S. No. 2 grade potatoes. Sections 945.51 and 945.52 provide authority for the establishment and modification of grade, size, quality, and maturity regulations applicable to the handling of potatoes.

    Section 945.341 establishes minimum grade, size, quality, maturity, pack, and container requirements for potatoes handled subject to the Order. The Order's handling regulations currently have two different size requirements for U.S. No. 2 grade potatoes. The requirements are applied based upon the varietal classification of the subject potato. Currently, the varietal classifications that determine which of the different size requirements are applicable are designated as “round varieties” in § 945.341(a)(2)(i), and “all other varieties” in § 945.341(a)(2)(ii).

    This proposed rule would remove the designation “round varieties” in § 945.341(a)(2)(i) to make the size requirements in that paragraph applicable to all U.S. No. 2 grade potatoes, unless otherwise specified. In addition, this proposed rule would change the designation for “all other varieties” in § 945.341(a)(2)(ii) to “Russet types,” maintaining the larger size requirements for “Russet types” only.

    Committee members reported that the Idaho-Eastern Oregon potato industry has been producing and shipping an increasing number of non-traditional potato varieties, such as oblong, fingerling, and banana potatoes. The current size requirements contained in the handling regulations do not adequately differentiate between the various types of potatoes to effectively regulate the unique varieties that are now being marketed from the production area. Without a clear distinction, there exists the potential to inhibit orderly marketing of such potatoes by requiring them to adhere to size requirements that were never intended to be applied to that type or variety. Designating potatoes as “round varieties” and “all other varieties” was appropriate when the regulations were initially established but potatoes from the production area are now segmented into two different market sectors, Russet type potatoes and all other non-Russet varieties. The characteristics of each of these market sectors continues to need different minimum size requirements. However, with the current size requirement classifications in the handling regulations, some varieties of potatoes are being required to meet size requirements that do not match their natural characteristics or their intended market outlet.

    For example, Russet varieties are primarily utilized as baked potatoes or are peeled and further prepared by the consumer as products such as french fries, potato salad, or mashed potatoes. The Committee intends for the size requirements for these potatoes to be greater than for other varieties of potatoes and those size requirements match the likely utilization of such potatoes. Non-Russet type potatoes are typically marketed fresh and are prepared and consumed whole. These types, while predominantly round varieties, include unique varieties that could not be described as “round” but are also not comparable to Russet types. Requiring non-Russet type potatoes to meet size requirements intended for potatoes used for baking or french fries puts those potatoes at a marketing disadvantage.

    The Committee believes that potato size is a significant consideration of potato buyers. Providing potato buyers with the sizes desired by their customers for the type of potato that is being marketed is important to promoting potato sales. The size requirements intended to facilitate orderly marketing should not unintentionally inhibit a market segment, even if that segment is a minor one. Modifying the size requirement classifications to meet the intent of the Committee would help facilitate the growth of the emerging market for unique potato varieties. This proposed change is expected to improve the marketing of Idaho-Eastern Oregon potatoes and enhance overall returns to handlers and producers.

    This proposed rule would relax the current handling regulations for non-round potatoes that are also not Russet type. Such potatoes would be subject to the smaller size requirements that are currently applied to round varieties. The Committee believes that, while these potatoes represent a small market segment relative to the total output from the production area, the market is expected to grow and the Order's handling regulations should be responsive to it.

    Section 8e mandates the regulation of certain imported commodities whenever those same commodities are regulated by a domestic marketing order. Irish potatoes are one of the commodities specifically covered by section 8e in the Act. In addition, section 8e stipulates that, whenever two or more such marketing orders regulating the same agricultural commodity produced in different areas are concurrently in effect, imports must comply with the provisions of the order which regulates the commodity produced in the area with which the imported commodity is in the “most direct competition.” 7 CFR 980.1(a)(2)(iii) contains the determination that imports of long type potatoes during each month of the year are in most direct competition with potatoes of the same type produced in the area covered by the Order.

    Minimum grade, size, quality, and maturity requirements for potatoes imported into the United States are currently in effect under § 980.1. Section 980.1(b)(3) stipulates that, through the entire year, the grade, size, quality, and maturity requirements of the Order applicable to potatoes of all long types shall be the respective grade, size, quality, and maturity requirements for imported potatoes of all long types. Therefore, this proposed action would relax the minimum size requirements for imports of non-round U.S. No. 2 grade long type potatoes, other than Russet types, accordingly.

    This rule would also allow potato importers to respond to the changing demands of domestic consumers. The domestic market's increasing preference for unique potato varieties applies to imported potatoes as well as to domestically produced potatoes. In addition, the higher prices that the unique potatoes are expected to command would also apply to imported product. Thus, importers are expected to benefit along with domestic producers and handlers by increased sales of U.S. No. 2 grade potatoes and increased total revenue.

    Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis

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

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

    There are approximately 32 handlers of Idaho-Eastern Oregon potatoes who are subject to regulation under the Order and about 450 potato producers in the regulated area. In addition, there are approximately 255 importers of all types of potatoes, many of which import long types, who are subject to regulation under the Act. Small agricultural service firms, which include potato handlers and importers, are defined by the Small Business Administration (SBA) as those having annual receipts of less than $7,500,000, and small agricultural producers are defined as those whose annual receipts are less than $750,000 (13 CFR 121.201).

    During the 2016-2017 fiscal period, the most recent full year of statistics available, 37,449,300 hundredweight of Idaho-Eastern Oregon potatoes were inspected under the Order and sold into the fresh market. Based on information provided by the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), the average producer price for the 2016 Idaho potato crop was $6.75 per hundredweight. Multiplying $6.75 by the shipment quantity of 37,449,300 hundredweight yields an annual crop revenue estimate of $252,782,775. The average annual fresh potato revenue for each of the 450 producers is therefore calculated to be $561,740 ($252,782,775 divided by 450), which is less than the SBA threshold of $750,000. Consequently, on average, most of the Idaho-Eastern Oregon potato producers may be classified as small entities.

    In addition, based on information reported by USDA's Market News Service (Market News), the average f.o.b. shipping point price for the 2016-2017 Idaho potato crop was $11.79 per hundredweight. Multiplying $11.79 by the shipment quantity of 37,449,300 hundredweight yields an annual crop revenue estimate of $441,527,247. The average annual fresh potato revenue for each of the 32 handlers is therefore calculated to be $13,797,726 ($441,527,247 divided by 32), which is above the SBA threshold of $7,500,000 for agricultural service firms. Therefore, most of the Idaho-Eastern Oregon potato handlers would be classified as large entities.

    Further, based on information from USDA's Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS), potato importers imported 11,157,190 hundredweight of potatoes into the U.S. in 2016 (the most recent full year that statistics are available). FAS also reported the total value of potato imports for 2016 to be $212,331,000. The average annual revenue of the estimated 255 potato importers is therefore calculated to be $832,670 ($212,331,000 divided by 255), which is significantly less than the SBA threshold of $7,500,000. Consequently, on average, most of the entities importing potatoes into the U.S. may be classified as small entities.

    This proposed rule would revise the varietal classifications that determine the size requirements for U.S. No. 2 grade potatoes handled under the Order. Specifically, this action would remove the designation “round varieties” in § 945.341(a)(2)(i) to make the size requirements in that paragraph applicable to all U.S. No. 2 grade potatoes, unless otherwise specified. In addition, this proposed rule would change the designation for “all other varieties” in § 945.341(a)(2)(ii) to “Russet types,” maintaining the larger size requirements that were previously applied to all non-round varieties, but would only apply them to “Russet types.”

    Pursuant to section 8(e) of the Act, this proposed revision to the Order's varietal classifications that determine the size requirements for U.S. No. 2 grade potatoes would also be applied to imported long type Irish potatoes.

    This proposed action was recommended by the Committee to ensure that the size profile of non-round, non-Russet type U.S. No. 2 grade potatoes would consistently be a size preferred by consumers. This proposed change is expected to improve the marketability of Idaho-Eastern Oregon potatoes and increase returns to handlers and producers. Authority for this proposed rule is provided in §§ 945.51 and 945.52 of the Order.

    At the November 8, 2017, meeting, the Committee discussed the impact of this change on handlers and producers. The proposed change to the varietal classifications that determine the size requirements is a relaxation in regulation. The proposed regulatory change is expected to have a positive, or neutral, impact on industry participants.

    The Committee relied on the opinions of producers and handlers familiar with the industry to draw its conclusions regarding the recommended handling regulation change. The Committee received anecdotal evidence from industry members at the November 8, 2017, meeting that there is some confusion in the industry with regards to which size requirements apply to which varieties of potatoes and that some varieties are being inspected and sized to requirements that were not intended by the Committee. The proposed change to the size requirements would clarify which size requirements are applicable to which potatoes.

    If implemented, this proposed change is expected to lead to increased revenue for handlers and producers. Currently, non-round potato varieties that are not Russet type are required to conform to the larger size requirements, even though the Committee does not believe that this meets its intent with regards to the handling regulation. Defining the distinct classifications would allow more of the non-round, non-Russet type potatoes to enter the market, thereby allowing the sale of potatoes that would have otherwise been restricted. The benefits derived from this proposed action are not expected to be disproportionately more or less for small handlers or producers than for larger entities.

    The Committee discussed alternatives to this proposed change. One consideration was making no change at all to the current regulation. Another alternative was to further differentiate between various varieties and types of potatoes in the handling regulations. There was some discussion of adding another classification. After consideration of all the alternatives, the Committee decided that the proposed changes would provide the greatest amount of benefit to the industry with the least amount of burden to producers and handlers.

    Further, the Committee's meeting was widely publicized throughout the potato industry, and all interested persons were invited to attend the meeting and participate in Committee deliberations. Like all Committee meetings, the November 8, 2017, meeting was a public meeting and all entities, both large and small, were able to express their views on this issue. Finally, interested persons are invited to submit comments on this proposed rule, including the regulatory and informational impacts of this action on small businesses.

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

    This proposed rule would not impose any additional reporting or recordkeeping requirements on small or large potato handlers and importers. As with all Federal marketing order programs, reports and forms are periodically reviewed to reduce information requirements and duplication by industry and public sector agencies.

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

    USDA has not identified any relevant Federal rules that duplicate, overlap, or conflict with this proposed rule.

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

    In accordance with section 8e of the Act, the United States Trade Representative has concurred with the issuance of this proposed rule.

    A 60-day comment period is provided to allow interested persons to respond to this proposal. All written comments timely received will be considered before a final determination is made on this matter.

    List of Subjects in 7 CFR Part 945

    Marketing agreements, Potatoes, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

    For the reasons set forth above, 7 CFR part 945 is proposed to be amended as follows:

    PART 945—IRISH POTATOES GROWN IN CERTAIN DESIGNATED COUNTIES IN IDAHO, AND MALHEUR COUNTY, OREGON 1. The authority citation for 7 CFR part 945 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    7 U.S.C. 601-674.

    [Subpart Redesignated as Subpart A] 2. Redesignate “Subpart—Order Regulating Handling” as “Subpart A—Order Regulating Handling”. [Subpart Redesignated as Subpart B and Amended] 3. Redesignate “Subpart—Rules and Regulations” as subpart B and revise the heading to read as follows: Subpart B—Administrative Requirements [Subpart Redesignated as Subpart C] 4. Redesignate “Subpart—Assessment Rates” as “Subpart C—Assessment Rates”. [Subpart Redesignated as Subpart D and Amended] 5. Redesignate “Subpart—Handling Regulations” as subpart D and revise the heading to read as follows: Subpart D—Handling Requirements 6. In § 945.341, revise paragraphs (a)(2)(i) and (ii) to read as follows:
    § 945.341 Handling regulation.

    (a) * * *

    (1) * * *

    (2) Size—(i) All varieties, except Russet types. 17/8 inches minimum diameter, unless otherwise specified on the container in connection with the grade.

    (ii) Russet types. 2 inches minimum diameter, or 4 ounces minimum weight: Provided, That at least 40 percent of the potatoes in each lot shall be 5 ounces or heavier.

    Dated: May 3, 2018. Bruce Summers, Acting Administrator, Agricultural Marketing Service.
    [FR Doc. 2018-09820 Filed 5-8-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410-02-P
    DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration 14 CFR Part 39 [Docket No. FAA-2018-0391; Product Identifier 2017-NM-165-AD] RIN 2120-AA64 Airworthiness Directives; ATR-GIE Avions de Transport Régional Airplanes AGENCY:

    Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

    ACTION:

    Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM).

    SUMMARY:

    We propose to adopt a new airworthiness directive (AD) for certain ATR-GIE Avions de Transport Régional Model ATR42-200, -300, and -320 airplanes. This proposed AD was prompted by a determination that more restrictive maintenance requirements and airworthiness limitations are necessary. This proposed AD would require updating the maintenance or inspection program, as applicable, to incorporate new or more restrictive maintenance requirements and airworthiness limitations. We are proposing this AD to address the unsafe condition on these products.

    DATES:

    We must receive comments on this proposed AD by June 25, 2018.

    ADDRESSES:

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

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

    Fax: 202-493-2251.

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

    Hand Delivery: Deliver to Mail address above between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.

    For service information identified in this NPRM, contact ATR-GIE Avions de Transport Régional, 1 Allée Pierre Nadot, 31712 Blagnac Cedex, France; telephone +33 (0) 5 62 21 62 21; fax +33 (0) 5 62 21 67 18; email [email protected]; http://www.atr-aircraft.com. You may view this service information at the FAA, Transport Standards Branch, 2200 South 216th Street, Des Moines, WA. For information on the availability of this material at the FAA, call 206-231-3195.

    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-2018-0391; 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 NPRM, the regulatory evaluation, any comments received, and other information. The street address for the Docket Operations office (telephone 800-647-5527) is in the ADDRESSES section. Comments will be available in the AD docket shortly after receipt.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Shahram Daneshmandi, Aerospace Engineer, International Section, Transport Standards Branch, FAA, 2200 South 216th Street, Des Moines, WA 98198; telephone and fax 206-231-3220.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Comments Invited

    We invite you to send any written relevant data, views, or arguments about this proposal. Send your comments to an address listed under the ADDRESSES section. Include “Docket No. FAA-2018-0391; Product Identifier 2017-NM-165-AD” at the beginning of your comments. We specifically invite comments on the overall regulatory, economic, environmental, and energy aspects of this NPRM. We will consider all comments received by the closing date and may amend this NPRM based on those comments.

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

    Discussion

    The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), which is the Technical Agent for the Member States of the European Union, has issued EASA Airworthiness Directive 2017-0221R1, dated December 15, 2017 (referred to after this as the Mandatory Continuing Airworthiness Information, or “the MCAI”), to correct an unsafe condition for all ATR-GIE Avions de Transport Régional Model ATR42-200, -300, and -320 airplanes. The MCAI states:

    The airworthiness limitations and certification maintenance requirements (CMR) for ATR aeroplanes, which are approved by EASA, are currently defined and published in the ATR42-200/-300/-320 Time Limits (TL) document. These instructions have been identified as mandatory for continued airworthiness.

    Failure to accomplish these instructions could result in an unsafe condition.

    Consequently, ATR published Revision 8 of the ATR42-200/-300/-320 TL document, which contains new and/or more restrictive CMRs and airworthiness limitation tasks.

    For the reasons described above, this [EASA] AD requires accomplishment of the actions specified in the ATR42-200/-300/-320 TL document Revision 8, hereafter referred to as `the TLD' in this [EASA] AD.

    This [EASA] AD, in conjunction with two other [EASA] ADs related to ATR 42-400/-500 (EASA AD 2017-0222) and ATR 72-101/-102/-201/-202/-211/-212/-212A (EASA AD 2017-0223) aeroplanes, retains the requirements of EASA AD 2009-0242 [which corresponds to FAA AD 2008-04-19 R1, Amendment 39-16069 (74 FR 56713, November 3, 2009) (“AD 2008-04-19 R1”)] and EASA AD 2012-1093 [which corresponds to FAA AD 2015-26-09, Amendment 39-18357 (81 FR 1483, January 13, 2016) (“AD 2015-26-09”)]. EASA plans, when all these three ADs are effective, to cancel EASA AD 2009-0242 and EASA AD 2012-0193.

    This [EASA] AD is revised to provide the correct issue date (17 October 2016) of the TLD. The original [EASA] AD inadvertently referenced the EASA approval date for that document.

    You may examine the MCAI in the AD docket on the internet at http://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2018-0391.

    Relationship Between Proposed AD and Certain Other ADs

    This NPRM would not supersede AD 2008-04-19 R1 or AD 2015-26-09. Rather, we have determined that a stand-alone AD would be more appropriate to address the changes in the MCAI. This NPRM would require revising the maintenance or inspection program, as applicable, to incorporate new or more restrictive maintenance requirements and airworthiness limitations. Accomplishment of the proposed actions would then terminate all requirements of AD 2008-04-19 R1 and AD 2015-26-09 for ATR-GIE Avions de Transport Régional Model ATR42-200, -300, and -320 airplanes only. Accomplishment of the proposed actions would also terminate all requirements of AD 2000-17-09, Amendment 39-11883 (65 FR 53897, September 6, 2000) (“AD 2000-17-09”) for ATR-GIE Avions de Transport Régional Model ATR42-200, -300, and -320 airplanes only.

    Related Service Information Under 1 CFR Part 51

    ATR-GIE Avions de Transport Régional has issued ATR 42-200/-300/-320, Time Limits Document (TL), Revision 8, dated October 17, 2016. This service information describes life limits and maintenance requirements for the affected airplanes. This service information is reasonably available because the interested parties have access to it through their normal course of business or by the means identified in the ADDRESSES section.

    FAA's Determination and Requirements of This Proposed AD

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

    This proposed AD would require revisions to certain operator maintenance documents to include new actions (e.g., inspections). Compliance with these actions is required by 14 CFR 91.403(c). For airplanes that have been previously modified, altered, or repaired in the areas addressed by this proposed AD, the operator may not be able to accomplish the actions described in the revisions. In this situation, to comply with 14 CFR 91.403(c), the operator must request approval for an alternative method of compliance according to paragraph (k)(1) of this proposed AD. The request should include a description of changes to the required actions that will ensure the continued operational safety of the airplane.

    Airworthiness Limitations Based on Type Design

    The FAA recently became aware of an issue related to the applicability of ADs that require incorporation of revised airworthiness limitations (ALS) into an operator's maintenance or inspection program.

    Typically, when these types of ADs are issued by civil aviation authorities of other countries, they apply to all airplanes covered under an identified type certificate (TC). The corresponding FAA AD typically retains applicability to all of those airplanes.

    In addition, U.S. operators must operate their airplanes in an airworthy condition, in accordance with 14 CFR 91.7(a). Included in this obligation is the requirement to perform any maintenance or inspections specified in the ALS, and in accordance with the ALS as specified in 14 CFR 43.16 and 91.403(c), unless an alternative has been approved by the FAA.

    When a type certificate is issued for a type design, the specific ALS, including revisions, is a part of that type design, as specified in 14 CFR 21.31(c).

    The sum effect of these operational and maintenance requirements is an obligation to comply with the ALS defined in the type design referenced in the manufacturer's conformity statement. This obligation may introduce a conflict with an AD that requires a specific ALS revision if new airplanes are delivered with a later revision as part of their type design.

    To address this conflict, the FAA has approved alternative methods of compliance (AMOCs) that allow operators to incorporate the most recent ALS revision into their maintenance/inspection programs, in lieu of the ALS revision required by the AD. This eliminates the conflict and enables the operator to comply with both the AD and the type design.

    However, compliance with AMOCs is normally optional, and we recently became aware that some operators choose to retain the AD-mandated ALS revision in their fleet-wide maintenance/inspection programs, including those for new airplanes delivered with later ALS revisions, to help standardize the maintenance of the fleet. To ensure that operators comply with the applicable ALS revision for newly delivered airplanes containing a later revision than that specified in an AD, we plan to limit the applicability of ADs that mandate ALS revisions to those airplanes that are subject to an earlier revision of the ALS, either as part of the type design or as mandated by an earlier AD.

    This proposed AD therefore would apply to ATR-GIE Avions de Transport Régional Model ATR42-200, -300, and -320 airplanes with an original certificate of airworthiness or original export certificate of airworthiness that was issued on or before the date of approval of the ALS revision identified in this proposed AD. Operators of airplanes with an original certificate of airworthiness or original export certificate of airworthiness issued after that date must comply with the airworthiness limitations specified as part of the approved type design and referenced on the type certificate data sheet.

    Costs of Compliance

    We estimate that this proposed AD affects 33 airplanes of U.S. registry.

    We estimate the following costs to comply with this proposed AD.

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

    Authority for This Rulemaking

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

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

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

    Regulatory Findings

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

    For the reasons discussed above, I certify this proposed regulation:

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

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

    3. Will not affect intrastate aviation in Alaska; and

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

    List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 39

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

    The Proposed Amendment

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

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

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

    § 39.13 [Amended]
    2. The FAA amends § 39.13 by adding the following new airworthiness directive (AD): ATR-GIE Avions de Transport Régional: Docket No. FAA-2018-0391; Product Identifier 2017-NM-165-AD. (a) Comments Due Date

    We must receive comments by June 25, 2018.

    (b) Affected ADs

    This AD affects the ADs specified in paragraphs (b)(1), (b)(2), and (b)(3) of this AD.

    (1) AD 2000-17-09, Amendment 39-11883 (65 FR 53897, September 6, 2000) (“AD 2000-17-09”).

    (2) AD 2008-04-19 R1, Amendment 39-16069 (74 FR 56713, November 3, 2009) (“AD 2008-04-19 R1”).

    (3) AD 2015-26-09, Amendment 39-18357 (81 FR 1483, January 13, 2016) (“AD 2015-26-09”).

    (c) Applicability

    This AD applies to ATR-GIE Avions de Transport Régional Model ATR42-200, -300, and -320 airplanes, certificated in any category, with an original airworthiness certificate or original export certificate of airworthiness dated on or before October 17, 2016.

    (d) Subject

    Air Transport Association (ATA) of America Code 05, Time limits/maintenance checks.

    (e) Reason

    This AD was prompted by a determination that more restrictive maintenance requirements and airworthiness limitations are necessary. We are issuing this AD to prevent reduced structural integrity of the airplane.

    (f) Compliance

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

    (g) Maintenance or Inspection Program Revision

    Within 90 days after the effective date of this AD, revise the maintenance or inspection program, as applicable, to incorporate the information specified in the airworthiness limitations (ALS) and certification maintenance requirements (CMR) sections of ATR-GIE Avions de Transport Régional ATR 42-200/-300/-320, Time Limits Document (TL), Revision 8, dated October 17, 2016. The initial compliance time for accomplishing the tasks is at the applicable times specified in the ALS and CMR sections of ATR-GIE Avions de Transport Régional ATR 42-200/-300/-320, TL, Revision 8, dated October 17, 2016, or within 90 days after the effective date of this AD, whichever occurs later, except as specified in paragraph (h) of this AD.

    (h) Initial Compliance Times for Certain CMR Tasks

    For the CMR tasks listed in figure 1 to paragraph (h) of this AD, the initial compliance time for accomplishing the tasks is at the applicable time specified in the ALS and CMR sections of ATR-GIE Avions de Transport Régional ATR 42-200/-300/-320, TL, Revision 8, dated October 17, 2016, or within the compliance time specified in figure 1 to paragraph (h) of this AD, whichever occurs later.

    EP09MY18.018 (i) No Alternative Actions and Intervals

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

    (j) Terminating Action for Certain ADs

    Accomplishing the actions required by this AD terminates all requirements of AD 2000-17-09, AD 2008-04-19 R1, and AD 2015-26-09 for ATR-GIE Avions de Transport Régional Model ATR42-200, -300, and -320 airplanes only.

    (k) Other FAA AD Provisions

    The following provisions also apply to this AD:

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

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

    (l) Related Information

    (1) Refer to Mandatory Continuing Airworthiness Information (MCAI) EASA Airworthiness Directive 2017-0221R1, dated December 15, 2017, for related information. This MCAI may be found in the AD docket on the internet at http://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2018-0391.

    (2) For more information about this AD, contact Shahram Daneshmandi, Aerospace Engineer, International Section, Transport Standards Branch, FAA, 2200 South 216th Street, Des Moines, WA 980198; telephone and fax 206-231-3220.

    (3) For service information identified in this AD, contact ATR-GIE Avions de Transport Régional, 1 Allée Pierre Nadot, 31712 Blagnac Cedex, France; telephone +33 (0) 5 62 21 62 21; fax +33 (0) 5 62 21 67 18; email [email protected]; http://www.atr-aircraft.com. You may view this service information at the FAA, Transport Standards Branch, 2200 South 216th Street, Des Moines, WA. For information on the availability of this material at the FAA, call 206-231-3195.

    Issued in Des Moines, Washington, on April 27, 2018. Michael Kaszycki, Acting Director, System Oversight Division, Aircraft Certification Service.
    [FR Doc. 2018-09746 Filed 5-8-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910-13-P
    DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration 14 CFR Part 39 [Docket No. FAA-2018-0384; Product Identifier 2017-SW-061-AD] RIN 2120-AA64 Airworthiness Directives; Airbus Helicopters AGENCY:

    Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

    ACTION:

    Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM).

    SUMMARY:

    We propose to adopt a new airworthiness directive (AD) for Airbus Helicopters Model AS-365N2, AS 365 N3, EC 155B, EC155B1, SA-365N1, and SA-366G1 helicopters. This proposed AD would require repetitive inspections of the aft fuselage outer skin. This proposed AD is prompted by several reports of aft fuselage outer skin disbonding. The actions of this proposed AD are intended to address an unsafe condition on these products.

    DATES:

    We must receive comments on this proposed AD by July 9, 2018.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may send comments by any of the following methods:

    Federal eRulemaking Docket: Go to http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the online instructions for sending your comments electronically.

    Fax: 202-493-2251.

    Mail: Send comments to the U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket Operations, M-30, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Washington, DC 20590-0001.

    Hand Delivery: Deliver to the “Mail” address between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.

    Examining the AD Docket

    You may examine the AD docket on the internet at http://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2018-0384; or in person at Docket Operations between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The AD docket contains this proposed AD, the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) AD, the economic evaluation, any comments received, and other information. The street address for Docket Operations (telephone 800-647-5527) is in the ADDRESSES section. Comments will be available in the AD docket shortly after receipt.

    For service information identified in this proposed rule, contact Airbus Helicopters, 2701 N. Forum Drive, Grand Prairie, TX 75052; telephone (972) 641-0000 or (800) 232-0323; fax (972) 641-3775; or at http://www.helicopters.airbus.com/website/en/ref/Technical-Support_73.html. You may review the referenced service information at the FAA, Office of the Regional Counsel, Southwest Region, 10101 Hillwood Pkwy, Room 6N-321, Fort Worth, TX 76177.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Matt Fuller, Senior Aviation Safety Engineer, Safety Management Section, Rotorcraft Standards Branch, FAA, 10101 Hillwood Pkwy., Fort Worth, TX 76177; telephone (817) 222-5110; email [email protected].

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Comments Invited

    We invite you to participate in this rulemaking by submitting written comments, data, or views. We also invite comments relating to the economic, environmental, energy, or federalism impacts that might result from adopting the proposals in this document. The most helpful comments reference a specific portion of the proposal, explain the reason for any recommended change, and include supporting data. To ensure the docket does not contain duplicate comments, commenters should send only one copy of written comments, or if comments are filed electronically, commenters should submit only one time.

    We will file in the docket all comments that we receive, as well as a report summarizing each substantive public contact with FAA personnel concerning this proposed rulemaking. Before acting on this proposal, we will consider all comments we receive on or before the closing date for comments. We will consider comments filed after the comment period has closed if it is possible to do so without incurring expense or delay. We may change this proposal in light of the comments we receive.

    Discussion

    EASA, which is the Technical Agent for the Member States of the European Union, has issued EASA AD No. 2017-0165, dated September 5, 2017 (EASA AD 2017-0165), to correct an unsafe condition for Airbus Helicopters Model SA 365 N1, AS 365 N2, AS 365 N3, SA 366 G1, EC 155 B and EC 155 B1 helicopters. EASA advises of several reports of aft fuselage (baggage compartment area) outer skin disbonding found during a 600-hour inspection. EASA advises that most of the reports of disbonding occurred on Model EC 155 helicopters and may occur in the same area on Model AS 365, SA 365, and SA 366 helicopters due to design similarity. According to EASA, the cause of the disbonding has not yet been determined and the investigation is continuing. Airbus Helicopters states possible causes that are being considered include exhaust gas heat from the exhaust pipes and environmental conditions. EASA states that this condition, if not detected and corrected, could reduce the structural integrity of the aft fuselage, possibly affecting safe flight and landing.

    To address this unsafe condition, EASA AD 2017-0165 requires a repetitive tap inspection of the aft fuselage outer skin for disbonding, a repetitive visual inspection of the aft fuselage outer skin for distortion, wrinkling, and corrosion, and contacting Airbus Helicopters if there is any disbonding.

    FAA's Determination

    These helicopters have been approved by the aviation authority of France and are approved for operation in the United States. Pursuant to our bilateral agreement with France, EASA, its technical representative, has notified us of the unsafe condition described in its AD. We are proposing this AD because we evaluated all known relevant information and determined that an unsafe condition is likely to exist or develop on other products of the same type design.

    Related Service Information Under 1 CFR Part 51

    We reviewed Airbus Helicopters Alert Service Bulletin (ASB) No. AS365-05.00.77 for Model AS365 N, N1, N2, and N3 and non-FAA-certificated Model AS365 F, Fs, Fi, K, and K2 helicopters; ASB No. SA366-05.48 for Model SA366 G1 and non-FAA-certificated Model SA366 GA helicopters; and ASB No. EC155-05A033 for Model EC155 B and B1 helicopters, all Revision 0 and all dated July 21, 2017. This service information specifies repetitive tap and visual inspections between aft fuselage outer skin frames X4630 and X6630 and defines the allowable limit of disbonding for this area. If there is distortion, wrinkling, or corrosion, this service information specifies performing a tap inspection. If there is disbonding within the allowable limit, this service information specifies reporting the inspection results to Airbus Helicopters and performing the recurring tap inspection at a shorter compliance time interval. If there is disbonding that exceeds the allowable limit, this service information specifies contacting Airbus Helicopters for repair before further flight.

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

    Proposed AD Requirements

    This proposed AD would require, within 110 hours time-in-service (TIS), a tap inspection of the aft fuselage outer skin for disbonding. If there is no disbonding, repeating the tap inspection at intervals not to exceed 660 hours TIS would be required. If there is disbonding, either repeating the tap inspections at intervals not to exceed 110 hours TIS or repairing or replacing the panel before further flight and then tap inspecting the panel at intervals not to exceed 660 hours TIS would be required. This proposed AD would also require, within 220 hours TIS and thereafter at intervals not to exceed 110 hours TIS, cleaning the aft fuselage outer skin and visually inspecting for distortion, wrinkling, and corrosion. If there is any distortion, wrinkling, or corrosion, tap inspecting the area for disbonding would be required before further flight.

    Differences Between This Proposed AD and the EASA AD

    If there is disbonding within the allowable limit, the EASA AD specifies reporting the inspection results to Airbus Helicopters, whereas this proposed AD would not. If there is disbonding that exceeds the allowable limit, the EASA AD specifies contacting Airbus Helicopters for approved skin panel repair or replacement instructions, whereas this proposed AD would require repairing or replacing the panel instead.

    Interim Action

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

    Costs of Compliance

    We estimate that this proposed AD would affect 46 helicopters of U.S. Registry. We estimate that operators may incur the following costs in order to comply with this AD. Labor costs are estimated at $85 per work-hour.

    Tap inspecting the aft fuselage outer skin would take about 3 work-hours for an estimated cost of $255 per helicopter and $11,730 for the U.S. fleet per inspection cycle. Visually inspecting the aft fuselage outer skin would take about 0.3 work-hour for an estimated cost of $26 per helicopter and $1,196 for the U.S. fleet per inspection cycle. Repairing a panel would take about 5 work-hours and parts would cost about $500 for an estimated cost of $925. Replacing a panel would take about 10 work-hours and parts would cost about $20,000 for an estimated cost of $20,850.

    Authority for This Rulemaking

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

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

    Regulatory Findings

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

    For the reasons discussed, I certify this proposed regulation:

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

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

    3. Will not affect intrastate aviation in Alaska to the extent that it justifies making a regulatory distinction; and

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

    We prepared an economic evaluation of the estimated costs to comply with this proposed AD and placed it in the AD docket.

    List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 39

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

    The Proposed Amendment

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

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

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

    § 39.13 [Amended]
    2. The FAA amends § 39.13 by adding the following new airworthiness directive (AD): Airbus Helicopters: Docket No. FAA-2018-0384; Product Identifier 2017-SW-061-AD. (a) Applicability

    This AD applies to Model AS-365N2, AS 365 N3, EC 155B, EC155B1, SA-365N1, and SA-366G1 helicopters, certificated in any category.

    (b) Unsafe Condition

    This AD defines the unsafe condition as disbonding of the aft fuselage outer skin. This condition could result in loss of aft fuselage structural integrity and subsequent loss of control of the helicopter.

    (c) Comments Due Date

    We must receive comments by July 9, 2018.

    (d) Compliance

    You are responsible for performing each action required by this AD within the specified compliance time unless it has already been accomplished prior to that time.

    (e) Required Actions

    (1) Within 110 hours time-in-service (TIS), tap inspect the aft fuselage outer skin for disbonding between frames X4630 and X6630 in the areas depicted in Figure 1 of Airbus Helicopters Alert Service Bulletin (ASB) No. AS365-05.00.77, ASB No. SA366-05.48, or ASB No. EC155-05A033, all Revision 0 and dated July 21, 2017 (ASB AS365-05.00.77, ASB SA366-05.48, or ASB EC155-05A033), as applicable for your model helicopter. Examples of acceptable and unacceptable disbonding areas are depicted in Figure 2 of ASB AS365-05.00.77, ASB SA366-05.48, and ASB EC155-05A033, as applicable for your model helicopter.

    (i) If there is no disbonding, repeat the tap inspection at intervals not to exceed 660 hours TIS.

    (ii) If there is disbonding within one square-shaped area measuring 3.94 in. x 3.94 in. (10 cm x 10 cm) that does not cross two skin panels, repeat the tap inspection at intervals not to exceed 110 hours TIS.

    (iii) If there is disbonding that exceeds one square-shaped area measuring 3.94 in. x 3.94 in. (10 cm x 10 cm) or crosses two skin panels, before further flight, repair or replace the panel. Thereafter, tap inspect the panel at intervals not to exceed 660 hours TIS.

    (2) Within 220 hours TIS, and thereafter at intervals not to exceed 110 hours TIS, clean the aft fuselage outer skin and using a light, visually inspect for distortion, wrinkling, and corrosion between frames X4630 and X6630 as depicted in Figure 1 of ASB AS365-05.00.77, ASB SA366-05.48, or ASB EC155-05A033, as applicable for your model helicopter. If there is any distortion, wrinkling, or corrosion, before further flight, tap inspect the area for disbonding by following the inspection instructions in paragraph (e)(1) of this AD.

    (f) Alternative Methods of Compliance (AMOCs)

    (1) The Manager, Safety Management Section, Rotorcraft Standards Branch, FAA, may approve AMOCs for this AD. Send your proposal to: Matt Fuller, Senior Aviation Safety Engineer, Safety Management Section, Rotorcraft Standards Branch, FAA, 10101 Hillwood Pkwy., Fort Worth, TX 76177; telephone (817) 222-5110; email [email protected]

    (2) For operations conducted under a 14 CFR part 119 operating certificate or under 14 CFR part 91, subpart K, we suggest that you notify your principal inspector, or lacking a principal inspector, the manager of the local flight standards district office or certificate holding district office before operating any aircraft complying with this AD through an AMOC.

    (g) Additional Information

    The subject of this AD is addressed in European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) AD No. 2017-0165, dated September 5, 2017. You may view the EASA AD on the internet at http://www.regulations.gov in the AD Docket.

    (h) Subject

    Joint Aircraft Service Component (JASC) Code: 5302, Rotorcraft tail boom.

    Issued in Fort Worth, Texas, on April 26, 2018. Lance T. Gant, Director, Compliance & Airworthiness Division,Aircraft Certification Service.
    [FR Doc. 2018-09742 Filed 5-8-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910-13-P
    DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration 14 CFR Part 39 [Docket No. FAA-2018-0395; Product Identifier 2017-NM-136-AD] RIN 2120-AA64 Airworthiness Directives; Airbus Airplanes AGENCY:

    Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

    ACTION:

    Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM).

    SUMMARY:

    We propose to adopt a new airworthiness directive (AD) for all Airbus Model A330-200 Freighter series airplanes, Model A330-200 series airplanes, Model A330-300 series airplanes, Model A340-200 series airplanes, Model A340-300 series airplanes, Model A340-500 series airplanes, and Model A340-600 series airplanes. This proposed AD was prompted by a report of deficient fatigue performance of high strength steel used in forgings. Components made from the affected high strength steel are installed on the main landing gear (MLG), nose landing gear (NLG), and center landing gear (CLG). This proposed AD would require identifying the part number and serial number of certain components installed on the MLG, NLG, and CLG; replacing affected parts; identifying the airplane's weight variant; and determining the applicable life limit for certain components installed on the MLG, NLG, and CLG. We are proposing this AD to address the unsafe condition on these products.

    DATES:

    We must receive comments on this proposed AD by June 25, 2018.

    ADDRESSES:

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

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

    Fax: 202-493-2251.

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

    Hand Delivery: Deliver to Mail address above between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.

    For service information identified in this NPRM, contact Airbus SAS, Airworthiness Office—EAL, 1 Rond Point Maurice Bellonte, 31707 Blagnac Cedex, France; telephone +33 5 61 93 36 96; fax +33 5 61 93 45 80; email [email protected]; internet http://www.airbus.com. You may view this 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.

    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-2018-0395; 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 NPRM, the regulatory evaluation, any comments received, and other information. The street address for the Docket Operations office (telephone 800-647-5527) is in the ADDRESSES section. Comments will be available in the AD docket shortly after receipt.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Vladimir Ulyanov, Aerospace Engineer, International Section, Transport Standards Branch, FAA, 2200 South 216th St., Des Moines, WA 98198-6547; telephone and fax 206-231-3229.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Comments Invited

    We invite you to send any written relevant data, views, or arguments about this proposal. Send your comments to an address listed under the ADDRESSES section. Include “Docket No. FAA-2018-0395; Product Identifier 2017-NM-136-AD” at the beginning of your comments. We specifically invite comments on the overall regulatory, economic, environmental, and energy aspects of this NPRM. We will consider all comments received by the closing date and may amend this NPRM based on those comments.

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

    Discussion

    The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), which is the Technical Agent for the Member States of the European Union, has issued EASA AD 2017-0185, dated September 22, 2017 (referred to after this as the Mandatory Continuing Airworthiness Information, or “the MCAI”), to correct an unsafe condition for all Airbus Model A330-200 Freighter series airplanes, Model A330-200 series airplanes, Model A330-300 series airplanes, Model A340-200 series airplanes, Model A340-300 series airplanes, Model A340-500 series airplanes, and Model A340-600 series airplanes. The MCAI states:

    In 2006, Messier-Dowty identified a deficiency in the fatigue performance of 300M high strength steel used in forgings. The root cause for this fatigue deficiency was the processing during preparation of the material. After investigation, it was determined that the following material sources (S) were affected by this fatigue deficiency: Electralloy (S1), RSM (S2A, S2B or S2C), Latrobe (S3) and Aubert et Duval (S4).

    Consequently, reduced lives were calculated for certain landing gear main fittings, bogie beams and sliding pistons, determined to be affected by the 300M material properties quality issue. These components are installed on Main, Nose and Centre Landing Gears (MLG, NLG, CLG) of A330 and A340 aeroplanes.

    This condition, if not corrected, could lead to structural failure of a landing gear, possibly resulting in loss of control of the aeroplane during take-off or landing.

    To initially address this potential unsafe condition, Airbus published reduced life limits for the affected parts from material sources S1, S2 and S3 in the applicable Airworthiness Limitation Section (ALS) Part 1. Later, it was determined that ALS Part 1 was an inappropriate place for recording the reduced lives and Airbus published Service Bulletin (SB) A330-32-3281, SB A340-32-4310, and SB A340-32-5119, as applicable, to provide identification and replacement instructions for affected parts made of all material sources S1, S2, S3 and S4. This action was also accomplished to simplify Airbus ALS Part 1.

    For the reasons described above, this [EASA] AD requires [identification of the part numbers and serial numbers of the main fitting, bogie beam and sliding piston of the MLG, NLG, and CLG, and the airplane's weight variant], and implementation of the reduced life limits for the affected parts and replacement of any parts that are close to, or have exceeded the applicable reduced life limit.

    You may examine the MCAI in the AD docket on the internet at http://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2018-0395.

    Related Service Information Under 1 CFR Part 51

    Airbus has issued the following service information. These documents are distinct since they apply to different airplane models.

    • Service Bulletin A330-32-3281, Revision 02, dated June 16, 2017, including Appendixes 01 through 06; and Service Bulletin A340-32-4310, Revision 02, dated June 16, 2017, including Appendixes 01 through 06. This service information includes procedures for inspections to identify the part numbers and serial numbers of the main fittings, bogie beams, and sliding pistons of the MLG; and procedures for determining the airplane's weight variant. This service information also describes the reduced life limits for affected parts. These documents are distinct since they apply to different airplane models.

    • Service Bulletin A340-32-5119, Revision 01, dated January 31, 2017, including Appendixes 01 through 07. This service information includes procedures for inspections to identify the part numbers and serial numbers of the main fittings and bogie beams of the MLG, NLG, and CLG; and procedures for determining the airplane's weight variant. This service information also describes the reduced life limits for affected parts.

    In addition, Airbus has issued the following service information, which describes life limits for affected parts. These documents are distinct since they apply to different airplane models and to different life limited parts.

    • A330 Airworthiness Limitations Section (ALS) Part 1, “Safe Life Airworthiness Limitation Items (SL-ALI),” Revision 09, dated September 18, 2017.

    • A330 ALS Part 1, “Safe Life Airworthiness Limitation Items (SL-ALI),” Variation 9.2, dated November 28, 2017.

    • A340 Airworthiness Limitations Section (ALS) Part 1, “Safe Life Airworthiness Limitation Items (SL-ALI),” Revision 09, dated September 18, 2017.

    • A340 ALS Part 1, “Safe Life Airworthiness Limitation Items (SL-ALI),” Variation 9.2, dated November 28, 2017.

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

    FAA's Determination and Requirements of This Proposed AD

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

    Costs of Compliance

    We estimate that this proposed AD affects 103 airplanes of U.S. registry.

    We estimate the following costs to comply with this proposed AD:

    Estimated Costs Action Labor cost Parts cost Cost per
  • product
  • Cost on U.S. operators
    Inspection 4 work-hours × $85 per hour = $340 $0 $340 $35,020

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

    Authority for This Rulemaking

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

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

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

    Regulatory Findings

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

    For the reasons discussed above, I certify this proposed regulation:

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

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

    3. Will not affect intrastate aviation in Alaska; and

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

    List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 39

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

    The Proposed Amendment

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

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

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

    § 39.13 [Amended]
    2. The FAA amends § 39.13 by adding the following new airworthiness directive (AD): Airbus: Docket No. FAA-2018-0395; Product Identifier 2017-NM-136-AD. (a) Comments Due Date

    We must receive comments by June 25, 2018.

    (b) Affected ADs

    None.

    (c) Applicability

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

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

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

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

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

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

    (6) Model A340-541 airplanes.

    (7) Model A340-642 airplanes.

    (d) Subject

    Air Transport Association (ATA) of America Code 32, Landing Gear.

    (e) Reason

    This AD was prompted by a report of deficient fatigue performance of 300M high strength steel used in forgings. Components made of 300M high strength steel are installed on the main landing gear (MLG), nose landing gear (NLG), and center landing gear (CLG). We are issuing this AD to detect and correct parts made from 300M high strength steel, which if uncorrected, could lead to structural failure of the landing gear, and possibly loss of control of the airplane during take-off or landing.

    (f) Compliance

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

    (g) Definitions

    (1) For the purpose of this AD, an affected part is any main fitting, bogie beam, or sliding piston of the MLG, NLG, or CLG installed on the airplane, having a part number and serial number combination specified in the applicable service information identified in paragraphs (h)(1), (h)(2), and (h)(3) of this AD.

    (2) For the purpose of this AD, a serviceable part is any main fitting, bogie beam, or sliding piston of the MLG, NLG, or CLG that has not exceeded the applicable life limit specified in paragraph (g)(2)(i), (g)(2)(ii), or (g)(2)(iii) of this AD, since first installation on an airplane.

    (i) The life limit specified in the applicable service information identified in paragraphs (h)(1), (h)(2), and (h)(3) of this AD.

    (ii) The life limit specified in Airbus A330 Airworthiness Limitations Section (ALS) Part 1, “Safe Life Airworthiness Limitation Items (SL-ALI),” Revision 09, dated September 18, 2017, and A330 ALS Part 1, “Safe Life Airworthiness Limitation Items (SL-ALI),” Variation 9.2, dated November 28, 2017.

    (iii) The life limit specified in Airbus A340 Airworthiness Limitations Section (ALS) Part 1, “Safe Life Airworthiness Limitation Items (SL-ALI),” Revision 09, dated September 18, 2017, and A340 ALS Part 1, “Safe Life Airworthiness Limitation Items (SL-ALI),” Variation 9.2, dated November 28, 2017.

    (h) Identification of Part Number, Serial Number, Weight Variant, and Reduced Life Limit

    Within 3 months after the effective date of this AD: Identify the part number and serial number of each main fitting, bogie beam, and sliding piston of the MLG, NLG, and CLG installed on the airplane; identify the airplane's weight variant; and determine the applicable reduced life limit; in accordance with the Accomplishment Instructions of the applicable service information identified in paragraph (h)(1), (h)(2), or (h)(3) of this AD. A review of airplane maintenance records is acceptable for identification of the installed main fittings, bogie beams, and sliding pistons of the MLG, NLG, and CLG, provided the part number and serial number of each component can be conclusively identified by that review.

    (1) Airbus Service Bulletin A330-32-3281, Revision 02, dated June 16, 2017, including Appendixes 01 through 06.

    (2) Airbus Service Bulletin A340-32-4310, Revision 02, dated June 16, 2017, including Appendixes 01 through 06.

    (3) Airbus Service Bulletin A340-32-5119, Revision 01, dated January 31, 2017, including Appendixes 01 through 07.

    (i) Replacement of Affected Parts

    Prior to exceeding the applicable life limit, as specified in the applicable service information identified in paragraph (h)(1), (h)(2), or (h)(3) of this AD, or within 3 months after the effective date of this AD, whichever occurs later: Replace each affected part (as defined in paragraph (g)(1) of this AD) with a serviceable part (as defined in paragraph (g)(2) of this AD).

    (j) Parts Installation Specification

    As of the effective date of this AD, any affected part (as defined in paragraph (g)(1) of this AD) may be used as a replacement part, provided the affected part is also a serviceable part (as defined in paragraph (g)(2) of this AD), and following installation, the affected part is replaced prior to exceeding the applicable life limit as specified in paragraph (g)(2) of this AD.

    (k) Other FAA AD Provisions

    The following provisions also apply to this AD:

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

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

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

    (l) Related Information

    (1) Refer to Mandatory Continuing Airworthiness Information (MCAI) EASA AD 2017-0185, dated September 22, 2017, for related information. This MCAI may be found in the AD docket on the internet at http://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2018-0395.

    (2) For more information about this AD, contact Vladimir Ulyanov, Aerospace Engineer, International Section, Transport Standards Branch, FAA, 2200 South 216th St., Des Moines, WA 98198-6547; telephone and fax 206-231-3229.

    (3) For service information identified in this AD, contact Airbus SAS, Airworthiness Office—EAL, 1 Rond Point Maurice Bellonte, 31707 Blagnac Cedex, France; telephone +33 5 61 93 36 96; fax +33 5 61 93 45 80; email [email protected]; internet http://www.airbus.com. 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.

    Issued in Des Moines, Washington, on April 30, 2018. Dionne Palermo, Acting Director, System Oversight Division, Aircraft Certification Service.
    [FR Doc. 2018-09743 Filed 5-8-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910-13-P
    DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration 14 CFR Part 39 [Docket No. FAA-2018-0326; Product Identifier 2018-CE-006-AD] RIN 2120-AA64 Airworthiness Directives; SOCATA Airplanes AGENCY:

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

    ACTION:

    Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM).

    SUMMARY:

    We propose to supersede Airworthiness Directive (AD) 98-16-03 for SOCATA Models TB 9 and TB 10 airplanes. This proposed AD results from mandatory continuing airworthiness information (MCAI) originated by an aviation authority of another country to identify and correct an unsafe condition on an aviation product. The MCAI describes the unsafe condition as fatigue cracking of the wing front attachments on the wing and fuselage sides. 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 June 25, 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 SOCATA, Direction des services, 65921 Tarbes Cedex 9, France; phone: +33 (0) 5 62 41 73 00; fax: +33 (0) 5 62 41 76 54; email: [email protected]; internet: https://www.mysocata.com/login/accueil.php. You may review copies of the 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-2018-0326; 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-2018-0326; Product Identifier 2018-CE-006-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

    We issued AD 98-16-03, Amendment 39-10677 (63 FR 40359; July 29, 1998). That AD required actions intended to address an unsafe condition on SOCATA Models TB 9 and TB 10 airplanes and was based on mandatory continuing airworthiness information (MCAI) originated by an aviation authority of another country.

    Since we issued AD 98-16-03, SOCATA developed improved repair procedures and increased the applicability to include Model TB 200 airplanes.

    The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), which is the Technical Agent for the Member States of the European Community, has issued EASA AD No. 2018-0030, dated January 31, 2018 (referred to after this as “the MCAI”), to correct an unsafe condition for the specified products. The MCAI states:

    During a scheduled maintenance inspection, cracks were found on the wing front attachments of a TB 10 aeroplane.

    This condition, if not detected and corrected, could affect the structural integrity of the aeroplane.

    Prompted by these findings, SOCATA issued SB 10-081-57 to provide inspection and modification instructions, and DGAC France issued AD 94-264(A), later revised, to require repetitive inspections of wing front attachments of TB 9 and TB 10 aeroplanes (all MSN up to 822 inclusive, with some excluded). That [DGAC France] AD also required installation of reinforcement kits, applied as repair (if cracks were found) or as modification (if no cracks were found), of the wing front attachments, on both wing and fuselage sides, and repetitive replacement of those reinforcements afterwards.

    Since DGAC France AD 94-264(A) R1 was issued, cracks have been found on wing front attachments, on the wing side, on TB10 aeroplanes to which the AD did not apply, i.e. which were not subject to repetitive inspections as required by that [DGAC France] AD. Consequently, SOCATA revised SB 10-081-57 (now at revision (rev) 3), extending the Applicability to all TB 10 aeroplanes, as well as to TB 200 aeroplanes, and improving the repair solution of the wing front attachment on wing side.

    For the reason described above, this [EASA] AD retains the requirements of DGAC France AD 94-264(A) R1, which is superseded, expands the Applicability to all MSN for TB 9 and TB 10 aeroplanes and includes TB 200 aeroplanes, and requires an improved repair solution of the wing front attachment on wing side.

    You may examine the MCAI on the internet at http://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2018-0326.

    Related Service Information Under 1 CFR Part 51

    SOCATA has issued Daher Service Bulletin SB 10-081, Revision 3, dated December 2017. The service bulletin describes procedures for inspecting the front attachments and installing modification kits. 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 126 products of U.S. registry. We also estimate that it would take about 3 work-hours per product to comply with the inspection requirements of this proposed AD. We also estimate that it would take about 25 work-hours per product to comply with the replacement/modification (wing and fuselage sides) requirements of this proposed AD. The average labor rate is $85 per work-hour. Required parts would cost about $3,000 per product.

    Based on these figures, we estimate the cost of the proposed AD on U.S. operators to be $677,880, or $5,380 per product.

    In addition, we estimate that any necessary follow-on actions to replace the wing attachment on the wing side, resulting from the repetitive inspections, would take about 9 work-hours and require parts costing $3,000, for a cost of $3,765 per product. We have no way of determining the number of products that may need these actions.

    Authority for This Rulemaking

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

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

    This AD is issued in accordance with authority delegated by the Executive Director, Aircraft Certification Service, as authorized by FAA Order 8000.51C. In accordance with that order, issuance of ADs is normally a function of the Compliance and Airworthiness Division, but during this transition period, the Executive Director has delegated the authority to issue ADs applicable to 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 removing Airworthiness Directive (AD) 98-16-03, Amendment 39-10677 (63 FR 40359; July 29, 1998), and adding the following new AD: SOCATA: Docket No. FAA-2018-0326; Product Identifier 2018-CE-006-AD. (a) Comments Due Date

    We must receive comments by June 25, 2018.

    (b) Affected ADs

    This AD replaces AD 98-16-03, Amendment 39-10677 (63 FR 40359; July 29, 1998) (“AD 98-16-03”).

    (c) Applicability

    This AD applies to SOCATA airplanes listed in the following groups, certificated in any category:

    (1) Group 1 airplanes: Model TB 9, all manufacturer serial numbers (MSN); and Model TB 10, MSN 001 through 803, 805, 806, 809 through 815, and 820 through 822; and

    (2) Group 2 airplanes: Model TB 10, MSN 804, 807, 808, 816 through 819, and 823 through 2229; and Model TB 200, all MSNs.

    (d) Subject

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

    (e) Reason

    This AD was prompted by mandatory continuing airworthiness information (MCAI) originated by an aviation authority of another country to identify and correct an unsafe condition on an aviation product. The MCAI describes the unsafe condition as fatigue cracking of the wing front attachments on the wing and fuselage sides. We are issuing this AD to prevent fatigue cracking of the wing front attachments, which could lead to structural failure of the airplane and loss of control.

    (f) Compliance

    Unless already done, do the following actions listed in paragraphs (g) through (j) of this AD. The compliance times of this AD are presented in landings instead of hours time-in-service (TIS). If the number of landings is unknown, multiply the number of hours TIS by 1.5. For the purposes of this AD, “XX” can be any numerical value.

    (g) Actions for Airplanes NOT EQUIPPED With Modification Kit OPT109110XX

    (1) Within the compliance time specified in table 1 to paragraph (g)(1) of this AD, do an initial inspection of the wing front attachments on the wing side. Inspect repetitively thereafter at intervals not to exceed 3,000 landings. Follow the Description of Accomplishment Instructions in SOCATA Daher Service Bulletin SB 10-081, Revision 3, December 2017.

    EP09MY18.019

    (2) If a crack was found during any inspection required in paragraph (g)(1) of this AD, before further flight, install the modification reinforcement kit OPT10911002 for the front attachment on the wing side following the Description of Accomplishment Instructions in SOCATA Daher Service Bulletin SB 10-081, Revision 3, December 2017.

    (3) Within the compliance time specified in table 2 to paragraph (g)(3) of this AD, unless already done as corrective action as specified in paragraph (g)(2) of this AD, install the modification reinforcement kit OPT10911002 for the front attachment on the wing side following the Description of Accomplishment Instructions in SOCATA Daher Service Bulletin SB 10-081, Revision 3, December 2017.

    EP09MY18.020 (h) Actions for Airplanes EQUIPPED With Modification Kit OPT109110XX

    (1) Within the compliance time specified in table 3 to paragraph (h)(1) of this AD, do an initial inspection of the reinforced front attachment on the wing side. Inspect repetitively thereafter at intervals not to exceed 3,000 landings. Follow the Description of Accomplishment Instructions in SOCATA Daher Service Bulletin SB 10-081, Revision 3, December 2017.

    EP09MY18.021

    (2) Replacing kit OPT109110XX with kit OPT10911002 on an airplane, at intervals not to exceed 6,000 landings is acceptable to comply with the inspection requirements of paragraph (h)(1) of this AD for that airplane. Follow the Description of Accomplishment Instructions in SOCATA Daher Service Bulletin SB 10-081, Revision 3, December 2017.

    (3) If a crack was found during any inspection required in paragraph (h)(1) of this AD, before further flight, do the applicable corrective actions following the Description of Accomplishment Instructions in SOCATA Daher Service Bulletin SB 10-081, Revision 3, December 2017.

    (i) Actions for Group 1 Airplanes

    (1) Within the compliance time specified in table 4 to paragraph (i)(1) of this AD, do an initial inspection of the wing front attachments on the fuselage side. Inspect repetitively thereafter at intervals not to exceed 3,000 landings. Follow the Description of Accomplishment Instructions in SOCATA Daher Service Bulletin SB 10-081, Revision 3, December 2017.

    EP09MY18.022

    (2) If a crack was found during any inspection required in paragraph (i)(1) of this AD, before further flight, do the applicable corrective actions following the Description of Accomplishment Instructions in SOCATA Daher Service Bulletin SB 10-081, Revision 3, December 2017.

    (3) Unless already done as corrective action required in paragraph (i)(2) of this AD, within the compliance time specified in table 5 to paragraph (i)(3) of this AD, reinforce the front attachment on fuselage side following the Description of Accomplishment Instructions in SOCATA Daher Service Bulletin SB 10-081, Revision 3, December 2017.

    EP09MY18.023

    (4) Before or upon accumulating 12,000 landings after the reinforcement modification required in paragraph (i)(2) or (3) of this AD, replace the reinforced front attachment on the fuselage side following the Description of Accomplishment Instructions in SOCATA Daher Service Bulletin SB 10-081, Revision 3, December 2017.

    (j) Replacement of the Reinforced Front Attachment

    Replacement of the reinforced front attachment on the wing side and/or replacement of the reinforced front attachment on the fuselage side, does not terminate the inspections required in paragraphs (h)(1) and (i)(1) of this AD. After replacement, the initial and repetitive inspection cycle starts over.

    (k) Credit for Previous Actions

    This AD allows credit for the initial inspection required in paragraphs (g)(1) and (i)(1) of this AD and any replacement that may have been required based on the initial inspection, if done before the effective date of this AD, following Socata Service Bulletin No. SB 10-081-57, Revison 1, dated August 1996 or Revision 2, dated January 2017. Any inspections or replacements done after the effective date must be done following SOCATA Daher Service Bulletin SB 10-081, Revision 3, December 2017 as specified in the Actions and Compliance of this AD.

    (l) 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.

    (2) Contacting the Manufacturer: For any requirement in this AD to obtain corrective actions from a manufacturer, the action must be accomplished using a method approved by the Manager, Small Airplane Standards Branch, FAA; or the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).

    (m) Related Information

    Refer to MCAI EASA No. 2018-0030, dated January 31, 2018; and Daher Service Bulletin SB 10-081, Revision 3, dated December 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-2018-0326. For service information related to this AD, contact SOCATA, Direction des services, 65921 Tarbes Cedex 9, France; phone: +33 (0) 5 62 41 73 00; fax: +33 (0) 5 62 41 76 54; email: [email protected]; internet: https://www.mysocata.com/login/accueil.php. You may review copies of the 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 April 30, 2018. Melvin J. Johnson, Deputy Director, Policy & Innovation Division, Aircraft Certification Service.
    [FR Doc. 2018-09602 Filed 5-8-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910-13-P
    SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION 17 CFR Part 275 [Release No. IA-4889; File No. S7-09-18] RIN 3235-AM36 Proposed Commission Interpretation Regarding Standard of Conduct for Investment Advisers; Request for Comment on Enhancing Investment Adviser Regulation AGENCY:

    Securities and Exchange Commission.

    ACTION:

    Proposed interpretation; request for comment.

    SUMMARY:

    The Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC” or the “Commission”) is publishing for comment a proposed interpretation of the standard of conduct for investment advisers under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940 (the “Advisers Act” or the “Act”). The Commission also is requesting comment on: Licensing and continuing education requirements for personnel of SEC-registered investment advisers; delivery of account statements to clients with investment advisory accounts; and financial responsibility requirements for SEC-registered investment advisers, including fidelity bonds.

    DATES:

    Comments should be received on or before August 7, 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/interp.shtml); or

    • Send an email to [email protected] Please include File Number S7-09-18 on the subject line.

    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 S7-09-18. This file number should be included on the subject line if email is used. To help the Commission process and review your comments more efficiently, please use only one method. The Commission will post all comments on the Commission's internet website (http://www.sec.gov/rules/interp.shtml). Comments also are 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 publicly available.

    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:

    Jennifer Songer, Senior Counsel, or Sara Cortes, Assistant Director, at (202) 551-6787 or [email protected], Investment Adviser Regulation Office, Division of Investment Management, Securities and Exchange Commission, 100 F Street NE, Washington, DC 20549-8549.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The Commission is publishing for comment a proposed interpretation of the standard of conduct for investment advisers under the Advisers Act [15 U.S.C. 80b].1

    1 15 U.S.C. 80b. Unless otherwise noted, when we refer to the Advisers Act, or any paragraph of the Advisers Act, we are referring to 15 U.S.C. 80b of the United States Code, at which the Advisers Act is codified, and when we refer to rules under the Advisers Act, or any paragraph of these rules, we are referring to title 17, part 275 of the Code of Federal Regulations [17 CFR 275], in which these rules are published.

    Table of Contents II. Investment Advisers' Fiduciary Duty A. Duty of Care i. Duty To Provide Advice That Is in the Client's Best Interest ii. Duty To Seek Best Execution iii. Duty To Act and To Provide Advice and Monitoring Over the Course of the Relationship B. Duty of Loyalty C. Request for Comment III. Economic Considerations A. Background B. Economic Impacts IV. Request for Comment Regarding Areas of Enhanced Investment Adviser Regulation A. Federal Licensing and Continuing Education B. Provision of Account Statements C. Financial Responsibility I. Introduction

    An investment adviser is a fiduciary, and as such is held to the highest standard of conduct and must act in the best interest of its client.2 Its fiduciary obligation, which includes an affirmative duty of utmost good faith and full and fair disclosure of all material facts, is established under federal law and is important to the Commission's investor protection efforts.3 The Commission also regulates broker-dealers, including the obligations that broker-dealers owe to their customers. Investment advisers and broker-dealers provide advice and services to retail investors and are important to our capital markets and our economy more broadly. Broker-dealers and investment advisers have different types of relationships with their customers and clients and have different models for providing advice, which provide investors with choice about the levels and types of advice they receive and how they pay for the services that they receive.

    2SEC v. Capital Gains Research Bureau, Inc., 375 U.S. 180, 194 (1963) (“SEC v. Capital Gains”). See also infra notes 26-32 and accompanying text; Investment Adviser Codes of Ethics, Investment Advisers Act Release No. 2256 (July 2, 2004); Compliance Programs of Investment Companies and Investment Advisers, Investment Advisers Act Release No. 2204 (Dec. 17, 2003) (“Compliance Programs Release”); Electronic Filing by Investment Advisers; Proposed Amendments to Form ADV, Investment Advisers Act Release No. 1862 (Apr. 5, 2000). We acknowledge that investment advisers also have antifraud liability with respect to prospective clients under section 206 of the Advisers Act.

    3See SEC v. Capital Gains, supra note 2.

    Today, the Commission is proposing a rule that would require all broker-dealers and natural persons who are associated persons of broker-dealers to act in the best interest of retail customers 4 when making a recommendation of any securities transaction or investment strategy involving securities to retail customers (“Regulation Best Interest”).5 We are also proposing to require registered investment advisers and registered broker-dealers to deliver to retail investors a relationship summary, which would provide these investors with information about the relationships and services the firm offers, the standard of conduct and the fees and costs associated with those services, specified conflicts of interest, and whether the firm and its financial professionals currently have reportable legal or disciplinary events.6 In light of the comprehensive nature of our proposed set of rulemakings, we believe it would be appropriate and beneficial to address in one release 7 and reaffirm—and in some cases clarify—certain aspects of the fiduciary duty that an investment adviser owes to its clients under section 206 of the Advisers Act.8

    4 An investment adviser has a fiduciary duty to all of its clients, whether or not the client is a retail investor.

    5 Regulation Best Interest, Exchange Act Release No. 34-83062 (April 18, 2018) (“Regulation Best Interest Proposal”).

    6 Form CRS Relationship Summary; Amendments to Form ADV; Required Disclosures in Retail Communications and Restrictions on the use of Certain Names or Titles, Investment Advisers Act Release No. IA-4888 (April 18, 2018) (“Form CRS Proposal”).

    7 This Release is intended to highlight the principles relevant to an adviser's fiduciary duty. It is not, however, intended to be the exclusive resource for understanding these principles.

    8 The Commission recognizes that many advisers provide impersonal investment advice. See, e.g., Advisers Act rule 203A-3 (defining “impersonal investment advice” in the context of defining “investment adviser representative” as “investment advisory services provided by means of written material or oral statements that do not purport to meet the objectives or needs of specific individuals or accounts”). This Release does not address the extent to which the Advisers Act applies to different types of impersonal investment advice.

    An investment adviser's fiduciary duty is similar to, but not the same as, the proposed obligations of broker-dealers under Regulation Best Interest.9 While we are not proposing a uniform standard of conduct for broker-dealers and investment advisers in light of their different relationship types and models for providing advice, we continue to consider whether we can improve protection of investors through potential enhancements to the legal obligations of investment advisers. Below, in addition to our interpretation of advisers' existing fiduciary obligations, we request comment on three potential enhancements to their legal obligations by considering areas where the current broker-dealer framework provides investor protections that may not have counterparts in the investment adviser context.

    9 Regulation Best Interest Proposal, supra note 5. In addition to the obligations proposed in Regulation Best Interest, broker-dealers have a variety of existing specific obligations, including, among others, suitability, best execution, and fair and reasonable compensation. See, e.g., Hanly v. SEC, 415 F.2d 589, 596-97 (2d Cir. 1969) (“A securities dealer occupies a special relationship to a buyer of securities in that by his position he implicitly represents that he has an adequate and reasonable basis for the opinions he renders.”); and FINRA rules 2111 (Suitability), 5310 (Best Execution and Interpositioning), and 2121 (Fair Prices and Commissions)).

    II. Investment Advisers' Fiduciary Duty

    The Advisers Act establishes a federal fiduciary standard for investment advisers.10 This fiduciary standard is based on equitable common law principles and is fundamental to advisers' relationships with their clients under the Advisers Act.11 The fiduciary duty to which advisers are subject is not specifically defined in the Advisers Act or in Commission rules, but reflects a Congressional recognition “of the delicate fiduciary nature of an investment advisory relationship” as well as a Congressional intent to “eliminate, or at least to expose, all conflicts of interest which might incline an investment adviser—consciously or unconsciously—to render advice which was not disinterested.” 12 An adviser's fiduciary duty is imposed under the Advisers Act in recognition of the nature of the relationship between an investment adviser and a client and the desire “so far as is presently practicable to eliminate the abuses” that led to the enactment of the Advisers Act.13 It is made enforceable by the antifraud provisions of the Advisers Act.14

    10Transamerica Mortgage Advisors, Inc. v. Lewis, 444 U.S. 11, 17 (1979) (“Transamerica Mortgage v. Lewis”) (“§ 206 establishes federal fiduciary standards to govern the conduct of investment advisers.”) (quotation marks omitted); Santa Fe Industries, Inc. v. Green, 430 U.S. 462, 471, n.11 (1977) (in discussing SEC v. Capital Gains, stating that the Supreme Court's reference to fraud in the “equitable” sense of the term was “premised on its recognition that Congress intended the Investment Advisers Act to establish federal fiduciary standards for investment advisers”); SEC v. Capital Gains, supra note 2; Amendments to Form ADV, Investment Advisers Act Release No. 3060 (July 28, 2010) (“Investment Advisers Act Release 3060”) (“Under the Advisers Act, an adviser is a fiduciary whose duty is to serve the best interests of its clients, which includes an obligation not to subrogate clients' interests to its own,” citing Proxy Voting by Investment Advisers, Investment Advisers Act Release No. 2106 (Jan. 31, 2003) (“Investment Advisers Act Release 2106”)).

    11See SEC v. Capital Gains, supra note 2 (discussing the history of the Advisers Act, and how equitable principles influenced the common law of fraud and changed the suits brought against a fiduciary, “which Congress recognized the investment adviser to be”).

    12See SEC v. Capital Gains, supra note 2.

    13See SEC v. Capital Gains, supra note 2 (“The Advisers Act thus reflects a congressional recognition `of the delicate fiduciary nature of an investment advisory relationship,' as well as a congressional intent to eliminate, or at least to expose, all conflicts of interest which might incline an investment adviser—consciously or unconsciously—to render advice which was not disinterested.” and also noting that the “declaration of policy” in the original bill, which became the Advisers Act, declared that “the national public interest and the interest of investors are adversely affected when the business of investment advisers is so conducted as to defraud or mislead investors, or to enable such advisers to relieve themselves of their fiduciary obligations to their clients. It [sic] is hereby declared that the policy and purposes of this title, in accordance with which the provisions of this title shall be interpreted, are to mitigate and, so far as is presently practicable to eliminate the abuses enumerated in this section” (citing S. 3580, 76th Cong., 3d Sess., § 202 and Investment Trusts and Investment Companies, Report of the Securities and Exchange Commission, Pursuant to Section 30 of the Public Utility Holding Company Act of 1935, on Investment Counsel, Investment Management, Investment Supervisory, and Investment Advisory Services, H.R. Doc. No. 477, 76th Cong. 2d Sess., 1, at 28). See also In the Matter of Arleen W. Hughes, Exchange Act Release No. 4048 (Feb. 18, 1948) (“Arleen Hughes”) (discussing the relationship of trust and confidence between the client and a dual registrant and stating that the registrant was a fiduciary and subject to liability under the antifraud provisions of the Securities Act of 1933 and the Securities Exchange Act).

    14SEC v. Capital Gains, supra note 2; Transamerica Mortgage v. Lewis, supra note 10 (“[T]he Act's legislative history leaves no doubt that Congress intended to impose enforceable fiduciary obligations.”).

    An investment adviser's fiduciary duty under the Advisers Act comprises a duty of care and a duty of loyalty. Several commenters responding to Chairman Clayton's June 2017 request for public input 15 on the standards of conduct for investment advisers and broker-dealers acknowledged these duties.16 This fiduciary duty requires an adviser “to adopt the principal's goals, objectives, or ends.” 17 This means the adviser must, at all times, serve the best interest of its clients and not subordinate its clients' interest to its own.18 The federal fiduciary duty is imposed through the antifraud provisions of the Advisers Act.19 The duty follows the contours of the relationship between the adviser and its client, and the adviser and its client may shape that relationship through contract when the client receives full and fair disclosure and provides informed consent.20 Although the ability to tailor the terms means that the application of the fiduciary duty will vary with the terms of the relationship, the relationship in all cases remains that of a fiduciary to a client. In other words, the investment adviser cannot disclose or negotiate away, and the investor cannot waive, the federal fiduciary duty.21 We discuss our views 22 on an investment adviser's fiduciary duty in more detail below.23

    15 Public Comments from Retail Investors and Other Interested Parties on Standards of Conduct for Investment Advisers and Broker-Dealers, Chairman Jay Clayton (June 1, 2017), available at https://www.sec.gov/news/public-statement/statement-chairman-clayton-2017-05-31 (“Chairman Clayton's Request for Public Input”).

    16See, e.g., Comment letter of the Investment Adviser Association (Aug. 31, 2017) (“IAA Letter”) (“The well-established fiduciary duty under the Advisers Act, which incorporates both a duty of loyalty and a duty of care, has been applied consistently over the years by courts and the SEC.”); Comment letter of the Consumer Federation of America (Sept. 14, 2017) (“an adviser's fiduciary obligation `divides neatly into the duty of loyalty and the duty of care.' The duty of loyalty is designed to protect against `malfeasance,' or wrongdoing, on the part of the adviser, while the duty of care is designed to protect against `nonfeasance,' such as neglect.”).

    17 Arthur B. Laby, The Fiduciary Obligations as the Adoption of Ends, 56 Buffalo Law Review 99 (2008). See also Restatement (Third) of Agency, § 2.02 Scope of Actual Authority (2006) (describing a fiduciary's authority in terms of the fiduciary's reasonable understanding of the principal's manifestations and objectives).

    18 Investment Advisers Act Release 3060, supra footnote 10 (adopting amendments to Form ADV and stating that “under the Advisers Act, an adviser is a fiduciary whose duty is to serve the best interests of its clients, which includes an obligation not to subrogate clients' interests to its own,” citing Investment Advisers Act Release 2106 supra note 10); SEC v. Tambone, 550 F.3d 106, 146 (1st Cir. 2008) (“Section 206 imposes a fiduciary duty on investment advisers to act at all times in the best interest of the fund and its investors.”); SEC v. Moran, 944 F. Supp. 286 (S.D.N.Y 1996) (“Investment advisers are entrusted with the responsibility and duty to act in the best interest of their clients.”).

    19See supra note 14.

    20See infra note 40 and accompanying text for a discussion of informed consent.

    21 As an adviser's federal fiduciary obligations are enforceable through section 206 of the Act, we would view a waiver of enforcement of section 206 as implicating section 215(a) of the Act, which provides that “any condition, stipulation or provision binding any person to waive compliance with any provision of this title . . . shall be void.” Some commenters on Chairman Clayton's Request for Public Input and other Commission requests for comment also stated that an adviser's fiduciary duty could not be disclosed away. See, e.g., IAA Letter supra note 16 (“While disclosure of conflicts is crucial, it cannot take the place of the overarching duty of loyalty. In other words, an adviser is still first and foremost bound by its duty to act in its client's best interest and disclosure does not relieve an adviser of this duty.”); Comment letter of AARP (Sept. 6, 2017) (“Disclosure and consent alone do not meet the fiduciary test.”); Financial Planning Coalition Letter (July 5, 2013) responding to SEC Request for Data and Other Information, Duties of Brokers, Dealers, and Investment Advisers, Exchange Act Release No. 69013 (Mar. 1, 2013) (“Financial Planning Coalition 2013 Letter”) (“[D]isclosure alone is not sufficient to discharge an investment adviser's fiduciary duty; rather, the key issue is whether the transaction is in the best interest of the client.”) (internal citations omitted). See also Restatement (Third) of Agency, § 8.06 Principal's Consent (2006) (“The law applicable to relationships of agency as defined in § 1.01 imposes mandatory limits on the circumstances under which an agent may be empowered to take disloyal action. These limits serve protective and cautionary purposes. Thus, an agreement that contains general or broad language purporting to release an agent in advance from the agent's general fiduciary obligation to the principal is not likely to be enforceable. This is because a broadly sweeping release of an agent's fiduciary duty may not reflect an adequately informed judgment on the part of the principal; if effective, the release would expose the principal to the risk that the agent will exploit the agent's position in ways not foreseeable by the principal at the time the principal agreed to the release. In contrast, when a principal consents to specific transactions or to specified types of conduct by the agent, the principal has a focused opportunity to assess risks that are more readily identifiable.”); Tamar Frankel, Arthur Laby & Ann Schwing, The Regulation of Money Managers, (updated 2017) (“The Regulation of Money Managers”) (“Disclosure may, but will not always, cure the fraud, since a fiduciary owes a duty to deal fairly with clients.”).

    22 In various circumstances, other regulators, including the U.S. Department of Labor, and other legal regimes, including state securities law, impose obligations on investment advisers. In some cases, these standards may differ from the standard imposed and enforced by the Commission.

    23 The interpretations discussed in this Release also apply to automated advisers, which are often colloquially referred to as “robo-advisers.” Robo-advisers, like all SEC-registered investment advisers, are subject to all of the requirements of the Advisers Act, including the requirement that they provide advice consistent with the fiduciary duty they owe to their clients. The staff of the Commission has issued guidance regarding how robo-advisers can meet their obligations under the Advisers Act, given the unique challenges and opportunities presented by their business models. See Division of Investment Management, SEC, Staff Guidance on Robo Advisers, (February 2017), available at https://www.sec.gov/investment/im-guidance-2017-02.pdf.

    A. Duty of Care

    As fiduciaries, investment advisers owe their clients a duty of care.24 The Commission has discussed the duty of care and its components in a number of contexts.25 The duty of care includes, among other things: (i) The duty to act and to provide advice that is in the best interest of the client, (ii) the duty to seek best execution of a client's transactions where the adviser has the responsibility to select broker-dealers to execute client trades, and (iii) the duty to provide advice and monitoring over the course of the relationship.

    24See Investment Advisers Act Release No. 2106, supra note 10 (stating that under the Advisers Act, “an adviser is a fiduciary that owes each of its clients duties of care and loyalty with respect to all services undertaken on the client's behalf, including proxy voting,” which is the subject of the release, and citing SEC v. Capital Gains supra note 2, to support this point). See also Restatement (Third) of Agency, § 8.08 (discussing the duty of care that an agent owes its principal as a matter of common law); The Regulation of Money Managers, supra note 21 (“Advice can be divided into three stages. The first determines the needs of the particular client. The second determines the portfolio strategy that would lead to meeting the client's needs. The third relates to the choice of securities that the portfolio would contain. The duty of care relates to each of the stages and depends on the depth or extent of the advisers' obligation towards their clients.”).

    25See, e.g., Suitability of Investment Advice Provided by Investment Advisers; Custodial Account Statements for Certain Advisory Clients, Investment Advisers Act Release No. 1406 (Mar. 16, 1994) (“Investment Advisers Act Release 1406”) (stating that advisers have a duty of care and discussing advisers' suitability obligations); Securities; Brokerage and Research Services, Exchange Act Release No. 23170 (Apr. 23, 1986) (“Exchange Act Release 23170”) (“an adviser, as a fiduciary, owes its clients a duty of obtaining the best execution on securities transactions.”). We highlight certain contexts in which the Commission has addressed the duty of care but we note that there are others; for example, voting proxies when an adviser undertakes to do so. Investment Advisers Act Release 2106, supra note 10.

    i. Duty To Provide Advice That Is in the Client's Best Interest

    We have addressed an adviser's duty of care in the context of the provision of personalized investment advice. In this context, the duty of care includes a duty to make a reasonable inquiry into a client's financial situation, level of financial sophistication, investment experience, and investment objectives (which we refer to collectively as the client's “investment profile”) and a duty to provide personalized advice that is suitable for and in the best interest of the client based on the client's investment profile.26

    26 In 1994, the Commission proposed a rule that would make express the fiduciary obligation of investment advisers to make only suitable recommendations to a client. Investment Advisers Act Release 1406, supra note 25. Although never adopted, the rule was designed, among other things, to reflect the Commission's interpretation of an adviser's existing suitability obligation under the Advisers Act. We believe that this obligation, when combined with an adviser's fiduciary duty to act in the best interest of its client, requires an adviser to provide investment advice that is suitable for and in the best interest of its client.

    An adviser must, before providing any personalized investment advice and as appropriate thereafter, make a reasonable inquiry into the client's investment profile. The nature and extent of the inquiry turn on what is reasonable under the circumstances, including the nature and extent of the agreed-upon advisory services, the nature and complexity of the anticipated investment advice, and the investment profile of the client. For example, to formulate a comprehensive financial plan for a client, an adviser might obtain a range of personal and financial information about the client, including current income, investments, assets and debts, marital status, insurance policies, and financial goals.27

    27 Investment Advisers Act Release 1406, supra note 25. After making a reasonable inquiry into the client's investment profile, it generally would be reasonable for an adviser to rely on information provided by the client (or the client's agent) regarding the client's financial circumstances, and an adviser should not be held to have given advice not in its client's best interest if it is later shown that the client had misled the adviser.

    An adviser must update a client's investment profile in order to adjust its advice to reflect any changed circumstances.28 The frequency with which the adviser must update the information in order to consider changes to any advice the adviser provides would turn on many factors, including whether the adviser is aware of events that have occurred that could render inaccurate or incomplete the investment profile on which it currently bases its advice. For example, a change in the relevant tax law or knowledge that the client has retired or experienced a change in marital status might trigger an obligation to make a new inquiry.

    28 We note that this would not be done for a one-time financial plan or other investment advice that is not provided on an ongoing basis. See also infra note 37.

    An investment adviser must also have a reasonable belief that the personalized advice is suitable for and in the best interest of the client based on the client's investment profile. A reasonable belief would involve considering, for example, whether investments are recommended only to those clients who can and are willing to tolerate the risks of those investments and for whom the potential benefits may justify the risks. 29 Whether the advice is in a client's best interest must be evaluated in the context of the portfolio that the adviser manages for the client and the client's investment profile. For example, when an adviser is advising a client with a conservative investment objective, investing in certain derivatives may be in the client's best interest when they are used to hedge interest rate risk in the client's portfolio, whereas investing in certain directionally speculative derivatives on their own may not. For that same client, investing in a particular security on margin may not be in the client's best interest, even if investing in that same security may be in the client's best interest. When advising a financially sophisticated investor with a high risk tolerance, however, it may be consistent with the adviser's duties to recommend investing in such directionally speculative derivatives or investing in securities on margin.

    29 We note that Item 8 of Part 2A of Form ADV requires an investment adviser to describe its methods of analysis and investment strategies and disclose that investing in securities involves risk of loss which clients should be prepared to bear. This item also requires that an adviser explain the material risks involved for each significant investment strategy or method of analysis it uses and particular type of security it recommends, with more detail if those risks are significant or unusual.

    The cost (including fees and compensation) associated with investment advice would generally be one of many important factors—such as the investment product's or strategy's investment objectives, characteristics (including any special or unusual features), liquidity, risks and potential benefits, volatility and likely performance in a variety of market and economic conditions—to consider when determining whether a security or investment strategy involving a security or securities is in the best interest of the client. Accordingly, the fiduciary duty does not necessarily require an adviser to recommend the lowest cost investment product or strategy. We believe that an adviser could not reasonably believe that a recommended security is in the best interest of a client if it is higher cost than a security that is otherwise identical, including any special or unusual features, liquidity, risks and potential benefits, volatility and likely performance. For example, if an adviser advises its clients to invest in a mutual fund share class that is more expensive than other available options when the adviser is receiving compensation that creates a potential conflict and that may reduce the client's return, the adviser may violate its fiduciary duty and the antifraud provisions of the Advisers Act if it does not, at a minimum, provide full and fair disclosure of the conflict and its impact on the client and obtain informed client consent to the conflict.30 Furthermore, an adviser would not satisfy its fiduciary duty to provide advice that is in the client's best interest by simply advising its client to invest in the least expensive or least remunerative investment product or strategy without any further analysis of other factors in the context of the portfolio that the adviser manages for the client and the client's investment profile. For example, it might be consistent with an adviser's fiduciary duty to advise a client with a high risk tolerance and significant investment experience to invest in a private equity fund with relatively high fees if other factors about the fund, such as its diversification and potential performance benefits, cause it to be in the client's best interest. We believe that a reasonable belief that investment advice is in the best interest of a client also requires that an adviser conduct a reasonable investigation into the investment sufficient to not base its advice on materially inaccurate or incomplete information.31 We have brought enforcement actions where an investment adviser did not independently or reasonably investigate securities before recommending them to clients.32 This obligation to provide advice that is suitable and in the best interest applies not just to potential investments, but to all advice the investment adviser provides to clients, including advice about an investment strategy or engaging a sub-adviser and advice about whether to rollover a retirement account so that the investment adviser manages that account.

    30See infra notes 48-52 and accompanying text (discussing an adviser's duties related to disclosure and consent).

    31See, e.g., Concept Release on the U.S. Proxy System, Investment Advisers Act Release No. 3052 (July 14, 2010) (stating “as a fiduciary, the proxy advisory firm has a duty of care requiring it to make a reasonable investigation to determine that it is not basing its recommendations on materially inaccurate or incomplete information”).

    32See In the Matter of Larry C. Grossman, Investment Advisers Act Release No. 4543 (Sept. 30, 2016) (Commission opinion) (imposing liability on a principal of a registered investment adviser for recommending offshore private investment funds to clients without a reasonable independent basis for his advice).

    ii. Duty To Seek Best Execution

    We have addressed an investment adviser's duty of care in the context of trade execution where the adviser has the responsibility to select broker-dealers to execute client trades (typically in the case of discretionary accounts). We have said that, in this context, an adviser has the duty to seek best execution of a client's transactions.33 In meeting this obligation, an adviser must seek to obtain the execution of transactions for each of its clients such that the client's total cost or proceeds in each transaction are the most favorable under the circumstances. An adviser fulfills this duty by executing securities transactions on behalf of a client with the goal of maximizing value for the client under the particular circumstances occurring at the time of the transaction. As noted below, maximizing value can encompass more than just minimizing cost. When seeking best execution, an adviser should consider “the full range and quality of a broker's services in placing brokerage including, among other things, the value of research provided as well as execution capability, commission rate, financial responsibility, and responsiveness” to the adviser.34 In other words, the determinative factor is not the lowest possible commission cost but whether the transaction represents the best qualitative execution. Further, an investment adviser should “periodically and systematically” evaluate the execution it is receiving for clients.35

    33See Commission Guidance Regarding Client Commission Practices Under Section 28(e) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, Exchange Act Release No. 54165 (July 18, 2006) (stating that investment advisers have “best execution obligations”); Investment Advisers Act Release 3060, supra note 10 (discussing an adviser's best execution obligations in the context of directed brokerage arrangements and disclosure of soft dollar practices). See also Advisers Act rule 206(3)-2(c) (referring to adviser's duty of best execution of client transactions).

    34 Exchange Act Release 23170, supra note 25.

    35Id. The Advisers Act does not prohibit advisers from using an affiliated broker to execute client trades. However, the adviser's use of such an affiliate involves a conflict of interest that must be fully and fairly disclosed and the client must provide informed consent to the conflict.

    iii. Duty To Act and To Provide Advice and Monitoring Over the Course of the Relationship

    An investment adviser's duty of care also encompasses the duty to provide advice and monitoring over the course of a relationship with a client.36 An adviser is required to provide advice and services to a client over the course of the relationship at a frequency that is both in the best interest of the client and consistent with the scope of advisory services agreed upon between the investment adviser and the client. The duty to provide advice and monitoring is particularly important for an adviser that has an ongoing relationship with a client (for example, a relationship where the adviser is compensated with a periodic asset-based fee or an adviser with discretionary authority over client assets). Conversely, the steps needed to fulfill this duty may be relatively circumscribed for the adviser and client that have agreed to a relationship of limited duration via contract (for example, a financial planning relationship where the adviser is compensated with a fixed, one-time fee commensurate with the discrete, limited-duration nature of the advice provided).37 An adviser's duty to monitor extends to all personalized advice it provides the client, including an evaluation of whether a client's account or program type (for example, a wrap account) continues to be in the client's best interest.

    36See SEC v. Capital Gains, supra note 2 (describing advisers' “basic function” as “furnishing to clients on a personal basis competent, unbiased, and continuous advice regarding the sound management of their investments” (quoting Investment Trusts and Investment Companies, Report of the Securities and Exchange Commission, Pursuant to Section 30 of the Public Utility Holding Company Act of 1935, on Investment Counsel, Investment Management, Investment Supervisory, and Investment Advisory Services, H.R. Doc. No. 477, 76th Cong. 2d Sess., 1, at 28)). Cf. Barbara Black, Brokers and Advisers-What's in a Name?, 32 Fordham Journal of Corporate and Financial Law XI (2005) (“[W]here the investment adviser's duties include management of the account, [the adviser] is under an obligation to monitor the performance of the account and to make appropriate changes in the portfolio.”); Arthur B. Laby, Fiduciary Obligations of Broker-Dealers and Investment Advisers, 55 Villanova Law Review 701, at 728 (2010) (“Laby Villanova Article”) (“If an adviser has agreed to provide continuous supervisory services, the scope of the adviser's fiduciary duty entails a continuous, ongoing duty to supervise the client's account, regardless of whether any trading occurs. This feature of the adviser's duty, even in a non-discretionary account, contrasts sharply with the duty of a broker administering a non-discretionary account, where no duty to monitor is required.”) (internal citations omitted).

    37See Laby Villanova Article, supra note 36, at 728 (2010) (stating that the scope of an adviser's activity can be altered by contract and that an adviser's fiduciary duty would be commensurate with the scope of the relationship).

    B. Duty of Loyalty

    The duty of loyalty requires an investment adviser to put its client's interests first. An investment adviser must not favor its own interests over those of a client or unfairly favor one client over another.38 In seeking to meet its duty of loyalty, an adviser must make full and fair disclosure to its clients of all material facts relating to the advisory relationship.39 In addition, an adviser must seek to avoid conflicts of interest with its clients, and, at a minimum, make full and fair disclosure of all material conflicts of interest that could affect the advisory relationship. The disclosure should be sufficiently specific so that a client is able to decide whether to provide informed consent to the conflict of interest.40 We discuss each of these aspects of the duty of loyalty below.

    38See Investment Advisers Act Release 3060 (“Under the Advisers Act, an adviser is a fiduciary whose duty is to serve the best interests of its clients, which includes an obligation not to subrogate clients' interests to its own,” citing Investment Advisers Act Release 2106 supra note 9). See also Staff of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Study on Investment Advisers and Broker-Dealers As Required by Section 913 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Jan. 2011), available at https://www.sec.gov/news/studies/2011/913studyfinal.pdf (“913 Study”).

    39 Investment Advisers Act Release 3060, supra note 6 (“as a fiduciary, an adviser has an ongoing obligation to inform its clients of any material information that could affect the advisory relationship”). See also General Instruction 3 to Part 2 of Form ADV (“Under federal and state law, you are a fiduciary and must make full disclosure to your clients of all material facts relating to the advisory relationship.”).

    40 Arleen Hughes, supra note 13, at 4 and 8 (stating, “[s]ince loyalty to his trust is the first duty which a fiduciary owes to his principal, it is the general rule that a fiduciary must not put himself into a position where his own interests may come in conflict with those of his principal. To prevent any conflict and the possible subordination of this duty to act solely for the benefit of his principal, a fiduciary at common law is forbidden to deal as an adverse party with his principal. An exception is made, however, where the principal gives his informed consent to such dealings,” and adding that, “[r]egistrant has an affirmative obligation to disclose all material facts to her clients in a manner which is clear enough so that a client is fully apprised of the facts and is in a position to give his informed consent.”). See also Hughes v. Securities and Exchange Commission, 174 F.2d 969 (1949) (affirming the SEC decision in Arleen Hughes).

    See also General Instruction 3 to Part 2 of Form ADV (stating that an adviser's disclosure obligation “requires that [the adviser] provide the client with sufficiently specific facts so that the client is able to understand the conflicts of interest [the adviser has] and the business practices in which [the adviser] engage[s], and can give informed consent to such conflicts or practices or reject them”); Investment Advisers Act Release 3060, supra note 10 (same); Restatement (Third) of Agency § 8.06 (“Conduct by an agent that would otherwise constitute a breach of duty as stated in §§ 8.01, 8.02, 8.03, 8.04, and 8.05 [referencing the fiduciary duty] does not constitute a breach of duty if the principal consents to the conduct, provided that (a) in obtaining the principal's consent, the agent (i) acts in good faith, (ii) discloses all material facts that the agent knows, has reason to know, or should know would reasonably affect the principal's judgment unless the principal has manifested that such facts are already known by the principal or that the principal does not wish to know them, and (iii) otherwise deals fairly with the principal; and (b) the principal's consent concerns either a specific act or transaction, or acts or transactions of a specified type that could reasonably be expected to occur in the ordinary course of the agency relationship”).

    Because an adviser must serve the best interests of its clients, it has an obligation not to subordinate its clients' interests to its own. For example, an adviser cannot favor its own interests over those of a client, whether by favoring its own accounts or by favoring certain client accounts that pay higher fee rates to the adviser over other client accounts.41 Accordingly, the duty of loyalty includes a duty not to treat some clients favorably at the expense of other clients. Thus, we believe that in allocating investment opportunities among eligible clients, an adviser must treat all clients fairly.42 This does not mean that an adviser must have a pro rata allocation policy, that the adviser's allocation policies cannot reflect the differences in clients' objectives or investment profiles, or that the adviser cannot exercise judgment in allocating investment opportunities among eligible clients. Rather, it means that an adviser's allocation policies must be fair and, if they present a conflict, the adviser must fully and fairly disclose the conflict such that a client can provide informed consent.

    41 The Commission has brought numerous enforcement actions against advisers that unfairly allocated trades to their own accounts and allocated less favorable or unprofitable trades to their clients' accounts. See, e.g., SEC v. Strategic Capital Management, LLC and Michael J. Breton, Litigation Release No. 23867 (June 23, 2017) (partial settlement) (adviser placed trades through a master brokerage account and then allocated profitable trades to adviser's account while placing unprofitable trades into the client accounts.).

    42See also Barry Barbash and Jai Massari, The Investment Advisers Act of 1940; Regulation by Accretion, 39 Rutgers Law Journal 627 (2008) (stating that under section 206 of the Advisers Act and traditional notions of fiduciary and agency law an adviser must not give preferential treatment to some clients or systematically exclude eligible clients from participating in specific opportunities without providing the clients with appropriate disclosure regarding the treatment).

    An adviser must seek to avoid conflicts of interest with its clients, and, at a minimum, make full and fair disclosure to its clients of all material conflicts of interest that could affect the advisory relationship.43 Disclosure of a conflict alone is not always sufficient to satisfy the adviser's duty of loyalty and section 206 of the Advisers Act.44 Any disclosure must be clear and detailed enough for a client to make a reasonably informed decision to consent to such conflicts and practices or reject them.45 An adviser must provide the client with sufficiently specific facts so that the client is able to understand the adviser's conflicts of interest and business practices well enough to make an informed decision.46 For example, an adviser disclosing that it “may” have a conflict is not adequate disclosure when the conflict actually exists.47 A client's informed consent can be either explicit or, depending on the facts and circumstances, implicit. We believe, however, that it would not be consistent with an adviser's fiduciary duty to infer or accept client consent to a conflict where either (i) the facts and circumstances indicate that the client did not understand the nature and import of the conflict, or (ii) the material facts concerning the conflict could not be fully and fairly disclosed.48 For example, in some cases, conflicts may be of a nature and extent that it would be difficult to provide disclosure that adequately conveys the material facts or the nature, magnitude and potential effect of the conflict necessary to obtain informed consent and satisfy an adviser's fiduciary duty. In other cases, disclosure may not be specific enough for clients to understand whether and how the conflict will affect the advice they receive. With some complex or extensive conflicts, it may be difficult to provide disclosure that is sufficiently specific, but also understandable, to the adviser's clients. In all of these cases where full and fair disclosure and informed consent is insufficient, we expect an adviser to eliminate the conflict or adequately mitigate the conflict so that it can be more readily disclosed.

    43See SEC v. Capital Gains, supra note 2 (advisers must fully disclose all material conflicts, citing Congressional intent “to eliminate, or at least expose, all conflicts of interest which might incline an investment adviser—consciously or unconsciously—to render advice which was not disinterested”). See also Investment Advisers Act Release 3060, supra note 9.

    44See SEC v. Capital Gains, supra note 2 (in discussing the legislative history of the Advisers Act, citing ethical standards of one of the leading investment counsel associations, which provided that an investment counsel should remain “as free as humanly possible from the subtle influence of prejudice, conscious or unconscious” and “avoid any affiliation, or any act which subjects his position to challenge in this respect” and stating that one of the policy purposes of the Advisers Act is “to mitigate and, so far as is presently practicable to eliminate the abuses” that formed the basis of the Advisers Act). Separate and apart from potential liability under the antifraud provisions of the Advisers Act enforceable by the Commission for breaches of fiduciary duty in the absence of full and fair disclosure, investment advisers may also wish to consider their potential liability to clients under state common law, which may vary from state to state.

    45See Arlene Hughes, supra at 13 (in finding that registrant had not obtained informed consent, citing to testimony indicating that “some clients had no understanding at all of the nature and significance” of the disclosure).

    46See General Instruction 3 to Part 2 of Form ADV. Cf. Arleen Hughes, supra note 13 (Hughes acted simultaneously in the dual capacity of investment adviser and of broker and dealer and conceded having a fiduciary duty. In describing the fiduciary duty and her potential liability under the antifraud provisions of the Securities Act and the Exchange Act, the Commission stated she had “an affirmative obligation to disclose all material facts to her clients in a manner which is clear enough so that a client is fully apprised of the facts and is in a position to give his informed consent.”).

    47 We have brought enforcement actions in such cases. See, e.g., In the Matter of The Robare Group, Ltd., et al., Investment Advisers Act Release No. 4566 (Nov. 7, 2016) (Commission Opinion) (appeal docketed) (finding, among other things, that adviser's disclosure was inadequate because it stated that the adviser may receive compensation from a broker as a result of the facilitation of transactions on client's behalf through such broker-dealer and that these arrangements may create a conflict of interest when adviser was, in fact, receiving payments from the broker and had such a conflict of interest).

    48See Arleen Hughes, supra note 13 (“Registrant cannot satisfy this duty by executing an agreement with her clients which the record shows some clients do not understand and which, in any event, does not contain the essential facts which she must communicate.”) Some commenters on Commission requests for comment agreed that full and fair disclosure and informed consent are important components of an adviser's fiduciary duty. See, e.g., Financial Planning Coalition 2013 Letter, supra note 21 (“[C]onsent is only informed if the customer has the ability fully to understand and to evaluate the information. Many complex products . . . are appropriate only for sophisticated and experienced investors. It is not sufficient for a fiduciary to make disclosure of potential conflicts of interest with respect to such products. The fiduciary must make a reasonable judgment that the customer is fully able to understand and to evaluate the product and the potential conflicts of interest that it presents—and then the fiduciary must make a judgment that the product is in the best interests of the customer.”).

    Full and fair disclosure of all material facts that could affect an advisory relationship, including all material conflicts of interest between the adviser and the client, can help clients and prospective clients in evaluating and selecting investment advisers. Accordingly, we require advisers to deliver to their clients a “brochure,” under Part 2A of Form ADV, which sets out minimum disclosure requirements, including disclosure of certain conflicts.49 Investment advisers are required to deliver the brochure to a prospective client at or before entering into a contract so that the prospective client can use the information contained in the brochure to decide whether or not to enter into the advisory relationship.50 In a concurrent release, we are proposing to require all investment advisers to deliver to retail investors before or at the time the adviser enters into an investment advisory agreement a relationship summary which would include a summary of certain conflicts of interest.51

    49 Investment Advisers Act Release 3060, supra note 10; General Instruction 3 to Part 2 of Form ADV (“Under federal and state law, you are a fiduciary and must make full disclosure to your clients of all material facts relating to the advisory relationship. As a fiduciary, you also must seek to avoid conflicts of interest with your clients, and, at a minimum, make full disclosure of all material conflicts of interest between you and your clients that could affect the advisory relationship. This obligation requires that you provide the client with sufficiently specific facts so that the client is able to understand the conflicts of interest you have and the business practices in which you engage, and can give informed consent to such conflicts or practices or reject them.”).

    50 Investment Advisers Act rule 204-3. Investment Advisers Act Release 3060, supra note 10 (adopting amendments to Form ADV and stating that “A client may use this disclosure to select his or her own adviser and evaluate the adviser's business practices and conflicts on an ongoing basis. As a result, the disclosure clients and prospective clients receive is critical to their ability to make an informed decision about whether to engage an adviser and, having engaged the adviser, to manage that relationship.”).

    51 Form CRS Proposal, supra note 6.

    C. Request for Comment

    The Commission requests comment on our proposed interpretation regarding certain aspects of the fiduciary duty under section 206 of the Advisers Act.

    • Does the Commission's proposed interpretation offer sufficient guidance with respect to the fiduciary duty under section 206 of the Advisers Act?

    • Are there any significant issues related to an adviser's fiduciary duty that the proposed interpretation has not addressed?

    • Would it be beneficial for investors, advisers or broker-dealers for the Commission to codify any portion of our proposed interpretation of the fiduciary duty under section 206 of the Advisers Act?

    III. Economic Considerations

    The Commission is sensitive to the potential economic effects of the proposed interpretation provided above.52 In this section we discuss how the proposed Commission interpretation may benefit investors and reduce agency problems by reaffirming and clarifying the fiduciary duty an investment adviser owes to its clients. We also discuss some potential broader economic effects on the market for investment advice.

    52 The Commission, where possible, has sought to quantify the economic impacts expected to result from the proposed interpretations. However, as discussed more specifically below, the Commission is unable to quantify certain of the economic effects because it lacks information necessary to provide reasonable estimates.

    A. Background

    The Commission's interpretation of the standard of conduct for investment advisers under the Advisers Act set forth in this Release would affect investment advisers and their associated persons as well as the clients of those investment advisers, and the market for financial advice more broadly.53 There are 12,659 investment advisers registered with the Commission with over $72 trillion in assets under management as well as 17,635 investment advisers registered with states and 3,587 investment advisers who submit Form ADV as exempt reporting advisers.54 As of December 2017, there are approximately 36 million client accounts advised by SEC-registered investment advisers.

    53See Form CRS Proposal, supra note 6, at Section IV.A (discussing the market for financial advice generally).

    54See Form CRS Proposal, supra note 6, at Section IV.A.1.b (discussing SEC-registered investment advisers). Note, however, that because we are interpreting advisers' fiduciary duties under section 206 of the Advisers Act, this interpretation would be applicable to both SEC- and state-registered investment advisers, as well as other investment advisers that are exempt from registration or subject to a prohibition on registration under the Advisers Act.

    These investment advisers currently incur ongoing costs related to their compliance with their legal and regulatory obligations, including costs related to their understanding of the standard of conduct. We believe, based on the Commission's experience, that the interpretations we are setting forth in this Release are generally consistent with investment advisers' current understanding of the practices necessary to comply with their fiduciary duty under the Advisers Act; however, we recognize that there may be certain current investment advisers who have interpreted their fiduciary duty to require something less, or something more, than the Commission's interpretation. We lack data to identify which investment advisers currently understand the practices necessary to comply with their fiduciary duty to be different from the standard of conduct in the Commission's interpretation. Based on our experience, however, we generally believe that it is not a significant portion of the market.

    B. Economic Impacts

    Based on our experience as the long-standing regulator of the investment adviser industry, the Commission's interpretation of the fiduciary duty under section 206 of the Advisers Act described in this Release generally reaffirms the current practices of investment advisers. Therefore, we expect there to be no significant economic impacts from the interpretation. We do acknowledge, however, to the extent certain investment advisers currently understand the practices necessary to comply with their fiduciary duty to be different from those discussed in this interpretation, there could be some potential economic effects, which we discuss below.

    Clients of Investment Advisers

    The typical relationship between an investment adviser and a client is a principal-agent relationship, where the principal (the client) hires an agent (the investment adviser) to perform some service (investment advisory services) on the client's behalf.55 Because investors and investment advisers are likely to have different preferences and goals, the investment adviser relationship is subject to agency problems: That is, investment advisers may take actions that increase their well-being at the expense of investors, thereby imposing agency costs on investors.56 A fiduciary duty, such as the duty investment advisers owe their clients, can mitigate these agency problems and reduce agency costs by deterring agents from taking actions that expose them to legal liability.57

    55See, e.g., James A. Brickley, Clifford W. Smith, Jr., Jerold L. Zimmerman, Managerial Economics and Organizational Architecture (2004), at 265 (“An agency relationship consists of an agreement under which one party, the principal, engages another party, the agent, to perform some service on the principal's behalf.”). See also Michael C. Jensen and William H. Meckling, Theory of the Firm: Managerial Behavior, Agency Costs and Ownership Structure, Journal of Financial Economics, Vol. 3, 305-360 (1976).

    56See, e.g., Jensen and Meckling, supra note 55. See also the discussion on agency problems in the market for investment advice in Section IV.B. of the Regulation Best Interest Proposal, supra note 5.

    57See, e.g., Frank H. Easterbrook and Daniel R. Fischel, Contract and Fiduciary Duty, Journal of Law & Economics, Vol. 36, 425-46 (1993).

    To the extent the Commission's interpretation of investment adviser fiduciary duty would cause a change in behavior of those investment advisers, if any, who currently interpret their fiduciary duty to require something different from the Commission's interpretation, we expect a potential reduction in agency problems and, consequently, a reduction of agency costs to the client. The extent to which agency costs would be reduced is difficult to assess given that we are unable to ascertain whether any investment advisers currently interpret their fiduciary duty to be something different from the Commission's interpretation, and consequently we are not able to estimate the agency costs these advisers, if any, currently impose on investors. However, we believe that there may be potential benefits for clients of those investment advisers, if any, to the extent the Commission's interpretation is effective at strengthening investment advisers' understanding of their obligations to their clients. For example, to the extent that the Commission's interpretation enhances the understanding of any investment advisers of their duty of care, it may potentially raise the quality of investment advice given and that advice's fit with a client's individual profile and preferences or lead to increased compliance with the duty to provide advice and monitoring over the course of the relationship.

    Additionally, to the extent the Commission's interpretation enhances the understanding of any investment advisers of their duty of loyalty it may potentially benefit the clients of those investment advisers. Specifically, to the extent this leads to a higher quality of disclosures about conflicts for clients of some investment advisers, the nature and extent of such conflict disclosures would help investors better assess the quality of the investment advice they receive, therefore providing an important benefit to investors.

    Further, to the extent that the interpretation causes some investment advisers to properly identify circumstances in which disclosure alone cannot cure a conflict of interest, the proposed interpretation may lead those investment advisers to take additional steps to mitigate or eliminate the conflict. The interpretation may also cause some investment advisers to conclude in some circumstances that even if disclosure would be enough to meet their fiduciary duty, such disclosure would have to be so expansive or complex that they instead voluntarily mitigate or eliminate the conflicts of interest. Thus, to the extent the Commission's interpretation would cause investment advisers to better understand their obligations as part of their fiduciary duty and therefore to make changes to their business practices in ways that reduce the likelihood of conflicted advice or the magnitude of the conflicts, it may ameliorate the agency conflict between investment advisers and their clients and, in turn, may improve the quality of advice that the clients receive. This less-conflicted advice may therefore produce higher overall returns for clients and increase the efficiency of portfolio allocation. However, as discussed above, we would generally expect these effects to be minimal. Finally, this interpretation would also benefit clients of investment advisers to the extent it assists the Commission in its oversight of investment advisers' compliance with their regulatory obligations.

    Investment Advisers and the Market for Investment Advice

    In general, we expect the Commission's interpretation of an investment adviser's fiduciary duty would affirm investment advisers' understanding of the obligations they owe their clients, reduce uncertainty for advisers, and facilitate their compliance. Furthermore, by addressing in one release certain aspects of the fiduciary duty that an investment adviser owes to its clients, the Commission's interpretation could reduce the costs associated with comprehensively assessing their compliance obligations. We acknowledge that, as with other circumstances in which the Commission speaks to the legal obligations of regulated entities, affected firms, including those whose practices are consistent with the Commission's interpretation, incur costs to evaluate the Commission's interpretation and assess its applicability to them. Moreover, as discussed above, there may be certain investment advisers who currently understand the practices necessary to comply with their fiduciary duty to be different from the standard of conduct in the Commission's interpretation. Those investment advisers if any, would experience an increase in their compliance costs as they change their systems, processes and behavior, and train their supervised persons, to align with the Commission's interpretation.

    Moreover, to the extent any investment advisers that understood their fiduciary obligation to be different from the Commission's interpretation change their behavior to align with this interpretation, there could potentially also be some economic effects on the market for investment advice. For example, any improved compliance may not only reduce agency costs in current investment advisory relationships and increase the value of those relationships to current clients, it may also increase trust in the market for investment advice among all investors, which may result in more investors seeking advice from investment advisers. This may, in turn, benefit investors by improving the efficiency of their portfolio allocation. To the extent it is costly or difficult, at least in the short term, to expand the supply of investment advisory services to meet an increase in demand, any such new demand for investment adviser services could potentially put some upward price pressure on fees. At the same time, however, if any such new demand increases the overall profitability of investment advisory services, then we expect it would encourage entry by new investment advisers—or hiring of new representatives, by current investment advisers—such that competition would increase over time. Indeed, we recognize that the recent growth in the investment adviser segment of the market, both in terms of firms and number of representatives,58 may suggest that the costs of expanding the supply of investment advisory services are currently relatively low.

    58See Form CRS Proposal, supra note 6, at Section IV.A.1.d.

    Additionally, we acknowledge that to the extent certain investment advisers recognize, due to the Commission's interpretation, that their obligations to clients are stricter than how they currently interpret their fiduciary duty, it could potentially affect competition. Specifically, the Commission's interpretation of certain aspects of the standard of conduct for investment advisers may result in additional compliance costs to meet their fiduciary obligation under the Commission's interpretation. This increase in compliance costs, in turn, may discourage competition for client segments that generate lower revenues, such as clients with relatively low levels of financial assets, which could reduce the supply of investment adviser services and raise fees for these client segments. However, the investment advisers who already are complying with the understanding of their fiduciary duty reflected in the Commission's interpretation, and may therefore currently have a comparative cost disadvantage, could potentially find it more profitable to compete for the customers of those investment advisers who would face higher compliance costs as a result of the proposed interpretation, which would mitigate negative effects on the supply of investment adviser services. Furthermore, as noted above, there has been a recent growth trend in the supply of investment advisory services, which is likely to mitigate any potential negative supply effects from the Commission's interpretation.59

    59 Beyond having an effect on competition in the market for investment adviser services, it is possible that the Commission's interpretation could affect competition between investment advisers and other providers of financial advice, such as broker-dealers, banks, and insurance companies. This may be the case if certain investors base their choice between an investment adviser and another provider of financial advice, at least in part, on their perception of the standards of conduct each owes to their customers. To the extent that the Commission's interpretation increases investors' trust in investment advisers' overall compliance with their standard of conduct, certain of these investors may become more willing, to hire an investment adviser rather than one of their non-investment adviser competitors. As a result, investment advisers as a group may increase their competitive situation compared to that of other types of providers of financial advice. On the other hand, if the Commission's interpretation raises costs for investment advisers, they could become less competitive with other financial services providers.

    Finally, to the extent the proposed interpretation would cause some investment advisers to reassess their compliance with their disclosure obligations, it could lead to a reduction in the expected profitability of certain products associated with particularly conflicted advice for which compliance costs would increase following the reassessment.60 As a result, the number of investment advisers willing to advise a client to make these investments may be reduced. A decline in the supply of investment adviser advice on these investments could potentially reduce the efficiency of portfolio allocation of those investors who might otherwise benefit from investment adviser advice on these investments.

    60 For example, such products could include highly complex, high cost products with risk and return characteristics that are hard to fully understand for retail investors or mutual funds or fund share classes that may pay higher compensation to investment advisers that are dual registrants, or that the investment adviser and its representatives may receive through payments to an affiliated broker-dealer or third party broker-dealer with which representatives of the investment adviser are associated.

    IV. Request for Comment Regarding Areas of Enhanced Investment Adviser Regulation

    In 2011, the Commission issued the staff's 913 Study, pursuant to section 913 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010, in which the staff recognized several areas for potential harmonization of broker-dealer and investment adviser regulation.61 We have identified a few discrete areas where the current broker-dealer framework provides investor protections that may not have counterparts in the investment adviser context, and request comment on those areas. The Commission intends to consider these comments in connection with any future proposed rules or other proposed regulatory actions with respect to these matters.

    61 The staff made two primary recommendations in the 913 Study. The first recommendation was that we engage in rulemaking to implement a uniform fiduciary standard of conduct for broker-dealers and investment advisers when providing personalized investment advice about securities to retail customers. The second recommendation was that we consider harmonizing certain regulatory requirements of broker-dealers and investment advisers where such harmonization appears likely to enhance meaningful investor protection, taking into account the best elements of each regime. In the 913 Study, the areas the staff suggested the Commission consider for harmonization included, among others, licensing and continuing education requirements for persons associated with firms. The staff stated that the areas identified were not intended to be a comprehensive or exclusive listing of potential areas of harmonization. See 913 Study supra note 38.

    A. Federal Licensing and Continuing Education

    Associated persons of broker-dealers that effect securities transactions are required to be registered with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (“FINRA”),62 and must meet qualification requirements, which include passing a securities qualification exam and fulfilling continuing education requirements.63 The federal securities laws do not require investment adviser representatives to become licensed or to meet qualification requirements, but most states impose registration, licensing, or qualification requirements on investment adviser representatives who have a place of business in the state, regardless of whether the investment adviser is registered with the Commission or the state.64 These qualification requirements typically mandate that investment adviser representatives register and pass certain securities exams or hold certain designations (such as Chartered Financial Analyst credential).65 The staff recommended in the 913 Study that the Commission consider requiring investment adviser representatives to be subject to federal continuing education and licensing requirements.66

    62 Generally, all registered broker-dealers that deal with the public must become members of FINRA, a registered national securities association, and may choose to become exchange members. See Exchange Act section 15(b)(8) and Exchange Act rule 15b9-1. FINRA is the sole national securities association registered with the SEC under section 15A of the Exchange Act.

    63See NASD Rule 1021 (“Registration Requirements”); NASD Rule 1031 (“Registration Requirements”); NASD Rule 1041 (“Registration Requirements for Assistant Representatives”); FINRA Rule 1250 (“Continuing Education Requirements”).

    64See 913 Study, supra note 38, at 86. See also Advisers Act rule 203A-3(a) (definition of “investment adviser representative”).

    65See 913 Study, supra note 38, at 86-87, 138. The North American Securities Administrators Association (“NASAA”) is considering a potential model rule that would require that investment adviser representatives meet a continuing education requirement in order to maintain their state registrations. An internal survey of NASAA's membership identified strong support for such a requirement along with significant regulatory need. NASAA is now conducting a nationwide survey of relevant stakeholders to get their input and views on such a requirement. For more information, see http://www.nasaa.org/industry-resources/investment-advisers/nasaa-survey-regarding-continuing-education-for-investment-adviser-representatives/.

    66 Several commenters, cited in the 913 Study, suggested that this was a gap that should be addressed. See 913 Study, supra note 38, at 138 (citing letters from AALU, Bank of America, FSI, Hartford, LPL, UBS, and Woodbury).

    We request comment on whether there should be federal licensing and continuing education requirements for personnel of SEC-registered investment advisers. Such requirements could be designed to address minimum and ongoing competency requirements for the personnel of SEC-registered advisers.67

    67See 913 Study, supra note 38, at 138.

    • Should investment adviser representatives be subject to federal continuing education and licensing requirements?

    • Which advisory personnel should be included in these requirements? For example, should persons whose functions are solely clerical or ministerial be excluded, similar to the exclusion in the FINRA rules regarding broker-dealer registered representatives? Should a subset of registered investment adviser personnel (such as supervised persons, individuals for whom an adviser must deliver a Form ADV brochure supplement, “investment adviser representatives” as defined in the Advisers Act, or some other group) be required to comply with such requirements?

    • How should the continuing education requirement be structured? How frequent should the certification be? How many hours of education should be required? Who should determine what qualifies as an authorized continuing education class?

    • How could unnecessary duplication of any existing continuing education requirement be avoided?

    • Should these individuals be required to register with the Commission? What information should these individuals be required to disclose on any registration form? Should the registration requirements mirror the requirements of existing Form U4 or require additional information? Should such registration requirements apply to individuals who provide advice on behalf of SEC-registered investment advisers but fall outside the definition of “investment adviser representative” in rule 203A-3 (because, for example, they have five or fewer clients who are natural persons, they provide impersonal investment advice, or ten percent or less of their clients are individuals other than qualified clients)? Should these individuals be required to pass examinations, such as the Series 65 exam required by most states, or to hold certain designations, as part of any registration requirements? Should other steps be required as well, such as a background check or fingerprinting? Would a competency or other examination be a meritorious basis upon which to determine competency and proficiency? Would a competency or other examination requirement provide a false sense of security to advisory clients of competency or proficiency?

    • If continuing education requirements are a part of any licensing requirements, should specific topics or types of training be required? For example, these individuals could be required to complete a certain amount of training dedicated to ethics, regulatory requirements or the firm's compliance program.

    • What would the expected benefits of continuing education and licensing be? Would it be an effective way to increase the quality of advice provided to investors? Would it provide better visibility into the qualifications and education of personnel of SEC-registered investment advisers?

    • What would the expected costs of continuing education and licensing be? How expensive would it be to obtain the continuing education or procure the license? Do those costs scale, or would they fall more heavily on smaller advisers? Would these requirements result in a barrier to entry that could decrease the number of advisers and advisory personnel (and thus potentially increase the cost of advice)?

    • What would the effects be of continuing education and licensing for investment adviser personnel in the market for investment advice (i.e., as compared to broker-dealers)?

    • What other types of qualification requirements should be considered, such as minimum experience requirements or standards regarding an individual's fitness for serving as an investment adviser representative?

    B. Provision of Account Statements

    Fees and costs are important to retail investors,68 but many retail investors are uncertain about the fees they will pay.69 The relationship summary that we are proposing in a concurrent release would discuss certain differences between advisory and brokerage fees to provide investors more clarity concerning the key categories of fees and expenses they should expect to pay, but would not require more complete, specific or personalized disclosures or disclosures about the amount of fees and expenses.70 We believe that delivery of periodic account statements, if they specified the dollar amounts of fees and expenses, would allow clients to readily see and understand the fees and expenses they pay for an adviser's services. Clients would receive account statements close in time to the assessment of periodic account fees, which could be an effective way for clients to understand and evaluate the cost of the services they are receiving from their advisers.

    68See Staff of the Securities and Exchange Commission, Study Regarding Financial Literacy Among Investors as required by Section 917 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Aug. 2012), at iv, available at https://www.sec.gov/news/studies/2012/917-financial-literacy-study-part1.pdf (“With respect to financial intermediaries, investors consider information about fees, disciplinary history, investment strategy, conflicts of interest to be absolutely essential.”).

    69See Angela A. Hung, et al., RAND Institute for Civil Justice, Investor and Industry Perspectives on Investment Advisers and Broker-Dealers (2008), at xix, available at https://www.sec.gov/news/press/2008/2008-1_randiabdreport.pdf (“In fact, focus-group participants with investments acknowledged uncertainty about the fees they pay for their investments, and survey responses also indicate confusion about the fees.”).

    70See Form CRS Proposal, supra note 6, at Section II.B.4.

    Broker-dealers are required to provide confirmations of transactions with detailed information concerning commissions and certain other remuneration, as well as account statements containing a description of any securities positions, money balances or account activity during the period since the last statement was sent to the customer.71 Broker-dealers generally must provide account statements no less than once every calendar quarter. Brokerage customers must receive periodic account statements even when not receiving immediate trade confirmations.72 Although we understand that many advisers do provide clients with account statements, advisers are not directly required to provide account statements under the federal securities laws. Notably, however, the custody rule requires advisers with custody of a client's assets to have a reasonable basis for believing that the qualified custodian sends an account statement at least quarterly.73 In addition, in any separately managed account program relying on rule 3a-4 under the Investment Company Act of 1940, the program sponsor or another person designated by the sponsor must provide clients statements at least quarterly containing specified information.74

    71See, e.g., NASD Rule 2340; FINRA Rule 2232; MSRB Rule G-15. See also Exchange Act rule 15c3-2 (account statements); Exchange Act rule 10b-10 (confirmation of transactions).

    72See Confirmation of Transactions, Securities Exchange Act Release No. 34962 (November 10, 1994).

    73 Advisers Act rule 206(4)-2(a)(3) (custody rule). The Commission also has stated that an adviser's policies and procedures, at a minimum, should address the accuracy of disclosures made to investors, clients, and regulators, including account statements.

    74 Investment Company Act of 1940 [15 U.S.C. 80a-1 et seq.] (“Investment Company Act”) rule 3a-4(a)(4).

    We request comment on whether we should propose rules to require registered investment advisers to provide account statements, either directly or via the client's custodian, regardless of whether the adviser is deemed to have custody of client assets under Advisers Act Rule 206(4)-2 or the adviser is a sponsor (or a designee of a sponsor) of a managed account program relying on the safe harbor in Investment Company Act rule 3a-4.

    • To what extent do retail clients of registered investment advisers already receive account statements? To what extent do those account statements specify the dollar amounts charged for advisory fees and other fees (e.g., brokerage fees) and expenses? Would retail clients benefit from a requirement that they receive account statements from registered investment advisers? If clients are uncertain about what fees and expenses they will pay, would they benefit from a requirement that, before receiving advice from a registered investment adviser, they enter into a written (including electronic) agreement specifying the fees and expenses to be paid?

    • What information, in addition to fees and expenses, would be most useful for retail clients to receive in account statements? Should any requirement to provide account statements have prescriptive requirements as to presentation, content, and delivery? Should they resemble the account statements required to be provided by broker-dealers, under NASD Rule 2340 with the addition of fee disclosure?

    • How often should clients receive account statements?

    • How costly would it be to provide account statements? Does that cost depend on how those account statements could be delivered (e.g., via U.S. mail, electronic delivery, notice and access)? Are there any other factors that would impact cost?

    C. Financial Responsibility

    Broker-dealers are subject to a comprehensive financial responsibility program. Pursuant to Exchange Act rule 15c3-1 (the net capital rule), broker-dealers are required to maintain minimum levels of net capital designed to ensure that a broker-dealer under financial stress has sufficient liquid assets to satisfy all non-subordinated liabilities without the need for a formal liquidation proceeding.75 Exchange Act rule 15c3-3 (the customer protection rule) requires broker-dealers to segregate customer assets and maintain them in a manner designed to ensure that should the broker-dealer fail, those assets are readily available to be returned to customers.76 Broker-dealers are also subject to extensive recordkeeping and reporting requirements, including an annual audit requirement as well as a requirement to make their audited balance sheets available to customers.77 Broker-dealers are required to be members of the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (“SIPC”), which is responsible for overseeing the liquidation of member broker-dealers that close due to bankruptcy or financial trouble and customer assets are missing. When a brokerage firm is closed and customer assets are missing, SIPC, within certain limits, works to return customers' cash, stock, and other securities held by the firm. If a firm closes, SIPC protects the securities and cash in a customer's brokerage account up to $500,000, including up to $250,000 protection for cash in the account.78 Finally, FINRA rules require that broker-dealers obtain fidelity bond coverage from an insurance company.79

    75See Exchange Act rule 15c3-1.

    76See Exchange Act rule 15c3-3.

    77See Exchange Act rules 17a-3, 17a-4, and 17a-5.

    78See Securities Investor Protection Act of 1970, Public Law 91-598, 84 Stat. 1636 (Dec. 30, 1970), 15 U.S.C. 78aaa through 15 U.S.C. 78lll.

    79See FINRA Rule 4360, (“Fidelity Bonds”).

    Under Advisers Act rule 206(4)-2, investment advisers with custody must generally maintain client assets with a “qualified custodian,” which includes banks and registered broker-dealers, and must comply with certain other requirements.80 In 2009 the Commission adopted amendments to the custody requirements for investment advisers that, among other enhancements, required all registered investment advisers with custody of client assets to undergo an annual surprise examination by an independent public accountant. SEC-registered investment advisers, however, are not subject to any net capital requirements comparable to those applicable to broker-dealers, although they must disclose any material financial condition that impairs their ability to provide services to their clients.81 Many investment advisers have relatively small amounts of capital, particularly compared to the amount of assets that they have under management.82 When we discover a serious fraud by an adviser, often the assets of the adviser are insufficient to compensate clients for their loss. In addition, investment advisers are not required to obtain fidelity bonds, unlike many other financial service providers that have access to client assets.83

    80See Advisers Act rule 206(4)-2.

    81See Form ADV. Many states have imposed fidelity bonding and/or net capital requirements on state-registered investment advisers. Rule 17g-1 under the Investment Company Act of 1940 requires registered investment companies to obtain fidelity bonds covering their officers and employees who may have access to the investment companies' assets.

    82See Custody of Funds or Securities of Clients by Investment Advisers, Investment Advisers Act Release No. 2968 (Dec. 30, 2009).

    83 Fidelity bonds are required to be obtained by broker-dealers (FINRA Rule 4360; New York Stock Exchange Rule 319; American Stock Exchange Rule 330); transfer agents (New York Stock Exchange Rule Listed Company Manual § 906); investment companies (17 CFR 270.17g-1); national banks (12 CFR 7.2013); federal savings associations (12 CFR 563.190).

    In light of these disparities, we request comment on whether SEC-registered investment advisers should be subject to financial responsibility requirements along the lines of those that apply to broker-dealers.

    • What is the frequency and severity of client losses due to investment advisers' inability to satisfy a judgment or otherwise compensate a client for losses due to the investment adviser's wrongdoing?

    • Should investment advisers be subject to net capital or other financial responsibility requirements in order to ensure they can meet their obligations, including compensation for clients if the adviser becomes insolvent or advisory personnel misappropriate clients' assets? 84 Do the custody rule and other rules 85 under the Advisers Act adequately address the potential for misappropriation of client assets and other financial responsibility concerns for advisers? Should investment advisers be subject to an annual audit requirement?

    84 We note that Congress and the Commission have considered such requirements in the past. In 1973, a Commission advisory committee recommended that Congress authorize the Commission to adopt minimum financial responsibility requirements for investment advisers, including minimum capital requirements. See Report of the Advisory Committee on Investment Management Services for Individual Investors, Small Account Investment Management Services, Fed. Sec. L. Rep. (CCH) No. 465, Pt. III, 64-66 (Jan. 1973) (“Investment Management Services Report”). Three years later, in 1976, the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs considered a bill that, among other things, would have authorized the Commission to adopt rules requiring investment advisers (i) with discretionary authority over client assets, or (ii) that advise registered investment companies, to meet financial responsibility standards. S. Rep. No. 94-910, 94th Cong. 2d Sess. (May 20, 1976) (reporting favorably S. 2849). S. 2849 was never enacted. In 1992, both the Senate and House of Representatives passed bills that would have given the Commission the explicit authority to require investment advisers with custody of client assets to obtain fidelity bonds. S. 226, 102d Cong., 2d Sess. (Aug. 12, 1992) and H.R. 5726, 102d Cong. Ed (Sept. 23, 1992). Differences in these two bills were never reconciled and thus neither became law. In 2003, the Commission requested comment on whether to require a fidelity bonding requirement for advisers as a way to increase private sector oversight of the compliance by funds and advisers with the federal securities laws. The Commission decided not to adopt a fidelity bonding requirement at that time, but noted that it regarded such a requirement as a viable option should the Commission wish to further strengthen compliance programs of funds and advisers. Compliance Programs of Investment Companies and Investment Advisers, Investment Company Act Release No. 25925 (Feb. 5, 2003).

    85See, e.g., Advisers Act rule 206(4)-7 (requires each investment adviser registered or required to be registered with the Commission to adopt and implement written policies and procedures reasonably designed to prevent violations of the Advisers Act and Advisers Act rules, review those policies and procedures annually, and designate an individual to serve as a chief compliance officer).

    • Should advisers be required to obtain a fidelity bond from an insurance company? If so, should some advisers be excluded from this requirement? 86 Is there information or data that demonstrates fidelity bonding requirements provide defrauded clients with recovery, and if so what amount or level of recovery is evidenced?

    86 As noted above, the 1992 legislation would have given us the explicit authority to require bonding of advisers that have custody of client assets or that have discretionary authority over client assets. Section 412 of ERISA [29 U.S.C. 1112] and related regulations (29 CFR 2550.412-1 and 29 CFR 2580) generally require that every fiduciary of an employee benefit plan and every person who handles funds or other property of such a plan shall be bonded. Registered investment advisers exercising investment discretion over assets of plans covered by title I of ERISA are subject to this requirement; it does not apply to advisers who exercise discretion with respect to assets in an individual retirement account or other non-ERISA retirement account. In 1992, only approximately three percent of Commission registered advisers had discretionary authority over client assets; as of March 31, 2018, according to data collected on Form ADV, 91 percent of Commission registered advisers have that authority.

    • Alternatively, should advisers be required to maintain a certain amount of capital that could be the source of compensation for clients? 87 What amount of capital would be adequate? 88

    87See supra note 84.

    88 Section 412 of ERISA provides that the bond required under that section must +be at least ten percent of the amount of funds handled, with a maximum required amount of $500,000 (increased to $1,000,000,000 for plans that hold securities issued by an employer of employees covered by the plan).

    • What would be the expected cost of either maintaining some form of reserve capital or purchasing a fidelity bond? Specifically, in addition to setting aside the initial sum or purchasing the initial bond, what would be the ongoing cost and the opportunity cost for investment advisers? Would one method or the other be more feasible for certain types of investment advisers (particularly, smaller advisers)?

    • Would the North American Securities Administrators Association Minimum Financial Requirements For Investment Advisers Model Rule 202(d)-1 89 (which requires, among other things, an investment adviser who has custody of client funds or securities to maintain at all times a minimum net worth of $35,000 (with some exceptions), an adviser who has discretionary authority but not custody over client funds or securities to maintain at all times a minimum net worth of $10,000, and an adviser who accepts prepayment of more than $500 per client and six or more months in advance to maintain at all times a positive net worth), provide an appropriate model for a minimum capital requirement? Why or why not?

    89 NASAA Minimum Financial Requirements For Investment Advisers Model Rule 202(d)-1 (Sept. 11, 2011), available at http://www.nasaa.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/IA-Model-Rule-Minimum-Financial-Requirements.pdf.

    • Although investment advisers are required to report specific information about the assets that they manage on behalf of clients, they are not required to report specific information about their own assets.90 Should advisers be required to obtain annual audits of their own financials and to provide such information on Form ADV? Would such a requirement raise privacy concerns for privately held advisers?

    90 Form ADV only requires that advisers with significant assets (at least $1 billion) report the approximate amount of their assets within one of the three ranges ($1 billion to less than $10 billion, $10 billion to less than $50 billion, and $50 billion or more). Item 1.O of Part 1A of Form ADV.

    By the Commission.

    Dated: April 18, 2018. Brent J. Fields, Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2018-08679 Filed 5-8-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 8011-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY Coast Guard 33 CFR Part 151 [Docket No. USCG-2018-0245] RIN 1625-AC45 Ballast Water Management—Annual Reporting Requirement AGENCY:

    Coast Guard, DHS.

    ACTION:

    Notice of proposed rulemaking.

    SUMMARY:

    The Coast Guard proposes to amend its regulations on ballast water management by eliminating the requirement for vessels operating on voyages exclusively between ports or places within a single Captain of the Port Zone to submit an Annual Ballast Water Summary Report for calendar year 2018. The Coast Guard views this current reporting requirement as unnecessary to analyze and understand ballast water management practices. This proposal would also serve to reduce the administrative burden on the regulated population of vessels which are equipped with ballast tanks.

    DATES:

    Comments and related material must be received by the Coast Guard on or before June 8, 2018. Comments sent to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) on collection of information must reach OMB on or before June 8, 2018.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments identified by docket number USCG-2018-0245 using the Federal eRulemaking Portal at http://www.regulations.gov. See the “Public Participation and Request for Comments” portion of the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section for further instructions on submitting comments.

    Collection of information. Submit comments on the collection of information discussed in section V.D. of this preamble both to the Coast Guard's online docket and to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) in the White House Office of Management and Budget using one of the following two methods:

    Email: [email protected] Mail: OIRA, 725 17th Street NW, Washington, DC 20503, attention Desk Officer for the Coast Guard.
    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    For information about this document call or email Mr. John Morris, Program Manager, Environmental Standards Division, Coast Guard; telephone 202-372-1402, email [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Table of Contents for Preamble I. Public Participation and Request for Comments II. Abbreviations III. Basis and Purpose IV. Discussion of Proposed Rule V. Regulatory Analyses A. Regulatory Planning and Review B. Small Entities C. Assistance for Small Entities D. Collection of Information E. Federalism F. Unfunded Mandates Reform Act G. Taking of Private Property H. Civil Justice Reform I. Protection of Children J. Indian Tribal Governments K. Energy Effects L. Technical Standards M. Environment I. Public Participation and Requests for Comments

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

    We encourage you to submit comments through the Federal eRulemaking Portal at http://www.regulations.gov. If your material cannot be submitted using http://www.regulations.gov, contact the person in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section of this proposed rule for alternate instructions. Documents mentioned in this proposed rule as being available in the docket, and all public comments, will be available in our online docket at http://www.regulations.gov, and can be viewed by following that website's instructions. Additionally, if you go to the online docket and sign up for email alerts, you will be notified when comments are posted or if a final rule is published.

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

    II. Abbreviations BLS Bureau of Labor Statistics BWM Ballast Water Management CFR Code of Federal Regulations COI Collection of Information COT Captain of the Port DHS Department of Homeland Security FR Federal Register NANPCA Non-Indigenous Aquatic Nuisance Prevention and Control Act of 1990 NBIC National Ballast Information Clearinghouse NISA National Invasive Species Act of 1996 OMB Office of Management and Budget Pub. L. Public Law § Section U.S.C. United States Code III. Basis and Purpose A. Legal Authority

    The Non-Indigenous Aquatic Nuisance Prevention and Control Act of 1990 (NANPCA, Pub. L. 101-646), as amended by the National Invasive Species Act of 1996 (NISA), (Pub. L. 104-332), requires the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to ensure, to the maximum extent practicable, that aquatic nuisance species are not discharged into U.S. waters from vessels (16 U.S.C. 4701 et seq.). These statutes also direct the Secretary to issue regulations and collect records regarding vessel ballasting practices as a means for determining vessel compliance with the ballast water management (BWM) program (16 U.S.C. 4711(c) and (f)) and they authorize the Secretary to revise such regulations, as necessary, on the basis of best scientific information, and in accordance with criteria developed by the Aquatic Nuisance Species Task Force (16 U.S.C. 4711(e)). The Secretary has delegated the regulatory functions and authorities in 16 U.S.C. 4711 to the Commandant of the Coast Guard (Department of Homeland Security Delegation No. 0170.1 (II.)(57)).

    Coast Guard regulations regarding BWM are located in 33 CFR 151, subparts C (§§ 151.1500 through 151.1518) and D (§§ 151.2000 through 151.2080). The regulations we propose to amend, §§ 151.2015 and 151.2060, were issued in 2015 and deal with BWM reporting and recordkeeping requirements. See “Ballast Water Management Reporting and Recordkeeping” final rule (80 FR 73105, Nov. 24, 2015).

    You may find a full discussion of the statutory and regulatory history of the Coast Guard's broader actions to implement both NANPCA and NISA in the preamble of our 2012 final rule, “Standards for Living Organisms in Ships' Ballast Water Discharged in U.S. Waters,” published on March 23, 2012 (77 FR 17254, 17255).

    B. Reason for This Proposed Rule

    We have determined that the annual reporting requirement in § 151.2060 for vessels operating in a single Captain of the Port (COTP) Zone is unnecessary to analyze and understand ballast water management practices and is an unnecessary burden that should be removed. Our proposal to amend §§ 151.2015 and 151.2060 is in accordance with 16 U.S.C. 4711(e) which authorizes the Secretary to revise such regulations, as necessary, on the basis of best scientific information, and in accordance with criteria developed by the Aquatic Nuisance Species Task Force.

    The 2015 final rule established a 3-year requirement starting in 2016 for the master, owner, operator, agent, or person in charge of certain vessels with ballast tanks to submit an annual report of their BWM practices. The requirement applies to U.S. non-recreational vessels that operate on voyages exclusively between ports or places within a single COTP Zone. These reports contain information, specified in § 151.2060(f), about the vessel, the number of ballast tanks, total ballast water capacity, and a record of ballast water loading and discharges. These reports are submitted to the National Ballast Information Clearinghouse (NBIC).

    The annual reports for calendar years 2016, 2017, and 2018, are due on March 31 of the following year. March 31, 2019 is the due date for the last report required by regulation. This proposed rule seeks to eliminate this annual reporting requirement in § 151.2060(e) before the 2018 report is due. It would also amend § 151.2015(c) to exempt vessels that operate on voyages exclusively between ports or places within a single COTP Zone from § 151.2060 reporting requirements.

    The Coast Guard is proposing to remove this requirement because it views the existing reporting requirement as not meeting the necessary objective. We have reviewed the 2016 annual reports and have concluded that they do not contribute to the quality and breadth of BWM data as originally intended. A discussion of the objective of this requirement can be found in the preamble of the 2015 final rule.1 Our objective was to gather a sufficient amount of data without imposing an undue burden on vessels that were otherwise not required to report. However, we have concluded that the current annual reporting data fields are too simplistic to capture vessel movements and ballasting operations in the necessary level of detail. Therefore, we propose to relieve the affected population of the requirement to submit an annual report for calendar year 2018.

    1 See 80 FR 73105, 73106.

    We received recommendations supporting this proposed action in response to our June 8, 2017 (82 FR 26632) request to the public to identify rules that should be repealed, replaced, or modified to alleviate unnecessary regulatory burdens. To view these recommendations, see submissions 102, 143, and 147 under docket number USCG-2017-0480. One commenter correctly points out that a vessel operator cannot indicate in the Annual Ballast Water Summary Report whether the vessel uses water from a U.S. public water system as ballast.

    IV. Discussion of Proposed Rule

    In this section, we describe how we propose to remove the Annual Ballast Water Ballast Water Summary Report requirement through changes to §§ 151.2015 and 151.2060. Our proposed amendatory instructions and regulatory text appear at the end of this document.

    Section 151.2015. Currently § 151.2015(c) exempts vessels that operate exclusively on voyages between ports or places within a single COTP Zone from the ballast water management requirements in § 151.2025 and from the recordkeeping requirements in § 151.2070. We propose to add the reporting requirements in § 151.2060 to this current list of exemptions in § 151.2015(c). Restoring this reporting exemption provision to § 151.2015(c) makes it clear to vessels that operate exclusively on voyages between ports or places within a single COTP Zone that they are not subject to the reporting requirements in § 151.2060.

    We also propose to amend Table 1 to § 151.2015, which lists specific exemptions for types of vessels. We propose to amend the column “151.2060 (Reporting)” to reflect vessels that operate exclusively on voyages between ports or places within a single COTP Zone are exempt from the reporting requirements in § 151.2060. We would also add a footnote to the table for non-seagoing vessels. This footnote would replace the current lengthy qualifying language in the “151.2070 (Recordkeeping)” column of the table for those non-seagoing vessels that operate exclusively on voyages between ports or places within a single COTP zone. We would also apply the footnote to the table's “151.2060 (Reporting)” column in that row based on our proposed amendment to § 151.2015(c). Non-seagoing vessels are the only category of vessels in the table that may need this potential exemption reminder. The other categories of vessels are either exempt or operate in multiple COTP zones.

    Section 151.2060. Paragraph (b) of § 151.2060 currently begins with language exempting vessels operating exclusively on voyages between ports or places within a single COTP Zone. We propose to delete this language because it would no longer be needed based on our proposed amendment to § 151.2015(c) that would exempt such vessels from the requirements in § 151.2060. Also, as previously discussed we propose to remove § 151.2060(e) and (f). Paragraph (e) contains the requirement to submit the Annual Ballast Water Summary Report to the NBIC and paragraph (f) describes the information to be included in that report.

    V. Regulatory Analyses

    The Coast Guard developed this proposed rule after considering numerous statutes and Executive orders related to rulemaking. A summary of our analyses based on these statutes or Executive orders follows.

    A. Regulatory Planning and Review

    Executive Orders 13563 (Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review) and 12866 (Regulatory Planning and 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). A regulatory analysis follows.

    The Coast Guard considers all estimates and analysis in this regulatory analysis subject to change in consideration of public comments. Table 1 presents a summary of the economic impact of the proposed rule. A detailed description of the estimates follows in the next section.

    Table 1—Summary of the Economic Impact of the Proposed Rule Proposed change Description Affected
  • population 2
  • Cost savings Benefits
    Eliminate the requirement for vessels operating exclusively within a single COTP Zone to report ballast management practices to the NBIC Owners or Operators of vessels with ballast tanks and operating exclusively on voyages between ports and places within one COTP Zone would not have to report their ballast management practices for the final year of a 3-year commitment to report ballasting operations 67 owners or operators of 166 vessels operating in one COTP Zone One-time savings of $3,461 The proposed rule would remove the reporting requirement for the remainder of 2018 and provide a one-time partial year savings for owners or operators.

    Under this proposed rule, the Coast Guard would no longer require owners or operators of vessels with ballast tanks operating exclusively on voyages between ports or places within a single COTP Zone to submit an annual summary report of their ballast water management practices.

    Since 2016, owners or operators of vessels affected by the 2015 final rule provision in § 151.2060(e) have submitted annual summary reports as required to the NBIC. These summary reports were used to estimate the number of vessels that operated and the amount of ballast water discharged within a single COTP Zone. Based on the data received and analyzed by the NBIC, the Coast Guard is able to determine the actual number of vessels affected by the 2015 final rule. The NBIC data confirms that 67 owners or operators of 166 U.S.-flagged vessels 3 have reported ballasting operations in accordance with § 151.2060(e). Table 2 presents the vessel types and number of these vessels.

    1 3 We estimated the population of affected vessels in the 2015 final rule to be 1,280. This was an estimate based on potential vessels that might operate exclusively within a single COTP Zone. Since the publication of the 2015 final rule, vessel owners or operators have been providing information to the NBIC regarding their ballasting operations and area of operation. From this information, we are able to determine the actual vessel population that exclusively operate within a single COTP Zone. This proposed rule, in addition to eliminating § 151.2060(e), would also reduce the affected population estimated in the 2015 final rule from 1,280 to 166 vessels.

    Table 2—U.S.-Flagged Vessels Operating Exclusively Within a Single COTP Zone Affected by This Proposed Rule Vessel type Affected
  • population
  • Tanker—Other 1 Tug only 57 Offshore supply vessel 38 Other (research, fishing, etc.) 21 Passenger 2 Bulk carrier 2 Barge only 45 Total 166 Source: NBIC Data https://invasions.si.edu/nbic/.

    We estimated in the 2015 final rule that the total annual amount of burden hours for owners or operators completing the reporting requirement at 40 minutes per vessel per year. We break down those 40 minutes as 25 minutes to account for time needed throughout the year to record ballast management operations and 15 minutes for time needed by owners or operators to aggregate and calculate the recorded ballast water discharge information and to complete the electronic form submitted to the NBIC.

    This proposed rulemaking has been scheduled to enable the Coast Guard to issue a final rule by the end of fiscal year 2018, which is September 30, 2018, and to make the rule effective October 1, 2018. The current regulation only requires annual reports through the calendar year 2018. Therefore, any realized savings from this proposed rule would account for the last 3 months of calendar year 2018. We estimate that the total time saved by this proposed rule would be 21.25 minutes per vessel (15 minutes for submission of report + 6.25 total minutes from the last 3 months of 2018). Converting this time to an hourly equivalent, we arrive at 0.35 hours (21.25 minutes/60 minutes).

    We anticipate that the person charged with collecting and reporting the information to NBIC would be a vessel Captain, Mate or Vessel Pilot. The mean hourly wage rate associated with these professions is reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to be $39.19 per hour.4 We calculated the load factor from data collected in the Employer Cost for Employee Compensation survey done by the BLS and applied it to the mean hourly wage rate to obtain a fully loaded wage rate, which more accurately represents the employers' cost per hour for an employee's work.5 The load factor we used for this economic analysis is 1.52.6 7 The loaded mean hourly wage rate used to assess the savings estimates for this proposed rule is calculated at $59.57 ($39.19 × 1.52).

    4 Information about the wage rates for Captains, Mates and Vessel Pilots (53-5021) can be found at https://www.bls.gov/oes/2016/may/oes535021.htm.

    5 A loaded wage rate is what a company pays per hour to employ a person, not the hourly wage the employee receives. The loaded wage rate includes the cost of benefits (health insurance, vacation, etc.).

    6 From the BLS, Employer Cost for Employee Compensation survey. Total compensation divided by wage and salary compensation.

    7 The load factor for wages is calculated by dividing total compensation by wages and salaries. For this report, we used the Transportation and Materials Moving Occupations, Private Industry report (Series IDs, CMU2010000520000D and CMU2020000520000D) for all workers using the multi-screen data search. Using 2016 Q2 data, we divide $27.55/$18.08 to get the load factor of 1.52. See https://data.bls.gov/cgi-bin/srgate.

    We anticipate that by eliminating the reporting requirement from the last quarter of the year, this proposed rule would reduce industry's economic burden by 58.1 hours (166 vessels × 0.35 hours). We calculate that the dollar value saved would be $20.85 per vessel ($59.57 wage × 0.35 hours). The estimated one-time total savings for removing the reporting requirement for the 166 vessels operating exclusively between port or places within a single COTP Zone would be $3,461 ($20.85 per vessel savings × 166 vessels) (non-discounted). Table 3 presents the total savings to the affected population.

    Table 3—Total Savings for Affected Vessels Hourly Wage Paid to Employee $39.19 Load Factor to Account for Cost of Benefits 1.52 Loaded Wage $59.57 Hours 0.35 Savings per Vessel (Hours × Loaded Wage Rate) $20.85 Affected Population 166 Total Savings * (Cost per Vessel × Affected Population) $3,461 * Represents undiscounted totals. Totals may not sum due to rounding.

    This proposed rulemaking would not have annual recurring savings. This proposed rule would not require additional Coast Guard resources to implement and would be budget neutral.

    In addition, a one-time savings of $3,461 in 2018 is equivalent to approximately $197.76 in 2016 dollars using perpetual discounting at 7 percent.

    B. Small Entities

    Under the Regulatory Flexibility Act, 5 U.S.C. 601-612, we have considered whether this proposed rule would have a significant economic 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.

    As described in the “Regulatory Planning and Review” section, we expect that the savings per vessel would be $20.85 for the remainder of 2018. The Coast Guard is eliminating the reporting requirement under § 151.2060(e), which applies to owners or operators of vessels operating exclusively between ports or places within a single COTP Zone. Based on our economic assessment of the proposed rule, we conclude that this proposed rule would have no cost burden to industry.

    Accordingly, the Coast Guard certifies under 5 U.S.C. 605(b) that this proposed rule would not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. If you think that your business, organization, or governmental jurisdiction qualifies as a small entity and that this proposed rule would have a significant economic impact on it, please submit a comment to the docket at the address under ADDRESSES. In your comment, explain why you think it qualifies and how and to what degree this proposed rule would economically affect it.

    C. Assistance for Small Entities

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

    Small businesses may send comments on the actions of Federal employees who enforce, or otherwise determine compliance with, Federal regulations to the Small Business and Agriculture Regulatory Enforcement Ombudsman and the Regional Small Business Regulatory Fairness Boards. The Ombudsman evaluates these actions annually and rates each agency's responsiveness to small business. If you wish to comment on actions by employees of the Coast Guard, call 1-888-REG-FAIR (1-888-734-3247).

    D. Collection of Information

    This proposed rule would call for a change to an existing 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 collections, a description of those who must collect the information, and an estimate of the total annual burden follow.

    Title: Ballast Water Management Reporting and Recordkeeping.

    OMB Control Number: 1625-0069.

    Summary of the Collection of Information: This proposed rule modifies the existing BWM reporting and recordkeeping requirement in § 151.2060(e) which would amend current reporting. In the current regulation, the Coast Guard requires vessels with ballast tanks that operate exclusively on voyages between ports or places within a single COTP Zone to submit an annual summary report on their ballast water practices. The current final rule published in 2015 requires vessels to report to the NBIC for a 3-year period, after which a sunset clause in the rule has this provision expiring at the end of the 2018 calendar year. This proposed rule would remove the last year of reporting requirements for the population affected by the 2015 final rule and prior to the provision's sunset; thereby, returning the overall Collection of Information (COI) burden estimates to the 2015 final rule's level.

    Need for Information: The Coast Guard is removing the reporting requirement under § 151.2060(e), because the information being provided by the affected population did not meet the expectations of the Coast Guard.

    Proposed Use of Information: The collection of this BWM data was intended to fill a limited gap in information about vessels operating exclusively within a single COTP Zone. The data was to measure ballast water practices within a COTP Zone, by vessels that operated exclusively within a single COTP Zone. Sections 151.2060(e) and (f) are being removed because the data collected did not help the Coast Guard to better understand these ballasting practices.

    Description of the Respondents: The respondents are the owners or operators of vessels with ballast water tanks operating exclusively on voyages between ports or place within a single COTP Zone.

    Number of Respondents: The current number of respondents is 9,663. However, when we published the final rule in 2015, we incorrectly estimated the additional number of respondents in the collection of information to be 1,280. The population of 1,280 was an overestimation by the Coast Guard because information about vessels operating exclusively within a single COTP Zone had not been documented prior to the 2015 final rule. For the purpose of maintaining continuity between the 2015 final rule and the overall COI OMB CONTROL NUMBER: 1625-0069, the Coast Guard estimates changes to the overall COI using the 2015 final rule COI values to obtain a net result of zero.8 Therefore, in order to revert back to the 2015 baseline, we need to subtract the 1,280 respondents we incorrectly estimated in the final rule.9 With this change, we are maintaining the 2015 baseline of 8,383 respondents because we would be subtracting the incorrect estimated population of 1,280 respondents. The incurred cost savings and burden-hour reduction we estimate in this proposed rule would only affect 166 respondents for the last three months of this calendar year. After this time, the approved OMB-approved number of respondents would remain at the 2015 baseline level of 8,383 respondents because of the sunset clause in the 2015 final rule. We show these calculations, for illustrative purposes, in the below table.

    8 The goal is to revert the COI Control #1625-0069 back to its original collection prior to the 2015 ballast water recordkeeping and reporting final rule.

    9 Appendix A of COI OMB Control No. 1625-0069.

    Table 4—Summary of Collection of Information, Respondents Reporting items Current COI respondents NPRM change New COI
  • values
  • (A) (B) (C) (B−C) Voyage Reports 8,383 0 8,383 Annual Reports 1,280 1,280 0 Compliance Extension Request 0 0 0 Total 9,663 1,280 8,383

    Frequency of Response: Reporting requirement under this COI is scheduled to occur annually. This proposed rule would result in current respondents under § 151.2060(e) to be no longer required to maintain and submit BWM information on an annual basis.

    Burden of Response: The Coast Guard anticipates that the elimination of the rule would decrease burden by approximately 40 minutes per report for vessels with ballast water tanks operating exclusively on voyages between ports or places within a single COTP Zone.

    Estimate of Total Annual Burden: The annual reduction in burden is estimated as follows:

    (a) Annual reduction in burden resulting from removing reporting requirement for vessels operating within a single COTP Zone: This proposed rule would reduce the private sector burden hours for this COI by 58.1 hours (166 vessels × 0.35 hours [3 months of savings]). There are three items associated with this collection of information: Voyage reports, annual reports (which is applicable to this proposed rule), and compliance extension requests. The voyage reports and compliance extension requests are not included in this proposed rule. The burden estimates in this collection of information, stemming from these, would be unaffected. Voyage reports account for 60,727 hours, annual reports account for 858 hours, and compliance extension requests account for 234 hours for a total of 61,819 hours. Essentially, with this proposed rule, we are accounting for the 58.1 burden hours of reduction in the last three months of this calendar year only, when the sunset clause becomes effective. To capture this change and to correct for the incorrect hour burden estimate of 858 hours, the total hour burden in the last three months of this year would be about 61,019 hours (61,819 hours − 858 hours + 58 hours). After December 31, 2018, the burden hours will remain at the 2015 baseline level of 60,691 hours, or the current OMB inventory amount, with the subtraction of the 858 hours for the annual reports.

    Moreover, due to the establishment of a sunset clause in the 2015 final rule, all recordkeeping and reporting burden associated with this regulation would be eliminated. This adjustment would only reduce current ICR burden levels prior to the 2015 final rule. We show the burden hour calculations in the table 5.

    Table 5—Summary of Collection of Information, Burden Hours Reporting items Current COI burden hours NPRM change New COI
  • values
  • (A) (B) (C) (B−C) Voyage Reports 60,727 0 60,727 Annual Reports 858 858 0 Compliance Extension Request 234 0 234 Total 61,819 858 *60,961 * Although this proposed rule would add 58.1 hours for the last three months of this year, after this time, the total hour burden estimate would revert back to the 2015 baseline level or current OMB inventory amount of 60,961 due to the fact that there would no longer be a need to complete annual reports for vessels traveling exclusively between ports or places within a single Captain of the Port Zone.

    (b) Reduction of annual burden due to the elimination of the current rule: This proposed rule would result in a reduction of annual burden of 58.1 hours for the last three months of the year ending December 31, 2018. However, after correcting for the overestimated burden in the 2015 COI, the reduction in annual burden hours as reflected in the Supporting Statement for this COI is 858 hours (as explained above).

    As required by 44 U.S.C. 3507 (d), we will submit a copy of this proposed rule to OMB for its review of the collection of information.

    If you submit comments on the collection of information, submit them both to OMB and to the docket where indicated under ADDRESSES, by the date under DATES.

    You need not respond to a collection of information unless it displays a currently valid control number from OMB. Before the Coast Guard could enforce the collection of information requirements in this proposed rule, OMB would need to approve the Coast Guard's request to collect this 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 proposed rule under Executive Order 13132 and have determined that it is consistent with the fundamental federalism principles and preemption requirements described in Executive Order 13132. Our analysis follows.

    This proposed rule would revise the Coast Guard's BWM reporting and recordkeeping requirements promulgated under the authority of NANPCA, as amended by NISA. Specifically, we propose to remove the requirement that an Annual Ballast Water Summary Report for calendar year 2018 be submitted for vessels operating on voyages exclusively between ports or places within a single Captain of the Port Zone. NANPCA, as amended by NISA, contains a “savings provision” that saves to States their authority to “adopt or enforce control measures” for aquatic nuisance species (16 U.S.C. 4725). Nothing in the Act would diminish or affect the jurisdiction of any State over species of fish and wildlife. This type of BWM reporting and recordkeeping is a “control measure” saved to States under the savings provision and would not be preempted unless State law makes compliance with Coast Guard requirements impossible or frustrates the purpose of Congress. Additionally, the Coast Guard has long interpreted this savings provision to be a congressional mandate for a Federal-State cooperative regime in which federal preemption under NANPCA, as amended by NISA, would be unlikely. The Coast Guard does not intend for the removal of this Federal reporting requirement to be a determination, or have any implications, with regard to the necessity of existing or future state BWM reporting requirements. Therefore, this proposed rule is consistent with the fundamental federalism principles and preemption requirements described in Executive Order 13132.

    The Coast Guard recognizes the key role that State and local governments may have in making regulatory determinations. Additionally, for rules with federalism implications and preemptive effect, Executive Order 13132 specifically directs agencies to consult with State and local governments during the rulemaking process. If you believe this rule has implications for federalism under Executive Order 13132, please contact the person listed in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION section of this preamble.

    F. Unfunded Mandates Reform Act

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

    G. Taking of Private Property

    This proposed rule would not cause a taking of private property or otherwise have taking implications under Executive Order 12630 (Governmental Actions and Interference with Constitutionally Protected Property Rights).

    H. Civil Justice Reform

    This proposed rule meets applicable standards in sections 3(a) and 3(b)(2) of Executive Order 12988, (Civil Justice Reform), to minimize litigation, eliminate ambiguity, and reduce burden.

    I. Protection of Children

    We have analyzed this proposed rule under Executive Order 13045 (Protection of Children from Environmental Health Risks and Safety Risks). This proposed rule is not an economically significant rule and would not create an environmental risk to health or risk to safety that might disproportionately affect children.

    J. Indian Tribal Governments

    This proposed rule does not have tribal implications under Executive Order 13175 (Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribal Governments), because it would not have a substantial direct effect on one or more Indian tribes, on the relationship between the Federal Government and Indian tribes, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities between the Federal Government and Indian tribes.

    K. Energy Effects

    We have analyzed this proposed rule under Executive Order 13211 (Actions Concerning Regulations That Significantly Affect Energy Supply, Distribution, or Use). We have determined that it is not a “significant energy action” under that order because it is not a “significant regulatory action” under Executive Order 12866 and is not likely to have a significant adverse effect on the supply, distribution, or use of energy.

    L. Technical Standards

    The National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act, codified as a note to 15 U.S.C. 272, directs agencies to use voluntary consensus standards in their regulatory activities unless the agency provides Congress, through OMB, with an explanation of why using these standards would be inconsistent with applicable law or otherwise impractical. Voluntary consensus standards are technical standards (e.g., specifications of materials, performance, design, or operation; test methods; sampling procedures; and related management systems practices) that are developed or adopted by voluntary consensus standards bodies.

    This proposed rule does not use technical standards. Therefore, we did not consider the use of voluntary consensus standards.

    M. Environment

    We have analyzed this proposed rule under Department of Homeland Security Management Directive 023-01 and Commandant Instruction M16475.1D which guide the Coast Guard in complying with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4321-4370f), and have made a preliminary determination that this action is one of a category of actions that do not individually or cumulatively have a significant effect on the human environment. A preliminary Record of Environmental Consideration (REC) supporting this determination is available in the docket where indicated under the “Public Participation and Request for Comments” section of this preamble. This proposed rule would be categorically excluded under paragraph L54 of Appendix A, Table 1 of DHS Instruction Manual 023-01-001-01, Rev. 01. Paragraph L54 pertains to regulations which are editorial or procedural.

    This proposed rule involves the removal of the last year of a 3-year annual ballast water reporting requirement. We seek any comments or information that may lead to the discovery of a significant environmental impact from this proposed rule.

    List of Subjects in 33 CFR Part 151

    Administrative practice and procedure, Ballast water management, Oil pollution, Penalties, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Water pollution control.

    For the reasons discussed in the preamble, the Coast Guard proposes to amend 33 CFR part 151, subpart D, as follows:

    PART 151—VESSELS CARRYING OIL, NOXIOUS LIQUID SUBSTANCES, GARBAGE, MUNICIPAL OR COMMERCIAL WASTE, AND BALLAST WATER 1. The authority citation for part 151, subpart D, is revised to read as follows: Authority:

    16 U.S.C. 4711; Department of Homeland Security Delegation No. 0170.1, para. II, (57).

    2. Amend § 151.2015 as follows: a. In paragraph (c), after the text “(ballast water management (BWM) requirements),” add the text “151.2060 (reporting)”; and b. Revise the fourth and sixth rows in table 1 to § 151.2015 to read as follows:
    § 151.2015 Exemptions. Table 1 to § 151.2015—Table of 33 CFR 151.2015 Specific Exemptions for Types of Vessels 151.2025
  • (Management)
  • 151.2060
  • (Reporting)
  • 151.2070
  • (Recordkeeping)
  • *         *         *         *         *         *         * Vessel operates exclusively on voyages between ports or places within a single COTP Zone Exempt Exempt Exempt. *         *         *         *         *         *         * Non-seagoing vessel Exempt Applicable 1 Applicable 1. *         *         *         *         *         *         * 1 Unless operating exclusively on voyages between ports or places within a single COTP Zone.
    § 151.2060 [Amended]
    3. Amend § 151.2060 as follows: a. In paragraph (b), remove the words “Unless operating exclusively on voyages between ports or places within a single COTP Zone, the” and add, in their place, the word “The”; and b. Remove paragraphs (e) and (f). Dated: May 4, 2018. J. G. Lantz, Director of Commercial Regulations and Standards.
    [FR Doc. 2018-09877 Filed 5-8-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9110-04-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE Patent and Trademark Office 37 CFR Part 42 [Docket No. PTO-P-2018-0036] RIN 0651-AD16 Changes to the Claim Construction Standard for Interpreting Claims in Trial Proceedings Before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board AGENCY:

    United States Patent and Trademark Office, Department of Commerce.

    ACTION:

    Notice of proposed rulemaking.

    SUMMARY:

    The United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO” or “Office”) proposes changes to the claim construction standard for interpreting claims in inter partes review (“IPR”), post-grant review (“PGR”), and the transitional program for covered business method patents (“CBM”) proceedings before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (“PTAB” or “Board”). In particular, the Office proposes to replace the broadest reasonable interpretation (“BRI”) standard for construing unexpired patent claims and proposed claims in these trial proceedings with a standard that is the same as the standard applied in federal district courts and International Trade Commission (“ITC”) proceedings. The Office also proposes to amend the rules to add that the Office will consider any prior claim construction determination concerning a term of the involved claim in a civil action, or an ITC proceeding, that is timely made of record in an IPR, PGR, or CBM proceeding.

    DATES:

    Comment Deadline Date: The Office solicits comments from the public on this proposed rulemaking. Written comments must be received on or before July 9, 2018 to ensure consideration.

    ADDRESSES:

    Comments should be sent by electronic mail message over the internet addressed to: [email protected] Comments may also be sent by electronic mail message over the internet via the Federal eRulemaking Portal at http://www.regulations.gov. See the Federal eRulemaking Portal website for additional instructions on providing comments via the Federal eRulemaking Portal. All comments submitted directly to the USPTO or provided on the Federal eRulemaking Portal should include the docket number (PTO-P-2018-0036).

    Comments may also be submitted by postal mail addressed to: Mail Stop Patent Board, Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office, P.O. Box 1450, Alexandria, VA 22313-1450, marked to the attention of “Vice Chief Administrative Patent Judges Michael Tierney or Jacqueline Wright Bonilla, PTAB Notice of Proposed Rulemaking 2018.”

    Although comments may be submitted by postal mail, the Office prefers to receive comments by electronic mail message to more easily share all comments with the public. The Office prefers the comments to be submitted in plain text, but also accepts comments submitted in searchable ADOBE® portable document format or MICROSOFT WORD® format. Comments not submitted electronically should be submitted on paper in a format that accommodates digital scanning into ADOBE® portable document format.

    The comments will be available for public inspection at the Patent Trial and Appeal Board, located in Madison East, Ninth Floor, 600 Dulany Street, Alexandria, Virginia. Comments also will be available for viewing via the Office's internet website, https://go.usa.gov/xXXFW, and on the Federal eRulemaking Portal. Because comments will be made available for public inspection, information that the submitter does not desire to be made public, such as address or phone number, should not be included in the comments.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Michael Tierney and Jacqueline Wright Bonilla, Vice Chief Administrative Patent Judges, by telephone at (571) 272-9797.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Executive Summary

    Purpose: This proposed rule would amend the rules for IPR, PGR, and CBM proceedings that implemented provisions of the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act (“AIA”) providing for trials before the Office, by replacing the current claim construction standard for interpreting unexpired patent claims and claims proposed in a motion to amend, with an approach that is the same as the standard used by Article III federal courts following Phillips v. AWH Corp., 415 F.3d 1303 (Fed. Cir. 2005) (en banc). This proposed rule also would amend the rules to add that the Office will consider any prior claim construction determination concerning a term of the involved claim in a civil action, or an ITC proceeding, that is timely made of record in an IPR, PGR, or CBM proceeding.

    Summary of Major Provisions: The Office is using over five years of historical data and user experiences to further shape and improve PTAB trial proceedings, particularly IPR, PGR, and CBM proceedings. In this notice of proposed rulemaking, the Office seeks feedback and information in relation to the Office's proposed changes to the claim construction standard used for interpreting unexpired patent claims and claims proposed in a motion to amend. The Supreme Court of the United States has endorsed the Office's ability to choose an approach to claim construction for AIA trial proceedings. Cuozzo Speed Techs., LLC v. Lee, 136 S. Ct. 2131, 2144-46 (2016). Some parties have expressed a desire that the Office apply the same claim construction standard used in federal district courts, rather than the current standard of BRI. As part of the Office's continuing efforts to improve the trial proceedings, it is appropriate to revisit the claim construction standard applied in AIA trial proceedings involving unexpired patent claims and claims proposed in a motion to amend. The proposed changes would replace the BRI standard with an approach that would be consistent with the claim construction standard used in federal district courts. The proposed changes also would be consistent with the Office's current approach for interpreting claims in an expired patent. See Wasica Fin. GmbH v. Cont'l Auto. Sys., Inc., 853 F.3d 1272, 1279 (Fed. Cir. 2017) (noting that “[t]he Board construes claims of an expired patent in accordance with Phillips . . . and [u]nder that standard, words of a claim are generally given their ordinary and customary meaning”).

    Costs and Benefits: This rulemaking is not economically significant, and is not significant, under Executive Order 12866 (Sept. 30, 1993), as amended by Executive Order 13258 (Feb. 26, 2002) and Executive Order 13422 (Jan. 18, 2007).

    Background

    On September 16, 2011, the AIA was enacted into law (Pub. L. 112-29, 125 Stat. 284 (2011)), and within one year, the Office implemented rules to govern Office practice for AIA trials, including IPR, PGR, CBM, and derivation proceedings pursuant to 35 U.S.C. 135, 316 and 326 and AIA 18(d)(2). See Rules of Practice for Trials Before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board and Judicial Review of Patent Trial and Appeal Board Decisions, 77 FR 48612 (Aug. 14, 2012); Changes to Implement Inter Partes Review Proceedings, Post-Grant Review Proceedings, and Transitional Program for Covered Business Method Patents, 77 FR 48680 (Aug. 14, 2012); Transitional Program for Covered Business Method Patents—Definitions of Covered Business Method Patent and Technological Invention, 77 FR 48734 (Aug. 14, 2012). Additionally, the Office published a Patent Trial Practice Guide to advise the public on the general framework of the regulations, including the structure and times for taking action in each of the new proceedings. See Office Patent Trial Practice Guide, 77 FR 48756 (Aug. 14, 2012).

    Previously, in an effort to gauge the effectiveness of the rules governing AIA trial proceedings, the Office led a nationwide listening tour in April and May of 2014. During the listening tour, the Office solicited feedback on how to make the AIA trial proceedings more transparent and effective by adjusting the rules and guidance to the public where necessary. To elicit even more input, in June of 2014, the Office published a Request for Comments in the Federal Register and, at public request, extended the period for receiving comments to October 16, 2014. See Request for Comments on Trial Proceedings Under the America Invents Act Before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board, 79 FR 36474 (June 27, 2014) (“Request for Comments”). The Request for Comments asked seventeen questions on ten broad topics, including a general catchall question, to gather public feedback on any changes to the AIA trial proceedings that might be beneficial. See Request for Comments, 79 FR at 36476-77.

    Upon receiving comments from the public and carefully reviewing the comments, the Office published two final rules in response to the public feedback with respect to the AIA trial proceedings. In the first final rule, the Office changed the existing rules, among other things, to: (1) Increase the page limit for Patent Owner's motion to amend by ten pages and allow a claims appendix to be filed with the motion; and (2) increase the page limit for Petitioner's reply to Patent Owner's response by ten pages. Amendments to the Rules of Practice for Trials Before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board, 80 FR 28561 (May 19, 2015). In the second final rule, the Office changed the existing rules to: (1) Allow new testimonial evidence to be submitted with a patent owner's preliminary response; (2) allow a claim construction approach that emulates the approach used by a district court for claims of patents that will expire before entry of a final written decision; (3) replace page limits with word count limits for major briefing; and (4) add a Rule 11-type certification for papers filed in a proceeding. Amendments to Rules of Practice for Trials Before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board, 81 FR 18750 (April 1, 2016).

    Claim Construction Standard

    The Board currently construes unexpired patent claims and proposed claims in AIA trial proceedings using the BRI standard, as directed by 37 CFR 42.100(b), 42.200(b), and 42.300(b) (“A claim in an unexpired patent that will not expire before a final written decision is issued shall be given its broadest reasonable construction in light of the specification of the patent in which it appears.”). The BRI standard differs from the standard used in federal district courts and the ITC, which construe patent claims in accordance with the principles that the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit articulated in Phillips.

    However, although the BRI standard is consistent with longstanding agency practice, the fact that the Office uses a claim construction standard that is different from that used by federal district courts and the ITC means that decisions construing the same or similar claims in those fora may be different from those in AIA trial proceedings and vice versa. Minimizing differences between claim construction standards used in the various fora could lead to greater uniformity and predictability of the patent grant. In addition, using the same standard in the various fora could help increase judicial efficiency overall. One study found that 86.8% of patents at issue in AIA trial proceedings also have been the subject of litigation in the federal courts. Saurabh Vishnubhakat, Arti K. Rai & Jay P. Kesan, Strategic Decision Making in Dual PTAB and District Court Proceedings, 31 Berkeley Tech. L.J. 45 (2016), https://ssrn.com/abstract=2731002. Thus, the high percentage of overlap between AIA trial proceedings and district court litigation favors using a claim construction standard in AIA trials that is consistent with the standard used by federal district courts and the ITC.

    Having AIA trial proceedings use the same claim construction standard that is applied in federal district courts and ITC proceedings also addresses the concern that potential unfairness could result from using an arguably broader standard in AIA trial proceedings. According to some patent owners, the same claim construction standard should apply to both validity (or patentability) determination and infringement determination. Because the BRI standard potentially reads on a broader universe of prior art than does the Phillips standard, a patent claim could be found unpatentable in an AIA trial on account of claim scope that the patent owner would not be able to assert in an infringement proceeding. For example, even if a competitor's product would not be found to infringe a patent claim if it was sold after the patent's effective filing date, the same product nevertheless could constitute invalidating prior art if publicly sold before the patent's effective filing date.

    The Office's goal is to implement a fair and balanced approach, providing greater predictability and certainty in the patent system. The Office has carefully considered “the effect of [the proposed] regulation on the economy, the integrity of the patent system, the efficient administration of the Office, and the ability of the Office to complete timely the proceedings in promulgating regulations.” 35 U.S.C. 316(b) and 326(b). Under 35 U.S.C. 316(a)(4) and 326(a)(4), the Office must prescribe regulations establishing and governing IPR, PGR, and CBM proceedings and the relationship of such review to other proceedings, including civil actions to invalidate a patent under 35 U.S.C. 282(b). Congress intended these administrative trial proceedings to provide “quick and cost effective alternatives” to litigation in the courts. H.R. Rep. No. 112-98, pt. 1, at 48 (2011), as reprinted in 2011 U.S.C.C.A.N. 67, 78; see also id. at 40 (AIA “is designed to establish a more efficient and streamline patent system that will improve patent quality and limit unnecessary and counterproductive litigation costs.”). The claim construction standard could be outcome determinative. PPC Broadband, Inc. v. Corning Optical Comm'ns RF, LLC, 815 F.3d 734, 740-42 (Fed. Cir. 2016) (noting that “[t]his case hinges on the claim construction standard applied—a scenario likely to arise with frequency”); see also Rembrandt Wireless Techs., LP v. Samsung Elecs. Co., 853 F.3d 1370, 1377 (Fed. Cir. 2017) (noting that “the Board in IPR proceedings operates under a broader claim construction standard than the federal courts”); Google LLC v. Network-1 Techs., Inc.. No. 2016-2509, 2018 WL 1468370, at *5 (Fed. Cir. Mar. 26, 2018) (nonprecedential) (holding that “[i]n order to be found reasonable, it is not unnecessary that a claim be given its correct construction under the framework laid out in Phillips.”). Using the same claim construction standard as the standard applied in federal district courts would “seek out the correct construction—the construction that most accurately delineates the scope of the claim invention—under the framework laid out in Phillips.” PPC Broadband, 815 F.3d at 740-42.

    In this notice of proposed rulemaking, the Office proposes to change the relevant rules to provide that a patent claim, or a claim proposed in a motion to amend, shall be construed using the same claim construction standard that would be used to construe such claim in a civil action to invalidate a patent under 35 U.S.C. 282(b), including construing the claim in accordance with the ordinary and customary meaning of such claim as understood by one of ordinary skill in the art and the prosecution history pertaining to the patent. This proposed change would replace the BRI standard for construing unexpired patent claims and proposed claims in IPR, PGR, and CBM proceedings with an approach that follows the framework set forth in Phillips.

    Under the proposed approach, the Office would construe patent claims and proposed claims based on the record of the IPR, PGR, or CBM proceeding, taking into account the claim language itself, specification, and prosecution history pertaining to the patent. The Office would apply the principles that the Federal Circuit articulated in Phillips and its progeny. For example, claim construction begins with the language of the claims. Phillips, 415 F.3d at 1312-14. The “words of a claim are generally given their ordinary and customary meaning,” which is “the meaning that the term would have to a person of ordinary skill in the art in question at the time of the invention, i.e., as of the effective filing date of the patent application.” Id. at 1212-1313. The specification is “the single best guide to the meaning of a disputed term and . . . acts as a dictionary when it expressly defines terms used in the claims or when it defines terms by implication.” Id. at 1321. Although the prosecution history “often lacks the clarity of the specification and thus is less useful for claim construction purposes,” it is another source of intrinsic evidence that can “inform the meaning of the claim language by demonstrating how the inventor understood the invention and whether the inventor limited the invention in the course of prosecution, making the claim scope narrower than it would otherwise be.” Id. at 1317. Extrinsic evidence, such as expert testimony and dictionaries, may be useful in educating the court regarding the field of the invention or helping determine what a person of ordinary skill in the art would understand claim terms to mean. Id. at 1318-19. However, extrinsic evidence in general is viewed as less reliable than intrinsic evidence. Id.

    Additionally, consistent with Phillips and its progeny, the doctrine of construing claims to preserve their validity would apply to AIA trials. Phillips, 415 F.3d at 1327-28. As the Federal Circuit recognized in Phillips, however, this doctrine is “of limited utility.” Id.

    The Court has not applied that doctrine broadly, and has “certainly not endorsed a regime in which validity analysis is a regular component of claim construction.” Id. at 1327. The doctrine of construing claims to preserve their validity has been limited to cases in which “the court concludes, after applying all the available tools of claim construction, that the claim is still ambiguous.” Id. (quoting Liebel-Flarsheim Co. v. Medrad, Inc., 358 F.3d 898, 911 (Fed. Cir. 2004)). Moreover, the Federal Circuit “repeatedly and consistently has recognized that courts may not redraft claims, whether to make them operable or to sustain their validity.” Rembrandt Data Techs., LP v. AOL, LLC, 641 F.3d 1331, 1339 (Fed. Cir. 2011); see also MBO Labs., Inc. v. Becton, Dickinson & Co., 474 F.3d 1323, 1332 (Fed. Cir. 2007) (noting that “validity construction should be used as a last resort, not first principle”).

    The prosecution history taken into account would be the prosecution history that occurred previously at the USPTO, including before an examiner during examination, reissue, reexamination, IPR, PGR, and CBM proceedings. This would also include prosecution before an examiner in a related application where relevant (Trading Technologies Intern., Inc. v. Open E Cry, LLC, 728 F.3d 1309 (Fed. Cir. 2013)) and any argument made on appeal of a rejection before the grant of the patent for which review is sought, as those arguments are before the examiner when the decision to allow an application is made (See TMC Fuel Injection System, LLC v. Ford Motor Company, 682 Fed. Appx. 895 (Fed. Cir. 2017)).

    During an AIA trial proceeding, the patent owner may file a motion to amend an unexpired patent claim to propose a reasonable number of substitute claims, but the proposed claims “may not enlarge the scope of the claims of the patent or introduce new matter.” 35 U.S.C. 316(d) and 326(d); 37 CFR 42.121(a)(2) and 42.221(a)(2); see also Aqua Prods., Inc. v. Matal, 872 F.3d 1290, 1306 (noting that “[t]he patent owner proposes an amendment that it believes is sufficiently narrower than the challenged claim to overcome the grounds of unpatentability upon which the IPR was instituted”). Among other things, having the same claim construction standard for both the original patent claims and proposed claims would reduce the potential for inconsistency in the interpretation of the same or similar claim terms.

    In addition, the Office intends that any proposed rule changes adopted in a final rule would be applied to all pending IPR, PGR, and CBM proceedings before PTAB.

    In light of the foregoing considerations, the Office requests input from the public on the proposed rule changes in this notice of proposed rulemaking and on how the Office should implement the changes if adopted.

    Discussion of Specific Rules

    Title 37 of the Code of Federal Regulations, part 42, is proposed to be amended as follows:

    Sections 42.100, 42.200, and 42.300: Each of §§ 42.100(b), 42.200(b), and 42.300(b) is proposed to be amended to replace the first sentence with the following: a claim of a patent, or a claim proposed in a motion to amend, “shall be construed using the same claim construction standard that would be used to construe such claim in a civil action to invalidate a patent under 35 U.S.C. 282(b), including construing the claim in accordance with the ordinary and customary meaning of such claim as understood by one of ordinary skill in the art and the prosecution history pertaining to the patent.” This proposed revision would replace the BRI standard for construing unexpired patent claims and proposed claims during an IPR, PGR, or CBM proceeding with a standard that is the same as the standard applied in federal district courts and ITC proceedings. As discussed above, the Office would apply the principles that the Federal Circuit articulated in Phillips and its progeny. The Office would construe patent claims and proposed claims based on the record of the IPR, PGR, or CBM proceeding, taking into account the claim language itself, specification, and prosecution history pertaining to the patent, as well as relevant extrinsic evidence, all as in prevailing jurisprudence of Article III courts. The prosecution history taken into account would be the prosecution history that occurred previously in proceedings at the USPTO prior to the IPR, PGR, or CBM proceeding at issue, including in another IPR, PGR, or CBM proceeding, or before an examiner during examination, reissue, and reexamination.

    The Office has considered using different claim construction standards for IPR, PGR, and CBM proceedings, but, for consistency, the Office proposes the same claim construction to be applied in all IPR, PGR, and CBM proceedings.

    Each of §§ 42.100(b), 42.200(b), and 42.300(b) also is proposed to be amended to add the sentence “Any prior claim construction determination concerning a term of the claim in a civil action, or a proceeding before the International Trade Commission, that is timely made of record in the . . . proceeding will be considered.” Under this proposed provision, the Office would consider any prior claim construction determination in a civil action or ITC proceeding if a federal court or the ITC has construed a term of the involved claim previously using the same standard, and the claim construction determination has been timely made of record in the IPR, PGR, or CBM proceeding.

    Each of §§ 42.100(b), 42.200(b), and 42.300(b) further is proposed to be amended to delete the second and third sentences, eliminating the procedure for requesting a district court-type claim construction approach for a patent expiring during an IPR, PGR, or CBM proceeding. Such a procedure would not be needed should the Office adopt the same claim construction standard, as proposed, for construing claims of unexpired patents as well as for construing claims of expired patents in an IPR, PGR, or CBM proceeding.

    Rulemaking Considerations

    A. Administrative Procedure Act (APA): This proposed rule would revise the rules relating to Office trial practice for IPR, PGR, and CBM proceedings. The changes being proposed in this notice of proposed rulemaking would not change the substantive criteria of patentability. These proposed changes involve rules of agency procedure and interpretation. See Perez v. Mortg. Bankers Ass'n, 135 S. Ct. 1199, 1204 (2015) (Interpretive rules “advise the public of the agency's construction of the statutes and rules which it administers.” (citation and internal quotation marks omitted)); Bachow Commc'ns, Inc. v. F.C.C., 237 F.3d 683, 690 (D.C. Cir. 2001) (rules governing an application process are procedural under the Administrative Procedure Act); Inova Alexandria Hosp. v. Shalala, 244 F.3d 342, 350 (4th Cir. 2001) (rules for handling appeals were procedural where they did not change the substantive requirements for reviewing claims); Nat'l Org. of Veterans' Advocates, Inc. v. Sec'y of Veterans Affairs, 260 F.3d 1365, 1375 (Fed. Cir. 2001) (rule that clarifies interpretation of a statute is interpretive); JEM Broad. Co. v. F.C.C., 22 F.3d 320, 328 (D.C. Cir. 1994) (rules are not legislative because they do not “foreclose effective opportunity to make one's case on the merits”).

    Accordingly, prior notice and opportunity for public comment are not required pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553(b) or (c) (or any other law). See Perez, 135 S. Ct. at 1206 (Notice-and-comment procedures are required neither when an agency “issue[s] an initial interpretive rule” nor “when it amends or repeals that interpretive rule.”); Cooper Techs. Co. v. Dudas, 536 F.3d 1330, 1336-37 (Fed. Cir. 2008) (stating that 5 U.S.C. 553, and thus 35 U.S.C. 2(b)(2)(B), do not require notice and comment rulemaking for “interpretative rules, general statements of policy, or rules of agency organization, procedure, or practice”) (quoting 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(3)(A)).

    The Office, nevertheless, is publishing this proposed rule for comment to seek the benefit of the public's views on the Office's proposed changes to the claim construction standard for reviewing patent claims and proposed claims in AIA trial proceedings before the Board.

    B. Regulatory Flexibility Act: For the reasons set forth herein, the Deputy General Counsel for General Law of the United States Patent and Trademark Office has certified to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business Administration that changes proposed in this notice of proposed rulemaking would not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. See 5 U.S.C. 605(b).

    The changes proposed in this notice of proposed rulemaking are to revise certain trial practice procedures before the Board. Any requirements resulting from these proposed changes are of minimal or no additional burden to those practicing before the Board.

    For the foregoing reasons, the proposed changes in this notice of proposed rulemaking would not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities.

    C. Executive Order 12866 (Regulatory Planning and Review): This rulemaking has been determined to be not significant for purposes of Executive Order 12866 (Sept. 30, 1993).

    D. Executive Order 13563 (Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review): The Office has complied with Executive Order 13563. Specifically, the Office has, to the extent feasible and applicable: (1) Made a reasoned determination that the benefits justify the costs of the rule; (2) tailored the rule to impose the least burden on society consistent with obtaining the regulatory objectives; (3) selected a regulatory approach that maximizes net benefits; (4) specified performance objectives; (5) identified and assessed available alternatives; (6) involved the public in an open exchange of information and perspectives among experts in relevant disciplines, affected stakeholders in the private sector and the public as a whole, and provided on-line access to the rulemaking docket; (7) attempted to promote coordination, simplification, and harmonization across government agencies and identified goals designed to promote innovation; (8) considered approaches that reduce burdens and maintain flexibility and freedom of choice for the public; and (9) ensured the objectivity of scientific and technological information and processes.

    E. Executive Order 13771 (Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs): This proposed rule is not expected to be an Executive Order 13771 regulatory action because this proposed rule is not significant under Executive Order 12866.

    F. Executive Order 13132 (Federalism): This rulemaking does not contain policies with federalism implications sufficient to warrant preparation of a Federalism Assessment under Executive Order 13132 (Aug. 4, 1999).

    G. Executive Order 13211 (Energy Effects): This rulemaking is not a significant energy action under Executive Order 13211 because this rulemaking is not likely to have a significant adverse effect on the supply, distribution, or use of energy. Therefore, a Statement of Energy Effects is not required under Executive Order 13211 (May 18, 2001).

    H. Executive Order 12988 (Civil Justice Reform): This rulemaking meets applicable standards to minimize litigation, eliminate ambiguity, and reduce burden as set forth in sections 3(a) and 3(b)(2) of Executive Order 12988 (Feb. 5, 1996).

    I. Executive Order 13045 (Protection of Children): This rulemaking does not concern an environmental risk to health or safety that may disproportionately affect children under Executive Order 13045 (Apr. 21, 1997).

    J. Executive Order 12630 (Taking of Private Property): This rulemaking will not affect a taking of private property or otherwise have taking implications under Executive Order 12630 (Mar. 15, 1988).

    K. Congressional Review Act: Under the Congressional Review Act provisions of the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996 (5 U.S.C. 801 et seq.), prior to issuing any final rule, the United States Patent and Trademark Office will submit a report containing the rule and other required information to the United States Senate, the United States House of Representatives, and the Comptroller General of the Government Accountability Office. The changes in this proposed rule are not expected to result in an annual effect on the economy of 100 million dollars or more, a major increase in costs or prices, or significant adverse effects on competition, employment, investment, productivity, innovation, or the ability of United States-based enterprises to compete with foreign-based enterprises in domestic and export markets. Therefore, this proposed rule is not a “major rule” as defined in 5 U.S.C. 804(2).

    L. Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995: The proposed changes set forth in this rulemaking do not involve a Federal intergovernmental mandate that will result in the expenditure by State, local, and tribal governments, in the aggregate, of 100 million dollars (as adjusted) or more in any one year, or a Federal private sector mandate that will result in the expenditure by the private sector of 100 million dollars (as adjusted) or more in any one year, and will not significantly or uniquely affect small governments. Therefore, no actions are necessary under the provisions of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995. See 2 U.S.C. 1501 et seq.

    M. National Environmental Policy Act: This rulemaking will not have any effect on the quality of the environment and is thus categorically excluded from review under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969. See 42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.

    N. National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act: The requirements of section 12(d) of the National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act of 1995 (15 U.S.C. 272 note) are not applicable because this rulemaking does not contain provisions which involve the use of technical standards.

    O. Paperwork Reduction Act: The Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501-3549) requires that the Office consider the impact of paperwork and other information collection burdens imposed on the public. This proposed rule involves information collection requirements which are subject to review by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501-3549). This rulemaking does not add any additional information requirements or fees for parties before the Board. Therefore, the Office is not resubmitting information collection packages to OMB for its review and approval because the revisions in this rulemaking do not materially change the information collections approved under OMB control number 0651-0069.

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

    List of Subjects in 37 CFR Part 42

    Administrative practice and procedure, Inventions and patents.

    For the reasons set forth in the preamble, the Office proposes to amend part 42 of title 37 of the Code of Federal Regulations as follows:

    PART 42—TRIAL PRACTICE BEFORE THE PATENT TRIAL AND APPEAL BOARD 1. The authority citation for 37 CFR part 42 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    35 U.S.C. 2(b)(2), 6, 21, 23, 41, 135, 311, 312, 316, and 321-326; Public Law 112-29, 125 Stat. 284; and Pub. L. 112 274, 126 Stat. 2456.

    2. Amend § 42.100 by revising paragraph (b) to read as follows:
    § 42.100 Procedure; pendency.

    (b) In an inter partes review proceeding, a claim of a patent, or a claim proposed in a motion to amend under § 42.121, shall be construed using the same claim construction standard that would be used to construe such claim in a civil action to invalidate a patent under 35 U.S.C. 282(b), including construing the claim in accordance with the ordinary and customary meaning of such claim as understood by one of ordinary skill in the art and the prosecution history pertaining to the patent. Any prior claim construction determination concerning a term of the claim in a civil action, or a proceeding before the International Trade Commission, that is timely made of record in the inter partes review proceeding will be considered.

    3. Amend § 42.200 by revising paragraph (b) to read as follows:
    § 42.200 Procedure; pendency.

    (b) In a post-grant review proceeding, a claim of a patent, or a claim proposed in a motion to amend under § 42.221, shall be construed using the same claim construction standard that would be used to construe such claim in a civil action to invalidate a patent under 35 U.S.C. 282(b), including construing the claim in accordance with the ordinary and customary meaning of such claim as understood by one of ordinary skill in the art and the prosecution history pertaining to the patent. Any prior claim construction determination concerning a term of the claim in a civil action, or a proceeding before the International Trade Commission, that is timely made of record in the post-grant review proceeding will be considered.

    4. Amend § 42.300 by revising paragraph (b) to read as follows:
    § 42.300 Procedure; pendency.

    (b) In a covered business method patent review proceeding, a claim of a patent, or a claim proposed in a motion to amend under § 42.221, shall be construed using the same claim construction standard that would be used to construe such claim in a civil action to invalidate a patent under 35 U.S.C. 282(b), including construing the claim in accordance with the ordinary and customary meaning of such claim as understood by one of ordinary skill in the art and the prosecution history pertaining to the patent. Any prior claim construction determination concerning a term of the claim in a civil action, or a proceeding before the International Trade Commission, that is timely made of record in the covered business method patent review proceeding will be considered.

    Dated: May 3, 2018. Andrei Iancu, Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
    [FR Doc. 2018-09821 Filed 5-8-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-16-P
    ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY 40 CFR Part 52 [EPA-R08-OAR-2018-0055; FRL-9977—44—Region 8] Interstate Transport Prongs 1 and 2 for the 2012 Fine Particulate Matter (PM2.5) Standard for Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming AGENCY:

    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

    ACTION:

    Proposed rule.

    SUMMARY:

    The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing to approve portions of State Implementation Plan (SIP) submissions from Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming addressing the Clean Air Act (CAA or Act) interstate transport SIP requirements for the 2012 annual Fine Particulate Matter (PM2.5) National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS). These submissions address the requirement that each SIP contain adequate provisions prohibiting air emissions that will have certain adverse air quality effects in other states. The EPA is proposing to approve portions of these infrastructure SIPs for the aforementioned states as containing adequate provisions to ensure that air emissions in the states will not significantly contribute to nonattainment or interfere with maintenance of the 2012 annual PM2.5 NAAQS in any other state.

    DATES:

    Comments must be received on or before June 8, 2018.

    ADDRESSES:

    Submit your comments, identified by Docket ID No EPA-R08-OAR-2018-0055 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:

    Adam Clark, Air Program, U.S. EPA Region 8, (303) 312-7104, [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    I. Background

    On December 14, 2012, the EPA revised the primary annual PM2.5 NAAQS to 12.0 micrograms per cubic meter (μg/m3). See 78 FR 3086 (January 15, 2013). An area meets the standard if the three-year average of its annual average PM2.5 concentration (at each monitoring site in the area) is less than or equal to 12.0 μg/m3. The CAA requires states to submit, within three years after promulgation of a new or revised standard, SIPs meeting the applicable “infrastructure” elements of sections 110(a)(1) and (2). One of these applicable infrastructure elements, CAA section 110(a)(2)(D)(i), requires SIPs to contain “good neighbor” provisions to prohibit certain adverse air quality effects on neighboring states due to interstate transport of pollution.

    Section 110(a)(2)(D)(i) includes four distinct components, commonly referred to as “prongs,” that must be addressed in infrastructure SIP submissions. The first two prongs, which are codified in section 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(I), are provisions that prohibit any source or other type of emissions activity in one state from contributing significantly to nonattainment of the NAAQS in another state (prong 1) and from interfering with maintenance of the NAAQS in another state (prong 2). The third and fourth prongs, which are codified in section 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(II), are provisions that prohibit emissions activity in one state from interfering with measures required to prevent significant deterioration of air quality in another state (prong 3) or from interfering with measures to protect visibility in another state (prong 4).

    In this action, the EPA is proposing to approve the prong 1 and prong 2 portions of infrastructure SIP submissions submitted by: Colorado on December 1, 2015; Montana on December 17, 2015; North Dakota on August 23, 2015; South Dakota on January 25, 2016; and Wyoming on June 24, 2016, as containing adequate provisions to ensure that air emissions in these states will not significantly contribute to nonattainment or interfere with maintenance of the 2012 annual PM2.5 NAAQS in any other state. All other applicable infrastructure SIP requirements for these SIP submissions have been addressed in separate rulemakings.1

    1See 82 FR 39030, August 17, 2017 (Colorado); 81 FR 23180, April 20, 2016 (Montana); 82 FR 46681, October 6, 2017 (North Dakota); 82 FR 38832, August 16, 2017 (South Dakota); 82 FR 18992, April 25, 2017, and 82 FR 9142, February 3, 2017 (Wyoming).

    II. Relevant Factors To Evaluate 2012 PM2.5 Interstate Transport SIPs

    We review each state's submission to see how it evaluates the transport of air pollution to other states for a given air pollutant, the types of information the state used in its analysis, how that analysis compares with prior EPA rulemakings, modeling, and guidance, and the conclusions drawn by the state.

    The EPA has developed a consistent framework for addressing interstate transport with respect to the PM2.5 NAAQS. This framework includes the following four steps: (1) Identify downwind areas that are expected to have problems attaining or maintaining the NAAQS; (2) Identify which upwind states contribute to these air quality problems in amounts sufficient to warrant further review and analysis; (3) Identify any emissions reductions necessary to prevent an identified upwind state from significantly contributing to downwind nonattainment or interfering with downwind maintenance of the NAAQS; and (4) Adopt permanent and enforceable measures needed to achieve those emissions reductions.

    To help states identify the receptors expected to have problems attaining or maintaining the 2012 annual PM2.5 NAAQS, the EPA released a memorandum titled, “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)” on March 17, 2016 (hereon “2016 Memo”).2 The 2016 Memo 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 2016 Memo also describes how the projected values can be used to help determine which monitors should be further evaluated as potential receptors under step 1 of the interstate transport framework described above, and how to determine whether emissions from other states significantly contribute to nonattainment or interfere with maintenance of the 2012 annual PM2.5 NAAQS at these monitoring sites.

    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.

    To develop the projected values presented in the 2016 Memo, the EPA used the results of nationwide photochemical air quality modeling that it recently performed to support several ozone NAAQS-related rulemakings. Base year modeling was performed for 2011. Future year modeling was performed for 2017 to support the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR) Update for the 2008 Ozone NAAQS. See 81 FR 74504 (October 26, 2016). Future year modeling was performed for 2025 to support the Regulatory Impact Assessment of the final 2015 Ozone NAAQS.3 In addition, and relevant to this proposed action on interstate transport SIPs for the 2012 annual PM2.5 NAAQS, 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.

    3See 2015 ozone NAAQS RIA at: http://www3.epa.gov/ozonepollution/pdfs/20151001ria.pdf.

    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. Since modeling results are only available for 2017 and 2025, the 2016 Memo explains that one way to assess potential receptors for 20214 is to assume that receptors projected to have average and/or maximum design values above the NAAQS in both 2017 and 2025 are also likely to be either nonattainment or maintenance receptors in 2021. Similarly, the EPA stated that it may be reasonable to assume that receptors that are projected to attain the NAAQS in both 2017 and 2025 are also likely to be attainment receptors in 2021. Where a potential receptor is projected to be nonattainment or maintenance in 2017, but projected to be attainment in 2025, further analysis of the emissions and modeling may be needed to make a further judgement regarding the receptor status in 2021.

    4 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 (D.C. 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.

    Based on this approach, the EPA identified 19 potential nonattainment and/or maintenance receptors. All of the 17 potential nonattainment receptors are located in California. One of the potential maintenance-only receptors is located in Shoshone County, Idaho, and the other potential maintenance-only receptor is located in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania.

    In the 2016 Memo, the EPA noted that because of data quality problems, nonattainment and maintenance projections were not done for all or portions of Florida, Illinois, Idaho, Tennessee and Kentucky. Data quality problems were since resolved for Tennessee, Kentucky and Florida, identifying no additional potential receptors, with those areas having design values below the 2012 annual PM2.5 NAAQS and expected to maintain the NAAQS due to downward emission trends for NOX and SO2 (www.epa.gov/air-trends/air-quality-design-values and www.epa.gov/air-emissions-inventories/air-pollutant-emissions-trends-data). Recent ambient data from 2015 and 2016 for Idaho and Illinois indicated that violations of the 2012 annual PM2.5 NAAQS in the areas with previous data quality issues are unlikely. Considering this information, the very low background concentrations recorded at IMPROVE monitoring site locations in Idaho, and the continuing downward trend of annual PM2.5 levels at monitors across Illinois, we propose that the Idaho and Illinois areas should not be considered receptors for purposes of the 2012 annual PM2.5 NAAQS.5

    5 These data quality issues are addressed in more detail in the technical support documents (TSDs) for this rulemaking, which can be found in the docket.

    After identifying potential receptors, the next step is to identify whether upwind states contribute to air pollution at each of the identified receptors in other states. In the 2016 Memo, the EPA did not calculate the portion of any downwind state's predicted PM2.5 concentrations that would result from emissions from individual states. Accordingly, the EPA will evaluate prong 1 and 2 submissions for states using a weight of evidence analysis. This analysis is based on a review of the state's submission and other available information, including air quality trends; topographical, geographical, and meteorological information; local emissions in downwind states and emissions from the upwind state; contribution modeling from prior interstate transport analyses; and existing and planned emission control measures in the state of interest. While none of these factors is by itself dispositive, together they may be used in weight of evidence analyses to determine whether the emissions from each of the five states that are the subject of this notice will significantly contribute to nonattainment or interfere with maintenance of the 2012 annual PM2.5 NAAQS at the identified receptors in the 2016 Memo.

    III. States' Submissions and the EPA's Analysis

    In this section, we provide an overview of each state's 2012 annual PM2.5 transport analysis, as well as a summary of the EPA's evaluation of prongs 1 and 2 for each state. A detailed discussion of our evaluations can be found in the Technical Support Documents (TSDs) for this action, with separate TSDs for each of the five states. The TSDs can be accessed through www.regulations.gov (e-docket EPA-R08-OAR-2018-0055).

    Colorado: Colorado concluded that it does not contribute significantly to nonattainment or interfere with maintenance of the 2012 annual PM2.5 NAAQS in any other state for the following reasons: (1) Colorado has never violated the 2012 PM2.5 NAAQS; (2) The nearest downwind nonattainment area is about 900 miles from Colorado's eastern border,6 and the nearest upwind nonattainment area is about 600 miles from Colorado's western border; and (3) Colorado has an EPA-approved Regional Haze State Implementation Plan that will result in substantial future reductions of PM2.5 and its precursors.

    6 Colorado was referring to the Floyd County, Indiana area. The EPA did not consider transport to this area as part of this action because no receptors in the area were projected as nonattainment or maintenance monitors in the 2016 Memo.

    The EPA notes that, because Colorado's analysis focused on designated nonattainment areas, it does not independently address whether the SIP contains adequate provisions prohibiting emissions that will interfere with maintenance of the 2012 PM2.5 NAAQS in any other state. In remanding the Clean Air Interstate Rule (CAIR) to the EPA in North Carolina v. EPA, the D.C. Circuit explained that the regulating authority must give the “interfere with maintenance” clause of section 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(I) “independent significance” by evaluating the impact of upwind state emissions on downwind areas that, while currently in attainment, are at risk of future nonattainment, considering historic variability.7 While Colorado's submittal pre-dates the 2016 Memo, which provided the states with information about potential maintenance-only receptors, Colorado was still required to evaluate the potential impact of its emissions on areas that are currently measuring clean data, but that may have issues maintaining that air quality, and Colorado did not do so.

    7 531 F.3d 896, 910-11 (D.C. Cir. 2008) (holding that the EPA must give “independent significance” to each prong of CAA section 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(I)).

    The EPA reviewed the information in Colorado's submittal, as well as the 2016 Memo and additional supplemental information for our evaluation, and we propose to come to the same conclusion as the state. This includes Colorado's conclusion that the state will not interfere with maintenance in downwind states, because we supplemented the state's analysis by identifying and assessing impacts on potential maintenance receptors. In our evaluation, we identified potential downwind nonattainment and maintenance receptors using the 2016 Memo. We then evaluated these receptors to determine whether Colorado emissions could significantly contribute to nonattainment or interfere with maintenance at them. Below, we provide an overview of our analysis. A more detailed evaluation of how the SIP revisions meet the requirements of CAA section 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(I) may be found in the Colorado TSD.

    With regard to the 17 California receptors, our analysis showed that elevated PM2.5 levels in California are driven primarily by local emissions.8 Additionally, Colorado's western border is more than 570 miles to the east and generally downwind of the California receptors, with several intervening mountain ranges which tend to impede interstate pollution transport. Finally, monitoring data demonstrate that the air in remote areas between Colorado and California is well below the level of the 2012 PM2.5 NAAQS. All of these factors indicate that emissions from Colorado will not significantly contribute to nonattainment or interfere with maintenance of the 2012 PM2.5 NAAQS at any California projected receptors.

    8 See “California: Imperial County, Los Angeles-South Coast Air Basin, Plumas County, San Joaquin Valley Area Designations for the 2012 Primary Annual PM2.5 National Ambient Air Quality Standard Technical Support Document” in the docket for this action.

    With regard to the Shoshone County, Idaho receptor, our analysis showed that elevated PM2.5 levels in the area are driven primarily by local emissions from wood burning in the wintertime.9 Additionally, Colorado is more than 550 miles to the southeast and downwind of this receptor. Finally, monitoring data indicate that the air in remote areas between Colorado and the Idaho receptor is well below the level of the 2012 PM2.5 NAAQS. All of these factors indicate that emissions from Colorado will not significantly contribute to nonattainment or interfere with maintenance of the 2012 PM2.5 NAAQS at the projected Shoshone County receptor.

    9 See “Idaho: West Silver Valley Nonattainment Area—2012 Primary Annual PM2.5 National Ambient Air Quality Standard Technical Support Document” in the docket for this action.

    With regard to the Allegheny County, Pennsylvania receptor, our analysis included review of previous modeling data conducted for the EPA's 2011 CSAPR, which addressed the 1997 and 2006 PM2.5 NAAQS.10 For the 2011 CSAPR, the EPA modeled contribution from states in the Eastern U.S. to air quality monitors (referred to as “receptors”) also located in the Eastern U.S.11 Therefore, the 2011 CSAPR modeling did not project downwind contribution of emissions from Colorado, but projected contributions from states immediately east of Colorado, including Kansas. This modeling indicated that Kansas, a state located much closer to the Allegheny County receptor and with higher PM2.5 precursor emissions than Colorado,12 was modeled to be below 1% (the contribution level at which eastern states were considered “linked” to downwind receptors in the CSAPR and CSAPR Update rulemakings) of the 2012 annual PM2.5 NAAQS at all receptors in the eastern U.S., including the Allegheny County receptor. Additionally, the modeling information contained in EPA's 2016 Memo shows that the Allegheny County receptor is projected to both attain and maintain the NAAQS by 2025. These factors, in addition to the very large distance (1,165 miles) from the Allegheny County receptor to the Colorado border, indicate that emissions from Colorado will not significantly contribute to nonattainment or interfere with maintenance of the 2012 PM2.5 NAAQS at the projected Allegheny County receptor.

    10 See Table V.D-1 in the EPA's Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR) (August 8, 2011), at 76 FR 48240.

    11 In these rules, “Eastern” states refer to all contiguous states east of the Rocky Mountains, specifically not including: Montana, Wyoming, Colorado and New Mexico.

    12 See Tables 7-1 and 7-2 in “Emissions Inventory Final Rule Technical Support Document (TSD)” for CSAPR, June 28, 2011, Document number EPA-HQ-OAR-2009-0491-4522 in www.regulations.gov.

    Based on these analyses, the EPA is proposing to approve the SIP submittal as meeting the CAA section 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(I) requirement that Colorado emissions will not contribute significantly to nonattainment or interfere with maintenance of the 2012 PM2.5 NAAQS in any other state.

    Montana: Montana concluded that it does not contribute significantly to nonattainment or interfere with maintenance of the 2012 annual PM2.5 NAAQS in any other state for the following reasons: (1) The one PM2.5 nonattainment area within the state, the Libby 1997 PM2.5 nonattainment area, monitors PM2.5 values which attain the 2012 PM2.5 NAAQS; (2) Elevated levels of PM2.5 in the state which can occur during the wintertime are highly dependent on low wind speed and meteorological “inversions” that lead to limited vertical mixing, resulting in neighborhood-scale impacts that are unlikely to contribute to elevated PM2.5 levels in other states; and (3) The evidence indicates that Montana does not contribute to elevated emissions at the only area designated nonattainment for the 2012 PM2.5 NAAQS with close proximity to the state, the West Silver Valley in Shoshone County, Idaho. Montana cited the EPA's technical support document on the West Silver Valley, Idaho nonattainment area designation,13 which indicated that residential wood combustion within the West Silver Valley during wintertime periods of low wind speeds and low mixing height was the primary cause of the PM2.5 issues in that area. Montana also noted winds into the West Silver Valley tend to be westerly, and that the Bitterroot and Coeur D'Alene mountain ranges run along the western border of Montana between the state and the West Silver Valley nonattainment area. Montana asserted that all of these considerations combined made it unlikely that emissions from Montana sources will contribute significantly to nonattainment or interfere with maintenance in the West Silver Valley, Idaho area.

    13 See “Idaho: West Silver Valley Nonattainment Area- 2012 Primary Annual PM2.5 National Ambient Air Quality Standard Technical Support Document” in the docket for this action.

    The EPA notes that, because Montana's analysis focused on designated nonattainment areas, it does not independently address whether the SIP contains adequate provisions prohibiting emissions that will interfere with maintenance of the 2012 PM2.5 NAAQS in any other state. While Montana's submittal pre-dates the 2016 Memo, which provided the states with information about potential maintenance-only receptors, Montana was still required to evaluate the potential impact of its emissions on areas that are currently measuring clean data, but that may have issues maintaining that air quality, and Montana did not do so.

    The EPA reviewed the information in Montana's submittal, as well as the 2016 Memo and additional supplemental information for our evaluation, and we propose to come to the same conclusion as the state. This includes Montana's conclusion that the state will not interfere with maintenance in downwind states, because we supplemented the state's analysis by identifying and assessing impacts on potential maintenance receptors. In our evaluation, we identified potential downwind nonattainment and maintenance receptors using the 2016 Memo. We then evaluated these receptors to determine whether Montana emissions could significantly contribute to nonattainment or interfere with maintenance at them. Below, we provide an overview of our analysis. A more detailed evaluation of how the SIP revisions meet the requirements of CAA section 110(a)(2)(D)(i) may be found in the TSD.

    With regard to the Shoshone County, Idaho receptor, our analysis indicated that elevated PM2.5 levels in the area are driven primarily by local emissions from wood burning in the wintertime during inversion conditions, and therefore are not driven by transported emissions.14 Monitoring data also indicate that the air in remote areas in western Montana and throughout the region is well below the level of the 2012 PM2.5 NAAQS, especially during the winter months when PM2.5 levels at the Shoshone County receptor are highest.15 Additionally, the predominant wind direction in Shoshone County is from the west, while Montana is located to the east, making transport of emissions from Montana to this receptor unlikely. Finally, the intervening topography of the Bitterroot and Coeur D'Alene mountain ranges would impede interstate pollution transport. These factors, which are also discussed in Montana's analysis and further examined by the EPA in a TSD for this action,16 indicate that emissions from Montana will not significantly contribute to nonattainment or interfere with maintenance of the 2012 PM2.5 NAAQS at the projected Shoshone County receptor.

    14 Id.

    15 See Id. at 13, as well as “IMPROVE data 2013-2015,” in the docket for this action.

    16 The TSD for the Montana portion of this rulemaking can be found in the docket for this action.

    With regard to the 17 California receptors, our analysis showed that elevated PM2.5 levels in California are driven primarily by local emissions.17 Additionally, Montana is more than 630 miles to the northeast and generally downwind of the California receptors, with several intervening mountain ranges which tend to impede interstate pollution transport. Finally, monitoring data demonstrate that the air in remote areas between Montana and California is well below the level of the 2012 PM2.5 NAAQS. All of these factors indicate that emissions from Montana will not significantly contribute to nonattainment or interfere with maintenance of the 2012 PM2.5 NAAQS at any California projected receptors.

    17 See “California: Imperial County, Los Angeles-South Coast Air Basin, Plumas County, San Joaquin Valley Area Designations for the 2012 Primary Annual PM2.5 National Ambient Air Quality Standard Technical Support Document” in the docket for this action.

    With regard to the Allegheny County, Pennsylvania receptor, our analysis included review of previous modeling data conducted for the EPA's 2011 CSAPR.18 The 2011 CSAPR modeling did not project downwind contribution of emissions from Montana, but projected contributions from states immediately east of Montana, including North Dakota. This modeling indicated that North Dakota, a state located much closer to the Allegheny County receptor and with higher PM2.5 precursor emissions than Montana,19 was modeled to be below 1% of the 2012 annual PM2.5 NAAQS at all receptors in the eastern U.S., including the Allegheny County receptor. Additionally, the modeling information contained in the EPA's 2016 Memo shows that the Allegheny County receptor is projected to both attain and maintain the NAAQS by 2025. These factors, in addition to the very large distance (1,267 miles) from the Allegheny County receptor to Montana's eastern border, indicate that emissions from Montana will not significantly contribute to nonattainment or interfere with maintenance of the 2012 PM2.5 NAAQS at the projected Allegheny County receptor.

    18 See Table V.D-1 in the EPA's Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR) (August 8, 2011), at 76 FR 48240.

    19 See Tables 7-1 and 7-2 in “Emissions Inventory Final Rule Technical Support Document (TSD)” for CSAPR, June 28, 2011, Document number EPA-HQ-OAR-2009-0491-4522 in www.regulations.gov.

    Based on our analyses, the EPA is proposing to approve the SIP submittal as meeting the CAA section 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(I) requirement that Montana emissions will not contribute significantly to nonattainment or interfere with maintenance of the 2012 PM2.5 NAAQS in any other state.

    North Dakota: North Dakota concluded that it does not contribute significantly to nonattainment or interfere with maintenance of the 2012 annual PM2.5 NAAQS in any other state for the following reasons: (1) There are no PM2.5 nonattainment areas within North Dakota; (2) The nearest 2012 PM2.5 nonattainment area, in Shoshone County, Idaho, is roughly 660 miles west of the western border of North Dakota. Given that the three PM2.5 monitors in western North Dakota indicate very low annual PM2.5 levels, and the wind in the western U.S. is generally westerly, any PM2.5 contribution from North Dakota to the nearest nonattainment area would be insignificant; (3) The modeling conducted for the EPA's CSAPR (August 8, 2011, 76 FR 48208) indicated that North Dakota sources have a maximum annual average contribution to any nonattainment area of .06 μg/m3, and a maximum contribution of .04 μg/m3 to any maintenance receptor in the Eastern U.S.; (4) Annual PM2.5 monitor values throughout North Dakota are all well below the 2012 PM2.5 NAAQS; and (5) Direct and precursor emissions of PM2.5 have been steadily declining in North Dakota for years. Between 2004-2014, NOx emissions in the state decreased by 36%, SO2 emissions decreased by 64%, and primary particulate emissions from major point sources decreased by 19%, with further anticipated reductions due to North Dakota's Regional Haze requirements.

    The EPA reviewed the information in North Dakota's submittal, as well as the 2016 Memo and additional supplemental information for our evaluation, and we propose to come to the same conclusion as the state. In our evaluation, we identified potential downwind nonattainment and maintenance receptors using the 2016 Memo. We then evaluated these receptors to determine whether North Dakota emissions could significantly contribute to nonattainment or interfere with maintenance at them. Below, we provide an overview of our analysis. A more detailed evaluation of how the SIP revisions meet the requirements of CAA section 110(a)(2)(D)(i) may be found in the North Dakota TSD.

    With regard to the 17 California receptors, our analysis showed that elevated PM2.5 levels in California are driven primarily by local emissions.20 Additionally, North Dakota is more than 1,030 miles to the east and generally downwind of the California receptors, with several intervening mountain ranges which tend to impede interstate pollution transport. Finally, monitoring data demonstrate that the air in remote areas between North Dakota and California is well below the level of the 2012 PM2.5 NAAQS. All of these factors indicate that emissions from North Dakota will not significantly contribute to nonattainment or interfere with maintenance of the 2012 PM2.5 NAAQS at any California projected receptors.

    20 See “California: Imperial County, Los Angeles-South Coast Air Basin, Plumas County, San Joaquin Valley Area Designations for the 2012 Primary Annual PM2.5 National Ambient Air Quality Standard Technical Support Document: in the docket for this action.

    With regard to the Shoshone County, Idaho receptor, our analysis showed that elevated PM2.5 levels in the area are driven primarily by local emissions from wood burning in the wintertime.21 Additionally, North Dakota is more than 500 miles to the east and downwind of this receptor. Finally, monitoring data indicate that the air in remote areas between North Dakota and the Shoshone County receptor is well below the level of the 2012 PM2.5 NAAQS. All of these factors indicate that emissions from North Dakota will not significantly contribute to nonattainment or interfere with maintenance of the 2012 PM2.5 NAAQS at the projected Shoshone County receptor.

    21 See “Idaho: West Silver Valley Nonattainment Area- 2012 Primary Annual PM2.5 National Ambient Air Quality Standard Technical Support Document” in the docket for this action.

    With regard to the Allegheny County, Pennsylvania receptor, our analysis included review of previous modeling data conducted for the EPA's 2011 CSAPR.22 As noted, this modeling projected North Dakota's impact at all receptors in the eastern U.S., including the Allegheny County receptor, and that impact was modeled to be well below 1% of the 2012 annual PM2.5 NAAQS at all receptor locations.23 Additionally, the modeling information contained in EPA's 2016 Memo shows that the Allegheny County receptor is projected to both attain and maintain the NAAQS by 2025. These factors, in addition to the very large distance (925 miles) from the Allegheny County receptor to North Dakota's eastern border, indicate that emissions from North Dakota will not significantly contribute to nonattainment or interfere with maintenance of the 2012 PM2.5 NAAQS at the projected Allegheny County receptor.

    22 See Table V.D-1 in the EPA's Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR) (August 8, 2011), at 76 FR 48240.

    23 Id.

    Based on these analyses, the EPA is proposing to approve the SIP submittal as meeting the CAA section 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(I) requirement that North Dakota emissions will not contribute significantly to nonattainment or interfere with maintenance of the 2012 PM2.5 NAAQS in any other state.

    South Dakota: South Dakota concluded that it does not contribute significantly to nonattainment or interfere with maintenance of the 2012 annual PM2.5 NAAQS in any other state for the following reasons: (1) There are no 2012 PM2.5 nonattainment or maintenance areas within South Dakota or neighboring states; (2) Source-oriented PM2.5 emissions are low throughout South Dakota; (3) Existing programs in the South Dakota SIP will prevent new or modified sources from causing nonattainment in South Dakota or contributing significantly to nonattainment or maintenance with this NAAQS in neighboring states; and (4) South Dakota has a small population.

    The EPA notes that, because South Dakota's analysis focused on designated nonattainment areas, it does not independently address whether the SIP contains adequate provisions prohibiting emissions that will interfere with maintenance of the 2012 PM2.5 NAAQS in any other state. While South Dakota's submittal pre-dates the 2016 Memo, which provided the states with information about potential maintenance-only receptors, South Dakota was still required to evaluate the potential impact of its emissions on areas that are currently measuring clean data, but that may have issues maintaining that air quality, and South Dakota did not do so.

    The EPA reviewed the information in South Dakota's submittal, as well as the 2016 Memo and additional supplemental information for our evaluation, and we propose to come to the same conclusion as the state. This includes South Dakota's conclusion that the state will not interfere with maintenance in downwind states, because we supplemented the state's analysis by identifying and assessing impacts on potential maintenance receptors. In our evaluation, we identified potential downwind nonattainment and maintenance receptors using the 2016 Memo. We then evaluated these receptors to determine whether South Dakota emissions could significantly contribute to nonattainment or interfere with maintenance at them. Below, we provide an overview of our analysis. A more detailed evaluation of how the SIP revisions meet the requirements of CAA section 110(a)(2)(D)(i) may be found in the South Dakota TSD.

    With regard to the 17 California receptors, our analysis showed that elevated PM2.5 levels in California are driven primarily by local emissions.24 Additionally, South Dakota is more than 937 miles to the northeast and generally downwind of the California receptors. Finally, monitoring data demonstrate that the air in remote areas between South Dakota and California is well below the level of the 2012 PM2.5 NAAQS. All of these factors indicate that emissions from South Dakota will not significantly contribute to nonattainment or interfere with maintenance of the 2012 PM2.5 NAAQS at any California projected receptors.

    24 See “California: Imperial County, Los Angeles-South Coast Air Basin, Plumas County, San Joaquin Valley Area Designations for the 2012 Primary Annual PM2.5 National Ambient Air Quality Standard Technical Support Document” in the docket for this action.

    With regard to the Shoshone County, Idaho receptor, our analysis showed that elevated PM2.5 levels in the area are driven primarily by local emissions from wood burning in the wintertime.25 Additionally, South Dakota is more than 600 miles to the east and downwind of this receptor. Finally, monitoring data indicate that the air in remote areas between South Dakota and the Idaho receptor is well below the level of the 2012 PM2.5 NAAQS. All of these factors indicate that emissions from South Dakota will not significantly contribute to nonattainment or interfere with maintenance of the 2012 PM2.5 NAAQS at the projected Shoshone County receptor.

    25 See “Idaho: West Silver Valley Nonattainment Area—2012 Primary Annual PM2.5 National Ambient Air Quality Standard Technical Support Document” in the docket for this action.

    With regard to the Allegheny County, Pennsylvania receptor, our analysis included review of previous modeling data conducted for the EPA's 2011 CSAPR.26 This modeling projected South Dakota's impact at all receptors in the eastern U.S., including the Allegheny County receptor, and that impact was modeled to be well below 1% of the 2012 annual PM2.5 NAAQS at all receptor locations.27 Additionally, the modeling information contained in the EPA's 2016 Memo shows that the Allegheny County receptor is projected to both attain and maintain the NAAQS by 2025. These factors, in addition to the very large distance (880 miles) from the Allegheny County receptor to South Dakota's eastern border, indicate that emissions from South Dakota will not significantly contribute to nonattainment or interfere with maintenance of the 2012 PM2.5 NAAQS at the projected Allegheny County receptor.

    26 See Table V.D-1 in the EPA's Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR) (August 8, 2011), at 76 FR 48240.

    27 Id.

    Based on these analyses, the EPA is proposing to approve the SIP submittal as meeting the CAA section 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(I) requirement that South Dakota emissions will not contribute significantly to nonattainment or interfere with maintenance of the 2012 PM2.5 NAAQS in any other state.

    Wyoming: Wyoming concluded that it does not contribute significantly to nonattainment or interfere with maintenance of the 2012 annual PM2.5 NAAQS in any other state for the following reasons: (1) There are no PM2.5 nonattainment areas within Wyoming, and all PM2.5 monitors in the state indicate levels well below the NAAQS in spite of certain maximum values being influenced by wildfires; (2) There are no 2012 PM2.5 nonattainment areas in states bordering Wyoming apart from Idaho; and (3) The evidence indicates that Wyoming does not contribute to elevated emissions at the only area designated nonattainment for the 2012 PM2.5 NAAQS with close proximity to the state, the West Silver Valley in Shoshone County, Idaho. This nonattainment area is over 300 miles from the nearest border of Wyoming, and wind roses within Wyoming show that winds primarily blow west-to-east, and do not favor southeast-to-northwest transport needed for Wyoming emissions to impact this nonattainment area. The monitored PM2.5 values in the Wyoming counties nearest the West Silver Valley, Idaho nonattainment area are well below the NAAQS. Wyoming also cited the EPA's technical support document on the West Silver Valley, Idaho, nonattainment area designation,28 which indicated that residential wood combustion and prescribed burning within the West Silver Valley were the primary causes of PM2.5 issues in that area. Wyoming also stated that the Beaverhead, Lemhi, Teton and Gallatin mountain ranges also inhibited westward transport between Wyoming and the West Silver Valley, Idaho nonattainment area. Wyoming asserted that all of these considerations combined made it reasonable to conclude that emissions from Wyoming sources are not significantly contributing to nonattainment in the West Silver Valley, Idaho area.

    28 See “Idaho: West Silver Valley Nonattainment Area—2012 Primary Annual PM2.5 National Ambient Air Quality Standard Technical Support Document” in the docket for this action.

    The EPA notes that, because Wyoming's analysis focused on designated nonattainment areas, it does not independently address whether the SIP contains adequate provisions prohibiting emissions that will interfere with maintenance of the 2012 PM2.5 NAAQS in any other state. Each state is required to evaluate the potential impact of its emissions on areas that are currently measuring clean data, but that may have issues maintaining that air quality, and Wyoming did not do so.

    The EPA reviewed the information in Wyoming's submittal, as well as the 2016 Memo and additional supplemental information for our evaluation, and we propose to come to the same conclusion as the state. This includes Wyoming's conclusion that the state will not interfere with maintenance in downwind states, because we supplemented the state's analysis by identifying and assessing impacts on potential maintenance receptors. In our evaluation, we identified potential downwind nonattainment and maintenance receptors using the 2016 Memo. We then evaluated these receptors to determine whether Wyoming emissions could significantly contribute to nonattainment or interfere with maintenance at them. Below, we provide an overview of our analysis. A more detailed evaluation of how the SIP revisions meet the requirements of CAA section 110(a)(2)(D)(i) may be found in the Wyoming TSD.

    With regard to the Shoshone County, Idaho receptor, our analysis showed that elevated PM2.5 levels in the area are driven primarily by local emissions from wood burning in the wintertime during inversion conditions, and therefore are not driven by transported emissions.29 Additionally, monitoring data indicate that the air in remote areas between Wyoming and the Idaho receptor is well below the level of the 2012 PM2.5 NAAQS. These factors indicate that emissions from Wyoming will not significantly contribute to nonattainment or interfere with maintenance of the 2012 PM2.5 NAAQS at the projected Shoshone County receptor.

    29 Id.

    With regard to the 17 California receptors, our analysis showed that elevated PM2.5 levels in California are driven primarily by local emissions.30 Additionally, Wyoming is more than 548 miles to the east and generally downwind of the California receptors, with several intervening mountain ranges which tend to impede interstate pollution transport. Finally, monitoring data demonstrate that the air in remote areas between Wyoming and California is well below the level of the 2012 PM2.5 NAAQS. All of these factors indicate that emissions from Wyoming will not significantly contribute to nonattainment or interfere with maintenance of the 2012 PM2.5 NAAQS at any California projected receptors.

    30 See “California: Imperial County, Los Angeles-South Coast Air Basin, Plumas County, San Joaquin Valley Area Designations for the 2012 Primary Annual PM2.5 National Ambient Air Quality Standard Technical Support Document” in the docket for this action.

    With regard to the Allegheny County, Pennsylvania receptor, our analysis included review of previous modeling data conducted for the EPA's 2011 CSAPR.31 The 2011 CSAPR modeling did not project contribution of emissions from Wyoming, but projected contributions from states immediately east of Wyoming, including Nebraska. This modeling indicated that Nebraska, a state located much closer to the Allegheny County receptor and with higher PM2.5 precursor emissions than Wyoming,32 was modeled to be below 1% of the 2012 annual PM2.5 NAAQS at all receptors in the eastern U.S., including the Allegheny County receptor. Additionally, the modeling information contained in the EPA's 2016 Memo shows that the Allegheny County receptor is projected to both attain and maintain the NAAQS by 2025. These factors, in addition to the very large distance (1,260 miles) from the Allegheny County receptor to Wyoming's eastern border, indicate that emissions from Wyoming will not significantly contribute to nonattainment or interfere with maintenance of the 2012 PM2.5 NAAQS at the projected Allegheny County receptor.

    31 See Table V.D-1 in the EPA's Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR) (August 8, 2011), at 76 FR 48240.

    32 See Tables 7-1 and 7-2 in “Emissions Inventory Final Rule Technical Support Document (TSD)” for CSAPR, June 28, 2011, Document number EPA-HQ-OAR-2009-0491-4522 in www.regulations.gov.

    Based on these analyses, the EPA is proposing to approve the SIP submittal as meeting the CAA section 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(I) requirement that Wyoming emissions will not contribute significantly to nonattainment or interfere with maintenance of the 2012 PM2.5 NAAQS in any other state.

    IV. Proposed Action

    The EPA is proposing to approve the following submittals as meeting the interstate transport requirements of CAA section 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(I) for the 2012 PM2.5 NAAQS: Colorado's December 1, 2015 submittal; Montana's December 17, 2015 submittal; North Dakota's August 23, 2015 submittal; South Dakota's January 25, 2016 submittal; and Wyoming's June 24, 2016 submittal. The EPA is proposing this approval based on our review of the information and analysis provided by each state, as well as additional relevant information, which indicates that in-state air emissions will not contribute significantly to nonattainment or interfere with maintenance of the 2012 PM2.5 NAAQS in any other state. This action is being taken under section 110 of the CAA.

    V. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews

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

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

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

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

    • are 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.);

    • do 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);

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

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

    • are not significant regulatory actions subject to Executive Order 13211 (66 FR 28355, May 22, 2001);

    • are 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

    • do 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, these SIPs are 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, Nitrogen dioxide, Particulate matter, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Sulfur dioxide, Volatile organic compounds.

    Authority:

    42 U.S.C. 7401 et seq.

    Dated: May 4, 2018. Douglas Benevento, Regional Administrator, Region 8.
    [FR Doc. 2018-09880 Filed 5-8-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
    ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY 40 CFR Part 52 [EPA-R03-OAR-2017-0337; FRL-9977-88—Region 3] Approval and Promulgation of Air Quality Implementation Plans;Virginia; Interstate Transport Requirements for the 2012 Fine Particulate Matter Standard AGENCY:

    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

    ACTION:

    Proposed rule.

    SUMMARY:

    The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing to approve a state implementation plan (SIP) revision submitted by the Commonwealth of Virginia (the Commonwealth or Virginia). This revision pertains to the infrastructure requirement for interstate transport of pollution with respect to the 2012 fine particulate matter (PM2.5) national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS). EPA is approving this revision in accordance with the requirements of the Clean Air Act (CAA).

    DATES:

    Written comments must be received on or before June 8, 2018.

    ADDRESSES:

    Submit your comments, identified by Docket ID No. EPA-R03-OAR-2017-0337 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, EPA may publish any comment received to its public docket. Do not submit electronically any information you consider to be confidential business information (CBI) or other information whose disclosure is restricted by statute. Multimedia submissions (audio, video, etc.) must be accompanied by a written comment. The written comment is considered the official comment and should include discussion of all points you wish to make. EPA will generally not consider comments or comment contents located outside of the primary submission (i.e. on the web, cloud, or other file sharing system). For additional submission methods, please contact the person identified in the For Further Information Contact section. For the full EPA public comment policy, information about CBI or multimedia submissions, and general guidance on making effective comments, please visit https://www2.epa.gov/dockets/commenting-epa-dockets.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

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

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    On June 16, 2015, Virginia, through the Department of Environmental Quality (VADEQ), submitted a SIP revision to address the elements of CAA section 110(a)(2) with the exception of section 110(a)(2)(D)(i). EPA approved that SIP revision on June 16, 2016. See 81 FR 39210. EPA's previous approval on that June 16, 2015 submittal is not at issue in this rulemaking action and EPA will not be taking comment on the previous approval. On May 16, 2017, Virginia, through VADEQ, submitted a SIP revision addressing the infrastructure requirements under section 110(a)(2)(D)(i) of the CAA for the 2012 PM2.5 NAAQS.

    I. Background A. General

    Particle pollution is a complex mixture of extremely small particles and liquid droplets in the air. When inhaled, these particles can reach the deepest regions of the lungs. Exposure to particle pollution is linked to a variety of significant health problems. Particle pollution also is the main cause of visibility impairment in the nation's cities and national parks. PM2.5 can be emitted directly into the atmosphere, or it can form from chemical reactions of precursor gases including sulfur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), certain volatile organic compounds (VOC), and ammonia. On January 15, 2013, EPA revised the level of the health based (primary) annual PM2.5 standard to 12 micrograms per meter cubed (µg/m3). See 78 FR 3086.

    B. EPA's Infrastructure Requirements

    Pursuant to section 110(a)(1) of the CAA, states are required to submit a SIP revision to address the applicable requirements of section 110(a)(2) within three years after promulgation of a new or revised NAAQS or within such shorter period as EPA may prescribe. Section 110(a)(2) requires states to address basic SIP elements to assure attainment and maintenance of the NAAQS—such as requirements for monitoring, basic program requirements, and legal authority. Section 110(a) imposes the obligation upon states to make a SIP submission to EPA for a new or revised NAAQS, but the contents of that submission may vary depending upon the facts and circumstances of each NAAQS and what is in each state's existing SIP. In particular, the data and analytical tools available at the time the state develops and submits the SIP revision for a new or revised NAAQS affect the content of the submission. The content of such SIP submission may also vary depending upon what provisions the state's existing SIP already contains.

    Specifically, section 110(a)(1) provides the procedural and timing requirements for SIP submissions. Section 110(a)(2) lists specific elements that states must meet for infrastructure SIP requirements related to a newly established or revised NAAQS such as requirements for monitoring, basic program requirements, and legal authority that are designed to assure attainment and maintenance of the NAAQS.

    C. Interstate Pollution Transport Requirements

    Section 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(I) of the CAA requires a state's SIP to address any emissions activity in one state that contributes significantly to nonattainment, or interferes with maintenance, of the NAAQS in any downwind state. The EPA sometimes refers to these requirements as prong 1 (significant contribution to nonattainment) and prong 2 (interference with maintenance), or jointly as the “good neighbor” provision of the CAA. On March 17, 2016, EPA issued a memorandum providing information on the development and review of SIPs that address CAA section 110(a)(2)(D)(i) for the 2012 PM2.5 NAAQS (2016 PM2.5 Memorandum).1 Further information can be found in the Technical Support Document (TSD) for this rulemaking action, which is available online at www.regulations.gov, Docket number EPA-R03-OAR-2017-0337.

    1 “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),” Memorandum from Stephen D. Page, Director, EPA Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards (March 17, 2016). A copy is included in the docket for this rulemaking action.

    II. Summary of SIP Revisions and EPA Analysis

    Virginia's May 16, 2017 SIP submittal includes a summary of annual emissions of oxides of nitrogen (NOX) and SO2, both of which are precursors of PM2.5. The emissions summary shows that emissions from Virginia sources have been steadily decreasing for sources that could potentially contribute with respect to the 2012 PM2.5 NAAQS to nonattainment in, or interfere with maintenance of, any other state. The submittal also included currently available air quality monitoring data for PM2.5, and its precursors SO2 and NO2, which Virginia alleged show that PM2.5 levels continue to be below the 2012 PM2.5 NAAQS in Virginia.

    Virginia also discussed EPA's 2016 PM2.5 Memorandum and the fact that EPA's analysis showed that only one monitor in the eastern United States had projected PM2.5 data above the 12.0 µg/m3 NAAQS value (Allegheny County, PA). Virginia also discussed the direction of prevailing winds throughout Virginia and how, apart from short-term weather variations, Virginia's emissions would have a negligible influence on Allegheny County's attainment status. Virginia also points to EPA's response to comments on the 2012 PM2.5 Designations, in which EPA discusses the factors contributing to the Allegheny County area's nonattainment designation.2

    2 “Response to Significant Comments on the State and Tribal Designation Recommendations for the 2012 Annual PM2.5 National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS)” December 17, 2014. See Docket Number: EPA-HQ-OAR-2012-0918-0337, page 10.

    Additionally, Virginia described in its submittal several existing SIP-approved measures and other federally enforceable source-specific measures, pursuant to permitting requirements under the CAA, that apply to sources of PM2.5 and its precursors within Virginia. Virginia alleges with these measures, emissions reductions, ambient monitored PM2.5 data, and meteorological data, the Commonwealth does not significantly contribute to, nor interfere with the maintenance of, another state for the 2012 PM2.5 NAAQS. A detailed summary of Virginia's submittal and EPA's review and rationale for approval of this SIP revision as meeting CAA section 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(I) for the 2012 PM2.5 NAAQS may be found in the TSD for this rulemaking action, which is available online at www.regulations.gov, Docket number EPA-R03-OAR-2017-0337.

    EPA used the information in the 2016 PM2.5 Memorandum and additional information for the evaluation and came to the same conclusion as Virginia. As discussed in greater detail in the TSD, EPA identified the potential downwind nonattainment and maintenance receptors identified in the 2016 PM2.5 Memorandum, and then evaluated them to determine if Virginia's emissions could potentially contribute to nonattainment and maintenance problems in 2021, the attainment year for moderate PM2.5 nonattainment areas. Specifically, the analysis identified the following areas as potential nonattainment and maintenance receptors: (i) 17 potential receptors in California; (ii) one potential receptor in Shoshone County, Idaho; (iii) one potential receptor in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania; (iv) data gaps exist for the monitors in four counties in Florida; and (v) data gaps exist for all monitors in Illinois. For the 17 receptors in California and one potential receptor in Idaho, based on EPA's evaluation of distance and wind direction, EPA proposes to conclude that Virginia's emissions do not significantly impact those receptors. For the potential receptor in Allegheny County, EPA expects the air quality affecting that monitor to improve to the point where the monitor will not be a nonattainment or maintenance receptor by 2021 and is therefore unlikely to be a receptor for purposes of interstate transport. For the four counties in Florida and the monitors in Illinois with data gaps, EPA initially treats those receptors as potential nonattainment or maintenance receptors. For the Florida receptors, it is unlikely that they will be nonattainment or maintenance receptors in 2021 and in any event, modeling from the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR) indicates that Virginia's emissions do not contribute to them. For the monitors in Illinois, the most recent air quality data (from 2015 and 2016) indicates that all monitors are likely attaining the PM2.5 NAAQs and are therefore unlikely to be nonattainment or maintenance concerns in 2021. Therefore, EPA proposes to conclude that Virginia emissions will not contribute to those monitors. For these reasons, EPA is proposing to find that Virginia's existing SIP provisions as identified in the May 16, 2017 SIP submittal are adequate to prevent its emission sources from significantly contributing to nonattainment or interfering with maintenance in another state with respect to the 2012 PM2.5 NAAQS.

    III. Proposed Action

    EPA is proposing to approve the May 16, 2017 Virginia SIP revision addressing the interstate transport requirements for the 2012 PM2.5 NAAQS because the submittal adequately addresses section 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(I) of the CAA. EPA is soliciting public comments on the issues discussed in this document. These comments will be considered before taking final action.

    IV. General Information Pertaining to SIP Submittals From the Commonwealth of Virginia

    In 1995, Virginia adopted legislation that provides, subject to certain conditions, for an environmental assessment (audit) “privilege” for voluntary compliance evaluations performed by a regulated entity. The legislation further addresses the relative burden of proof for parties either asserting the privilege or seeking disclosure of documents for which the privilege is claimed. Virginia's legislation also provides, subject to certain conditions, for a penalty waiver for violations of environmental laws when a regulated entity discovers such violations pursuant to a voluntary compliance evaluation and voluntarily discloses such violations to the Commonwealth and takes prompt and appropriate measures to remedy the violations. Virginia's Voluntary Environmental Assessment Privilege Law, Va. Code Sec. 10.1-1198, provides a privilege that protects from disclosure documents and information about the content of those documents that are the product of a voluntary environmental assessment. The Privilege Law does not extend to documents or information that: (1) Are generated or developed before the commencement of a voluntary environmental assessment; (2) are prepared independently of the assessment process; (3) demonstrate a clear, imminent, and substantial danger to the public health or environment; or (4) are required by law.

    On January 12, 1998, the Commonwealth of Virginia Office of the Attorney General provided a legal opinion that states that the Privilege law, Va. Code Sec. 10.1-1198, precludes granting a privilege to documents and information “required by law,” including documents and information “required by federal law to maintain program delegation, authorization or approval,” since Virginia must “enforce federally authorized environmental programs in a manner that is no less stringent than their federal counterparts. . . .” The opinion concludes that “[r]egarding § 10.1-1198, therefore, documents or other information needed for civil or criminal enforcement under one of these programs could not be privileged because such documents and information are essential to pursuing enforcement in a manner required by federal law to maintain program delegation, authorization or approval.”

    Virginia's Immunity law, Va. Code Sec. 10.1-1199, provides that “[t]o the extent consistent with requirements imposed by federal law,” any person making a voluntary disclosure of information to a state agency regarding a violation of an environmental statute, regulation, permit, or administrative order is granted immunity from administrative or civil penalty. The Attorney General's January 12, 1998 opinion states that the quoted language renders this statute inapplicable to enforcement of any federally authorized programs, since “no immunity could be afforded from administrative, civil, or criminal penalties because granting such immunity would not be consistent with federal law, which is one of the criteria for immunity.”

    Therefore, EPA has determined that Virginia's Privilege and Immunity statutes will not preclude the Commonwealth from enforcing its program consistent with the federal requirements. In any event, because EPA has also determined that a state audit privilege and immunity law can affect only state enforcement and cannot have any impact on federal enforcement authorities, EPA may at any time invoke its authority under the CAA, including, for example, sections 113, 167, 205, 211 or 213, to enforce the requirements or prohibitions of the state plan, independently of any state enforcement effort. In addition, citizen enforcement under section 304 of the CAA is likewise unaffected by this, or any, state audit privilege or immunity law.

    V. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    This action, proposing approval of Virginia's interstate transport submittal for the 2012 PM2.5 standard, is not approved to apply on any Indian reservation land as defined in 18 U.S.C. 1151 or in any other area where EPA or an Indian tribe has demonstrated that a tribe has jurisdiction. In those areas of Indian country, the rule does not have tribal implications and will not impose substantial direct costs on tribal governments or preempt tribal law as specified by Executive Order 13175 (65 FR 67249, November 9, 2000).

    List of Subjects in 40 CFR Part 52

    Environmental protection, Air pollution control, Incorporation by reference, Particulate matter.

    Authority:

    42 U.S.C. 7401 et seq.

    Dated: May 1, 2018. Cosmo Servidio, Regional Administrator, Region III.
    [FR Doc. 2018-09887 Filed 5-8-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
    ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY 40 CFR Part 52 [EPA-R09-OAR-2018-0160; FRL-9977-85—Region 9] Air Plan Approval; California; Yolo-Solano Air Quality Management District; Negative Declarations AGENCY:

    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

    ACTION:

    Proposed rule.

    SUMMARY:

    The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing to approve a revision to the Yolo-Solano Air Quality Management District (YSAQMD or “District”) portion of the California State Implementation Plan (SIP). This revision concerns the District's negative declarations for several volatile organic compound (VOC) source categories included in its Reasonably Available Control Technology (RACT) State Implementation Plan Analysis. We are proposing to approve these negative declarations 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 June 8, 2018.

    ADDRESSES:

    Submit your comments, identified by Docket ID No. EPA-R09-OAR-2018-0160 at https://www.regulations.gov/, or via email to Stanley Tong, 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 https://www.epa.gov/dockets/commenting-epa-dockets.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Stanley Tong, EPA Region IX, (415) 947-4122, [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 document did the State submit? B. Are there other versions of the RACT SIP—negative declarations? C. What is the purpose of the submitted negative declarations? II. The EPA's Evaluation and Action A. How did the EPA evaluate the negative declarations and what conclusions did the EPA reach? B. Public Comment and Proposed Action III. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews I. The State's Submittal A. What document did the State submit?

    On September 13, 2017, YSAQMD adopted its Reasonably Available Control Technology State Implementation Plan Analysis for the 2008 ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS). Included in the District's RACT SIP analysis were several negative declarations where the District stated that it did not have sources subject to the Control Techniques Guidelines (CTG) documents listed below in Table 1. The District's RACT SIP further stated that the negative declarations were for the 1997 and 2008 ozone NAAQS. On November 13, 2017, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) submitted YSAQMD's RACT SIP, including the following negative declarations, to the EPA as a SIP revision.

    1 Negative declarations are for the 1997 and 2008 8-hour ozone standards.

    Table 1—Submitted Negative Declarations 1 CTG document CTG document title EPA-450/2-77-008 Control of Volatile Organic Emissions from Existing Stationary Sources—Volume II: Surface Coating of Cans, Coils, Paper, Fabrics, Automobiles, and Light-Duty Trucks. EPA-450/2-77-025 Control of Refinery Vacuum Producing Systems, Wastewater Separators, and Process Unit Turnarounds. EPA-450/2-77-032 Control of Volatile Organic Emissions from Existing Stationary Sources—Volume III: Surface Coating of Metal Furniture. EPA-450/2-77-033 Control of Volatile Organic Emissions from Existing Stationary Sources—Volume IV: Surface Coating of Insulation of Magnet Wire. EPA-450/2-77-034 Control of Volatile Organic Emissions from Existing Stationary Sources—Volume V: Surface Coating of Large Appliances. EPA-450/2-77-036 Control of Volatile Organic Emissions from Storage of Petroleum Liquids in Fixed-Roof Tanks. EPA-450/2-78-029 Control of Volatile Organic Emissions from Manufacture of Synthesized Pharmaceutical Products. EPA-450/2-78-032 Control of Volatile Organic Emissions from Existing Stationary Sources—Volume VII: Factory Surface Coating of Flat Wood Paneling. EPA-450/2-78-033 Control of Volatile Organic Emissions from Existing Stationary Sources—Volume VIII: Graphic Arts-Rotogravure and Flexography. EPA-450/2-78-036 Control of Volatile Organic Compound Leaks from Petroleum Refinery Equipment. EPA-450/2-78-030 Control of Volatile Organic Emissions from Manufacture of Pneumatic Rubber Tires. EPA-450/3-82-009 Control of Volatile Organic Compound Emissions from Large Petroleum Dry Cleaners. EPA-450/3-83-008 Control of Volatile Organic Compound Emissions from Manufacture of High-Density Polyethylene, Polypropylene, and Polystyrene Resins. EPA-450/3-83-007 Control of Volatile Organic Compound Equipment Leaks from Natural Gas/Gasoline Processing Plants. EPA-450/3-83-006 Control of Volatile Organic Compound Leaks from Synthetic Organic Chemical Polymer and Resin Manufacturing Equipment. EPA-450/3-84-015 Control of Volatile Organic Compound Emissions from Air Oxidation Processes in Synthetic Organic Chemical Manufacturing Industry. EPA-450/4-91-031 Control of Volatile Organic Compound Emissions from Reactor Processes and Distillation Operations in Synthetic Organic Chemical Manufacturing Industry. EPA-453/R-96-007 Control of Volatile Organic Compound Emissions from Wood Furniture Manufacturing Operations. 61 FR-44050 8/27/96 Control Techniques Guidelines for Shipbuilding and Ship Repair Operations (Surface Coating). EPA-453/R-97-004 Aerospace (CTG & MACT). EPA-453/R-06-003 Control Techniques Guidelines for Flexible Package Printing. EPA-453/R-06-004 Control Techniques Guidelines for Flat Wood Paneling Coatings. EPA 453/R-07-003 Control Techniques Guidelines for Paper, Film, and Foil Coatings. EPA 453/R-07-004 Control Techniques Guidelines for Large Appliance Coatings. EPA 453/R-07-005 Control Techniques Guidelines for Metal Furniture Coatings. EPA 453/R-08-005 Control Techniques Guidelines for Miscellaneous Industrial Adhesives. EPA 453/R-08-006 Control Techniques Guidelines for Automobile and Light-Duty Truck Assembly Coatings. EPA 453/R-08-003 Control Techniques Guidelines for Miscellaneous Metal and Plastic Parts Coatings (plastic parts portion only). EPA 453/B-16-001 Control Techniques Guidelines for the Oil and Natural Gas Industry.

    On April 11, 2018, the EPA determined that the negative declarations submitted as part of YSAQMD's RACT SIP met the completeness criteria in 40 CFR part 51 Appendix V, which must be met before formal EPA review.

    B. Are there other versions of the RACT SIP—negative declarations?

    On April 6, 2018 (83 FR 14754), we approved YSAQMD's RACT SIP certification, including several negative declarations for the 1997 8-hour ozone NAAQS.

    C. What is the purpose of the submitted negative declarations?

    Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) and nitrogen oxides (NOX) together produce ground-level ozone, smog and particulate matter, which harm human health and the environment. Section 110(a) of the CAA requires states to submit regulations that control VOC and NOX emissions. Sections 182(b)(2) and (f) require that SIPs for ozone nonattainment areas classified as Moderate or above implement RACT for any source covered by a CTG document and for any major source of VOCs or NOX. The YSAQMD is subject to this requirement because it regulates part of the Sacramento Metropolitan ozone nonattainment area that is classified as a Severe-15 ozone nonattainment area for the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS.2 Therefore, the YSAQMD must, at a minimum, adopt RACT-level controls for all sources covered by a CTG document and for all major non-CTG sources of VOCs or NOX within the nonattainment area that it regulates.

    2 40 CFR 81.305; 80 FR 12264 (March 6, 2015). The YSAQMD regulates the Solano County and Yolo County portions of the Sacramento Metro ozone nonattainment area.

    The EPA's rule to implement the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS (80 FR 12264 at 12278, March 6, 2015) states in part “. . . RACT SIPs must contain adopted RACT regulations, certifications where appropriate that existing provisions are RACT . . . and/or negative declarations that there are no sources in the nonattainment area covered by a specific CTG source category.” YSAQMD's RACT SIP submittal includes the negative declarations listed in Table 1 to certify that it has no stationary sources within its jurisdiction that are covered by the listed CTGs.

    II. The EPA's Evaluation and Action A. How did the EPA evaluate the negative declarations and what conclusions did the EPA reach?

    SIP rules must require RACT for each category of sources covered by a CTG document as well as each major source of VOC or NOX in ozone nonattainment areas classified as Moderate or above (see CAA section 182(b)(2)). States should submit for SIP approval negative declarations for those source categories for which they are not adopting VOC CTG-based regulations (because they have no sources covered by the CTG) regardless of whether such negative declarations were made for an earlier RACT SIP.

    The EPA reviewed YSAQMD's list of negative declarations and compared the District's list against a list of stationary sources of VOCs derived from CARB's emissions inventory database for the years 2006 and 2015. The EPA selected these years based on when the RACT SIPs were due for the 1997 and 2008 8-hour ozone standards. Since the CTGs only cover VOC sources and do not cover NOX sources, we took CARB's emissions inventory list of VOC stationary sources in the YSAQMD and identified those with a sufficient quantity of VOC emissions that they could potentially be covered by a CTG. We then performed an internet search on these sources to determine if they performed operations subject to any of the CTGs for which YSAQMD was claiming a negative declaration. Our evaluation also included a review of whether identified stationary sources' Standard Industrial Code classification numbers corresponded to negative declarations claimed by the District. Finally, we queried YSAQMD staff regarding what VOC producing operations occurred at specific stationary source facilities to determine if any of those operations might be subject to a negative declaration. Based on this, the EPA agrees with YSAQMD's conclusion that it has no stationary sources of VOCs that are subject to the CTGs for which they have adopted negative declarations for the 1997 and 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS. We believe these negative declarations are consistent with the relevant policy and guidance regarding RACT and SIP relaxations.

    B. Public Comment and Proposed Action

    As authorized in section 110(k)(3) of the Act, the EPA proposes to fully approve the submitted negative declarations for the 1997 and 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS because they fulfill all relevant requirements. We will accept comments from the public on this proposal until June 8, 2018. If we take final action to approve the submitted negative declarations, our final action will incorporate them into the federally enforceable SIP.

    III. 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, Nitrogen dioxide, Ozone, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Volatile organic compounds.

    Authority:

    42 U.S.C. 7401 et seq.

    Dated: April 27, 2018. Alexis Strauss, Acting Regional Administrator, Region IX.
    [FR Doc. 2018-09888 Filed 5-8-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
    ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY 40 CFR Parts 52 and 81 [EPA-R09-OAR-2018-0181; FRL-9977-77-Region 9] Approval and Promulgation of Air Quality State Implementation Plans; California; Chico Redesignation Request and Maintenance Plan for the 2006 24-hour PM2.5 Standard AGENCY:

    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

    ACTION:

    Proposed rule.

    SUMMARY:

    The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing to approve, as a revision of the California state implementation plan (SIP), the State's request to redesignate the Chico nonattainment area to attainment for the 2006 24-hour fine particulate matter (PM2.5) national ambient air quality standard. The EPA is also proposing to approve the PM2.5 maintenance plan and the determination that contributions from motor vehicle emissions to the PM2.5 pollution in the Chico nonattainment area are insignificant. The EPA is proposing this action because the SIP revision meets the requirements of the Clean Air Act and EPA guidance for such plans. We are taking comments on this proposal and plan to follow with a final action.

    DATES:

    Any comments on this proposal must arrive by June 8, 2018.

    ADDRESSES:

    Submit comments, identified by docket number EPA-R09-OAR-2018-0181, 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 EPA's full 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:

    Ginger Vagenas, EPA Region IX, 415-972-3964, [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

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

    Table of Contents I. Summary of Today's Proposed Action II. Background A. The PM2.5 NAAQS B. Designation of PM2.5 Nonattainment Areas C. PM2.5 Planning Requirements III. Procedural Requirements for Adoption and Submittal of SIP Revisions IV. Substantive Requirements for Redesignation V. Evaluation of the State's Redesignation Request for the Chico PM2.5 Nonattainment Area A. Determination That the Area Has Attained the PM2.5 NAAQS B. The Area Must Have a Fully Approved SIP Meeting the Requirements Applicable for Purposes of Redesignation Under Section 110 and Part D C. The Area Must Show the Improvement in Air Quality Is Due to Permanent and Enforceable Emission Reductions D. The Area Must Have a Fully Approved Maintenance Plan Under Section 175A VI. Proposed Action and Request for Public Comment VII. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews I. Summary of Today's Proposed Action

    Under Clean Air Act (CAA or “the Act”) section 107(d)(3)(D), the EPA is proposing to approve California's request to redesignate the Chico nonattainment area to attainment for the 2006 24-hour fine particulate matter (PM2.5) national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS or “standards”). We are doing so based on our conclusion that the area has met the five criteria for redesignation under CAA section 107(d)(3)(E). Specifically, we have concluded that: (1) The area has attained the 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS in the 2014-2016 time period and continues to attain the PM2.5 standard since that time; (2) the relevant portions of the California SIP are fully approved; (3) the improvement in air quality is due to permanent and enforceable reductions in emissions; (4) California has met all requirements applicable to the Chico PM2.5 nonattainment area with respect to section 110 and part D of the CAA; and (5) the Chico, CA/Butte County PM 2.5 Nonattainment Area Redesignation Request and Maintenance Plan (“Chico PM2.5 Plan” or “Plan”) meets the requirements of section 175A of the CAA.

    In addition, the EPA is proposing to approve the Chico PM2.5 Plan as a revision to the SIP under section 110(k)(3) of the CAA because we find that the maintenance demonstration shows how the area will continue to attain the 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS for at least 10 years beyond redesignation (through 2030) and that the contingency provisions describing the action the Butte County Air Quality Management District (BCAQMD or “District”) will take in the event of a future monitored violation meet all applicable requirements for maintenance plans and section 175A of the CAA.

    The EPA is proposing these actions because the SIP revision meets the requirements of the CAA and EPA guidance for such plans.

    II. Background A. The PM2.5 NAAQS

    Particulate matter includes particles with diameters that are generally 2.5 microns or smaller (PM2.5) and particles with diameters that are generally 10 microns or smaller (PM10). It contributes to effects that are harmful to human health and the environment, including premature mortality, aggravation of respiratory and cardiovascular disease, decreased lung function, visibility impairment, and damage to vegetation and ecosystems. Individuals particularly sensitive to PM2.5 exposure include older adults, people with heart and lung disease, and children (78 FR 3086 at 3088, January 15, 2013). PM2.5 can be emitted directly into the atmosphere as a solid or liquid particle (“primary PM2.5” or “direct PM2.5”) or can be formed in the atmosphere (“secondary PM2.5”) as a result of various chemical reactions among precursor pollutants such as nitrogen oxides (NOX), sulfur oxides (SOx), volatile organic compounds (VOC), and ammonia (NH3).1

    1 EPA, Air Quality Criteria for Particulate Matter, No. EPA/600/P-99/002aF and EPA/600/P-99/002bF, October 2004.

    Under section 109 of the CAA, the EPA has established national ambient air quality standards for certain pervasive air pollutants (referred to as “criteria pollutants”) and conducts periodic reviews of the NAAQS to determine whether they should be revised or whether new NAAQS should be established. The EPA sets the NAAQS for criteria pollutants at levels required to protect public health and welfare.2 PM2.5 is one of the ambient pollutants for which the EPA has established health-based standards. Section 110(a) of the CAA requires states to submit regulations that control PM2.5 emissions.

    2 For a given air pollutant, “primary” national ambient air quality standards are those determined by the EPA as requisite to protect the public health. “Secondary” standards are those determined by the EPA as requisite to protect the public welfare from any known or anticipated adverse effects associated with the presence of such air pollutant in the ambient air. CAA section 109(b).

    On July 18, 1997, the EPA revised the NAAQS for particulate matter to add new standards for PM2.5. The EPA established primary and secondary annual and 24-hour standards for PM2.5 (62 FR 38652). The annual standard was set at 15.0 micrograms per meter cubed (µg/m3) based on a 3-year average of annual mean PM2.5 concentrations, and the 24-hour (daily) standard was set at 65 µg/m3 based on the 3-year average of the annual 98th percentile values of 24-hour PM2.5 concentrations at each population-oriented monitor within an area.3

    3 The primary and secondary standards were set at the same level for both the 24-hour and the annual PM2.5 standards.

    On October 17, 2006, the EPA retained the annual average NAAQS at 15 µg/m3 but revised the level of the 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS to 35 µg/m3 based on a 3-year average of the annual 98th percentile values of 24-hour concentrations (71 FR 61144).4

    4 Under EPA regulations at 40 CFR part 50, the primary and secondary 2006 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS are attained when the annual arithmetic mean concentration, as determined in accordance with 40 CFR part 50, Appendix N, is less than or equal to 35 µg/m3 at all relevant monitoring sites in the subject area, averaged over a 3-year period.

    On December 14, 2012, the EPA promulgated the 2012 PM2.5 NAAQS, including a revision of the annual standard to 12.0 µg/m3 based on a 3-year average of annual mean PM2.5 concentrations, and maintaining the current 24-hour standard of 35 µg/m3 based on a 3-year average of the 98th percentile of 24-hour concentrations (78 FR 3086, January 15, 2013).

    B. Designation of PM2.5 Nonattainment Areas

    Following promulgation of a new or revised NAAQS, the EPA is required by CAA section 107(d) to designate areas throughout the nation as attaining or not attaining the NAAQS. On April 25, 2007, the EPA promulgated its Clean Air Fine Particle Implementation Rule, codified at 40 CFR part 51, subpart Z, in which the Agency provided guidance for state and tribal plans to implement the PM2.5 NAAQS (72 FR 20586). Effective December 14, 2009, the EPA established initial air quality designations under subpart 1 of the Act for most areas in the United States for the 2006 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS, including the Chico area (74 FR 58688, November 13, 2009).5

    5 All 1997 and 2006 PM2.5 NAAQS areas were designated under subpart 1 of the Act. Subpart 1 contains the general requirements for nonattainment areas for any pollutant governed by a NAAQS and is less prescriptive than the other subparts of title I, part D.

    The United States Court of Appeals District of Columbia Circuit (D.C. Circuit) remanded the Clean Air Fine Particle Implementation Rule and the final rule entitled “Implementation of the New Source Review (NSR) Program for Particulate Matter Less than 2.5 Micrometers (PM2.5)” (73 FR 28321, May 16, 2008) (collectively, “1997 PM2.5 Implementation Rules”) to the EPA on January 4, 2013, in Natural Resources Defense Council v. EPA, 706 F.3d 428 (D.C. Cir. 2013). The Court found that the EPA erred in implementing the 1997 PM2.5 NAAQS pursuant to the general implementation provisions of subpart 1 rather than the particulate matter-specific provisions of Part D of title I (subpart 4). The EPA responded to the D.C. Circuit's decision by identifying all PM2.5 nonattainment areas for the 1997 and 2006 nonattainment areas for the 1997 and 2006 NAAQS as “moderate” nonattainment areas under subpart 4 and by establishing a new SIP submission date of December 31, 2014, for moderate area attainment plans and for any additional attainment-related or nonattainment new source review plans necessary for areas to comply with the requirements applicable under subpart 4 (79 FR 31566, June 2, 2014).

    On July 29, 2016, EPA issued a rule entitled, “Fine Particulate Matter National Ambient Air Quality Standards: State Implementation Plan Requirements” (“PM2.5 SIP Requirements Rule”) that clarifies how states should meet the statutory SIP requirements that apply to areas designated nonattainment for any PM2.5 NAAQS under subparts 1 and 4 (81 FR 58010, August 24, 2016). It does so by establishing regulatory requirements and by providing guidance that is applicable to areas that are currently designated nonattainment for existing PM2.5 NAAQS and areas that are designated nonattainment for any PM2.5 NAAQS in the future. In addition, the rule responds to the D.C. Circuit's remand of the 1997 PM2.5 Implementation Rules. As a result, the requirements of the rule also govern future actions associated with states' ongoing implementation efforts for the 1997 and 2006 PM2.5 NAAQS.

    The Chico PM2.5 nonattainment area is located within Butte County, California, in the northern Sacramento Valley, which is defined by the southern Cascade Mountains and northern Sierra Nevada mountains to the east and the Coastal Mountains to the north and west. As noted in the Chico PM2.5 Plan, the surrounding mountains provide “a substantial physical barrier to both locally created pollution and the pollution that has been transported northward on prevailing winds from the metropolitan areas to the south.” (Plan, p. 4.) Most of the population lives and works at elevations below 1,000 feet, where wintertime inversions can result in poor air quality.

    The local air district with primary responsibility for air quality planning in this area is the BCAQMD. Authority for regulating sources under State jurisdiction in the Chico nonattainment area is split between the District, which has responsibility for regulating stationary and most area sources, and the California Air Resources Board (CARB), which has responsibility for regulating most mobile sources. The District worked cooperatively with CARB in preparing the Chico PM2.5 redesignation request and maintenance plan.

    C. PM2.5 Planning Requirements

    Within three years of the effective date of designations, states with areas designated as nonattainment for the 2006 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS are required to submit SIP revisions that, among other elements, provide for implementation of reasonably available control measures (RACM), reasonable further progress (RFP), attainment of the standard as expeditiously as practicable but no later than five years from the nonattainment designation (in this instance, no later than December 14, 2014), as well as contingency measures.6 Prior to the due date for these submissions, the State requested that the EPA make a determination that, based on quality assured and certified data from the 2008-2010 period, the Chico PM2.5 nonattainment area had attained the 2006 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS.7 In addition to requesting a finding of attainment, the State requested that the EPA suspend the attainment-related planning requirements.

    6See CAA sections 172(a)(2), 172(c)(1), 172(c)(2), and 172(c)(9).

    7 Letter from James N. Goldstene, Executive Officer, CARB, to Jared Blumenfeld, Regional Administrator, EPA Region 9, dated June 2, 2011.

    Effective October 10, 2013, the EPA determined that the Chico nonattainment area had attained the 2006 24-hour PM2.5 standard based on the 2010-2012 monitoring period (78 FR 55225, September 10, 2013). Based on that determination and pursuant to 40 CFR 51.1004(c), the requirements for this area to submit an attainment demonstration, together with RACM, an RFP plan, and contingency measures for failure to meet RFP and attainment deadlines were suspended for so long as the area continued to attain the 2006 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS or until the area is redesignated to attainment.8 The EPA subsequently issued a determination that the Chico area had attained the 2006 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS by the applicable attainment date of December 31, 2015, based on 2013-2015 data (82 FR 21711, May 10, 2017). On December 18, 2017, CARB submitted the Chico PM2.5 Plan and requested that the EPA redesignate the Chico PM2.5 nonattainment area to attainment for the 2006 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS.

    8 For more information on the regulatory basis for determining attainment of the NAAQS, see the proposed determination of attainment (77 FR 65651, October 30, 2012).

    III. Procedural Requirements for Adoption and Submittal of SIP Revisions

    Section 110(l) of the Act requires states to provide reasonable notice and public hearing prior to adoption of SIP revisions. CARB's December 18, 2017 submittal of the Chico PM2.5 Plan documents the public review process followed by BCAQMD and CARB in adopting the Chico PM2.5 Plan prior to submittal to the EPA as a revision to the California SIP. The submittal provides evidence that reasonable notice of a public hearing was provided to the public and that a public hearing was conducted prior to adoption. Specifically, a notice of public hearing was published on September 26, 2017, in the Chico Enterprise-Record, a newspaper of general circulation in the City of Chico and Butte County. The notice announced the availability of the Chico PM2.5 Plan at the District office and on its website, and it opened the comment period 30 days prior to the public hearing. The public hearing was held on October 26, 2017. No comments on the Plan were made during the public hearing and no written comments were received during the public comment period. Following adoption by BCAQMD's Air Quality Governing Board, the District provided the maintenance plan to CARB and requested that it submit the redesignation request and maintenance plan to the EPA.9

    9 Letter from W. James Wagoner, Air Pollution Control Officer, BCAQMD, to Richard Corey, Executive Officer, CARB, dated October 31, 2017.

    On November 16, 2017, CARB adopted the Chico PM2.5 Plan, as certified in Resolution 17-41. No public comments were received during the CARB hearing. CARB submitted the Plan to the EPA on December 18, 2017. On February 15, 2018, CARB provided additional information regarding its development of the 2012 winter emission inventory and other emissions inventories for the Chico PM2.5 Plan.10 Based on the documentation provided, we find that submittal of the Chico PM2.5 Plan as a revision to the California SIP satisfies the procedural requirements of section 110(l) of the Act.

    10 Letter with enclosures from Sylvia Vanderspeck, Chief, Air Quality Planning Branch, CARB, to GwenYoshimura, Manager, Air Quality Analysis Section, EPA Region 9.

    Section 110(k)(1)(B) of the CAA requires the EPA to determine whether a SIP submittal is complete within 60 days of receipt. This section also provides that any plan that we have not affirmatively determined to be complete or incomplete will become complete by operation of law six months after the day of submittal. A completeness review allows us to determine if the submittal includes all the necessary items and information we need to act on it.

    We make completeness determinations using criteria we have established in 40 CFR part 51, Appendix V. These criteria fall into two categories: administrative information and technical support information. The administrative information provides documentation that the state has followed basic administrative procedures during the SIP adoption process. The technical support information provides the information we need to determine the impact of the proposed revisions on attainment and maintenance of the air quality standard.

    We notify a state of our completeness determination by letter unless the submittal becomes complete by operation of law. A finding of completeness does not approve a submittal as part of the SIP nor does it indicate that the SIP is approvable. It does start a 12-month clock for the EPA to act on the SIP submittal. On April 5, 2018, we notified CARB that we had determined the submittal of the Chico PM2.5 Plan to be complete.11

    11 Letter from Elizabeth J. Adams, Acting Air Division Director, EPA Region 9 to Richard W. Corey, Executive Officer, CARB.

    IV. Substantive Requirements for Redesignation

    The CAA establishes the requirements for redesignation of a nonattainment area to attainment. Specifically, section 107(d)(3)(E) allows for redesignation provided that the following criteria are met: (1) The EPA determines that the area has attained the applicable NAAQS; (2) the EPA has fully approved the applicable implementation plan for the area under 110(k); (3) the EPA determines that the improvement in air quality is due to permanent and enforceable reductions; (4) the EPA has fully approved a maintenance plan for the area as meeting the requirements of CAA 175A; and (5) the state containing such area has met all requirements applicable to the area under section 110 and part D of the CAA. Section 110 identifies a comprehensive list of elements that SIPs must include, and part D establishes the SIP requirements for nonattainment areas. Part D is divided into six subparts. The generally-applicable nonattainment SIP requirements are found in part D, subpart 1, and the particulate matter-specific SIP requirements are found in part D, subpart 4.

    The EPA provided guidance on redesignations in a document entitled “State Implementation Plans; General Preamble for the Implementation of Title I of the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990,” published in the Federal Register on April 16, 1992 (57 FR 13498), and supplemented on April 28, 1992 (57 FR 18070) (referred to herein as the “General Preamble”). Additional guidance was issued on September 4, 1992, in a memorandum from John Calcagni, Director, Air Quality Management Division, EPA Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards, entitled “Procedures for Processing Requests to Redesignate Areas to Attainment” (referred to herein as the “Calcagni memo”). Maintenance plan submittals are SIP revisions, and as such, the EPA is obligated under CAA section 110(k) to approve them or disapprove them depending upon whether they meet the applicable CAA requirements for such plans.

    For reasons set forth in section V. of this document, we propose to approve CARB's request for redesignation of the Chico nonattainment area to attainment for the 2006 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS based on our conclusion that all the criteria under CAA section 107(d)(3)(E) have been satisfied.

    V. Evaluation of the State's Redesignation Request for the Chico PM2.5 Nonattainment Area A. Determination That the Area Has Attained the PM2.5 NAAQS

    Section 107(d)(3)(E)(i) of the CAA requires that for an area to be redesignated to attainment the EPA must determine that the area has attained the relevant NAAQS. In this case, the relevant NAAQS is the 2006 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS. In 2013, the EPA determined that the Chico nonattainment area had attained the 2006 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS based on the 2010-2012 monitoring period. In 2017, the EPA determined that the Chico nonattainment area attained the 2006 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS by the area's applicable attainment date of December 31, 2015, based on data for the years 2013-2015.12 Today's action updates these determinations based on the most recent available PM2.5 monitoring data.

    12See Section II.C. of this document.

    Generally, the EPA determines whether an area's air quality is meeting the 2006 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS based upon complete, quality-assured, and certified data measured at established state and local air monitoring stations (SLAMS) in the nonattainment area and entered into the EPA Air Quality System (AQS) database. The EPA will consider air quality data from air monitoring sites other than SLAMS in the nonattainment area provided those stations meet the federal monitoring requirements for SLAMS, including the quality assurance and quality control criteria in 40 CFR part 58, appendix A.13

    13See 40 CFR 58.20; 71 FR 61236 at 61242 (October 17, 2006).

    Data from air monitoring sites operated by state, local, or tribal agencies in compliance with EPA monitoring requirements must be submitted to AQS. These monitoring agencies certify annually that these data are accurate to the best of their knowledge. Accordingly, the EPA relies primarily on data in AQS when determining the attainment status of an area.14 All valid data are reviewed to determine the area's air quality status in accordance with 40 CFR part 50, appendix N.

    14See 40 CFR 50.13; 40 CFR part 50, appendix L; 40 CFR part 53; 40 CFR part 58; and, 40 CFR part 58, appendices A, C, D, and E.

    As described previously, the 2006 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS is met when the design value is less than or equal to 35 µg/m3. The PM2.5 24-hour average is considered valid when 75 percent of the hourly averages for the 24-hour period are available. Data completeness requirements for a given year are met when at least 75 percent of the scheduled sampling days for each quarter have valid data.

    The California Air Resources Board is responsible for monitoring ambient air quality within Butte County and operates the PM2.5 monitoring network in Butte County. CARB submits annual monitoring network plans to the EPA. These network plans describe the monitoring network operated by CARB within Butte County and discuss the status of the air monitoring network, as required under 40 CFR 58.10. The EPA regularly reviews these annual plans for compliance with the applicable reporting requirements in 40 CFR part 58. With respect to PM2.5, the EPA has found that the area's network plans meet the applicable reporting requirements under 40 CFR part 58.15 The EPA also concluded from its 2015 Technical Systems Audit that CARB's monitoring network currently meets or exceeds the requirements for the minimum number of SLAMS for PM2.5 in the Chico, CA Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), which comprises the Chico PM2.5 nonattainment area.16 CARB annually certifies that the data it submits to AQS are complete and quality-assured.17

    15 For example, see letter from Gwen Yoshimura, Manager, Air Quality Analysis Office, EPA Region IX, to Ravi Ramalingam, Chief, Consumer Products and Air Quality Assessment Branch, CARB, dated December 14, 2017, approving CARB's 2017 Annual Network Plan.

    16 EPA Region IX, Technical System Audit Final Report, CARB Ambient Air Monitoring Program, April-August 2015. Enclosed with letter from Elizabeth Adams, Acting Director, Air Division, EPA Region IX, to Richard Corey, Executive Officer, CARB, dated August 31, 2016.

    17 For example, see letter from Ravi Ramalingam, Chief, Consumer Products and Air Quality Assessment Branch, CARB, to Elizabeth Adams, Acting Director, Air Division, EPA Region IX, certifying calendar year 2016 ambient air quality data and quality assurance data, dated June 2, 2017.

    During the 2014-2016 period, CARB operated one PM2.5 SLAMS monitoring site, Chico-East Avenue (AQS ID: 06-007-0008), within the Chico PM2.5 nonattainment area. SLAMS produce data comparable to the NAAQS, and therefore, the monitor must be an approved Federal Reference Method (FRM), Federal Equivalent Method, or Approved Regional Method. The Chico-East Avenue monitor measures PM2.5 concentrations on a daily, year-round basis using a method that has been designated an FRM by the EPA. Butte County also had two additional monitoring sites operated by CARB during this period, Gridley (AQS ID: 06-007-4001) and Paradise-Theater (06-007-2002), whose data are not comparable to the NAAQS and cannot be used for attainment demonstration purposes. CARB continues to meet EPA requirements for the minimum number of PM2.5 monitoring sites in Butte County within the Chico MSA.

    Consistent with the requirements contained in 40 CFR part 50, the EPA has reviewed the quality-assured and certified PM2.5 ambient air monitoring data collected at the Chico-East Avenue monitoring site, as recorded in AQS, for the applicable monitoring period. We have determined that the data are of sufficient completeness for the purposes of making comparisons with the 2006 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS. The EPA's evaluation of whether the Chico PM2.5 nonattainment area has attained the 2006 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS is based on our review of the monitoring data and takes into account the adequacy of the PM2.5 monitoring network in the nonattainment area and the reliability of the data collected by the network as discussed earlier in this section of this document.

    Table 1 below shows the 24-hour PM2.5 design value monitored at the Chico-East Avenue monitoring site over the most recent three-year period (2014-2016). The data show that the 24-hour design value for the 2014-2016 period was equal to or less than 35 µg/m3 at the Chico-East Avenue monitor. Therefore, we find that, based on complete, quality-assured, and certified data for 2014-2016, the Chico PM2.5 nonattainment area has attained the 2006 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS. Preliminary data available in AQS for 2017 indicate that the area continues to attain the 2006 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS.

    Table 1—Chico-East Avenue 2014-2016 Design Value Monitoring Site AQS ID 2006 24-hour
  • PM2.5 NAAQS
  • (μg/m3)
  • 98th Percentile
  • (μg/m3)
  • 2014 2015 2016 2014-2016
  • 24-hour design
  • value
  • (μg/m3)
  • Chico-East Avenue 06-007-0008 35 26.0 29.5 21.2 26 Source: EPA, AQS Design Value Report, March 29, 2018.
    B. The Area Must Have a Fully Approved SIP Meeting the Requirements Applicable for Purposes of Redesignation Under Section 110 and Part D

    Sections 107(d)(3)(E)(ii) and (v) require the EPA to determine that the area has a fully approved applicable SIP under section 110(k) that meets all applicable requirements under section 110 and part D for the purposes of redesignation.

    1. Basic SIP Requirements Under Section 110

    The general SIP elements and requirements set forth in section 110(a)(2) include, but are not limited to, the following: Submittal of a SIP that has been adopted by the state after reasonable public notice and hearing; provisions for establishment and operation of appropriate procedures needed to monitor ambient air quality; implementation of a source permitting program; provision for the implementation of part C requirements for prevention of significant deterioration; provisions for the implementation of part D requirements for nonattainment new source review permit programs; provisions for air pollution modeling; and provisions for public and local agency participation in planning and emission control rule development.

    We note that SIPs must be fully approved only with respect to applicable requirements for purposes of redesignation in accordance with section 107(d)(3)(E)(ii). The section 110(a)(2) (and part D) requirements that are linked to a particular nonattainment area's designation and classification are the relevant measures to evaluate in reviewing a redesignation request. Requirements that apply regardless of the designation of any particular area of a state are not applicable requirements for the purposes of redesignation, and the State will remain subject to these requirements after the Chico PM2.5 nonattainment area is redesignated to attainment.

    For example, CAA section 110(a)(2)(D) requires that SIPs contain certain measures to prevent sources in a state from significantly contributing to air quality problems in another state: These SIPs are often referred to as “transport SIPs.” Because the section 110(a)(2)(D) requirements for transport SIPs are not linked to a particular nonattainment area's designation and classification, but rather apply regardless of the area's attainment status, these are not applicable requirements for the purposes of redesignation under section 107(d)(3)(E).

    Similarly, the EPA believes that other section 110(a)(2) (and part D) requirements that are not linked to nonattainment plan submissions or to an area's attainment status are not applicable requirements for purposes of redesignation. The EPA believes that the section 110 (and part D) requirements that relate to a particular nonattainment area's designation and classification are the relevant measures to evaluate in reviewing a redesignation request. This view is consistent with the EPA's existing policy on applicability of the conformity SIP requirement for redesignations.18

    18See, e.g., 75 FR 36023 at 36026 (June 24, 2010).

    On numerous occasions, CARB and BCAQMD have submitted and we have approved provisions addressing the basic CAA section 110 provisions. The Butte County portion of the California SIP 19 contains enforceable emission limitations; requires monitoring, compiling and analyzing of ambient air quality data; requires preconstruction review of new or modified stationary sources; provides for adequate funding, staff, and associated resources necessary to implement its requirements; and provides the necessary assurances that the State maintains responsibility for ensuring that the CAA requirements are satisfied in the event that Butte County is unable to meet its CAA obligations. There are no outstanding or disapproved applicable SIP submittals with respect to the Butte County portion of the SIP that prevent redesignation of the Chico PM2.5 nonattainment area for the 24-hour PM2.5 standard. Therefore, we propose to conclude that CARB and BCAQMD have met all general SIP requirements for Chico that are applicable for purposes of redesignation under section 110 of the CAA.

    19 The Butte County portion of the federally approved SIP can be viewed at https://www.epa.gov/sips-ca/epa-approved-butte-county-air-district-regulations-california-sip.

    2. SIP Requirements Under Part D

    Subparts 1 and 4 of part D, title 1 of the CAA contain air quality planning requirements for PM2.5 nonattainment areas. Subpart 1 contains general requirements for all nonattainment areas of any pollutant, including PM2.5, governed by a NAAQS. The subpart 1 requirements include, among other things, provisions for RACM, RFP, emissions inventories, contingency measures, and conformity. Subpart 4 contains specific planning and scheduling requirements for PM2.5 nonattainment areas. Section 189(a), (c), and (e) requirements apply specifically to moderate PM2.5 nonattainment areas and include: An approved permit program for construction of new and modified major stationary sources; provisions for RACM; an attainment demonstration; quantitative milestones demonstrating RFP toward attainment by the applicable attainment date; and provisions to ensure that the control requirements applicable to major stationary sources of PM2.5 also apply to major stationary sources of PM2.5 precursors, except where the Administrator has determined that such sources do not contribute significantly to PM2.5 levels that exceed the NAAQS in the area.

    As noted in Section II.C.of this document, the EPA determined in 2013 that the Chico PM2.5 nonattainment area attained the 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS based on 2010-2012 data. In accordance with the EPA's Clean Data Policy, we determined that the following requirements do not apply to the Chico PM2.5 nonattainment area for so long as the area continues to attain the PM2.5 standard or until the area is redesignated to attainment: An attainment demonstration under section 189(a)(1)(B); RACM provisions under sections 172(c) and 189(a)(1)(C); reasonable further progress provisions under section 189(c)(1); and contingency measures under section 172(c)(9).20

    20 The EPA's Clean Data Policy for PM2.5 nonattainment areas is set forth in a memorandum entitled “Clean Data Policy for the Fine Particle National Ambient Air Quality Standards,” issued on December 14, 2004, by Stephen D. Page, Director, EPA Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards. For examples of other rulemaking actions applying the Clean Data Policy in PM2.5 nonattainment areas, see 78 FR 41901, July 12, 2013 (West Central Pinal, Arizona); 80 FR 22666, April 23, 2015 (Liberty-Clairton, Pennsylvania); and 82 FR 13392, March 13, 2017 (Imperial County, California). The PM2.5 SIP Requirements Rule includes a discussion of EPA's Clean Data Policy (81 FR 58010 at 58127) and codifies the Clean Data Policy governing the implementation of current and future PM2.5 NAAQS at 40 CFR 51.1015.

    Moreover, in the context of evaluating an area's eligibility for redesignation, there is a separate and additional justification for finding that requirements associated with attainment are not applicable for purposes of redesignation. Prior to and independently of the Clean Data Policy,21 and specifically in the context of redesignations, the EPA interpreted attainment-linked requirements as not applicable for purposes of redesignation. In the General Preamble, the EPA explained that the section 172(c)(9) requirements are directed at ensuring RFP and attainment by the applicable date. We noted that these requirements no longer apply when an area has attained the standard and is eligible for redesignation. Furthermore, CAA section 175A for maintenance plans provides specific requirements for contingency measures that effectively supersede the requirements of section 172(c)(9) for these areas.

    21 The Calcagni memo states that the requirements for reasonable further progress and other measures needed for attainment will not apply for redesignations because they only have meaning for areas not attaining the standard (p. 6).

    Thus, even if the requirements associated with attainment had not previously been suspended, they would not apply for purposes of evaluating whether an area that has attained the standard qualifies for redesignation. The EPA has enunciated this position since the General Preamble was published more than 25 years ago, and it represents the Agency's interpretation of what constitutes applicable requirements under section 107(d)(3)(E). The courts have recognized the scope of the EPA's authority to interpret “applicable requirements” in the redesignation context.22

    22See Sierra Club v. EPA, 375 F.3d 537 (7th Cir. 2004).

    The remaining applicable Part D requirements for moderate PM2.5 areas are: (1) An emission inventory under section 172(c)(3); (2) a permit program for the construction and operation of new and modified major stationary sources of PM2.5 under sections 172(c)(5) and 189(a)(1)(A); (3) control requirements for major stationary sources of PM2.5 precursors under section 189(e), except where the Administrator determines that such sources do not contribute significantly to PM2.5 levels that exceed the standard in the area; (4) requirements under section 172(c)(7) that meet the applicable provisions of section 110(a)(2); and (5) provisions to ensure that federally supported or funded projects conform to the air quality planning goals in the applicable SIP under section 176(c).

    The Chico redesignation request substantively meets the Part D requirements for redesignation purposes. We discuss each of these requirements below.

    a. Emissions Inventory

    Section 172(c)(3) of the CAA requires states to submit a comprehensive, accurate, current inventory of relevant PM2.5 pollutants for the baseline year from all sources within the nonattainment area. The inventory must address direct and secondary PM2.5 emissions, and all stationary (generally referring to larger stationary source or “point” sources), area (generally referring to smaller stationary and fugitive sources), and mobile (on-road, non-road, locomotive and aircraft) sources are to be included in the inventory.

    On November 15, 2012, CARB submitted a SIP revision for the Chico nonattainment area that provided a 2011 winter-time emissions inventory with emissions estimates in tons per day (tpd) for PM2.5 and PM2.5 precursors.23 After reviewing the CARB submittal of the Chico emissions inventory and supporting documentation, the EPA determined that the emissions inventory met the requirements of the CAA and EPA guidance and approved it consistent with CAA sections 110 and 172(c)(3) (79 FR 14404, March 14, 2014).

    23 Monitoring data for the Chico nonattainment area indicate that high concentrations of PM2.5 occur primarily during the winter months; consequently, the District submitted a winter-season inventory.

    b. Permits for New and Modified Major Stationary Sources

    CAA sections 172(c)(5) and 189(a)(1)(A) require that states submit SIP revisions that establish certain requirements for new or modified stationary sources in nonattainment areas, including provisions to ensure that new major sources or major modifications of existing sources of nonattainment pollutants incorporate the highest level of control, referred to as the lowest achievable emission rate, and that increases in emissions from such stationary sources are offset so as to provide for reasonable further progress towards attainment in the nonattainment area.

    The process for reviewing permit applications and issuing permits for new or modified major stationary sources of air pollution is referred to as new source review (NSR). With respect to nonattainment pollutants in nonattainment areas, this process is referred to as nonattainment NSR (NNSR). Areas that are designated as attainment or unclassifiable for one or more NAAQS are required to submit SIP revisions that ensure that major new stationary sources or major modifications of existing stationary sources meet the federal requirements for prevention of significant deterioration (PSD), including application of best available control technology for each applicable pollutant emitted in significant amounts, among other requirements.24

    24 PSD requirements control the growth of new source emissions in areas designated as attainment for a NAAQS.

    The District is responsible for stationary source emissions units, and its regulations govern air permits issued for such units. Although BCAQMD does not have a fully approved NNSR rule,25 it does not affect EPA approval of the redesignation request because the maintenance demonstration does not rely on implementation of NNSR 26 and upon redesignation the nonattainment permitting program requirements shift to the PSD permitting program requirements under 40 CFR 51.166.

    25 The EPA partially approved and partially disapproved BCAQMD's nonattainment NSR rule (Rule 432) because ammonia was not listed as a PM2.5 precursor (81 FR 93820, December 22, 2016). On June 12, 2017, the District submitted a revised rule to correct this deficiency. The EPA proposed to approve the revised rule on March 23, 2018 (83 FR 12694).

    26 Because PSD requirements will apply after redesignation, an area being redesignated to attainment need not comply with the requirement that a nonattainment NSR program be approved prior to redesignation, providing the state demonstrates maintenance of the NAAQS in the area without implementation of nonattainment NSR. A more detailed rationale for this view is described in a memorandum from Mary Nichols, Assistant Administrator for Air and Radiation, dated October 14, 1994, titled “Part D New Source Review Requirements for Areas Requesting Redesignation to Attainment.” See also redesignation rulemakings for Detroit, Michigan (60 FR 12459, March 7, 1995); Cleveland-Akron-Lorain, Ohio (61 FR 20458, May 7, 1996); Louisville, Kentucky (66 FR 53665, October 23, 2001); Grand Rapids, Michigan (61 FR 31831, June 21, 1996); and Yuba City-Marysville, California (79 FR 61822, October 15, 2014).

    The District has a SIP-approved PSD program (Rule 1107) that will apply to PM2.5 and PM2.5 precursor emissions from new major sources or major modifications upon redesignation of the area to attainment.27 Thus, new major sources with significant PM2.5 emissions and major modifications of PM2.5 at major sources as defined under 40 CFR 51.166 will be required to obtain a PSD permit or address PM2.5 emissions in their existing PSD permit. Further, the maintenance demonstration does not rely on implementation of NNSR because the Plan applies standard growth factors to stationary source emissions and does not rely on NSR offsets to reduce the rate of increase in emissions over time from point sources. In addition, the Chico PM2.5 Plan adds emission reduction credits (ERCs) for PM10,28 NOX, SOX, and reactive organic gasses (ROG) 29 to future projected emissions to ensure that the use of ERCs will not be inconsistent with the future PM2.5 maintenance goals. Therefore, the EPA concludes that a fully-approved nonattainment NSR program is not necessary for approval of the State's redesignation request for the Chico PM2.5 nonattainment area.

    27 Rule 1107 was approved on November 12, 2015 (80 FR 69880).

    28 BCAQMD issues ERCs for PM10. When creating the future year inventories for the maintenance demonstration, the District added the amount of PM10 ERCs to the future year inventories of PM2.5. Because PM2.5 is a fraction of PM10, this approach conservatively estimates the maximum pollutant increase if all ERCs were redeemed within the BCAQMD during the maintenance period. Plan, p. 18 and Attachment D.

    29 California plans sometimes use the term Reactive Organic Gases (ROG) for VOC. These terms are essentially synonymous.

    We conclude that Butte County's portion of the California SIP adequately meets the requirements of section 172(c)(5) and 189(a)(1)(A) for purposes of this redesignation.

    c. Control Requirements for PM2.5 Precursors

    CAA section 189(e) provides that control requirements for major stationary sources of direct PM10 (including PM2.5) shall also apply to PM precursors from those sources, except where the EPA determines that major stationary sources of such precursors do not contribute significantly to PM10 levels that exceed the standard in the area. The CAA does not explicitly address whether it would be appropriate to include a potential exemption from precursor controls for all source categories under certain circumstances. In implementing subpart 4 with regard to controlling PM10, the EPA permitted states to determine that a precursor was “insignificant” where the state could show in its attainment plan that it would expeditiously attain without adoption of emission reduction measures aimed at that precursor. This approach was upheld in Association of Irritated Residents v. EPA, 423 F.3d 989 (9th Cir. 2005) and extended to PM2.5 implementation in the PM2.5 SIP Requirements Rule. A state may develop its attainment plan and adopt RACM that target only those precursors that are necessary to control for purposes of timely attainment. See 81 FR 58010 at 58020.

    Therefore, because the requirement of section 189(e) is primarily actionable in the context of addressing precursors in an attainment plan, a precursor exemption analysis under section 189(e) and the EPA's implementing regulations is not an applicable requirement that needs to be fully approved in the context of a redesignation under CAA section 107(d)(3)(E)(ii). As discussed above, for areas that are attaining the standard, the EPA does not interpret attainment planning requirements of subparts 1 and 4 to be applicable requirements for the purposes of redesignating an area to attainment.

    As previously noted, the EPA determined in 2013 that the Chico PM2.5 nonattainment area had attained the 2006 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS, and in 2017 affirmed that the area had attained the NAAQS by the statutory attainment date. The Chico area has expeditiously attained the 2006 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS, and therefore, no additional controls of any pollutant, including any PM2.5 precursor, are necessary to bring the area into attainment. In Section V.A. of this document, we find that the area continues to attain the NAAQS. In section V.C. of this document, the EPA is proposing to determine that the Chico PM2.5 nonattainment area has attained the standard due to permanent and enforceable emissions reductions. Further, as set forth in section V.D. of this document, we believe that the Plan demonstrates continued maintenance of the 2006 24-hour PM2.5 standard through 2030. Taken together, these factors support our conclusion that PM2.5 precursors are adequately controlled.

    d. Compliance With Section 110(a)(2)

    Section 172(c)(7) requires the SIP to meet the applicable provisions of section 110(a)(2). As described in section V.B. of this document, we conclude the California SIP meets the requirements of section 110(a)(2) applicable for purposes of this redesignation.

    e. General and Transportation Conformity Requirements

    Under section 176(c) of the CAA, states are required to establish criteria and procedures to ensure that federally supported or funded projects conform to the air quality planning goals in the applicable SIP. Section 176(c) further provides that state conformity provisions must be consistent with federal conformity regulations that the CAA requires the EPA to promulgate. The EPA's conformity regulations are codified at 40 CFR part 93, subparts A (referred to herein as “transportation conformity”) and B (referred to herein as “general conformity”). Transportation conformity applies to transportation plans, programs, and projects developed, funded, and approved under title 23 U.S.C. or the Federal Transit Act, and general conformity applies to all other federally-supported or funded projects. SIP revisions intended to address the conformity requirements are referred to herein as “conformity SIPs.” The EPA believes it is reasonable to interpret the conformity SIP requirements as not applying for purposes of a redesignation request under section 107(d) because state conformity rules are still required after redesignation and federal conformity rules apply where state rules have not been approved. See Wall v. EPA, 265 F.3d 426 (6th Cir. 2001), upholding this interpretation.30

    30See, e.g., 60 FR 62748 (December 7, 1995).

    C. The Area Must Show the Improvement in Air Quality Is Due to Permanent and Enforceable Emission Reductions

    In order to approve a redesignation to attainment, section 107(d)(3)(E)(iii) of the CAA requires the EPA to determine that the improvement in air quality is due to emission reductions that are permanent and enforceable, and that the improvement results from the implementation of the applicable SIP and applicable federal air pollution control regulations and other permanent and enforceable regulations. Under this criterion, a state must be able to reasonably attribute the improvement in air quality to emissions reductions that are permanent and enforceable. Attainment resulting from temporary reductions in emission rates (e.g., reduced production or shutdown due to temporary adverse economic conditions) or unusually favorable meteorology would not qualify as an air quality improvement due to permanent and enforceable emission reductions (Calcagni memo, p. 4).

    In its demonstration that improvements in air quality are reasonably attributable to emissions reductions that are permanent and enforceable, BCAQMD evaluated several factors: The composition of PM2.5 in the nonattainment area; control measures that have been implemented since the area was redesignated to nonattainment; changes to the emissions inventory over time; and meteorological and economic trends. Based on these factors, the District concluded that permanent and enforceable reductions in emissions from residential wood burning and mobile sources provided the greatest emissions reductions (Plan, Section 3.c.).

    Using chemical composition data from speciation samplers located at the Chico monitoring site, the District calculated the average contribution of different components to the PM2.5 design value on the 10 percent of days with highest monitored concentrations of PM2.5 for 2014-2016.31 Total carbonaceous mass, which is linked to smoke from residential wood burning stoves and fireplaces, contributed 76 percent (19.84 μg/m3) of the 26 μg/m3 design value. The second largest fraction is ammonium nitrate, formed from precursor emissions of NOX and ammonia, which accounted for 16 percent of the total (4.07 μg/m3). Other contributors (i.e., ammonium sulfate, formed from precursor emissions of SOX and ammonia—4 percent, geological materials—2 percent, and elements—2 percent) account for a much smaller portion of the ambient PM2.5 (Plan, Section 4.a. and Attachment F). As described in our analysis of the District's maintenance demonstration,32 the Plan makes the case that residential wood burning is the primary contributor to the air quality problem in the Chico nonattainment area and that secondary PM2.5 (ammonium nitrate and ammonium sulfate), geological materials, and elements are relatively small contributors.

    31 This matches the three years used to derive the 2016 design value.

    32 Section V.D.2., of this document.

    The Chico PM2.5 Plan credits control measures adopted and implemented by BCAQMD and CARB and approved into the SIP by the EPA as reducing emissions to attain the 2006 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS. The District has jurisdiction over air quality planning requirements for the Chico nonattainment area and is largely responsible for the regulation of stationary sources and most area sources. Table 2 lists BCAQMD rules adopted and SIP-approved since the area's PM2.5 nonattainment designation that contribute towards attainment and maintenance of the 2006 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS.

    Table 2—BCAQMD SIP-Approved Control Measures and Programs Contributing Towards Attainment and Maintenance of the 2006 24-Hour PM2.5 NAAQS Rule Title Adoption or amendment date Status 207 Wood Burning Devices Amended December 11, 2008 EPA approved—78 FR 21540. 300 Open Burning Requirements, Prohibitions, and Exemptions a Amended December 9, 2010, February 24, 2011, and August 27, 2015 EPA approved—81 FR 70018. 400 Permit Requirements Amended May 26, 2011 and April 24, 2014 EPA approved—81 FR 93820. 401 Permit Exemptions Amended May 26, 2011 and April 24, 2014 EPA approved—81 FR 93820. 432 Federal New Source Review Adopted May 26, 2011, Amended April 24, 2014 and March 23, 2017 81 FR 93820 (limited approval/limited disapproval), 83 FR 12694 (proposed approval). 433 Rice Straw Emission Reduction Credits Amended April 24, 2014 EPA approved—83 FR 17380. 1107 Prevention of Significant Deterioration Adopted June 28, 2012 EPA approved—80 FR 69880. Source: Plan, Table 3-2. a BCAQMD participates in the State's Sacramento Valley Air Basin Smoke Management Program (Plan, p. 11). The program describes the policies and procedures used with hourly and daily measurements of air quality and meteorology to determine how much open biomass burning can be allowed in the Sacramento Valley Air Basin. The program ensures that agricultural burning is prohibited on days meteorologically conducive to potentially elevated PM10 concentrations. See Title 17 California Code of Regulations, Subchapter 2, Section 80100 et seq. The regulations can be viewed at http://www.arb.ca.gov/smp/regs/RevFinRegwTOC.pdf.

    The large contribution of wood smoke on days when the ambient concentrations are elevated illustrates the dominance of this source category. BCAQMD managed three woodstove replacement programs between 2005 and 2015. The District calculated that these programs reduced PM2.5 emissions by 40.5 tons per year (Plan, Attachment C).33 These reductions were made federally enforceable by SIP approval of Rule 207, which prohibits the installation of non-certified wood burning devices in new and existing dwellings. The Plan illustrates the correlation in improvement in air quality with the decline of carbonaceous aerosols, further emphasizing the role that reductions to this category played in attaining the 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS. In addition, the District has adopted or strengthened open burning requirements and stationary source rules. Together, these rules have provided and will continue to provide permanent and enforceable emissions reductions that have contributed to the improvement in air quality.

    33 In addition to the woodstove replacement program, BCAQMD has a voluntary wood burning curtailment program. Because reductions from this program are not federally enforceable, the District does not categorize them as permanent and enforceable (Plan, p. 11).

    Source categories for which CARB has primary responsibility for reducing emissions in California include most new and existing on- and off-road engines and vehicles, motor vehicle fuels, and consumer products. In addition, California has unique authority under CAA section 209 (subject to a waiver by EPA) to adopt and implement new emission standards for many categories of on-road vehicles and engines, and new and in-use off-road vehicles and engines.

    California has been a leader in the development of some of the most stringent control measures nationwide for on-road and off-road mobile sources and the fuels that power them. These standards have reduced new car emissions by 99 percent and new truck emissions by 90 percent from uncontrolled levels.34 In addition, the State has standards for lawn and garden equipment, recreational vehicles and boats, and other off-road sources that require newly manufactured equipment to be 80-98 percent cleaner than their uncontrolled counterparts.35 Finally, the State has adopted many measures that focus on achieving reductions from in-use mobile sources that include more stringent inspection and maintenance or “Smog Check” requirements and truck and bus idling restrictions. The State's measures have generally been approved by the EPA into the SIP and as such are fully creditable for meeting CAA requirements.36 While reductions in PM2.5 emissions from residential wood burning have been the primary driver for improved air quality in the Chico nonattainment area, we note that many of the State measures cited above have provided emissions reductions of PM2.5 and its precursors since 2006, and thus, some improvement in air quality may reasonably be attributed to them.

    34 See page 37 of the 2007 State Strategy, which was adopted by CARB on September 27, 2007 and submitted to the EPA on November 16, 2007. The 2007 State Strategy and associated documents can be viewed at https://www.arb.ca.gov/planning/sip/2007sip/2007sip.htm#state.

    35Id.

    36 A list of SIP-approved state measures is available at https://www.epa.gov/sips-ca/epa-approved-regulations-california-sip.

    Finally, in addition to the local district and State rules discussed above, the Chico PM2.5 nonattainment area has also benefitted from emission reductions from federal measures. These federal measures include the EPA's national emissions standards for heavy-duty diesel trucks, certain emissions standards for new construction and farm equipment (i.e., Tier 2 and 3 non-road engines standards, and Tier 4 diesel non-road engine standards), locomotive engine standards and motor vehicle (Tier 3) standards.37 These on-road and off-road vehicle and engine standards, along with State measures cited above, have contributed to improved air quality through the gradual, continued turnover and replacement of older vehicle models with newer models manufactured to meet increasingly stringent emissions standards.

    37See 66 FR 5001 (January 18, 2001), 63 FR 56968 (October 23, 1998), 69 FR 38958 (June 29, 2004), 63 FR 18978 (April 16, 1998), 73 FR 37096 (June 30, 2008), and 79 FR 23414 (April 28, 2014).

    Wintertime emissions of the two largest contributors to ambient PM2.5 concentrations (i.e., direct PM2.5 and NOX in the form of ammonium nitrate) declined significantly between 2006 and 2015. In 2006, wintertime PM2.5 emissions in the Chico PM2.5 nonattainment area were estimated to be approximately 6 tpd. By 2015, total emissions of PM2.5 had declined 12 percent to 5.3 tpd. These reductions were largely attributable to reductions in emissions from residential fuel combustion and mobile sources. Over the same period, NOX emissions declined from 22.5 tpd to 13 tpd. This 41 percent reduction in NOX emissions came primarily from the mobile source category and, to a lesser extent, from stationary sources.38

    38 Plan, Table 3-3 and Attachment D.

    The Plan demonstrates that the air quality improvement in the Chico PM2.5 nonattainment area between 2006 and 2015 was not the result of a local economic downturn or unusual or extreme weather patterns. As illustrated by Figure 3-9 of the Plan, the gross domestic product of the Chico Metropolitan Statistical Area has increased continuously since 2008, while at the same time, ambient levels of PM2.5 were improving. The area has continued to attain the PM2.5 NAAQS under conditions that were both colder and warmer, and both drier and wetter than average, supporting the conclusion that attainment of the standard is not the result of unusual meteorological conditions (Plan, Figures 3-7 and 3-8).

    We find that the improvement in air quality in the Chico PM2.5 nonattainment area is the result of permanent and enforceable emissions reductions from a combination of EPA-approved local and State control measures and federal control measures. As such, we propose to find that the criterion for redesignation set forth at CAA section 107(d)(3)(E)(iii) is satisfied.

    D. The Area Must Have a Fully Approved Maintenance Plan Under Section 175A

    Section 175A of the CAA sets forth the required elements of a maintenance plan for areas seeking redesignation from nonattainment to attainment. Under section 175A, the plan must demonstrate continued attainment of the applicable NAAQS for at least 10 years after the Administrator approves a redesignation to attainment. Eight years after redesignation, the State must submit a revised maintenance plan that demonstrates continued attainment for the subsequent ten-year period following the initial ten-year maintenance period. To address the possibility of future NAAQS violations, the maintenance plan must contain such contingency provisions as the EPA deems necessary to promptly correct any violation of the NAAQS that occurs after redesignation of the area. The Calcagni memo provides further guidance on the content of a maintenance plan, explaining that a maintenance plan should include an attainment emissions inventory, maintenance demonstration, monitoring and verification of continued attainment, and a contingency plan. Based on our review and evaluation of the Plan, as detailed below, we are proposing to approve the Chico PM2.5 Plan because we believe that it meets the requirements of CAA section 175A.

    1. Attainment Inventory

    In demonstrating maintenance in accordance with CAA section 175A and the Calcagni memo, a state should provide an attainment year emissions inventory to identify the level of emissions in the area sufficient to attain the NAAQS.39 Where a state has made an adequate demonstration that air quality has improved as a result of the SIP, the attainment inventory will generally be an inventory of actual emissions at the time the area attained the standard. The inventory must also be comprehensive, including emissions from stationary point sources, area sources, and mobile sources.

    39 A maintenance plan for the 2006 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS must include an inventory of emissions of directly emitted PM2.5 and its precursors: NOX, SO2, VOCs, and NH3. 40 CFR 51.1008. Consistent with CARB's usual practice, the Plan provides an inventory of ROG rather than VOC. ROG has a slightly broader group of compounds than those identified in the EPA's VOC list and is acceptable for use by the District.

    Section 175A requires a state seeking redesignation to attainment to submit a SIP revision to provide for the maintenance of the NAAQS for a period of at least ten years following redesignation. This can be shown either by demonstrating that future emissions of a pollutant and its precursors will not exceed the level of the attainment inventory or by conducting modeling that shows the future emissions will not cause a violation of the standard. In accordance with EPA guidance, the state should project emissions for the 10-year period following redesignation, for either purpose (Calcagni memo, p. 9). Projected emissions inventories for future years must account for, among other things, the ongoing effects of economic growth and adopted emissions control requirements, and the inventories are expected to be the best available representation of future emissions. The plan submission should include documentation explaining how the state calculated the emissions data for the base year and projected inventories.

    The specific PM2.5 emissions inventory requirements are set forth in the Air Emissions Reporting Rule (40 CFR 51, subpart A) and in 40 CFR 51.1008. The EPA has provided additional guidance for developing PM2.5 emissions inventories in Emissions Inventory Guidance for Implementation of Ozone and Particulate Matter National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) and Regional Haze Regulations (July 2017) (“EPA 2017 EI Guidance”).40

    40 This document is available at https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2017-07/documents/ei_guidance_may_2017_final_rev.pdf.

    The emissions inventories are presented in Chapter 4 of the Plan and in Attachment D, Emissions Inventory Data. Additional information regarding the development of the emissions inventories in the Plan was provided by CARB on February 15, 2018.41

    41 Letter with enclosures from Sylvia Vanderspeck, Chief, Air Quality Planning Branch, CARB, to GwenYoshimura, Manager, Air Quality Analysis Section, EPA Region 9.

    The Chico PM2.5 Plan's demonstration that the area has attained the standard is based on monitoring data from 2014-2016. The District selected 2015 for the base year inventory, which is consistent with this time period. Monitoring data for the Chico nonattainment area have shown that high PM2.5 concentrations occur primarily during the winter months; therefore, the Plan's three emissions inventories (the 2015 base year, and the 2025 and 2030 future year inventories) are all winter-season inventories. All three inventories have been projected from actual 2012 inventories.

    a. 2015 Base Year Emissions Inventory

    The 2015 base year inventory provides the foundation for demonstrating maintenance for a 10-year period. A summary of the 2015 winter episode average-season-day emissions inventory for the Chico PM2.5 nonattainment area is listed in Table 3 and is shown in tons per day (tpd).

    Table 3—Chico PM2.5 Nonattainment Area 2015 Base Year Emissions Inventory (tpd) Winter Episode Average-Season-Day Source type/category PM2.5a NOX SO2 ROG NH3 Stationary 0.560 1.653 0.096 1.973 0.126 Areawide 4.560 1.449 0.145 6.848 3.937 Mobile 0.375 10.121 0.053 4.103 0.165 Benefit of woodstove changeout −0.238 Totals 5.257 13.223 0.294 12.924 4.228 Source: Plan, Attachment D. a The EPA's 2017 EI Guidance notes that emissions inventories are required to include direct PM2.5 emissions, separately reported as PM2.5 filterable and condensable emissions, as applicable. In order to clarify “as applicable,” the 2017 EI Guidance provides a list of source types that are expected to include condensable particulate matter (2017 EI Guidance, Table 15). Because the Chico area's air quality problem is largely driven by wood smoke and because there are currently no data available for condensable PM from wood smoke, reporting total direct PM2.5 is acceptable.

    Areawide sources occur over a wide geographic area. Examples of these sources are consumer products, paved and unpaved road dust, fireplaces, farming operations, and prescribed burning. Emissions for these categories are estimated by both CARB and the BCAQMD using various models and methodologies.

    The Plan uses the EMFAC (short for EMissions FACtor) model to assess emissions from on-road vehicles. Off- road mobile source emissions are estimated using various models with the back-up model being OFFROAD2007. On-road and off-road models account for the effects of various adopted regulations, technology types, and seasonal conditions on emissions.

    Emissions from on-road mobile sources, which include passenger vehicles, buses, and trucks, were estimated using outputs from CARB's EMFAC2014 model.42 These emission factors were then applied to specific transportation activity data from the 2015 Federal Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (FSTIP).

    42 The EPA approved EMFAC2014 for use in SIP revisions and transportation conformity at 80 FR 77337 (December 14, 2015).

    Emissions from off-road mobile sources, which include cargo handling equipment, pleasure craft, recreational vehicles, and locomotives, were grown from the 2012 emissions inventory.

    b. Projected Emissions Inventories

    Projected inventories are derived by applying expected growth trends for each source category and expected emissions reductions resulting from adopted control measures to the base year inventory. In this instance, emissions projections for 2025 and 2030 were generated by applying growth and control profiles to the 2015 base year inventory. Growth profiles for point and areawide sources are derived from surrogates (e.g., economic activity, fuel usage, population, housing units, etc.) that best reflect the expected growth trends for each specific source category. Growth projections were obtained primarily from government entities with expertise in developing forecasts for specific sectors or econometric models. Control profiles, which account for emission reductions resulting from adopted rules and regulations, are derived from data provided by the regulatory agencies responsible for the affected emission categories. A summary of the Chico PM2.5 nonattainment area projected winter episode average-season-day emissions inventories for the years 2025 and 2030 is provided in Table 4.

    Table 4—2025 and 2030 Projected CA/Butte County PM2.5 Nonattainment Area Winter Episode Average-Season-Day Emissions Inventories (tpd) Source type/category PM2.5 2025 2030 NOX 2025 2030 SOX 2025 2030 ROG 2025 2030 NH3 2025 2030 Stationary 0.652 0.699 1.621 1.662 0.113 0.122 2.086 2.238 0.141 0.147 Areawide 4.597 4.529 1.446 1.450 0.151 0.153 7.374 7.557 4.067 4.113 Mobile 0.255 0.236 4.829 3.809 0.053 0.055 2.379 2.090 0.131 0.130 ERC Bank 0.107 0.107 0.164 0.164 0.008 0.008 0.164 0.164 Woodstove Changeout −0.238 −0.238 Total 5.373 5.333 8.060 7.085 0.325 0.338 12.003 12.049 4.338 4.390 Source: Plan, Attachment F.

    The EPA has reviewed the results, procedures, and methodologies for the Chico PM2.5 nonattainment area emissions inventories. We have determined that the 2015 base year inventory and the 2025 and 2030 projected inventories are based on the most current and accurate information available to CARB and BCAQMD at the time the Plan and its inventories were being developed. The selection of 2015 for the base year inventory is also appropriate because it is within the 2014-2016 period during which the area attained the standard. The inventories comprehensively address all source categories in the Chico PM2.5 nonattainment area and appropriate procedures were used to develop the inventories. In addition, CARB and BCAQMD developed the 2025 and the 2030 projected inventories based on the 2015 base year inventory and accounted for projected growth and reductions in emissions. We are therefore proposing to approve the 2015 base year emissions inventory and the 2025 and 2030 projected year inventories for the Chico PM2.5 Nonattainment Area as meeting the requirements of CAA section 175A of the CAA.

    2. PM2.5 Maintenance Demonstration a. PM2.5 Modeling Requirements

    As noted previously, the requirement that maintenance plans must demonstrate attainment of the NAAQS for at least 10 years after the redesignation can be met in one of two ways: By showing that future emissions will not exceed the level of the attainment inventory or by using modeling to show that the future emissions will not cause a violation of the NAAQS. Modeling predicts future ambient concentrations for comparison to the NAAQS, making use of information such as ambient concentrations, meteorology, and current and projected emission inventories, including the effect of control measures in the plan.

    The main EPA source of guidance on modeling is the Guideline on Air Quality Models (“Guideline”).43 Section 4.2.3.5 of the Guideline notes that PM2.5 is a mixture of components: Primary (directly emitted) and secondary (chemically formed in the atmosphere from precursor emissions). In its discussion of modeling for PM2.5 New Source Review,44 the Guideline refers to the general dispersion modeling requirements located in sections 4.2.1 and 4.2.2 for primary PM2.5, and in Section 5.4 for secondary PM2.5. The Guideline's discussion of PM2.5 SIP attainment demonstrations 45 references Section 5.4 and associated SIP modeling guidance that mainly pertain to photochemical models to handle secondarily formed PM2.5.46 These modeling recommendations address situations that involve a few major point sources emitting primary PM2.5 (Section 4.2) and situations with a few large sources or many sources of secondary PM2.5 (Section 5.4).

    43 40 CFR 51 Appendix W, Guideline on Air Quality Models, 82 FR 5182, January 17, 2017; available at https://www.epa.gov/scram/clean-air-act-permit-modeling-guidance.

    44See subsection (b) of the Guideline.

    45See subsection (c) of the Guideline.

    46Modeling Guidance for Demonstrating Attainment of Air Quality Goals for Ozone, PM 2.5, and Regional Haze, December 2014 Draft, EPA OAQPS; available at https://www.epa.gov/scram/state-implementation-plan-sip-attainment-demonstration-guidance.

    For areas such as the Chico area that are dominated by primary PM10 or PM2.5 emitted by many small dispersed sources such as fugitive dust or residential wood burning, the rollback model has historically been used. In simple rollback, the monitored ambient concentration (net of any unchanging background concentration) is assumed to be proportional to emissions. When emissions are reduced by a given percentage, the concentration is assumed to scale or “roll back” by the same percentage. A variant of this technique is “proportional rollback,” in which rollback is applied to each emission source category individually, then summed in proportion to each source category's ambient contribution. The proportions, or source apportionment, can be estimated using chemically speciated PM2.5 measurements. This can be done with a receptor model such as the Chemical Mass Balance model or the Positive Matrix Factorization model, which finds the source category contributions that are the best statistical fit to the measured chemical species concentrations, given measured or estimated source species profiles. More simply, in “speciated rollback,” rollback is applied to each species or species group separately, then the individual components are summed. Within each species, a source category's contribution is proportional to its share of the corresponding species emission inventory.

    For any of the rollback approaches, assumptions must be made about secondary PM2.5 such as ammonium nitrate and ammonium sulfate, since they do not correspond directly to emission inventory pollutants and because chemical interactions between precursors are not represented in rollback's linear scaling. The secondary components could conservatively be assumed to be part of the unchanging background concentration, or they might be assumed to scale in proportion to their corresponding precursor emissions, e.g., ammonium nitrate in proportion to NOX emissions. While these approaches are relatively imprecise in comparison to photochemical grid models, if secondary particulates are a small portion of ambient PM2.5 in a particular area, the uncertainty in the model results will also be small.

    b. Modeling in the Plan

    Because some precursors increase slightly over the 10-year maintenance period, the Chico PM2.5 Plan uses modeling to demonstrate ongoing maintenance of the standard. The Plan's maintenance demonstration is based on speciated rollback modeling, with concentrations for PM2.5 species scaled according to changes in corresponding species emission inventory categories.47 The Plan shows the chemical composition of PM2.5 in tables and pie charts, showing concentrations and percentages for five species groups (ammonium nitrate, ammonium sulfate, carbonaceous aerosols, geological, and elements) for the 10 percent of days with the highest monitored 24-hour PM2.5 concentrations.48 49 The species percentages were derived from averages of speciated Chico PM2.5 monitoring data during 2014-2016, which matches the three years used to derive the 2016 design value.

    47 Plan, Section 4.a. The Plan uses the terms “rollback” and “proportional rollback.” Here and elsewhere, the terms “proportional rollback” and “speciated rollback” are used loosely. These and other rollback variants all assume concentrations are proportional to emissions but vary in how they map emissions to concentrations.

    48 Plan, Figure 4.1, p. 20; Attachment E, table in Figure 4.1, p.1; and Attachment F, Figure 1, p.1.

    49 The “geological” group comprises those species typically found in soil (such as silicon). The “elements” group consists of all species not in other groups.

    The speciation data show that days with high PM2.5 concentrations in the Chico nonattainment area are dominated by carbonaceous aerosol, which accounted for 76 percent of the total. The District's attribution of this principally to organic matter from wood burning is corroborated by the close agreement between the concentration trends of carbonaceous aerosol and of potassium, a marker element for wood burning.50 Wood burning emissions are 85 percent of the total direct PM2.5 emissions. The Plan states that the highest concentrations occur under stagnant conditions in winter, typically in the evening and early morning hours. The diurnal pattern of concentrations is consistent with this and with increased residential wood burning in the evening hours.51 The geological and elements species groups each contributed 2 percent to high PM2.5 levels.

    50 Plan, p.13.

    51 Plan, p.13, including Figure 3-4, and p.15.

    Secondarily formed PM2.5 in the form of ammonium nitrate and ammonium sulfate respectively comprised 16 percent and 4 percent of PM2.5 concentrations. These species are formed from precursor emissions of NOX, SOX, and ammonia.

    The instruments and techniques used to measure speciated PM2.5 do not measure all species, so some adjustments are needed for the total speciated to match the full PM2.5 mass, as measured with the FRM for PM2.5.52 For the rollback, the Plan mainly used the adjustments followed in the IMPROVE (Interagency Monitoring of Protected Visual Environments) network for each species group.53 The exception was carbonaceous aerosol or organic matter, which was estimated by mass balance, that is, the total PM2.5 mass less the mass of all the other species.54 The concentrations were then scaled so the total matched the 2016 design value of 26 μg/m3. This procedure yielded species group concentrations representative of the design value as the starting point for speciated rollback.

    52 For example, carbon and various ions are measured but the oxygen originally chemically bound to them is not. Also, the sampling schedules and averaging procedures differ between the FRM and speciated measurements.

    53 Plan, Table 4.1, p. 21; IMPROVE (Interagency Monitoring of Protected Visual Environments) is a monitoring program managed by EPA and other federal and state agencies, to assess visibility and aerosol conditions including PM2.5 species, in Class I areas such as National Parks. http://vista.cira.colostate.edu/Improve/reconstructed-fine-mass/.

    54 Due to large uncertainties in carbonaceous mass measurements, mass balance is also used in the EPA-recommended SANDWICH approach (Sulfate, Adjusted Nitrate, Derived Water, Inferred Carbonaceous material balance approach), described in EPA draft Modeling Guidance for Demonstrating Attainment, section 4.4.4.

    Ambient concentrations of PM2.5 have both a local component and a background component. The local component is generated by emissions from sources located with the nonattainment area. The background component is not attributed to local sources; it consists of PM2.5 (and its precursors) that is transported into the area by air flowing in from upwind. Since only the local component can be affected by changes in the area's emissions, rollback scales concentrations with background concentrations subtracted out (i.e., net of background). Speciated concentrations from Bliss State Park next to Lake Tahoe were chosen in the Plan as background concentrations that would occur in the airshed in the absence of local anthropogenic emissions. These concentrations were subtracted from Chico concentrations for the corresponding species groups, resulting in local concentrations to be scaled according to emissions changes (“available for rolling”).

    To perform the rollback analysis, the species groups must be matched to emission inventory categories that affect those species' concentrations. Since the highest PM2.5 concentrations occur during winter months when residential wood burning is greatest, a winter season inventory was used. Five groups of ambient species were mapped to emission inventory categories. The geological (or fugitive dust) component was assumed to be proportional to fugitive dust emissions, including farming operations, construction, road dust, and fugitive wind-blown dust. The sum of the carbonaceous aerosols component and the elements component was assumed to be proportional to the total emissions from all other directly-emitted primary PM2.5 emissions categories. The ammonium nitrate component was assumed to scale with total NOX emissions, and ammonium sulfate with total SOX emissions.

    The maintenance demonstration base year was 2015, the center of the 2014—2016 period upon which the 2016 design value is based. The predicted emission changes between base year 2015 and future year 2030 were used to scale the species components of the 2016 design value. A bank of ERCs is maintained by the District for equipment shutdowns and voluntary controls at permitted sources; these are emissions that are not occurring presently, but potentially could occur in the future if the credits were used by new sources to offset their emissions as part of the NSR permitting process. The ERCs were added to 2030 emissions for each pollutant but not to 2015 emissions. ERCs are not maintained for direct PM2.5 emissions, so PM10 ERCs were used. Both of these choices make the 2030 emission estimate conservatively high. The District had a successful wood burning device change out program. As previously noted, between 2005-2015, 739 wood stoves were replaced with cleaner-burning devices. The resulting emission reductions were included in both the base and future year emissions, reflecting baseline emission inventory estimates through the maintenance period. No credit was taken for later stove change outs or for the District's Check Before You Light voluntary curtailment program, both of which are expected to yield additional emission reductions through 2030.

    Fugitive dust emissions for the geological component are projected to increase by 14 percent, mainly due to increased paved road dust, residential building, and road construction,55 but this component accounts for only 2.3 percent of PM2.5 concentrations. The sum of all other directly-emitted primary PM2.5 emissions categories is the largest single component of concentrations; it is expected to decline by only 0.8 percent by 2030. NOX emissions, used to scale ammonium nitrate, are expected to fall by some 46 percent; this is mainly due to declining mobile source emissions, which are 80 percent of the NOX inventory. SOX emissions, used to scale ammonium sulfate, are projected to increase by about 15 percent, mainly due to an increase in stationary source fuel combustion from electricity generation. As noted above, ammonium sulfate is only 4 percent of PM2.5 concentrations.

    55 California Air Resources Board, CEPAM—California Emissions Projection Analysis Model, https://www.arb.ca.gov/app/emsinv/fcemssumcat/fcemssumcat2016.php, retrieved March 4th, 2018.

    The last steps in rollback are summing the emissions-scaled concentrations for the species groups and then adding the background concentrations back in. Considered individually, projected reductions in NOX emissions will yield a 1.83 μg/m3 reduction to the design value. The decrease in non-dust PM2.5 accounts for an additional reduction of 0.16 μg/m3. Projected increases in ammonium sulfate and fugitive dust emissions are predicted to contribute a 0.18 μg/m3 increase. The final result of the maintenance demonstration modeling was a decrease of 1.8 μg/m3 from the 2016 level, resulting in a 2030 design value of 24.2 μg/m3, well below the 35 μg/m3 NAAQS.

    c. EPA Evaluation of the Maintenance Demonstration

    The choice of an appropriate model for the District's maintenance demonstration was informed by particular circumstances of the Chico nonattainment area, most notably the dominance of primary PM2.5 in ambient concentrations, the dispersed nature of the many sources responsible for it, and the relatively small fraction composed of secondary particulate matter. As discussed in the Plan, organic carbon from wood burning emissions is 76 percent of PM2.5 on the highest concentration days, and the highest concentrations occur under stagnant winter conditions. The Plan examined meteorology, PM2.5 emissions, ambient PM2.5 data, including speciated PM2.5 monitoring data over the past decade, and how the diurnal PM2.5 pattern changed over time, to make the case that residential wood burning is the dominant contributor to the air quality problem in the Chico nonattainment area. The key assumption in rollback, i.e., that concentrations are proportional to emissions, is true for these primary PM2.5 emissions. Current EPA guidance does not mention rollback; however, it also does not fully cover the Chico situation of dominant primary PM2.5 from many dispersed sources. Instead, it mainly discusses photochemical grid models and dispersion models that are more appropriate for other situations. It would be unreasonable to require the use of a photochemical grid model just to handle the minor secondary particulate component in Chico, given the time and resources involved, the established nature of the main PM2.5 problem in the area (wood smoke), and the monitored concentrations that are well below the NAAQS. Nor would a dispersion model be appropriate, given the large number and dispersed distribution of sources, especially since the highest concentrations occur under stagnant conditions, which dispersion models do not handle well. Given that the key air quality problem is already understood, neither photochemical grid models nor dispersion models would provide much information that is not already available from the rollback model. The EPA finds that the use of rollback meets available guidance and is appropriate for the Chico maintenance demonstration.

    The EPA also finds that the Plan correctly implemented the calculations needed for rollback, used an appropriate mapping of ambient PM2.5 components to emission inventory categories, and incorporated a degree of conservatism.

    The main drawback to rollback for Chico PM2.5 is its inherently simple handling of secondary particulates, which, though a minor ambient component in this instance, are not negligible. The assumption that ammonium nitrate and ammonium sulfate scale linearly with NOX and SOX emissions, respectively, is simple and is consistent with rollback, but may not be fully correct. Even if they do scale in a reasonably linear manner, they might not respond on a one-to-one basis, e.g. a 10 percent NOX emission reduction might yield only a 7 percent ambient ammonium nitrate response. As noted above, the decline in NOX emissions accounts for much of the predicted 1.8 μg/m3 decrease in PM2.5 concentrations between 2015 and 2030. However, ambient concentrations in Chico are far enough below the level of the NAAQS that, even using highly conservative assumptions for secondary particulates, maintenance of the NAAQS is not jeopardized. If ammonium nitrate does not respond at all to the 46 percent NOX reduction, but instead remains at its 2016 design value level, and ammonium sulfate does conservatively respond on a one-to-one basis to the 15 percent SOX emission increase of 0.036 tpd, the rollback model predicts a 2030 design value of 26.03 μg/m3 (starting from 26.00 μg/m3 in 2015), still well below the NAAQS. Despite the greater ammonium nitrate in the highly conservative assumption described above as compared to the maintenance demonstration in the Plan, the increase in predicted 2030 design value from 24.2 to 26.0 is relatively small because ammonium nitrate is only 16 percent of PM2.5 concentrations. Therefore, even if the reasonable and straightforward assumptions in the rollback modeling were not fully correct, the maintenance demonstration would still be adequate given how clean the air is in Chico. Consequently, we are proposing to determine that the Chico PM2.5 Plan adequately demonstrates maintenance of the 2006 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS through 2030.

    3. Verification of Continued Attainment

    Under CAA section 175A, a maintenance plan must demonstrate continued attainment of the applicable NAAQS for at least ten years after EPA approves a redesignation to attainment. Eight years after redesignation, the State must submit a revised maintenance plan that demonstrates continued attainment for the subsequent ten-year period following the initial ten-year maintenance period. To address the possibility of future NAAQS violations, the maintenance plan must contain such contingency provisions that EPA deems necessary to promptly correct any violation of the NAAQS that occurs after redesignation of the area. Based on our review and evaluation of the plan, as detailed below, we are proposing to approve the Chico PM2.5 Plan because we believe that it meets the CAA section 175A requirements for verification of continued attainment.

    In demonstrating maintenance, continued attainment of the NAAQS can be verified through operation of an appropriate air quality monitoring network. The Calcagni memo (p. 11) states that the maintenance plan should contain provisions for continued operation of air quality monitors that will provide such verification. As discussed in section V.A. of this document, PM2.5 is currently monitored by CARB within the Chico PM2.5 nonattainment area. In Section 4.c. of the Chico PM2.5 Plan, the District indicates that CARB intends to maintain an appropriate PM2.5 monitoring network and review data through the maintenance period and will collaborate with the EPA and stakeholders on any potential changes to the network. The District commits to using ambient data to track the progress of the maintenance plan. We find that the Chico PM2.5 Plan contains adequate provisions for continued operation of air quality monitors that will provide verification of continued attainment.

    In addition, CARB and BCAQMD must inventory emissions sources and report to EPA on a periodic basis under 40 CFR part 51, subpart A (“Air Emissions Reporting Requirements”). These emissions inventory updates will provide a second way to evaluate emissions trends in the area and thereby verify continued attainment of the NAAQS. The District commits to monitoring the emissions inventory for unexpected changes that could affect maintenance of the PM2.5 NAAQS. We are proposing to determine that these methods are sufficient for verifying continued attainment.

    4. Contingency Provisions

    Section 175A(d) of the CAA requires that maintenance plans include contingency provisions, as EPA deems necessary, to promptly correct any violations of the NAAQS that occur after redesignation of the area. Such provisions must include a requirement that the state will implement all measures with respect to the control of the air pollutant concerned that were contained in the SIP for the area before redesignation of the area as an attainment area. These contingency provisions are distinguished from those generally required for nonattainment areas under CAA section 172(c)(9) in that they are not required to be fully-adopted measures that will take effect without further action by the state in order for the maintenance plan to be approved. However, the contingency plan is considered to be an enforceable part of the SIP and should ensure that the contingency measures are adopted expeditiously once they are triggered by a specified event. The maintenance plan should clearly identify the measures to be adopted, a schedule and procedure for adoption and implementation, and a specific timeline for action by the State. As a necessary part of the plan, the State should also identify the specific indicators or triggers that will be used to determine when the contingency measures need to be implemented.

    The District has adopted a contingency plan to address possible future PM2.5 air quality problems. The contingency provisions in the Chico PM2.5 Plan are contained in Section 4.e. of the Plan. BCAQMD identifies the contingency plan trigger as a violation of the 2006 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS. If that should occur, BCAQMD commits to the following steps:

    (1) Within 60 days of the trigger, BCAQMD will commence an analysis to determine if the violation was caused by an exceptional event or instrument malfunction, and evaluate meteorological conditions and emissions inventory.

    (2) BCAQMD will consult with interested parties, community organizations, and industry to identify and implement, within nine months after the trigger, voluntary and incentive measures to reduce directly emitted PM2.5 or precursors.

    (3) If voluntary and incentive based measures do not bring the area back into attainment 12 months after the contingency plan is triggered, the BCAQMD will propose for adoption and implementation any necessary new rules to the BCAQMD Governing Board within 24 months of the trigger date. The measures that BCAQMD would consider and analyze include but are not limited to those listed in Table 4-6 in the Plan.

    Upon our review of the Plan, as summarized above, we find that the contingency provisions of the Chico PM2.5 Plan clearly identify specific contingency measures, contain tracking and triggering mechanisms to determine when contingency measures are needed, contain a description of the process of recommending and implementing contingency measures, and contain specific timelines for action. Thus, we conclude that the contingency provisions of the Chico PM2.5 Plan are adequate to ensure prompt correction of a violation and that they comply with section 175A(d) of the CAA. For the reasons set forth above, EPA is proposing to find that the Chico PM2.5 Plan is consistent with the maintenance plan contingency provision requirements of the CAA and EPA guidance.

    5. Transportation and Motor Vehicle Emissions Budgets

    Section 176(c) of the CAA requires federal actions in nonattainment and maintenance areas to conform to the SIP's goals of eliminating or reducing the severity and number of violations of the NAAQS and achieving expeditious attainment of the standards. Conformity to the SIP's goals means that such actions will not: (1) Cause or contribute to violations of a NAAQS, (2) worsen the severity of an existing violation, or (3) delay timely attainment of any NAAQS or any interim milestone.

    Actions involving Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) or Federal Transit Administration (FTA) funding or approval are subject to the EPA's transportation conformity rule, codified at 40 CFR part 93, subpart A. Under this rule, metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) in nonattainment and maintenance areas coordinate with state and local air quality and transportation agencies, the EPA, FHWA, and FTA to demonstrate that an area's regional transportation plans and transportation improvement programs conform to the applicable SIP. This demonstration is typically done by showing that estimated emissions from existing and planned highway and transit systems are less than or equal to the motor vehicle emissions budgets (“budgets”) contained in all control strategy SIPs.

    Under the CAA, states are required to submit, at various times, control strategy SIPs and maintenance plans in nonattainment areas. These control strategy SIPs and maintenance plans typically set budgets for criteria pollutants and/or their precursors to address pollution from cars and trucks. Budgets are generally established for specific years and specific pollutants or precursors and must reflect the motor vehicle control measures contained in the RFP plan and the attainment or maintenance demonstration. Per 40 CFR part 93, budgets must be established for the last year of the maintenance plan for direct PM2.5 and PM2.5 precursors subject to transportation conformity analyses.56 For motor vehicle emissions budgets to be approvable, they must meet, at a minimum, the EPA's adequacy criteria (40 CFR 93.118(e)(4)).

    56 Section 93.102(b)(2)(v) of the conformity rule identifies VOC, SOX, and ammonia as PM2.5 precursor pollutants that that are presumed insignificant unless the SIP makes a finding that the precursor is significant. In contrast, NOX is presumed to be a significant contributor, unless the state and the EPA determine that transportation-related emissions of NOX are not a significant contributor (93.102(b)(2)(iv)).

    The Transportation Conformity Rule allows areas to forgo establishment of a budget where it is demonstrated that the regional motor vehicle emissions for a particular pollutant or precursor are an insignificant contributor to the air quality problem in an area. The criteria for insignificance determinations can be found in 40 CFR 93.109(f). In order for a pollutant or precursor to be considered an insignificant contributor, the SIP would have to demonstrate that it would be unreasonable to expect that such an area would experience enough motor vehicle emissions growth in that pollutant/precursor for a NAAQS violation to occur. Insignificance determinations are based on a number of factors, including (1) the current state of air quality as determined by monitoring data for that NAAQS; (2) the absence of SIP motor vehicle control measures; (3) historical trends and future projections of the growth of motor vehicle emissions; and (4) the percentage of motor vehicle emissions in context of the total SIP inventory. The EPA's rationale for providing for insignificance determinations is described in the July 1, 2004, revision to the transportation conformity rule (69 FR 40004). Specifically, the rationale is explained on p. 40061 under the subsection entitled “XXIII. B. Areas With Insignificant Motor Vehicle Emissions.”

    As part of the Chico PM2.5 Plan, the BCAQMD requested that the EPA find that on-road emissions of direct PM2.5 and NOX are insignificant for conformity purposes, and therefore the District did not submit any budgets. The EPA is proposing to approve BCAQMD's insignificance demonstration for the on-road motor vehicle contribution of NOX and PM2.5 emissions to the overall PM2.5 emissions in the maintenance plan.

    The information provided by BCAQMD to the EPA as part of the SIP revision addresses each of the factors listed in 40 CFR 93.109(f), and is summarized below. Design values for the area are trending downward from 69 μg/m3 in 2008, to 33 μg/m3 in 2012, to 28 μg/m3 in 2014, and to 26 μg/m3 in 2016. NOX emissions from on-road mobile sources are predicted to decrease by 70 percent from 2015-2030 and PM2.5 emissions are predicted to decrease by 24 percent during the same time frame. In addition, the 2030 on-road PM2.5 emissions will account for less than three percent of the total direct non-dust PM2.5 emissions from all sources in the Chico nonattainment area. Because on-road NOX emissions account for a larger percentage (28 percent) of the total emissions, the plan includes a sensitivity analysis that demonstrates that the NOX emissions from on-road mobile sources would need to increase by 600 percent from 2015 levels before the area would violate the 2006 24-hour PM2.5 standard in the Chico nonattainment area. Our detailed evaluation and conclusions are as follows.

    (1) The Chico Area Is Attaining the PM2.5 NAAQS

    The EPA determined that the Chico nonattainment area attained the 2006 24-hour PM2.5 standard on September 10, 2013 (78 FR 55225). This finding was based on ambient air quality data for the period of 2010 to 2012. More recently on May 10, 2017, the EPA determined that the Chico nonattainment area met the 2006 24-hour PM2.5 standard by its attainment date of December 31, 2015 (82 FR 21711). This finding was based on air quality data for the period from 2013 to 2015. Since that period the air quality has remained well below the 2006 24-hour PM2.5 standard. Table 5 summarizes the air quality design values for the 2014-2016 period.

    Table 5—Summary of Design Values for the 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS in the Chico Nonattainment Area (μg/m3) 2014 2015 2016 28 29 26 Source: Plan, Table 3-1. (2) Motor Vehicle Control Measures Were Not Adopted for the Purpose of Bringing the Area Into Attainment

    As discussed in more detail in sections V.C. and V.D.2. of this document, the control measures relied upon in the Chico PM2.5 plan to bring the area into attainment are primarily associated with residential wood burning. While there are statewide motor vehicle emission controls (smog check and vehicle standards) that apply throughout California, those measures were not adopted specifically to bring this area into attainment.

    (3) Historical Trends and Future Projections Indicate Motor Vehicle PM2.5 Emissions Are Decreasing

    Trends and projections in emissions of PM2.5 and precursors are presented in several sections of the Chico PM2.5 plan. Table 3.3 of the Chico PM2.5 plan shows reductions of total NOX, PM2.5 and SOX emissions from 2006-2015. During this period, total wintertime emissions of PM2.5 decreased 11.8 percent while NOX emissions decreased by 41.3 percent and SOX emissions decreased by 45.3 percent. These trends are projected to continue as shown in Table 6, below. Emissions of NOX, for the period from the attainment year of 2015 to the maintenance year of 2030, are estimated to decrease 47 percent and total non-dust PM2.5 emissions are projected to decrease by 1 percent. On-road motor vehicle emissions decrease even further. Emissions of on-road NOX and PM2.5 are projected to decrease 70 percent and 24 percent, respectively, from 2015 to 2030. These reductions are projected to occur even while vehicle miles travelled are predicted to increase 40 percent from 2014-2040. These reductions are due to federal and California motor vehicle regulations such as heavy-duty highway vehicle standards and fuel standards.

    Table 6—NOX and PM2.5 Emissions [tons per winter day] 2015 2025 2030 Percent change from 2015 Total NOX 13.2 7.9 6.9 −47 On-Road NOX 6.3 2.4 1.9 −70 Total Non-Dust PM2.5 4.47 4.5 4.43 −1 Direct PM from On-Road Motor Vehicles (exhaust, tire wear, and brake wear) 0.17 0.13 0.13 −4 Source: Plan, Tables 4-5 and 4-6. (4) The Percentage of Motor Vehicle Emissions in the Context of the Total SIP Inventory Decreases Over Time

    As shown in Table 7, the percentage contribution of motor vehicle emissions to total emissions for both NOX and PM2.5 generally decreases over time. In the 2015 attainment year, emissions of NOX from on-road motor vehicles contribute 48 percent of the total Chico NOX emission inventory. By 2030, the contribution of on-road NOX is reduced to 28 percent. The overall contribution of on-road motor vehicles to the PM2.5 inventory is very small. In the 2015 attainment year, emissions of PM2.5 from on-road motor vehicles contributed only 3.9 percent of the Chico total non-dust emission inventory. By 2030, the percentage declines to 3.0 percent.

    Table 7—Percent Contribution of NOX and PM2.5 Emissions 2015 2025 2030 Percent On-Road Contribution to Total NOX Emission 47.7% 30.4% 27.5% Percent On-Road Contribution to Non-Dust Total PM2.5 Emissions 3.9% 2.8% 3.0% Source: Plan, Tables 4.5 and 4.6.

    Although both the total NOX inventory and the percentage contribution to the NOX inventory from mobile sources decline over time, on-road NOX will account for over 27 percent of the total NOX inventory in 2030. As verification that this would not affect maintenance of the standard, the Plan includes a modified roll-back analysis that was conducted to determine how much on-road NOX emissions would need to increase before the Chico PM2.5 nonattainment area would experience violations of the 2006 PM2.5 NAAQS (Attachment F). The roll-back analysis demonstrates that on-road NOX emissions would have to increase by approximately 600 percent from 2015 NOX emission levels before violations of the PM2.5 NAAQS would occur in 2030. With NOX emissions for the area trending downward, it is highly unlikely that on-road NOX emissions could increase 600 percent by 2030.

    After evaluating the information provided by BCAQMD and weighing the factors for the insignificance determination outlined in 40 CFR 93.109(f), the EPA is proposing to approve the determination that the PM2.5 and NOX contributions from motor vehicle emissions to the PM2.5 pollution for the Chico nonattainment area are insignificant.

    If the EPA's insignificance finding is finalized, the Butte County Association of Governments would no longer be required to perform regional emissions analyses for either directly emitted PM2.5 or NOX as part of future PM2.5 conformity determinations for the 2006 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS for the Chico area (the subject of today's proposed action). The EPA's insignificance finding should, however, be noted in the transportation conformity documentation that is prepared for this area. Areas with insignificant regional motor vehicle emissions for a pollutant or precursor are still required to make a conformity determination that satisfies other relevant conformity requirements such as financial constraint, timely implementation of transportation control measures and project level conformity.

    VI. Proposed Action and Request for Public Comment

    Pursuant to sections 107(d)(3)(E) and 175A of the CAA and based on our review of the Chico PM2.5 Plan submitted by the State, air quality monitoring data, and other relevant materials, the EPA is proposing to find that the State has addressed all the necessary requirements for redesignation of the Chico nonattainment area to attainment of the 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS.

    First, under CAA section 107(d)(3)(D), we are proposing to approve CARB's request, which accompanied the submittal of the Chico PM2.5 Plan, to redesignate the Chico PM2.5 nonattainment area to attainment for the 2006 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS. We are doing so based on our conclusion that the area has met the five criteria for redesignation under CAA section 107(d)(3)(E). Our conclusion is based on our proposed determination that the area has attained the 2006 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS; that relevant portions of the California SIP are fully approved; that the improvement in air quality is due to permanent and enforceable reductions in emissions; that California has met all requirements applicable to the Chico PM2.5 nonattainment area with respect to section 110 and part D of the CAA; and is based on our proposed approval of the Chico PM2.5 Plan as part of this action.

    Second, in connection with the Chico PM2.5 Plan showing maintenance through 2030, the EPA is proposing to find that the maintenance demonstration, which documents how the area will continue to attain the 2006 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS for 10 years beyond redesignation (i.e., through 2030) and the actions that BCAQMD will take if a future monitored violation triggers the contingency plan, meets all applicable requirements for maintenance plans and related contingency provisions in section 175A of the CAA. The EPA is also proposing to approve the determination that the PM2.5 and NOX contributions from motor vehicle emissions to the PM2.5 pollution for the Chico nonattainment area are insignificant.

    We are soliciting comments on these proposed actions. We will accept comments from the public on this proposal for 30 days following publication of this proposal in the Federal Register and will consider these comments before taking final action.

    VII. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews

    Under the CAA, the Administrator is required to approve a SIP submission that complies with the provisions of the Act and applicable federal regulations. 42 U.S.C. 7410(k); 40 CFR 52.02(a). Thus, in reviewing SIP submissions, the EPA's role is to approve state choices, provided that they meet the criteria of the CAA. Accordingly, this 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). We have offered to consult with the Enterprise Rancheria of Maidu Indians of California, the Berry Creek Rancheria of Maidu Indians of California, the Mooretown Rancheria of Maidu Indians of California, and the Mechoopda Indian Tribe of Chico Rancheria, which have lands within the Chico PM2.5 nonattainment area.

    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, Volatile organic compounds.

    List of Subjects in 40 CFR Part 81

    Environmental protection, Air pollution control, National parks, Wilderness areas.

    Authority:

    42 U.S.C. 7401 et seq.

    Dated: May 1, 2018. Alexis Strauss, Acting Regional Administrator, Region IX.
    [FR Doc. 2018-09792 Filed 5-8-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
    ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY 40 CFR Part 55 [EPA-R01-OAR-2018-0011; FRL-9976-49—Region 1] Outer Continental Shelf Air Regulations; Consistency Update for Massachusetts; Reopening of Comment Period AGENCY:

    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

    ACTION:

    Proposed rule; reopening of the public comment period.

    SUMMARY:

    The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a proposed rule in the Federal Register on February 12, 2018, proposing to update a portion of the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Air Regulations that pertains to the requirements for OCS sources for which Massachusetts is the designated the Corresponding Onshore Area (COA). On March 9, 2018, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts amended certain regulatory provisions that pertain to the EPA's February 12, 2018 proposed rulemaking. This document reopens the comment period for 30 days and provides notice that the EPA has modified the proposed regulatory text for incorporation by reference in the EPA final rule for this action. The EPA has also added additional information to the docket.

    DATES:

    Written comments on the proposed rule published in the Federal Register on February 12, 2018 (83 FR 5971) should be received on or before June 8, 2018.

    ADDRESSES:

    Submit your comments, identified by Docket ID No. EPA-R01-OAR-2018-0011 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 https://www.epa.gov/dockets/commenting-epa-dockets. 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. 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, Office of Ecosystem Protection, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, EPA New England Regional Office, 5 Post Office Square (Mail Code OEP05-2), Boston, MA 02109, (617) 918-1624, [email protected].

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

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

    Table of Contents I. Background and Purpose II. Why is the EPA reopening the comment period? III. Incorporation by Reference I. Background and Purpose

    On February 12, 2018, the EPA published a proposed rulemaking in the Federal Register to update a portion of the OCS Air Regulations. See 83 FR 5971. As stated in the EPA's February 12, 2018 proposed rulemaking, requirements applying to OCS sources located within 25 miles of states' seaward boundaries must be updated periodically to remain consistent with the requirements of the COA, as mandated by section 328(a)(1) of the Clean Air Act. The portion of the OCS air regulations that is being updated in the proposed rulemaking pertains to the requirements for OCS sources for which Massachusetts is the designated COA. The intended effect of approving the OCS requirements for the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) is to regulate emissions from OCS sources in accordance with the requirements for onshore sources. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts' requirements discussed in the EPA's proposed rulemaking will be incorporated by reference into the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) and listed in the appendix to the OCS air regulations in 40 CFR part 55.

    II. Why is the EPA reopening the comment period?

    Among other things, the EPA's February 12, 2018 action proposed to incorporate into 40 CFR part 55 the applicable provisions of 310 Code of Massachusetts Regulations (CMR) 7.00: Air Pollution Control, as amended through January 16, 2018. On March 9, 2018, the MassDEP promulgated amendments to the regulations at 310 CMR 7.00. Pursuant to 40 CFR 55.12, consistency reviews will occur if the EPA finds that part 55 is inconsistent with the requirements in effect in the COA. Therefore, the EPA is including the Commonwealth's March 9, 2018 amended regulations for 310 CMR 7.00 in the EPA's proposed consistency update to 40 CFR part 55 in addition to the other regulations EPA proposed for inclusion in the February 12, 2018 proposed rulemaking. The EPA has added the amended regulations at 310 CMR 7.00 to the docket and is reopening the comment period to give all interested persons the opportunity to comment on the incorporation by reference of the amended regulations at 310 CMR 7.00.1 This document reopens the public comment period established in the Federal Register document on February 12, 2018 (83 FR 5971) (FRL-9974-28—Region 1).

    1 The EPA is required to submit a true copy of the regulations, attested by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, to the Office of the Federal Register for incorporation by reference in the final rule. The EPA obtained a true copy of the amended regulations in effect as of March 9, 2018. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts State Bookstore bundles 310 CMR 6.00, 310 CMR 7.00, and 310 CMR 8.00 into a single package for the purpose of attesting a true copy. Although the regulations at 310 CMR 6.00 and 310 CMR 8.00 were not part of the March 9, 2018 amendments, the EPA has updated the effective date for 310 CMR 6.00-8.00 in the regulatory text proposed for incorporation by reference for consistency with the updated true copy of the regulations. The true copy of the regulations for 310 CMR 6.00-8.00 obtained by the EPA has been added to the docket for this action.

    To submit comments, or access the docket, please follow the detailed instructions provided in the ADDRESSES section of this Federal Register. Please refer to the EPA's February 12, 2018 (83 FR 5971) proposed rulemaking for more detailed information regarding this rulemaking action.

    III. Incorporation by Reference

    In the February 12, 2018 action, the EPA proposed to include in a final EPA rule regulatory text that includes incorporation by reference. The EPA is including the updated regulatory text below to reflect the March 9, 2018 effective date of the Commonwealth's amended regulations discussed in this document. In accordance with the requirements of 1 CFR 51.5, the EPA is proposing to incorporate by reference the Code of Massachusetts Regulations rules set forth below. The EPA has made, and will continue to make, these materials available through 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 document for more information).

    List of Subjects in 40 CFR Part 55

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

    Dated: April 19, 2018. Alexandra Dunn, Regional Administrator, EPA Region 1.

    For the reasons set out in the preamble, title 40 of the Code of Federal Regulations, part 55, is proposed to be amended as follows:

    PART 55—OUTER CONTINENTAL SHELF AIR REGULATIONS 1. The authority citation for part 55 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    Section 328 of the Clean Air Act (42 U.S.C. 7401 et seq.) as amended by Public Law 101-549.

    2. Section 55.14 is amended by revising paragraph (e)(11)(i)(A) to read as follows:
    § 55.14 Requirements that apply to OCS sources located within 25 miles of States' seaward boundaries, by State.

    (e) * * *

    (11) * * *

    (i) * * *

    (A) Commonwealth of Massachusetts Requirements Applicable to OCS Sources, March 9, 2018.

    3. Appendix A to part 55 is amended by revising paragraph (a)(1) under the heading “Massachusetts” to read as follows: Appendix A to Part 55—Listing of State and Local Requirements Incorporated by Reference Into Part 55, by State Massachusetts

    (a) State requirements.

    (1) The following Commonwealth of Massachusetts requirements are applicable to OCS Sources, March 9, 2018, Commonwealth of Massachusetts—Department of Environmental Protection.

    The following sections of 310 CMR 4.00, 310 CMR 6.00, 310 CMR 7.00 and 310 CMR 8.00:

    310 CMR 4.00: Timely Action Schedule and Fee Provisions Section 4.01: Purpose, Authority and General Provisions (Effective 3/24/2017) Section 4.02: Definitions (Effective 3/24/2017) Section 4.03: Annual Compliance Assurance Fee (Effective 3/24/2017) Section 4.04: Permit Application Schedules and Fee (Effective 3/24/2017) Section 4.10: Appendix: Schedules for Timely Action and Permit Application Fees (Effective 3/24/2017) 310 CMR 6.00: Ambient Air Quality Standards for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Section 6.01: Definitions (Effective 3/9/2018) Section 6.02: Scope (Effective 3/9/2018) Section 6.03: Reference Conditions (Effective 3/9/2018) Section 6.04: Standards (Effective 3/9/2018) 310 CMR 7.00: Air Pollution Control Section 7.00: Statutory Authority; Legend; Preamble; Definitions (Effective 3/9/2018) Section 7.01: General Regulations to Prevent Air Pollution (Effective 3/9/2018) Section 7.02: U Plan Approval and Emission Limitations (Effective 3/9/2018) Section 7.03: U Plan Approval Exemptions: Construction Requirements (Effective 3/9/2018) Section 7.04: U Fossil Fuel Utilization Facilities (Effective 3/9/2018) Section 7.05: U Fuels All Districts (Effective 3/9/2018) Section 7.06: U Visible Emissions (Effective 3/9/2018) Section 7.07: U Open Burning (Effective 3/9/2018) Section 7.08: U Incinerators (Effective 3/9/2018) Section 7.09: U Dust, Odor, Construction and Demolition (Effective 3/9/2018) Section 7.11: U Transportation Media (Effective 3/9/2018) Section 7.12: U Source Registration (Effective 3/9/2018) Section 7.13: U Stack Testing (Effective 3/9/2018) Section 7.14: U Monitoring Devices and Reports (Effective 3/9/2018) Section 7.18: U Volatile and Halogenated Organic Compounds (Effective 3/9/2018) Section 7.19: U Reasonably Available Control Technology (RACT) for Sources of Oxides of Nitrogen (NOX) (Effective 3/9/2018) Section 7.21: Sulfur Dioxide Emissions Limitations (Effective 3/9/2018) Section 7.22: Sulfur Dioxide Emissions Reductions for the Purpose of Reducing Acid Rain (Effective 3/9/2018) Section 7.24: U Organic Material Storage and Distribution (Effective 3/9/2018) Section 7.25: U Best Available Controls for Consumer and Commercial Products (Effective 3/9/2018) Section 7.26: Industry Performance Standards (Effective 3/9/2018) Section 7.60: U Severability (Effective 3/9/2018) Section 7.00: Appendix A (Effective 3/9/2018) Section 7.00: Appendix B (Effective 3/9/2018) Section 7.00: Appendix C (Effective 3/9/2018) 310 CMR 8.00: The Prevention and/or Abatement of Air Pollution Episode and Air Pollution Incident Emergencies Section 8.01: Introduction (Effective 3/9/2018) Section 8.02: Definitions (Effective 3/9/2018) Section 8.03: Air Pollution Episode Criteria (Effective 3/9/2018) Section 8.04: Air Pollution Episode Potential Advisories (Effective 3/9/2018) Section 8.05: Declaration of Air Pollution Episodes and Incidents (Effective 3/9/2018) Section 8.06: Termination of Air Pollution Episodes and Incident Emergencies (Effective 3/9/2018) Section 8.07: Emission Reductions Strategies (Effective 3/9/2018) Section 8.08: Emission Reduction Plans (Effective 3/9/2018) Section 8.15: Air Pollution Incident Emergency (Effective 3/9/2018) Section 8.30: Severability (Effective 3/9/2018)

    (2) [Reserved]

    [FR Doc. 2018-09646 Filed 5-8-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
    83 90 Wednesday, May 9, 2018 Notices DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Commodity Credit Corporation Foreign Agricultural Service Notice of Funding Availability: Inviting Applications for the Quality Samples Program SUMMARY:

    The Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) announces that it is inviting proposals for the 2019 Quality Samples Program (QSP). The QSP is administered by personnel of the Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) on behalf of CCC. The intended effect of this notice is to solicit proposals from eligible applicants for fiscal year 2019 and to set out the criteria for the awarding of funds under the program. Future announcements of funding availability for the QSP program will be made through the Grants.gov website.

    DATES:

    To be considered for funding, applications must be received by 5 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time, on Friday, June 8, 2018. Any proposals received after that date will be considered only if funds remain available. FAS anticipates that the initial funding selections will be made by the end of December 2018, with the initial award dates estimated to be by the end of February 2019.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Applicants needing assistance should contact the Program Operations Division, Office of Trade Programs, Foreign Agricultural Service by courier: Room 6512, 1400 Independence Ave. SW, Washington, DC 20250, or by phone: (202) 720-4327, or by fax: (202) 720-9361, or by email: [email protected] Information is also available on the FAS website at http://www.fas.usda.gov/programs/quality-samples-program-qsp.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    A. Funding Opportunity Description

    Announcement Type: New.

    Award Instrument: Grant.

    Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number: 10.605.

    Authority: The QSP is authorized under Section 5(f) of the Commodity Credit Corporation Charter Act, 15 U.S.C. 714c(f).

    Purpose: The QSP is designed to encourage the development and expansion of export markets for U.S. agricultural commodities by assisting U.S. entities in providing commodity samples to potential foreign importers to promote a better understanding and appreciation for the high quality of U.S. agricultural commodities.

    QSP participants will be responsible for procuring (or arranging for the procurement of) the commodity samples, exporting the samples, and providing the on-site technical assistance necessary to facilitate successful use of the samples by importers. Participants that are funded under this announcement may seek reimbursement from FAS for the sample purchase price and for the cost of transporting the samples domestically to the port of export and then to the first foreign port or first point of entry. Transportation costs from the first foreign port or first point of entry to the final destination are not eligible for reimbursement. FAS will not reimburse the costs incidental to purchasing and transporting samples, such as: Inspection or documentation fees, certificates of any kind, tariffs, demurrage, etc. Although providing technical assistance is required for all projects, the costs of providing such technical assistance are not reimbursable under the program. A QSP participant will be reimbursed after FAS reviews its reimbursement claim and determines that the claim is complete.

    B. Eligibility and Qualification Information

    1. Eligible Organizations: Any United States private or government entity with a demonstrated role and interest in exporting U.S. agricultural commodities may apply to the program. Government organizations consist of Federal, State, and local agencies. Private organizations include non-profit trade associations, universities, agricultural cooperatives, state regional trade groups, and profit-making entities.

    2. General Scope of QSP Projects: QSP projects encompass the activities undertaken by a QSP participant to provide an appropriate sample of a U.S. agricultural commodity to a foreign importer, or a group of foreign importers, in a given market. The purpose of these projects is to provide information to the target audience regarding the attributes, characteristics, and proper use of the U.S. commodity. A QSP project is limited to a single market/commodity combination.

    3. Qualification Information: To be found eligible for consideration, QSP proposals must address the following criteria:

    • Projects should benefit the represented U.S. industry and not a specific company or brand;

    • Projects should develop a new market for a U.S. product, promote a new U.S. product, or promote a new use for a U.S. product rather than promote the substitution of one established U.S. product for another;

    • Commodities provided under a QSP project must be available on a commercial basis and in sufficient supply;

    • The QSP project must either subject the commodity sample to further processing or substantial transformation in the importing country, or the sample must be used in technical seminars in the importing country designed to demonstrate the proper preparation or use of the sample in the creation of an end product;

    • Samples provided in a QSP project shall not be directly used as part of a retail promotion or supplied directly to consumers. However, the end product (that is, the product resulting from further processing, substantial transformation, or a technical preparation seminar) may be provided to end-use consumers to demonstrate the consumer preference for that end product to importers;

    • Samples shall be in quantities less than a typical commercial sale and limited to the amount sufficient to achieve the project goal (e.g., not more than a full commercial mill run in the destination country); and

    • Projects should be completed within one year of FAS approval.

    QSP projects shall target foreign importers and audiences who:

    • Have not previously purchased the U.S. commodity that will be supplied under QSP;

    • Are unfamiliar with the variety, quality attributes, or end-use characteristics of the U.S. commodity;

    • Have been unsuccessful in previous attempts to import, process, or market the U.S. commodity (e.g., because of improper specification, blending, formulation, sanitary, or phytosanitary issues);

    • Are interested in testing or demonstrating the benefits of the U.S. commodity; or

    • Need technical assistance in processing or using the U.S. commodity.

    4. Cost-Sharing: Although highly encouraged, there is no cost share requirement for QSP proposals. FAS will, however, consider the applicant's willingness to contribute resources towards the project, including cash, goods, and services of the U.S. industry and foreign third parties, when determining which proposals are approved for funding.

    5. Funding Limits: Individual projects that include further processing or substantial transformation of the sample will be limited to $75,000 of QSP reimbursement per project, while projects comprised only of technical preparation seminars will be limited to $15,000 of QSP reimbursement. Financial assistance will be made available on a reimbursement basis only; cash advances will not be made available to any QSP participant.

    6. Other: Proposals should include a justification for funding assistance from the program—an explanation as to what specifically could not be accomplished without Federal funding assistance and why the participating organization(s) would be unlikely to carry out the project without such assistance. Applicants may submit more than one proposal, and the number of projects per participant will not be limited. FAS will not reimburse unreasonable expenditures or expenditures made prior to the approval of a proposal.

    7. Intergovernmental Review: An intergovernmental review may be required. Applicants must contact their state's Single Point of Contact (SPOC) to comply with their state's process under Executive Order 12372 (see http://www.fws.gov/policy/library/rgeo12372.pdf). To ensure currency, the names and addresses of the SPOCs are maintained at the Office of Management and Budget's home page at http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/grants_spoc.

    C. Award Information

    It is anticipated that FAS will award approximately 15 awards under the 2019 QSP, subject to programmatic approval and available funding. In general, all qualified proposals received before the submission deadline will be reviewed against the evaluation criteria contained herein and funds will be awarded on a competitive basis. Funding for successful proposals will be provided through specific agreements between the applicant and FAS. These agreements will incorporate the proposal as approved by FAS. FAS must approve in advance any subsequent changes to the project.

    Once an award reaches its completion date, FAS will confirm that the participant has provided all of the required reports and will review the reports for completeness and content. Once the required reports are approved, FAS will prepare a closeout letter that advises the participant of the award closeout procedures. Closeout letters must be countersigned and returned to FAS as soon as the final claim is submitted and paid, but within 60 days of receipt. Once the closeout procedures have been completed, any remaining funding on the agreement will be deobligated.

    D. Application and Submission Information

    1. Address to Submit Application Package: Organizations must submit their QSP proposals to FAS through the web-based Uniform Export Strategy (UES) system. The UES allows applicants to submit a single consolidated and strategically coordinated proposal that incorporates requests for funding for all of the FAS market development programs. The suggested UES format encourages applicants to examine the constraints or barriers to trade that they face, identify activities that would help overcome such impediments, consider the entire pool of complementary marketing tools and program resources, and establish realistic export goals.

    Applicants must contact FAS' Program Operations Division to obtain UES website access information. The internet-based application may be found at the following URL address: https://www.fas.usda.gov/ues/webapp/.

    Applicants experiencing difficulty or otherwise needing assistance applying to the program should contact the Program Operations Division, Office of Trade Programs, Foreign Agricultural Service by courier: Room 6512, 1400 Independence Ave. SW, Washington, DC 20250, or by phone: (202) 720-4327, or by fax: (202) 720-9361, or by email: [email protected].

    2. Content and Form of Application Submission: To be considered for the QSP, an applicant must submit to FAS, via the UES, the information detailed in this notice. Incomplete proposals or proposals that do not otherwise conform to this announcement will not be accepted for review.

    Proposals should contain, at a minimum, the following:

    (a) Organizational information, including:

    • Organization's name, address, Chief Executive Officer (or designee), Federal Tax Identification Number (TIN), and DUNS number;

    • Type of organization;

    • Name, telephone number, fax number, and email address of the primary contact person;

    • A description of the organization and its membership;

    • A description of the organization's prior export promotion experience; and

    • A description of the organization's ability to implement the required trade/technical assistance component.

    (b) Market information, including:

    • An assessment of the market;

    • A long-term strategy in the market; and

    • Appropriate trade data for the years 2016 through 2022.

    (c) Project information, including:

    • A brief project title;

    • The amount of funding requested;

    • The beginning and end dates for the proposed project;

    • A brief description of the specific market development trade constraint or opportunity to be addressed by the project;

    • A description of the activities planned to address the constraint or opportunity, including how the sample will be used in the end-use performance trial, the attributes of the sample to be demonstrated and its end-use benefit, and details of the trade/technical servicing component (including who will provide and fund this component);

    • Projects should include performance measures for quantifying progress and demonstrating results. In the development of performance measures, FAS believes the measures should meet the following criteria:

    ○ Aligned: The indicator should, as closely as possible, measure exactly the relevant result.

    ○ Clear: The indicator should be precise and unambiguous about what is being measured and how. There should be no doubt on how to measure or interpret the indicator.

    ○ Quantifiable: The indicator(s) should sufficiently capture all of the elements of a result.

    ○ Include an identified methodology: The data can be obtained to inform the indicator in a timely and efficient manner and the data are of high-quality.

    • A description of the sample to be provided (i.e., commodity, quantity, quality, type, and grade), including a justification for why a sample with such characteristics is needed (this justification should explain why the project would not be effective with a smaller sample);

    • An itemized list of all estimated costs associated with the project for which reimbursement will be sought; and

    • The importer's role in the project regarding handling and processing the commodity sample.

    (d) Information indicating all funding sources and the amounts to be contributed by each entity in support of the proposed project. This may include the organization that submitted the proposal, private industry entities, host governments, foreign third parties, FAS, or other Federal agencies. Contributed resources may include cash, goods, or services.

    3. Other Required Information: In accordance with the Office of Management and Budget's policy directive (68 FR 38402 (June 27, 2003)) regarding the need to identify entities that are receiving government awards, all applicants must submit a Dun and Bradstreet Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number. An applicant may request a DUNS number at no cost by calling the dedicated toll-free DUNS number request line at (866) 705-5711.

    In addition, in accordance with 2 CFR part 25, each entity that applies to the QSP and does not qualify for an exemption under 2 CFR 25.110 must:

    (i) Be registered in the System for Award Management (SAM) prior to submitting an application or plan; and

    (ii) Maintain an active SAM registration with current information at all times during which it has an active Federal award or an application or plan under consideration by FAS; and

    (iii) Provide its DUNS number in each application or plan it submits to FAS.

    FAS may not make an award to an applicant until the applicant has complied with all applicable unique entity identifier and SAM requirements, and, if an applicant has not fully complied with the requirements by the time FAS is ready to make the award, FAS may determine that the applicant is not qualified to receive an award and use that determination as a basis for making an award to another applicant.

    Similarly, in accordance with 2 CFR part 170, each entity that applies to the QSP and does not qualify for an exception under 2 CFR 170.110(b) must ensure it has the necessary processes and systems in place to comply with the applicable reporting requirements of 2 CFR part 170 should it receive QSP funding.

    4. Submission Dates and Times: QSP applications are reviewed on a rolling basis during the fiscal year as long as QSP funding is available as set forth below:

    • Proposals received by 5 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time, on Friday, June 8, 2018, will be considered for funding with other proposals received by that date;

    • Proposals not approved for funding during the initial review period will be reconsidered for funding after the review period only if the applicant specifically requests such reconsideration in writing and only if funding remains available;

    • Proposals received after 5 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time, on Friday, June 8, 2018, will be considered for funding in the order received only if funding remains available.

    E. Application Review Information

    1. Criteria and Review Process: FAS will use the following criteria in evaluating QSP proposals, each weighted at 10%:

    • Whether or not appropriate trade data for the years 2016-2022 is provided;

    • Whether the benefits of the project would accrue to the entire industry;

    • The appropriateness of the proposed sample size for the project;

    • The ability of the organization to provide an experienced staff with the requisite technical and trade experience to execute the proposal;

    • The extent to which the proposal is targeted to a market in which the United States is generally competitive;

    • The potential for expanding commercial sales in the proposed market;

    • The nature of the specific market constraint or opportunity identified and how well it is addressed by the proposal;

    • The extent to which the importer's contribution in terms of handling and processing enhances the potential outcome of the project;

    • The amount of reimbursement requested and the organization's willingness to contribute resources towards the project, including cash, goods, and services of the U.S. industry and foreign third parties; and

    • How well the proposed technical assistance component assures that performance trials will effectively demonstrate the intended end-use benefit.

    FAS will also review and evaluate how well the following unweighted criteria are addressed in the proposal:

    • The quality of the performance measures and how effective they will be in demonstrating the impact of the project;

    • The assessment of the market;

    • The long-term strategy in the market; and

    • Export goals in each country.

    2. Review and Selection Process: Proposals will be evaluated by the appropriate Commodity Branch in FAS' Cooperator Programs Division. The Commodity Branches will review each proposal against the factors described above. The purpose of this review is to identify meritorious proposals, recommend an appropriate funding level for each proposal based upon these factors, and submit the proposals and funding recommendations to the Deputy Administrator, Office of Trade Programs.

    In addition, FAS, prior to making a Federal award with a total amount of Federal share greater than the simplified acquisition threshold, is required to review and consider any information about the applicant that is in the designated integrity and performance system accessible through SAM (currently FAPIIS) (see 41 U.S.C. 2313). An applicant, at its option, may review information in the designated integrity and performance systems accessible through SAM and comment on any information about itself that a Federal awarding agency previously entered and is currently in the designated integrity and performance system accessible through SAM. FAS will consider any comments by the applicant, in addition to the other information in the designated integrity and performance system, in making a judgment about the applicant's integrity, business ethics, and record of performance under Federal awards when completing the review of risk posed by applicants as described in 2 CFR 200.205 “Federal awarding agency review of risk posed by applicants.”

    F. Award Administration Information

    1. Award Notices: FAS will notify each applicant in writing of the final disposition of the submitted application. FAS will send an approval letter and agreement to each approved applicant. The approval letter and agreement will incorporate the details of each project as approved by FAS. Each agreement will identify the terms and conditions pursuant to which FAS will reimburse certain costs of each project. Agreements will also outline the responsibilities of the participant, including, but not limited to, procurement (or arranging for procurement) of the commodity sample at a fair market price, arranging for transportation of the commodity sample within the time limit specified in the agreement (organizations should endeavor to ship commodities within 6 months of the effective date of the agreement), compliance with cargo preference requirements (shipment on United States flag vessels, as required), compliance with the Fly America Act requirements (shipment on United States air carriers, as required), timely and effective implementation of technical assistance, and submission of a written evaluation report within 90 days of expiration or termination of the agreement.

    All successful applicants for all grant and cooperative agreements are required to comply with the Standard Administrative Terms and Conditions, which are available online at: https://www.fas.usda.gov/grants/general_terms_and_conditions/default.asp. The applicable Standard Administrative Terms and Conditions will be for the last year specified at that URL, unless the application is to continue an award first awarded in an earlier year. In that event, the terms and conditions that apply will be those in effect for the year in which the award was originally made unless explicitly stated otherwise in subsequent mutually-agreed amendments to the award.

    Before accepting the award the potential awardee should carefully read the approval letter and program agreement for instructions on administering the grant award and the terms and conditions associated with responsibilities under Federal Awards. Recipients must accept all conditions in this NOFA as well as any special terms and conditions in the approval letter and program agreement to receive an award under this program.

    QSP projects are subject to review and verification by FAS' Compliance, Security, and Emergency Planning Division. Upon request, a QSP participant shall provide to FAS the original documents that support the participant's reimbursement claims. FAS may deny a claim for reimbursement if the claim is not supported by adequate documentation.

    2. Reporting: A written evaluation report must be submitted via the UES within 90 days of the expiration or termination of each participant's QSP agreement. Evaluation reports should address all performance measures that were presented in the proposal and must include the following standard performance measures: (1) The number of people/organizations/companies trained, (2) the percent of trainees that have a better understanding of the commodity qualities and uses, and (3) the number of people requesting additional information about the commodity by the date of the final report. In addition, a final financial report must be submitted no later than 90 days after completion of the project. This report must provide a final accounting of all project expenditures by cost category and include the accounting of actual contributions made to the project by the applicant and all other participating entities.

    G. Agency Contact(s)

    1. Application Submission Contact(s) and Program Support: For additional information and assistance, contact the Program Operations Division, Office of Trade Programs, Foreign Agricultural Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture by courier: Room 6512, 1400 Independence Ave. SW, Washington, DC 20250, or by phone: (202) 720-4327, or by fax: (202) 720-9361, or by email: [email protected]

    2. Grants Management Contact(s): Eric Bozoian, Grants Management Specialist, Foreign Agricultural Service, United States, Department of Agriculture, Email: [email protected], Office: (202) 378-1054.

    Signed at Washington, DC, on the 6 of April, 2018. Bobby Richey, Jr., Acting Administrator, Foreign Agricultural Service, and Acting Vice President, Commodity Credit Corporation.
    [FR Doc. 2018-09869 Filed 5-8-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410-10-P
    DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Commodity Credit Corporation Foreign Agricultural Service Notice of Funding Availability: Inviting Applications for the Technical Assistance for Specialty Crops Program SUMMARY:

    The Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) announces that it is inviting proposals for the 2019 Technical Assistance for Specialty Crops (TASC) program. The TASC program is administered by personnel of the Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) on behalf of CCC. The intended effect of this notice is to solicit proposals from the U.S. private sector and government agencies for fiscal year 2019 and to set out the criteria for the awarding of funds under the program. Future announcements of funding availability for the TASC program will be made through the Grants.gov website.

    DATES:

    To be considered for funding, proposals must be received by 5 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time, on Friday, June 8, 2018. Any proposals received after this time will be considered only if funds remain available. FAS anticipates that the initial funding selections will be made by the end of December 2018, with the initial award dates estimated to be by the end of February 2019.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Applicants needing assistance should contact the Program Operations Division, Office of Trade Programs, Foreign Agricultural Service by courier: Room 6512, 1400 Independence Ave. SW, Washington, DC 20250, or by phone: (202) 720-4327, or by fax: (202) 720-9361, or by email: [email protected]. Information is also available on the FAS website at http://www.fas.usda.gov/programs/technical-assistance-specialty-crops-tasc.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: A. Funding Opportunity Description

    Announcement Type: New.

    Award Instrument: Grant.

    Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number: 10.604.

    Authority: The TASC program is authorized by section 3205 of Public Law 107-171. The TASC regulations appear at 7 CFR part 1487.

    Purpose: The TASC program is designed to assist U.S. organizations by providing funding for projects that seek to remove, resolve, or mitigate sanitary, phytosanitary, or technical barriers that prohibit or threaten the export of U.S. specialty crops. U.S. specialty crops, for the purpose of the TASC program, are defined to include all cultivated plants, or the products thereof, produced in the United States except wheat, feed grains, oilseeds, cotton, rice, peanuts, sugar, and tobacco.

    This NOFA is being released prior to Congress appropriating funding for the TASC program for FY 2019. USDA makes no commitment to fund any particular application or to make a specific number of awards regardless of whether or at what level program funding for FY 2019 is provided.

    B. Eligibility and Qualification Information

    1. Eligible Organizations: Any U.S. organization, private or government, with a demonstrated role or interest in exporting U.S. agricultural specialty crops may apply to the program. Government organizations consist of Federal, State, and local agencies. Private organizations may include non-profit trade associations, universities, agricultural cooperatives, state regional trade groups, and private companies.

    Foreign organizations, whether government or private, may participate as third parties in activities carried out by eligible organizations, but are not eligible for direct funding assistance through the program.

    2. Qualification Information: To be found eligible for consideration, TASC proposals must address the following criteria:

    • Projects should identify and address a clear sanitary, phytosanitary, or technical barrier that prohibits or threatens the export of U.S. specialty crops;

    • Projects should demonstrably benefit the represented industry rather than a specific company or brand;

    • Projects must address barriers to exports of commercially-available U.S. specialty crops;

    • Projects should include an explanation as to what specifically could not be accomplished without Federal funding assistance and why the eligible organization(s) would be unlikely to carry out the project without such assistance; and

    • Projects should include performance measures for quantifying progress and demonstrating results. In the development of performance measures, FAS believes the measures should meet the following criteria:

    ○ Aligned: The indicator should, as closely as possible, measure exactly the relevant result.

    ○ Clear: The indicator should be precise and unambiguous about what is being measured and how. There should be no doubt on how to measure or interpret the indicator.

    ○ Quantifiable: The indicator(s) should sufficiently capture all of the elements of a result.

    ○ Include an identified methodology: The data can be obtained to inform the indicator in a timely and efficient manner and the data are of high-quality.

    The full set of indicators selected to monitor project performance should be sufficient to inform project management and oversight.

    3. Funding Limits: Proposals that request more than $500,000 in funding in a given year will not be considered.

    4. Limits on Proposals: Eligible organizations may submit multi-year proposals, although funding for continuing TASC projects is capped at five years. The five years do not have to be consecutive or conducted by the same entity, if the project is the same. Multi-year funding may, at FAS' discretion, be provided one year at a time with commitments beyond the first year subject to interim evaluations and funding availability. In order to validate funding eligibility, proposals must specify previous years of TASC funding for each proposed activity/title/market/constraint combination. Government entities are not eligible for multi-year funding.

    Applicants may submit more than one proposal, and applicants with previously approved TASC proposals may apply for additional funding. However, the maximum number of approved projects that a TASC participant can have underway at any given time is five.

    5. Cost-Sharing: Although highly encouraged, there is no cost share requirement for TASC proposals. FAS will, however, consider the applicant's willingness to contribute resources towards the project, including cash, goods, and services of the U.S. industry and foreign third parties, when determining which proposals are approved for funding.

    6. Funding Restrictions: Funded projects may take place in the United States or abroad. Examples of project expenses that FAS may agree to reimburse under the TASC program include, but are not limited to: Initial pre-clearance programs, export protocol and work plan support, seminars and workshops, study tours, field surveys, development of pest lists, pest, disease, and fumigant research, reasonable logistical and administrative support, and travel and per diem expenses. Certain types of expenses are not eligible for reimbursement by the program, such as the costs of market research, advertising, or other promotional expenses, and will be set forth in the written program agreement between FAS and the participant. FAS will also not reimburse unreasonable expenditures or any expenditure made prior to the approval of a proposal.

    7. Intergovernmental Review: An intergovernmental review may be required. Applicants must contact their state's Single Point of Contact (SPOC) to comply with their state's process under Executive Order 12372 (see http://www.fws.gov/policy/library/rgeo12372.pdf). To ensure currency, the names and addresses of the SPOCs are maintained at the Office of Management and Budget's home page at http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/grants_spoc.

    C. Award Information

    It is anticipated that FAS will award approximately 30 awards under the 2019 TASC, subject to programmatic approval and available funding. In general, all qualified proposals received before the submission deadline will compete for funding. FAS will review all proposals against the evaluation criteria contained in the program regulations.

    Funding for successful proposals will be provided through specific agreements. These agreements will incorporate the proposal as approved by FAS. FAS must approve in advance any subsequent changes to the agreement. FAS or another Federal agency may be involved in the implementation of approved agreements.

    Once an award reaches its completion date, FAS will confirm that the participant has provided all of the required reports and will review the reports for completeness and content. Once the required reports are approved, FAS will prepare a closeout letter that advises the participant of the award closeout procedures. Closeout letters must be countersigned and returned to FAS as soon as the final claim is submitted and paid, but within 60 days of receipt. Once the closeout procedures have been completed, any remaining funding on the agreement will be deobligated.

    D. Application and Submission Information

    1. Application through the Unified Export Strategy (UES) System: Organizations are strongly encouraged to submit their applications to FAS through the web-based UES application. Using the UES application process reduces paperwork and expedites FAS' processing and review time. Applicants planning to use the UES system must first contact FAS' Program Operations Division to obtain site access information, including a user ID and password. The UES internet-based application may be found at the following URL address: https://www.fas.usda.gov/ues/webapp/.

    Although FAS highly recommends applying via the web-based UES, applicants have the option of submitting an application to FAS via email at [email protected].

    Applicants experiencing difficulty or otherwise needing assistance applying to the program should contact the Program Operations Division, Office of Trade Programs, Foreign Agricultural Service by courier: Room 6512, 1400 Independence Ave. SW, Washington, DC 20250, or by phone: (202) 720-4327, or by fax: (202) 720-9361, or by email: [email protected].

    2. Content and Form of Application Submission: All TASC proposals must contain complete information about the proposed projects as described in § 1487.5(b) of the TASC program regulations. Incomplete proposals or proposals that do not otherwise conform to this announcement will not be accepted for review.

    3. Other Required Information: In accordance with the Office of Management and Budget's policy directive (68 FR 38402 (June 27, 2003)) regarding the need to identify entities that are receiving government awards, all applicants must submit a Dun and Bradstreet Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number. An applicant may request a DUNS number at no cost by calling the dedicated toll-free DUNS number request line at (866) 705-5711.

    In addition, in accordance with 2 CFR part 25, each entity that applies to the TASC and does not qualify for an exemption under 2 CFR 25.110 must:

    (i) Be registered in the System for Award Management (SAM) prior to submitting an application or plan; and

    (ii) Maintain an active SAM registration with current information at all times during which it has an active Federal award or an application or plan under consideration by FAS; and

    (iii) Provide its DUNS number in each application or plan it submits to FAS.

    FAS may not make an award to an applicant until the applicant has complied with all applicable unique entity identifier and SAM requirements, and, if an applicant has not fully complied with the requirements by the time FAS is ready to make the award, FAS may determine that the applicant is not qualified to receive an award and use that determination as a basis for making an award to another applicant.

    Similarly, in accordance with 2 CFR part 170, each eligible organization that applies to the TASC program and does not qualify for an exception under 2 CFR 170.110(b) must ensure it has the necessary processes and systems in place to comply with the applicable reporting requirements of 2 CFR part 170 should it receive TASC funding.

    4. Submission Dates and Times: TASC proposals are reviewed on a rolling basis during the fiscal year as long as TASC funding is available as set forth below. FAS will track the time and date of receipt of all proposals:

    • All proposals received via the UES or email by 5 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time, on Friday, June 8, 2018, will be considered for funding with other proposals received by that date;

    • Proposals not approved for funding during the initial review period will be reconsidered for funding after the review period only if the applicant specifically requests such reconsideration in writing and only if funding remains available;

    • Proposals received after 5 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time, on Friday, June 8, 2018, will be considered for funding in the order received only if funding remains available.

    E. Application Review Information

    1. Criteria: FAS follows the evaluation criteria set forth in § 1487.6 of the TASC regulations. Reviewers will evaluate according to the following criteria:

    (1) The nature of the specific export barrier and the extent to which the proposal is likely to successfully remove, resolve, or mitigate that barrier (12.5%);

    (2) The potential trade impact of the proposed project on market retention, market access, and market expansion, including the potential for expanding commercial sales in the targeted market (12.5%);

    (3) The completeness and viability of the proposal. Among other things, this can include the cost of the project and the amount of other resources dedicated to the project, including cash, goods, and services of the U.S. industry and foreign third parties (15%);

    (4) The ability of the organization to provide an experienced staff with the requisite technical and trade experience to execute the proposal (15%);

    (5) The extent to which the proposal is targeted to a market in which the United States is generally competitive (17.5%);

    (6) The degree to which time is essential to addressing specific export barriers (5%);

    (7) The nature of the applicant organization, with a greater weight given to those organizations with the broadest base of producer representation (12.5%); and

    (8) The effectiveness of the performance measures and potential of the performance measures to measure project results (10%).

    2. Review and Selection Process: FAS will evaluate proposals for eligibility and will review each proposal deemed eligible against the criteria referenced above. The purpose of this review is to identify meritorious proposals, recommend an appropriate funding level for each proposal based upon these factors, and submit the proposals and funding recommendations to the Deputy Administrator, Office of Trade Programs. FAS may, when appropriate, request the assistance of other U.S. government subject area experts in evaluating the merits of a proposal.

    In addition, FAS, prior to making a Federal award with a total amount of Federal share greater than the simplified acquisition threshold, is required to review and consider any information about the applicant that is in the designated integrity and performance system accessible through SAM (currently FAPIIS) (see 41 U.S.C. 2313). An applicant, at its option, may review information in the designated integrity and performance systems accessible through SAM and comment on any information about itself that a Federal awarding agency previously entered and is currently in the designated integrity and performance system accessible through SAM. FAS will consider any comments by the applicant, in addition to the other information in the designated integrity and performance system, in making a judgment about the applicant's integrity, business ethics, and record of performance under Federal awards when completing the review of risk posed by applicants as described in 2 CFR 200.205 “Federal awarding agency review of risk posed by applicants.”

    F. Award Administration Information

    1. Federal Award Notices: FAS will notify each applicant in writing of the final disposition of the submitted application. FAS will send an approval letter and agreement to each approved applicant. The approval letter and agreement will specify the terms and conditions applicable to the project, including the details of each project, responsibilities of the participant, levels of funding, timelines for implementation, and reporting requirements. All successful applicants for all grant and cooperative agreements are required to comply with the Standard Administrative Terms and Conditions, which are available online at: https://www.fas.usda.gov/grants/general_terms_and_conditions/default.asp. The applicable Standard Administrative Terms and Conditions will be for the last year specified at that URL, unless the application is to continue an award first awarded in an earlier year. In that event, the terms and conditions that apply will be those in effect for the year in which the award was originally made unless explicitly stated otherwise in subsequent mutually-agreed amendments to the award.

    Before accepting the award the potential awardee should carefully read the approval letter and program agreement for instructions on administering the grant award and the terms and conditions associated with responsibilities under Federal Awards. Recipients must accept all conditions in this NOFA as well as any special terms and conditions in the approval letter and program agreement to receive an award under this program.

    2. Reporting: TASC participants must provide interim and final performance reports for each approved project, each of which evaluate the TASC project using the performance measures presented in the approved proposal, as set forth in the written program agreement. An interim report must be submitted after each program year, and a separate final report no later than 90 days after the activity is completed. All performance reports must be submitted through the UES. In addition, a final financial report must be submitted no later than 90 days after completion of the project. This report must provide a final accounting of all project expenditures by cost category and include the accounting of actual contributions made to the project by the applicant and all other participating entities.

    G. Federal Awarding Agency Contacts

    1. Application Submission Contact(s) and Program Support: For additional information and assistance, contact the Program Operations Division, Office of Trade Programs, Foreign Agricultural Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture by courier: Room 6512, 1400 Independence Ave. SW, Washington, DC 20250, or by phone: (202) 720-4327, or by fax: (202) 720-9361, or by email: [email protected]

    2. Grants Management Contact(s): Eric Bozoian, Grants Management Specialist, Foreign Agricultural Service, United States, Department of Agriculture, Email: [email protected], Office: (202) 378-1054.

    Signed at Washington, DC, on the 26th of April, 2018. James Higgiston, Acting Administrator, Foreign Agricultural Service, and Acting Vice President, Commodity Credit Corporation.
    [FR Doc. 2018-09868 Filed 5-8-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410-10-P
    DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Commodity Credit Corporation Foreign Agricultural Service Notice of Funding Availability: Inviting Applications for the Market Access Program SUMMARY:

    The Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) announces that it is inviting applications for the 2019 Market Access Program (MAP). The MAP is administered by personnel of the Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) on behalf of CCC. The intended effect of this notice is to solicit proposals from eligible applicants for fiscal year 2019 and to set out the criteria for the awarding of funds under the program.

    DATES:

    All applications must be received by 5 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time, on Friday, June 8, 2018. Applications received after this date will not be considered. FAS anticipates that the initial funding selections will be made by the end of October 2018, with the initial award dates estimated to be by the end of December 2018.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Applicants needing assistance should contact the Program Operations Division, Office of Trade Programs, Foreign Agricultural Service by courier: Room 6512, 1400 Independence Ave. SW, Washington, DC 20250, or by phone: (202) 720-4327, or by fax: (202) 720-9361, or by email: [email protected] Information, including a copy of the program regulations, is also available on the FAS website at the following URL address: http://www.fas.usda.gov/programs/market-access-program-map.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: A. Funding Opportunity Description

    Announcement Type: New.

    Award Instrument: Grant.

    Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number: 10.601.

    Authority:

    The MAP is authorized under Section 203 of the Agricultural Trade Act of 1978 (7 U.S.C. 5623), as amended. MAP regulations appear at 7 CFR part 1485.

    Purpose: The MAP is designed to encourage the development, maintenance, and expansion of commercial export markets for United States agricultural commodities and products through cost-share assistance. Under the MAP, FAS enters into agreements with eligible Participants to share the cost of certain overseas marketing and promotion activities. Financial assistance under the MAP is made available on a competitive basis, and applications are reviewed against the evaluation criteria contained herein and in the MAP regulations. All U.S. agricultural commodities, except tobacco, are eligible for consideration.

    FAS allocates funds in a manner that effectively supports the strategic decision-making initiatives of the Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA) of 1993. In deciding whether a proposed project will contribute to the effective creation, expansion, or maintenance of foreign markets, FAS considers whether the applicant provides a clear, long-term agricultural trade strategy and an effective program time line against which results can be measured at specific intervals using quantifiable product or country goals. FAS also considers the extent to which a proposed project targets markets with the greatest growth potential. These factors are part of the FAS resource allocation strategy to fund applicants who can best demonstrate performance and address the objectives of the GPRA.

    Funding Available: The Agricultural Trade Act of 1978, as amended, provided up to $200 million annually for MAP through FY 2018. Congress has not yet determined funding levels for FY 2019. This NOFA is being released prior to Congress appropriating funding for the MAP program for FY 2019. USDA makes no commitment to fund any particular application or to make a specific number of awards regardless of whether or at what level program funding for FY 2019 is provided.

    B. Eligibility Information

    1. Eligible Organizations: To participate in the MAP, an applicant must be a nonprofit U.S. agricultural trade organization, a nonprofit state regional trade group, a U.S. agricultural cooperative, or a state government agency. Small-sized private U.S. commercial entities may participate in a branded program through a MAP Participant.

    2. Eligible Activities: MAP Participants may receive assistance for generic or brand promotion activities. For generic activities, funding priority is given to organizations that have the broadest possible producer representation of the commodity being promoted and that are nationwide in membership and scope. For branded activities, only nonprofit U.S. agricultural trade organizations, nonprofit state regional trade groups (SRTGs), U.S. agricultural cooperatives, and state government agencies can participate directly in the brand program.

    3. Limits on Activities: MAP activities are approved for a single program year, with the approval dates specified in the allocation approval letter that is provided as part of the award approval package. Only those MAP activities that are approved in each applicant's allocation approval letter may be implemented, and those activities must be implemented during the 12-month program year specified in the allocation approval letter. Requests for activity changes during the program year must be approved in advance by FAS. MAP Participants must re-apply for the program every year.

    4. Funding Restrictions: Certain types of expenses are not eligible for reimbursement by the program, and there are limits on other categories of expenses. FAS also will not reimburse unreasonable expenditures or expenditures made prior to approval. Full details and a complete list of eligible and ineligible expenses may be found in the MAP regulations in section 1485.17.

    5. Cost-Sharing: To participate in the MAP, an applicant must agree to contribute resources towards its proposed promotional activities. The MAP is intended to supplement, not supplant, the efforts of the U.S. private sector. In the case of generic promotion, the contribution must be at least 10 percent of the value of resources provided by FAS for such generic promotion. In the case of branded promotion, the contribution must be at least 50 percent of the total cost of such brand promotion.

    The degree of commitment of an applicant to the promotional strategies contained in its application, as represented by the cost-share contributions specified therein, is considered by FAS when determining which applications will be approved for funding. Cost-share may be actual cash invested or in-kind contributions, such as professional staff time spent on the design and implementation of activities. The MAP regulations, in section 1485.16, provide a detailed discussion of eligible and ineligible cost-share contributions.

    6. Other: Applications should include a justification for funding assistance from the program—an explanation as to what specifically could not be accomplished without federal funding assistance and why participating organizations are unlikely to carry out the project without such assistance. The MAP generally operates on a reimbursement basis.

    7. Intergovernmental Review: An intergovernmental review may be required. Applicants must contact their state's Single Point of Contact (SPOC) to comply with their state's process under Executive Order 12372 (see http://www.fws.gov/policy/library/rgeo12372.pdf). To ensure currency, the names and addresses of the SPOCs are maintained at the Office of Management and Budget's home page at http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/grants_spoc.

    C. Award Information

    It is anticipated that FAS will award approximately 70 awards under the 2019 MAP, subject to programmatic approval and available funding. In general, all qualified proposals received before the submission deadline will compete for funding. FAS will review all proposals against the evaluation criteria contained in the program regulations.

    Funding for successful proposals will be provided through specific agreements. FAS must approve in advance any subsequent changes to the agreement. FAS or another Federal agency may be involved in the implementation of approved agreements.

    Once an award reaches its completion date, FAS will confirm that the participant has provided all of the required reports and will review the reports for completeness and content. Once the required reports are approved, FAS will prepare a closeout letter that advises the participant of the award closeout procedures. Once the closeout procedures have been completed, any remaining funding on the agreement will be deobligated.

    D. Application and Submission Information

    1. Address to Submit Application Package: Organizations should submit their MAP applications to FAS through the web-based Unified Export Strategy (UES) system. The UES allows interested applicants to submit a single consolidated and strategically coordinated proposal that incorporates requests for funding under all of the FAS market development programs. The suggested UES format encourages applicants to examine the constraints or barriers to trade that they face, identify activities that would help overcome such impediments, consider the entire pool of complementary marketing tools and program resources, and establish realistic export goals. Applicants planning to use the UES must first contact FAS' Program Operations Division to obtain site access information. The web-based application may be found at the following URL address: https://www.fas.usda.gov/ues/webapp/.

    Applicants experiencing difficulty or otherwise needing assistance applying to the program should contact the Program Operations Division, Office of Trade Programs, Foreign Agricultural Service by courier: Room 6512, 1400 Independence Ave. SW, Washington, DC 20250, or by phone: (202) 720-4327, or by fax: (202) 720-9361, or by email: [email protected]

    2. Content and Form of Application Submission: To be considered for the MAP, an applicant must submit to FAS the information required by section 1485.13 of the MAP regulations. Incomplete applications or applications that do not otherwise conform to this announcement and the MAP regulations will not be accepted for review.

    3. Other Required Information: In accordance with the Office of Management and Budget's policy (68 FR 38402 (June 27, 2003)) regarding the need to identify entities that are receiving government awards, all applicants must submit a Dun and Bradstreet Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number. An applicant may request a DUNS number at no cost by calling the dedicated toll-free DUNS number request line at (866) 705-5711.

    In addition, in accordance with 2 CFR part 25, each entity that applies to the MAP and does not qualify for an exemption under 2 CFR 25.110 must:

    (i) Be registered in the System for Award Management (SAM) prior to submitting an application or plan; and

    (ii) Maintain an active SAM registration with current information at all times during which it has an active Federal award or an application or plan under consideration by FAS; and

    (iii) Provide its DUNS number in each application or plan it submits to FAS.

    FAS may not make an award to an applicant until the applicant has complied with all applicable unique entity identifier and SAM requirements, and, if an applicant has not fully complied with the requirements by the time FAS is ready to make the award, FAS may determine that the applicant is not qualified to receive an award and use that determination as a basis for making an award to another applicant.

    Similarly, in accordance with 2 CFR part 170, each entity that applies to MAP and does not qualify for an exception under 2 CFR 170.110(b) must ensure it has the necessary processes and systems in place to comply with the applicable reporting requirements of 2 CFR part 170 should it receive MAP funding.

    4. Submission Dates and Times: All applications must be received by 5 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time, on Friday, June 8, 2018. By the application deadline, all MAP applicants must also submit to FAS a signed certification statement as specified in 7 CFR 1485.13(a)(2)(i)(E). The completed certification statements can be sent via courier/delivery service to the Program Operations Division, Office of Trade Programs, Foreign Agricultural Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Room 6512, 1400 Independence Ave. SW, Washington, DC 20250. Applicants can also email a scanned copy of the signed certification statement to: [email protected] Applications or certifications received after the deadline will not be considered.

    E. Application Review Information

    1. Criteria and Review Process: A description of the FAS process for reviewing applications and the criteria for allocating available MAP funds is as follows:

    (1) Phase 1—Sufficiency Review and FAS Divisional Review: Applications received by the closing date will be reviewed by FAS to determine the eligibility of the applicants and the completeness of the applications. These requirements appear in sections 1485.12 and 1485.13 of the MAP regulations. Applications that meet the requirements will then be further evaluated by the appropriate Commodity Branch office of FAS' Cooperator Programs Division. The Commodity Branches will review each application against the criteria listed in section 1485.14(b) and (c) of the MAP regulations as well as in this Notice. The purpose of this review is to identify meritorious proposals and to recommend an appropriate funding level for each application based upon these criteria.

    (2) Phase 2—Competitive Review: Meritorious applications then will be passed on to the Office of the Deputy Administrator, Office of Trade Programs, for the purpose of allocating available funds among the applicants. Applicants will compete for funds on the basis of the following allocation criteria as applicable (the number in parentheses represents the percentage weight factor):

    (a) Applicant's Contribution Level (40): The applicant's 4-year average share (2016-2019) of all contributions under the MAP compared to the applicant's 4-year average share (2016-2019) of the funding level for all MAP Participants.

    (b) Past U.S. Export Performance (30): The 3-year average share (2015-2017) of the value of U.S. exports promoted by the applicant compared to the applicant's 2-year average share (2017-2018) of the funding level for all MAP Participants plus, for those groups participating in the Cooperator program, the 2-year average share (2017-2018) of all Cooperator program budgets.

    (c) Projected U.S. Export Goals (15): The total dollar value of projected U.S. exports of the commodities being promoted by the applicant for the year 2019 compared to the applicant's requested funding level.

    (d) Accuracy of Past U.S. Export Projections (15): The actual dollar value share of U.S. exports of the commodities being promoted by the applicant for the year 2017 as reported in the 2019 MAP application compared to the projection of U.S. exports for 2017 as specified in the 2017 MAP application.

    The Commodity Branches' recommended funding levels for each applicant are adjusted by each weight factor as described above to determine the amount of funds allocated to each applicant.

    In addition, FAS, prior to making a Federal award with a total amount of Federal share greater than the simplified acquisition threshold, is required to review and consider any information about the applicant that is in the designated integrity and performance system accessible through SAM (currently FAPIIS) (see 41 U.S.C. 2313). An applicant, at its option, may review information in the designated integrity and performance systems accessible through SAM and comment on any information about itself that a Federal awarding agency previously entered and is currently in the designated integrity and performance system accessible through SAM. FAS will consider any comments by the applicant, in addition to the other information in the designated integrity and performance system, in making a judgment about the applicant's integrity, business ethics, and record of performance under Federal awards when completing the review of risk posed by applicants as described in 2 CFR 200.205 “Federal awarding agency review of risk posed by applicants.”

    F. Award Administration Information

    1. Award Notices: FAS will notify each applicant in writing of the final disposition of its application. FAS will send an approval letter and program agreement to each approved applicant. The approval letter and program agreement will specify the terms and conditions applicable to the project, including the levels of MAP funding and cost-share contribution requirements. All successful applicants for all grant and cooperative agreements are required to comply with the Standard Administrative Terms and Conditions, which are available online at: https://www.fas.usda.gov/grants/general_terms_and_conditions/default.asp. The applicable Standard Administrative Terms and Conditions will be for the last year specified at that URL, unless the application is to continue an award first awarded in an earlier year. In that event, the terms and conditions that apply will be those in effect for the year in which the award was originally made unless explicitly stated otherwise in subsequent mutually-agreed amendments to the award.

    Before accepting the award the potential awardee should carefully read the approval letter and program agreement for instructions on administering the grant award and the terms and conditions associated with responsibilities under Federal Awards. Recipients must accept all conditions in this NOFA as well as any special terms and conditions in the approval letter and program agreement to receive an award under this program.

    2. Reporting: FAS requires various reports and evaluations from MAP Participants. Required reports include an annual contributions report that identifies, by cost category and in U.S. dollar equivalents, contributions made by the Participant, the U.S. industry, and the States during that program year. All MAP Participants must also report annual results against their target market and/or regional constraint/opportunity performance measures and must provide program success stories on an annual basis, or more often when appropriate or required by FAS. There are additional reporting requirements for trip reports, evaluation reports, and research reports. Full reporting requirements are detailed in sections 1485.22 and 1485.23 of the MAP regulations.

    G. Agency Contact(s)

    1. Application Submission Contact(s) and Program Support: For additional information and assistance, contact the Program Operations Division, Office of Trade Programs, Foreign Agricultural Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture by courier: Room 6512, 1400 Independence Ave. SW, Washington, DC 20250, or by phone: (202) 720-4327, or by fax: (202) 720-9361, or by email: [email protected]

    2. Grants Management Contact(s): Eric Bozoian, Grants Management Specialist, Foreign Agricultural Service, United States, Department of Agriculture, Email: [email protected], Office: (202) 378-1054.

    Signed at Washington, DC, on the 26th of April, 2018. James Higgiston, Acting Administrator, Foreign Agricultural Service, and Acting Vice President, Commodity Credit Corporation.
    [FR Doc. 2018-09871 Filed 5-8-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410-10-P
    DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Commodity Credit Corporation Foreign Agricultural Service Notice of Funding Availability: Inviting Applications for the Emerging Markets Program SUMMARY:

    The Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) announces that it is inviting proposals for the 2019 Emerging Markets Program (EMP). The EMP is administered by personnel of the Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) on behalf of CCC. The intended effect of this notice is to solicit proposals from the private sector and from government agencies for fiscal year 2019 and to set out the criteria for the awarding of funds under the program. Future announcements of funding availability for the EMP will be made through the Grants.gov website.

    DATES:

    To be considered for funding, proposals must be received by 5 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time, on Friday, June 8, 2018. Any proposals received after this time will be considered only if funds remain available. FAS anticipates that the initial funding selections will be made by the end of December 2018, with the initial award dates estimated to be by the end of February 2019.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Applicants needing assistance should contact the Program Operations Division, Office of Trade Programs, Foreign Agricultural Service by courier: Room 6512, 1400 Independence Ave. SW, Washington, DC 20250, or by phone: (202) 720-4327, or by fax: (202) 720-9361, or by email: [email protected] Information is also available on the Foreign Agricultural Service website at http://www.fas.usda.gov/programs/emerging-markets-program-emp.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    A. Funding Opportunity Description

    Announcement Type: New.

    Award Instrument: Grant.

    Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number: 10.603.

    Authority: The EMP is authorized by section 1542(d)(1) of the Food, Agriculture, Conservation, and Trade Act of 1990, as amended. The EMP regulations appear at 7 CFR part 1486.

    Purpose. The EMP assists U.S. entities in developing, maintaining, or expanding exports of U.S. agricultural commodities and products by funding activities that enhance emerging markets' food and rural business systems, including reducing trade barriers. The EMP is intended primarily to support export market development efforts of the private sector, but EMP resources may also be used to assist public organizations.

    B. Eligibility and Qualification Information

    1. Eligible Organizations: Any U.S. private or government entity (e.g., universities, trade associations, agricultural cooperatives, state regional trade groups, state departments of agriculture, federal agencies, for-profit entities, and consulting businesses) with a demonstrated role or interest in the export of U.S. agricultural commodities or products may apply to the program. Proposals from research and consulting organizations will be considered if they provide evidence of substantial participation by and financial support from the U.S. industry. Foreign organizations whether government or private, may participate as third parties in activities carried out by U.S. organizations but are not eligible for direct funding assistance through the program.

    2. Eligible Commodities: All U.S. agricultural commodities, except tobacco, are eligible for consideration. Agricultural product(s) should be comprised of at least 50 percent U.S. origin content by weight, exclusive of added water, to be eligible for funding. Proposals that seek support for multiple U.S. commodities are also eligible.

    3. Eligible Markets. Only proposals that target countries or regional groups made up of countries classified below the World Bank's threshold for upper middle-income economies will be considered for funding. Countries classified as high income are not eligible markets under EMP. World Bank income limits and country classifications can change from year to year, with the result that a given country may qualify under the legislative and administrative criteria one year, but not the next. Therefore, applicants should consult the current World Bank country classification list for guidance. In addition, due to political sensitivities a few countries technically qualify as emerging markets but may require a separate determination before funding can be considered.

    4. Eligible Activities. All EMP projects must fall into at least one of the following four categories:

    (a) Assistance to teams consisting primarily of U.S. individuals expert in assessing the food and rural business systems of other countries to enable such teams to make assessments of the food and rural business systems needs of the target market. This type of EMP project must include all three of the following:

    • Conduct an assessment of the food and rural business system needs of an emerging market;

    • Make recommendations on measures necessary to enhance the effectiveness of those systems; and

    • Identify opportunities and projects to enhance the effectiveness of the emerging market's food and rural business systems in order to grow U.S. exports.

    To be eligible, such proposals must clearly demonstrate that experts are primarily agricultural consultants, farmers, other persons from the private sector, or government officials and that they have expertise in assessing the food and rural business systems of other countries.

    (b) Assistance to enable individuals from emerging markets to travel to the United States so that these individuals can, for the purpose of enhancing the food and rural business systems in their countries, consult with food and rural business system experts in the United States.

    (c) Assistance to enable U.S. agricultural producers and other individuals knowledgeable in agricultural and agribusiness matters to travel to emerging markets to assist in transferring their knowledge and expertise to entities in the emerging market to enhance the market's food and rural business systems in support of U.S. exports. Such travel must be to emerging markets. Travel to developed markets is not eligible under the program even if the targeted market is an emerging market.

    (d) Technical assistance to implement the recommendations or to carry out projects and/or opportunities identified under 4(a) above. Technical assistance that does not implement the recommendations, projects, and/or opportunities identified under 4(a) above is not eligible under the EMP.

    Proposals that do not fall into one or more of the four categories above, regardless of previous guidance provided regarding the EMP, are not eligible for consideration under the program.

    5. Ineligible Activities: EMP funding may only be used for generic activities. For-profit entities may not use program funds to conduct private business, promote private self-interests, supplement the costs of normal sales activities, or promote their own products or services beyond specific uses approved by FAS in a given project. EMP funds may not be used to support normal operating costs of individual organizations, nor as a source to recover pre-award costs or prior expenses from previous or ongoing projects. Certain types of expenses are not eligible for reimbursement by the program, and there are limits on other categories of expenses, such as indirect overhead charges, travel expenses, and consulting fees. FAS will also not reimburse unreasonable expenditures or expenditures made prior to approval of a proposal. For a complete description of ineligible expenditures, please refer to the EMP regulations at 7 CFR 1486.

    6. Funding Limits: This NOFA is being released prior to the EMP program being reauthorized by Congress for FY 2019. USDA makes no commitment to fund any particular application or to make a specific number of awards regardless of whether or at what level EMP program funding for FY 2019 is provided. The EMP is a relatively small program intended for focused projects with specific activities, rather than expansive concept papers that contain only broad ideas. While there is no minimum or maximum amount set for EMP-funded projects, most projects are funded at $500,000 or less and are typically approved for a duration of one year. Private entities may submit multi-year proposals requesting higher levels of funding, although funding in such cases is generally provided one year at a time with commitments beyond the first year subject to interim evaluations and funding availability. Proposals from government entities are not eligible for multi-year funding. Funding for continuing and substantially similar projects is capped at five years. After that time, the project is assumed to have proven its viability and, if necessary, should be continued by the recipient with its own or with alternative sources of funding.

    7. Cost Sharing: As the EMP is intended to complement, not supplant, the efforts of the U.S. private sector, all private sector proposals must include a cost-share element from the applicant and/or U.S. partners. Cost-share may be actual cash invested or in-kind contributions to the project. While there is no minimum or maximum amount of cost-share, the degree of commitment to a proposed project, represented by the amount and type of private funding, is one factor used in determining which proposals will be approved for funding. Proposals for which private industry is willing to commit cash, rather than in-kind contributions such as staff resources, will be given priority consideration. Contributions from USDA or other government agencies or programs may not be counted as cost-share by other applicants. Similarly, contributions from foreign (non-U.S.) organizations may not be counted toward the cost-share requirement, but may be counted in the total cost of the project.

    8. Other Eligibility Information: EMP funding may not be used to support the export of another country's products to the United States, or to promote the development of a foreign economy as a primary objective. Proposals should include a justification for funding assistance from the program—an explanation as to what specifically could not be accomplished without Federal funding assistance and why the participating organization(s) would be unlikely to carry out the project without such assistance. Proposals that counter national strategies or duplicate activities planned or already underway by U.S. non—profit agricultural commodity or trade associations will not be considered. Applicants may submit more than one proposal.

    9. Intergovernmental Review: An intergovernmental review may be required. Applicants must contact their state's Single Point of Contact (SPOC) to comply with their state's process under Executive Order 12372 (see http://www.fws.gov/policy/library/rgeo12372.pdf). To ensure currency, the names and addresses of the SPOCs are maintained at the Office of Management and Budget's home page at http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/grants_spoc.

    C. Award Information

    It is anticipated that FAS will award approximately 40 awards under the 2019 EMP, subject to programmatic approval and available funding. In general, all qualified proposals received before the application deadline will compete for EMP funding. The applicant's willingness to contribute resources towards the project, including cash, goods, and services, is an important factor in determining which proposals are funded under the EMP. Each proposal will also be judged on the potential benefits to the industry represented by the applicant and the degree to which the proposal demonstrates industry support.

    Funding for successful proposals will be provided through specific agreements. Applicants approved for funding must provide annual progress reports and a final performance report to FAS. Changes in the original project timelines and adjustments within project budgets must be approved in advance by FAS. All reports will be submitted through the Unified Export Strategy system.

    Once an award reaches its completion date, FAS will confirm that the participant has provided all of the required reports and will review the reports for completeness and content. Once the required reports are approved, FAS will prepare a closeout letter that advises the participant of the award closeout procedures. Closeout letters must be countersigned and returned to FAS as soon as the final claim is submitted and paid, but within 60 days of receipt. Once the closeout procedures have been completed, any remaining funding on the agreement will be deobligated.

    Note:

    EMP funds awarded to government agencies must be expended or otherwise obligated by close of business September 30, 2019.

    D. Application and Submission Information

    1. Address to Submit Application Package: EMP applicants have the opportunity to utilize the Unified Export Strategy (UES) system for the application process. The UES is an online system that provides a means for interested applicants to submit a consolidated and strategically coordinated single proposal that incorporates funding requests for all of the market development programs administered by FAS.

    Applicants are strongly encouraged to submit their applications to FAS through the web-based UES application. The internet-based format reduces paperwork and expedites FAS' processing and review cycle. Applicants planning to use the on-line UES system must first contact the Program Operations Division to obtain site access information. The internet-based application is located at the following URL address: https://www.fas.usda.gov/ues/webapp/.

    Although FAS highly recommends applying via the UES, applicants also have the option of submitting an electronic application to FAS via email to [email protected]

    Applicants experiencing difficulty or otherwise needing assistance applying to the program should contact the Program Operations Division, Office of Trade Programs, Foreign Agricultural Service by courier: Room 6512, 1400 Independence Ave. SW, Washington, DC 20250, or by phone: (202) 720-4327, or by fax: (202) 720-9361, or by email: [email protected]

    2. Content and Form of Application Submission: To be considered for the EMP, an applicant must submit to FAS information required by this Notice of Funding Availability and the EMP regulations at 7 CFR part 1486. The EMP regulations and additional information are available at the following URL address: http://www.fas.usda.gov/programs/emerging-markets-program-emp.

    Applications should be no longer than ten (10) pages and include the following information:

    (a) Date of proposal;

    (b) Name of organization submitting proposal;

    (c) Organization address, telephone, and fax;

    (d) Tax ID number;

    (e) DUNS number;

    (f) Primary contact person;

    (g) Full title of proposal;

    (h) Target market(s);

    (i) Specific description of activity/activities to be undertaken;

    (j) Clear demonstration that successful implementation will enhance the emerging market's food and rural business system, including, if applicable, potential reductions in trade barriers, and will benefit the industry as a whole and not just the applicant(s);

    (k) Current conditions and market analysis (production, supply, demand, import competition, U.S. trade) in the target market(s) affecting the commodity or product;

    (l) Description of the need to assess the food and rural business systems of the emerging market, or of the recommendations, projects, and/or opportunities previously identified by an approved EMP assessment that are to be addressed by the project;

    (m) Project objectives that are focused and clearly explained and for which there is a clear and logical connection between the constraints, project objectives, activity descriptions, and expected results;

    (n) Projects should include performance measures for quantifying progress and demonstrating results. In the development of performance measures, FAS believes the measures should meet the following criteria:

    Aligned: The indicator should, as closely as possible, measure exactly the relevant result.

    Clear: The indicator should be precise and unambiguous about what is being measured and how. There should be no doubt on how to measure or interpret the indicator.

    Quantifiable: The indicator(s) should sufficiently capture all of the elements of a result.

    Include an identified methodology: The data can be obtained to inform the indicator in a timely and efficient manner and the data are of high-quality.

    (o) Explanation of the underlying reasons for the project proposal and its approach, the anticipated benefits, and any additional pertinent analysis;

    (p) Explanation as to what specifically could not be accomplished without Federal funding assistance and why the participating organization(s) would be unlikely to carry out the project without such assistance;

    (q) Timeline(s) for implementation of activity, including start and end dates;

    (r) Information on whether similar activities are or have previously been funded with USDA or U.S. Government resources in the target country or countries (e.g., under the MAP, Cooperator program, or other government programs like food aid or USAID development programs and studies);

    (s) Detailed line item activity budgets:

    • Individual expense items (e.g., salaries, travel expenses, consultant fees, administrative costs, etc.) should be listed on separate line items, each clearly indicating:

    (1) Which items are to be covered by EMP funding;

    (2) Which are to be covered by the participating U.S. organization(s); and

    (3) Which are to be covered by foreign third parties (if applicable);

    • Cost line items for consultant fees should show the calculation of the daily rate and the number of days;

    • Cost line items for travel expenses should show the number of trips and the destination, the number of travelers, cost, and objective for each trip; and

    (t) Qualifications of applicant(s) should be included as an attachment.

    3. Other Required Information: In accordance with the Office of Management and Budget's issuance of a final policy (68 FR 38402 (June 27, 2003)) regarding the need to identify entities that are receiving government awards, all applicants must submit a Dun and Bradstreet Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number. An applicant may request a DUNS number at no cost by calling the dedicated toll-free DUNS number request line at (866) 705-5711.

    In addition, in accordance with 2 CFR part 25, each entity that applies to the EMP and does not qualify for an exemption under 2 CFR 25.110 must:

    (i) Be registered in the System for Award Management (SAM) prior to submitting an application or plan; and

    (ii) Maintain an active SAM registration with current information at all times during which it has an active Federal award or an application or plan under consideration by FAS; and

    (iii) Provide its DUNS number in each application or plan it submits to FAS.

    FAS may not make an award to an applicant until the applicant has complied with all applicable unique entity identifier and SAM requirements, and, if an applicant has not fully complied with the requirements by the time FAS is ready to make the award, FAS may determine that the applicant is not qualified to receive an award and use that determination as a basis for making an award to another applicant.

    Similarly, in accordance with 2 CFR part 170, each entity that applies to the EMP and does not qualify for an exception under 2 CFR 170.110(b) must ensure it has the necessary processes and systems in place to comply with the applicable reporting requirements of 2 CFR part 170 should it receive EMP funding.

    4. Submission Dates and Times: EMP proposals are reviewed on a rolling basis during the fiscal year as long as EMP funding is available as set forth below:

    • All proposals received via the UES or email by 5 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time, on Friday, June 8, 2018, will be considered for funding with other proposals received by that date;

    • Proposals not approved for funding during the initial review period will be reconsidered for funding after the review period only if the applicant specifically requests such reconsideration in writing and only if funding remains available;

    • Proposals received after 5 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time, on Friday, June 8, 2018, will be considered for funding in the order received only if funding remains available.

    E. Application Review Information

    1. Review and Selection Process: All proposals deemed eligible for the program will undergo a multi-phase review within FAS by appropriate FAS experts and field offices to rate the qualifications, quality, and appropriateness of projects, determine the reasonableness of project budgets, and make recommendations on meritorious proposals for funding.

    2. Evaluation criteria and weight: FAS will consider a number of factors when reviewing proposals, including:

    • Appropriateness of the Activity (30%), which will vary based on the type of proposal but will include:

    For assessment proposals: Does the proposal present a methodology that is likely to result in the needed recommendations and identification of specific opportunities and projects? Is the assessment team comprised of credible U.S. experts with experience in assessing food and rural business systems?

    For travel proposals: Is the exchange of knowledge and expertise clearly described in terms of enhancements to the emerging market's food and rural business systems? Do we understand how travelers are selected?

    For technical assistance proposals: Are the proposed activities identified in the supporting assessment? Is the potential for the proposed activities to enhance the effectiveness of the emerging market's food and rural business systems sufficiently justified?;

    • Market Impact (50%), including the degree to which the proposed project is likely to contribute to the development, maintenance, or expansion of U.S. agricultural exports to emerging markets; the conditions or constraints affecting the level of U.S. exports and market share for the agricultural commodity/product; and the demonstration of how a proposed project will benefit the industry as a whole; and

    • Completeness and Viability of the proposal (20%), including evidence that the organization has the knowledge, expertise, ability, and resources to successfully implement the project, the entity's willingness to contribute resources to the project, and the applicant's reported past EMP results and evaluations, if applicable.

    3. Other Review Information: FAS, prior to making a Federal award with a total amount of Federal share greater than the simplified acquisition threshold, is required to review and consider any information about the applicant that is in the designated integrity and performance system accessible through SAM (currently FAPIIS) (see 41 U.S.C. 2313). An applicant, at its option, may review information in the designated integrity and performance systems accessible through SAM and comment on any information about itself that a Federal awarding agency previously entered and is currently in the designated integrity and performance system accessible through SAM. FAS will consider any comments by the applicant, in addition to the other information in the designated integrity and performance system, in making a judgment about the applicant's integrity, business ethics, and record of performance under Federal awards when completing the review of risk posed by applicants as described in 2 CFR 200.205 “Federal awarding agency review of risk posed by applicants.”

    F. Federal Award Administration Information

    1. Award Notices: FAS will notify each applicant in writing of the final disposition of the submitted proposal. FAS will send an approval letter and project agreement to each approved applicant. The approval letter and agreement will specify the terms and conditions applicable to the project, including the levels of EMP funding and cost-share contribution requirements. All successful applicants for all grant and cooperative agreements are required to comply with the Standard Administrative Terms and Conditions, which are available online at: https://www.fas.usda.gov/grants/general_terms_and_conditions/default.asp. The applicable Standard Administrative Terms and Conditions will be for the last year specified at that URL, unless the application is to continue an award first awarded in an earlier year. In that event, the terms and conditions that apply will be those in effect for the year in which the award was originally made unless explicitly stated otherwise in subsequent mutually-agreed amendments to the award.

    Before accepting the award the potential awardee should carefully read the award package for instructions on administering the grant award and the terms and conditions associated with responsibilities under Federal Awards. Recipients must accept all conditions in this NOFA as well as any special terms and conditions in the approval letter and program agreement to receive an award under this program.

    2. Reporting. EMP participants must provide interim and final performance reports for each approved project. An interim report must be submitted after each program year, and a separate final report no later than 90 days after the activity is completed. All performance reports must be submitted through the UES. In addition, a final financial report must be submitted no later than 90 days after completion of the project. This report must provide a final accounting of all project expenditures by cost category and include the accounting of actual contributions made to the project by the applicant and all other participating entities.

    G. Federal Awarding Agency Contact(s)

    1. Application Submission Contact(s) and Program Support: For additional information and assistance, contact the Program Operations Division, Office of Trade Programs, Foreign Agricultural Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture by courier: Room 6512, 1400 Independence Ave. SW, Washington, DC 20250, or by phone: (202) 720-4327, or by fax: (202) 720-9361, or by email: [email protected]

    2. Grants Management Contact(s): Eric Bozoian, Grants Management Specialist, Foreign Agricultural Service, United States, Department of Agriculture, Email: [email protected], Office: (202) 378-1054.

    Signed at Washington, DC on 26th day of April, 2018. James Higgiston, Acting Administrator, Foreign Agricultural Service and Acting Vice President, Commodity Credit Corporation.
    [FR Doc. 2018-09866 Filed 5-8-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410-10-P
    DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Commodity Credit Corporation Foreign Agricultural Service Notice of Funding Availability: Inviting Applications for the Foreign Market Development Cooperator Program SUMMARY:

    The Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) announces that it is inviting proposals for the 2019 Foreign Market Development Cooperator (Cooperator) program. The Cooperator program is administered by personnel of the Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) on behalf of CCC. The intended effect of this notice is to solicit applications from eligible applicants for fiscal year 2019 and to set out criteria for the awarding of funds under the program.

    DATES:

    All applications must be received by 5 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time, on Friday, June 8, 2018. Applications received after this date will not be considered. FAS anticipates that the initial funding selections will be made by the end of October 2018, with the initial award dates estimated to be by the end of December 2018.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Applicants needing assistance should contact the Program Operations Division, Office of Trade Programs, Foreign Agricultural Service by courier: Room 6512, 1400 Independence Ave SW, Washington, DC 20250, or by phone: (202) 720-4327, or by fax: (202) 720-9361, or by email: [email protected] Information, including a copy of the program regulations, is also available on the FAS website at the following URL address: http://www.fas.usda.gov/programs/foreign-market-development-program-fmd.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: A. Funding Opportunity Description

    Announcement Type: New.

    Award Instrument: Grant.

    Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number: 10.600.

    Authority: The Cooperator program is authorized by Title VII of the Agricultural Trade Act of 1978 (7 U.S.C. 5722), as amended. Cooperator program regulations appear at 7 CFR part 1484.

    Purpose: The Cooperator program is designed to maintain and develop foreign markets for United States agricultural commodities and products through cost-share assistance. Financial assistance under the Cooperator program will be made available on a competitive basis and applications will be reviewed against the evaluation criteria contained herein and in the Cooperator program regulations. All U.S. agricultural commodities, except tobacco, are eligible for consideration.

    FAS allocates funds in a manner that effectively supports the strategic decision-making initiatives of the Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA) of 1993. In deciding whether a proposed project will contribute to the effective creation, expansion, or maintenance of foreign markets, FAS considers whether the applicant provides a clear, long-term agricultural trade strategy and an effective program time line against which results can be measured at specific intervals using quantifiable product or country goals. FAS also considers the extent to which a proposed project targets markets with the greatest growth potential. These factors are part of the FAS resource allocation strategy to fund applicants who can demonstrate performance and address the objectives of the GPRA.

    Funding Available: The Agricultural Trade Act of 1978, as amended, provided up to $34.5 million annually for the Cooperator program through FY 2018. Congress has not yet determined funding levels for FY 2019. This NOFA is being released prior to Congress appropriating funding for the Cooperator program for FY 2019. USDA makes no commitment to fund any particular application or to make a specific number of awards regardless of whether or at what level program funding for FY 2019 is provided.

    B. Eligibility Information

    1. Eligible Organizations: To participate in the Cooperator program, an applicant must be a nonprofit U.S. agricultural trade organization. Funding priority is given to organizations that have the broadest possible producer representation of the commodity being promoted and that are nationwide in membership and scope.

    2. Eligible Activities: Under the Cooperator program, FAS enters into agreements with eligible nonprofit U.S. trade organizations to share the cost of certain overseas marketing and promotion activities. Cooperators may receive assistance only for generic activities that do not involve promotions targeted directly to consumers purchasing in their individual capacity. The Cooperator program generally operates on a reimbursement basis.

    3. Limits on Activities: Cooperator program activities are approved for a single program year, with the approval dates specified in the allocation approval letter that is provided as part of the award approval package. Only those Cooperator program activities that are approved in each applicant's allocation approval letter may be implemented, and those activities must be implemented during the 12-month program year specified in the allocation approval letter. Requests for activity changes during the program year must be approved in advance by FAS. Cooperator program participants must re-apply for the program every year.

    4. Funding Restrictions: Certain types of expenses are not eligible for reimbursement by the program, and there are limits on other categories of expenses. FAS also will not reimburse unreasonable expenditures or expenditures made prior to approval. Full details are available in sections 1484.54 and 1484.55 of the Cooperator program regulations.

    5. Cost-Sharing: To participate in the Cooperator program, an applicant must agree to contribute resources to its proposed promotional activities. The Cooperator program is intended to supplement, not supplant, the efforts of the U.S. private sector. The contribution must be at least 50 percent of the value of resources provided by FAS for activities conducted under the project agreement.

    The degree of commitment of an applicant to the promotional strategies contained in its application, as represented by the cost-share contributions specified therein, is considered by FAS when determining which applications will be approved for funding. Cost-share may be actual cash invested or in-kind contributions, such as professional staff time spent on the design and implementation of activities. The Cooperator program regulations, including sections 1484.50 and 1484.51, provide detailed discussion of eligible and ineligible cost-share contributions.

    6. Other: Applications should include a justification for funding assistance from the program—an explanation as to what specifically could not be accomplished without federal funding assistance and why participating organization(s) are unlikely to carry out the project without such assistance.

    7. Intergovernmental Review: An intergovernmental review may be required. Applicants must contact their state's Single Point of Contact (SPOC) to comply with their state's process under Executive Order 12372 (see http://www.fws.gov/policy/library/rgeo12372.pdf). To ensure currency, the names and addresses of the SPOCs are maintained at the Office of Management and Budget's home page at http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/grants_spoc.

    C. Award Information

    It is anticipated that FAS will award approximately 25 awards under the 2019 Cooperator program, subject to programmatic approval and available funding. In general, all qualified proposals received before the submission deadline will compete for funding. FAS will review all proposals against the evaluation criteria contained in the program regulations.

    Funding for successful proposals will be provided through specific agreements. FAS must approve in advance any subsequent changes to the agreement. FAS or another Federal agency may be involved in the implementation of approved agreements.

    Once an award reaches its completion date, FAS will confirm that the participant has provided all of the required reports and will review the reports for completeness and content. Once the required reports are approved, FAS will prepare a closeout letter that advises the participant of the award closeout procedures. Once the closeout procedures have been completed, any remaining funding on the agreement will be deobligated.

    D. Application and Submission Information

    1. Address to Submit Application Package: Organizations should submit their Cooperator program applications to FAS through the web-based Unified Export Strategy (UES) system. The UES allows applicants to submit a single consolidated and strategically coordinated proposal that incorporates requests for funding under all of the FAS market development programs. The suggested UES format encourages applicants to examine the constraints or barriers to trade that they face, identify activities that would help overcome such impediments, consider the entire pool of complementary marketing tools and program resources, and establish realistic export goals. Applicants planning to use the UES must first contact FAS' Program Operations Division to obtain site access information. The web-based application may be found at the following URL address: https://www.fas.usda.gov/ues/webapp/.

    Applicants experiencing difficulty or otherwise needing assistance applying to the program should contact the Program Operations Division, Office of Trade Programs, Foreign Agricultural Service by courier: Room 6512, 1400 Independence Ave. SW, Washington, DC 20250, or by phone: (202) 720-4327, or by fax: (202) 720-9361, or by e-mail: [email protected]

    2. Content and Form of Application Submission: To be considered for the Cooperator program, an applicant must submit to FAS the information required by section 1484.20 of the Cooperator program regulations. Incomplete applications or applications that do not otherwise conform to this announcement or the Cooperator program regulations will not be accepted for review.

    3. Other Required Information: In accordance with the Office of Management and Budget's policy (68 FR 38402 (June 27, 2003)) regarding the need to identify entities that are receiving government awards, all applicants must submit a Dun and Bradstreet Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number. An applicant may request a DUNS number at no cost by calling the dedicated toll-free DUNS number request line at (866) 705-5711.

    In addition, in accordance with 2 CFR part 25, each entity that applies to the Cooperator program and does not qualify for an exemption under 2 CFR 25.110 must:

    (i) Be registered in the System for Award Management (SAM) prior to submitting an application or plan; and

    (ii) Maintain an active SAM registration with current information at all times during which it has an active Federal award or an application or plan under consideration by FAS; and

    (iii) Provide its DUNS number in each application or plan it submits to FAS.

    FAS may not make an award to an applicant until the applicant has complied with all applicable unique entity identifier and SAM requirements, and, if an applicant has not fully complied with the requirements by the time FAS is ready to make the award, FAS may determine that the applicant is not qualified to receive an award and use that determination as a basis for making an award to another applicant.

    Similarly, in accordance with 2 CFR part 170, each entity that applies to the Cooperator program and does not qualify for an exception under 2 CFR 170.110(b) must ensure it has the necessary processes and systems in place to comply with the applicable reporting requirements of 2 CFR part 170 should it receive funding under the Cooperator program.

    4. Submission Dates and Times: All applications must be received by 5 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time, on Friday, June 8, 2018. By the application deadline, all Cooperator program applicants must also submit to FAS a signed certification statement as specified in 7 CFR 1484.20(a)(14). The completed certification statements can be sent via courier/delivery service to the Program Operations Division, Office of Trade Programs, Foreign Agricultural Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Room 6512, 1400 Independence Ave. SW, Washington, DC 20250. Applicants can also send a scanned copy of the signed certification statement via e-mail to: [email protected] Applications or certifications received after the deadline will not be considered.

    E. Application Review Information

    1. Criteria and Review and Selection Process: A description of the FAS process for reviewing applications and the criteria for allocating available Cooperator program funds is as follows:

    (1) Phase 1--Sufficiency Review and FAS Divisional Review

    Applications received by the closing date will be reviewed by FAS to determine the eligibility of the applicants and the completeness of the applications. These requirements appear in sections 1484.14 and 1484.20 of the Cooperator program regulations as well as in this Notice. Applications that meet the requirements will be further evaluated by the appropriate Commodity Branch office of FAS' Cooperator Programs Division. The Commodity Branch will review each application against the criteria listed in section 1484.21 of the Cooperator program regulations as well as in this Notice. The purpose of this review is to identify meritorious proposals. The Commodity Branch then recommends an appropriate funding level for each application for consideration by the Office of the Deputy Administrator, Office of Trade Programs.

    (2) Phase 2--Competitive Review

    Meritorious applications are passed on to the Office of the Deputy Administrator, Office of Trade Programs, for the purpose of allocating available funds among those applicants. Applicants will compete for funds on the basis of the following allocation criteria as appropriate (the number in parentheses represents the percentage weight factor):

    (a) Applicant's Contribution Level (40): The applicant's 6-year average share (2014-2019) of all contributions under the Cooperator program compared to the applicant's 6-year average share (2014-2019) of the funding level for all Cooperator program participants.

    (b) Past U.S. Export Performance (20): The 6-year average share (2013-2018) of the value of U.S. exports promoted by the applicant compared to the applicant's 6-year average share (2013-2018) of the funding level for all Cooperator participants plus, for those groups participating in the MAP program, the 6-year average share (2013-2018) of all MAP budgets.

    (c) Past Demand Expansion Performance (20): The 6-year average share (2013-2018) of the total value of world trade of the commodities promoted by the applicant compared to the applicant's 6-year average share (2013-2018) of all Cooperator program expenditures plus, for those groups participating in the MAP program, a 6-year average share (2013-2018) of all MAP expenditures.

    (d) Future Demand Expansion Goals (10): The total dollar value of projected world trade of the commodities being promoted by the applicant for the year 2024 compared to the applicant's requested funding level.

    (e) Accuracy of Past Demand Expansion Projections (10): The actual dollar value share of world trade of the commodities being promoted by the applicant for the year 2017 as reported in the 2019 Cooperator program application compared to the projection of world trade of the commodities being promoted by the applicant for 2017 as specified in the applicant's 2014 Cooperator program application.

    The Commodity Branches' recommended funding levels for each applicant are adjusted by each weight factor as described above to determine the amount of funds allocated to each applicant.

    In addition, FAS, prior to making a Federal award with a total amount of Federal share greater than the simplified acquisition threshold, is required to review and consider any information about the applicant that is in the designated integrity and performance system accessible through SAM (currently FAPIIS) (see 41 U.S.C. 2313). An applicant, at its option, may review information in the designated integrity and performance systems accessible through SAM and comment on any information about itself that a Federal awarding agency previously entered and is currently in the designated integrity and performance system accessible through SAM. FAS will consider any comments by the applicant, in addition to the other information in the designated integrity and performance system, in making a judgment about the applicant's integrity, business ethics, and record of performance under Federal awards when completing the review of risk posed by applicants as described in 2 CFR 200.205 “Federal awarding agency review of risk posed by applicants.”

    F. Award Administration Information

    1. Award Notices: FAS will notify each applicant in writing of the final disposition of its application. FAS will send an approval letter and project agreement to each approved applicant. The approval letter and project agreement will specify the terms and conditions applicable to the project, including the levels of Cooperator program funding and cost-share contribution requirements. All successful applicants for all grant and cooperative agreements are required to comply with the Standard Administrative Terms and Conditions, which are available online at: https://www.fas.usda.gov/grants/general_terms_and_conditions/default.asp. The applicable Standard Administrative Terms and Conditions will be for the last year specified at that URL, unless the application is to continue an award first awarded in an earlier year. In that event, the terms and conditions that apply will be those in effect for the year in which the award was originally made unless explicitly stated otherwise in subsequent mutually-agreed amendments to the award.

    Before accepting the award the potential awardee should carefully read the approval letter and program agreement for instructions on administering the grant award and the terms and conditions associated with responsibilities under Federal Awards. Recipients must accept all conditions in this NOFA as well as any special terms and conditions in the approval letter and program agreement to receive an award under this program.

    2. Reporting: FAS requires various reports and evaluations from Cooperators. Required reports include an annual contributions report that identifies contributions made by the Cooperator and the U.S. industry during that marketing plan year. All Cooperators must also complete at least one program evaluation each year and must provide program success stories on an annual basis, or more often when appropriate or required by FAS. There are additional reporting requirements for trip reports, evaluation reports, and research reports. Reporting requirements are detailed in the Cooperator program regulations in sections 1484.53, 1484.70, and 1484.72.

    G. Agency Contact(s)

    1. Application Submission Contact(s) and Program Support: For additional information and assistance, contact the Program Operations Division, Office of Trade Programs, Foreign Agricultural Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture by courier: Room 6512, 1400 Independence Ave. SW, Washington, DC 20250, or by phone: (202) 720-4327, or by fax: (202) 720-9361, or by e-mail: [email protected].

    2. Grants Management Contact(s): Eric Bozoian, Grants Management Specialist, Foreign Agricultural Service, United States, Department of Agriculture, Email: [email protected], Office: (202) 378-1054.

    Signed at Washington, DC on the 26th of April, 2018. James Higgiston Acting Administrator, Foreign Agricultural Service, and Acting Vice President, Commodity Credit Corporation.
    [FR Doc. 2018-09867 Filed 5-8-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410-10-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Institute of Standards and Technology [Docket No. 180319295-8295-01] National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence (NCCoE) Securing Picture Archiving and Communication System (PACS) Cybersecurity for the Healthcare Sector AGENCY:

    National Institute of Standards and Technology, Department of Commerce.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) invites organizations to provide products and technical expertise to support and demonstrate security platforms for the Securing Picture Archiving and Communication System (PACS) Cybersecurity for the healthcare sector. This notice is the initial step for the National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence (NCCoE) in collaborating with technology companies to address cybersecurity challenges identified under the healthcare sector program. Participation in the use case is open to all interested organizations.

    DATES:

    Collaborative activities will commence as soon as enough completed and signed letters of interest have been returned to address all the necessary components and capabilities, but no earlier than June 8, 2018.

    ADDRESSES:

    The NCCoE is located at 9700 Great Seneca Highway, Rockville, MD 20850. Letters of interest must be submitted to [email protected] or via hardcopy to National Institute of Standards and Technology, NCCoE, 9700 Great Seneca Highway, Rockville, MD 20850. Organizations whose letters of interest are accepted in accordance with the process set forth in the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section of this notice will be asked to sign a consortium Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) with NIST. An NCCoE consortium CRADA template can be found at: http://nccoe.nist.gov/node/138.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Andrea Arbelaez via email to [email protected]; by telephone 301-975-0214; or by mail to National Institute of Standards and Technology, NCCoE, 9700 Great Seneca Highway, Rockville, MD 20850. Additional details about the healthcare sector program are available at https://nccoe.nist.gov/projects/use-cases/health-it/pacs.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Interested parties must contact NIST to request a letter of interest template to be completed and submitted to NIST. Letters of interest will be accepted on a first come, first served basis. When the use case has been completed, NIST will post a notice on the NCCoE healthcare sector program website at https://nccoe.nist.gov/projects/use-cases/health-it/pacs announcing the completion of the use case and informing the public that it will no longer accept letters of interest for this use case.

    Background: The NCCoE, part of NIST, is a public-private collaboration for accelerating the widespread adoption of integrated cybersecurity tools and technologies. The NCCoE brings together experts from industry, government, and academia under one roof to develop practical, interoperable cybersecurity approaches that address the real-world needs of complex Information Technology (IT) systems. By accelerating dissemination and use of these integrated tools and technologies for protecting IT assets, the NCCoE will enhance trust in U.S. IT communications, data, and storage systems; reduce risk for companies and individuals using IT systems; and encourage development of innovative, job-creating cybersecurity products and services.

    Process: NIST is soliciting responses from all sources of relevant security capabilities (see below) to enter into a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) to provide products and technical expertise to support and demonstrate security platforms for the Securing Picture Archiving and Communication System (PACS) Cybersecurity for the healthcare sector. The full use case can be viewed at: https://nccoe.nist.gov/projects/use-cases/health-it/pacs.

    Interested parties should contact NIST using the information provided in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section of this notice. NIST will then provide each interested party with a letter of interest template, which the party must complete, certify that it is accurate, and submit to NIST. NIST will contact interested parties if there are questions regarding the responsiveness of the letters of interest to the use case objective or requirements identified below. NIST will select participants who have submitted complete letters of interest on a first come, first served basis within each category of product components or capabilities listed below up to the number of participants in each category necessary to carry out this use case. However, there may be continuing opportunity to participate even after initial activity commences. Selected participants will be required to enter into a consortium CRADA with NIST (for reference, see ADDRESSES section above). NIST published a notice in the Federal Register on October 19, 2012 (77 FR 64314) inviting U.S. companies to enter into National Cybersecurity Excellence Partnerships (NCEPs) in furtherance of the NCCoE. For this demonstration project, NCEP partners will not be given priority for participation.

    Use Case Objective

    To provide guidance and a referenceable architecture for securing the Picture Archiving and Communication System (PACS) ecosystem in Healthcare Delivery Organizations (HDOs), and to include an example solution using existing, commercially and open-source available cybersecurity products.

    A detailed description of the Securing Picture Archiving and Communication System (PACS) Cybersecurity for the healthcare sector is available at: https://nccoe.nist.gov/projects/use-cases/health-it/pacs.

    Requirements: Each responding organization's letter of interest should identify which security platform component(s) or capability(ies) it is offering. Letters of interest should not include company proprietary information, and all components and capabilities must be commercially available. Components are listed in section 2 of the Securing Picture Archiving and Communication System (PACS) Cybersecurity for the healthcare sector use case (for reference, please see the link in the PROCESS section above) and include, but are not limited to:

    • PACS Servers, special applications (including web services), and workstations • Vendor Neutral Archive (VNA) • data storage • modality or modality simulator • radiology information system (RIS) or RIS simulator • notification system • Electronic Health Record (EHR)/Electronic Medical Record (EMR) • load balancer • managed service model and remote service connectivity • certificate management • authentication mechanism • session management • data encryption • endpoint protection ○ encryption ○ malware/virus protection ○ Host Intrusion Prevention System (HIPS)/Host Intrusion Detection System (HIDS) • logging, monitoring, security information and event management (SIEM) • network infrastructure controls • asset management • web services

    Each responding organization's letter of interest should identify how their products address one or more of the following desired security characteristics in section 2 of the Securing Picture Archiving and Communication System (PACS) Cybersecurity for the healthcare sector use case (for reference, please see the link in the PROCESS section above):

    The primary security functions and processes to be implemented for this project are listed below and are based on the NIST Cybersecurity Framework (CSF).

    Identify (ID) • Asset Management—includes identification of assets on network and management of the assets to be deployed to workstations • Risk Assessment—includes risk management strategy Protect (PR) • Access Control—includes user account management, remote access ○ controlling (and auditing) user accounts ○ controlling (and auditing) access by external users ○ enforcing least privilege for all (internal and external) users ○ enforcing separation of duties policies Privileged Access Management (PAM) with an emphasis on the segregation of duties ○ enforcing least functionality • User Identification and Authentication ○ multifactor authentication for the system that aligns with the sensitive information and function that PACS performs; NIST-recommended algorithms; usability; impact on system performance; and raising the assurance profile, and higher NIST Special Publication (SP) 800-63-3 levels, bring a higher level of assurance ○ viable federated identity management ○ credential management • Data Security—includes data confidentiality, integrity, and availability ○ securing and monitoring storage of data—includes data encryption (for data at rest) access control on data data-at-rest controls should implement some form of a data security manager that would allow for policy application to encrypted data, inclusive of access control policy ○ securing the distribution of data—includes data encryption (for data in transit) and data loss prevention mechanism ○ controls that promote data integrity ○ cryptographic modules validated as meeting NIST Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS) 140-2 are preferred ○ physical security provided by an access controlled data center to host the PACS servers and storage • Information Protection Processes and Procedures—includes data backup, endpoint protection for workstations • Maintenance—local and remote maintenance • Protective Technology—host-based intrusion prevention, solutions for malware (malicious code detection), audit logging, (automated) audit log review, and physical protection • Communications and Network Security—communications and control networks are protected (e.g., firewall, network access control, network infrastructure controls) ○ Securing and monitoring connections with the Health Delivery Organization (HDO) ecosystem Network segmentation ○ Securing and monitoring connections to and from external systems Detect (DE) • Anomalies and Events—analysis of detected events (from logs, monitoring results, SIEM) ○ Centralized mechanism to capture and analyze system and network events • Security Continuous Monitoring—monitoring for unauthorized personnel, devices, software, connections ○ vulnerability management—includes vulnerability scanning and remediation ○ patch management ○ system configuration security settings ○ user account usage (local and remote) and user behavioral analytics Respond (RS) • Response Planning—response plan executed after an event, mitigation of security issues Recover (RC) • Recovery and Restoration—recovery and restoration activities executed after an event ○ business continuity and business resumption processes In addition to restoration capability from archival media, the project should consider high availability and continuity for data storage. Implicitly, disk arrays used for image storage should have the capability to implement various Redundant Array of Independent Disks (RAID) configurations. RAID 0, 1, 5, 6, and 1+0 should be supported. Disk arrays should also be made available for cold or warm restore/failover capability. Other data storage solutions that provide the same (or better) reliability and durability are considered.

    Responding organizations need to understand and, in their letters of interest, commit to provide:

    1. Access for all participants' project teams to component interfaces and the organization's experts necessary to make functional connections among security platform components

    2. Support for development and demonstration of the Securing Picture Archiving and Communication System (PACS) Cybersecurity for the healthcare sector use case in NCCoE facilities which will be conducted in a manner consistent with the following standards and guidance: FIPS 200, FIPS 201, SP 800-53 and FIPS 140-2, SP 800-30, SP 800-37, SP 800-39, SP 800-41, SP 800-52, SP 800-57, SP 800-63-3, SP 800-66, SP 800-77, SP 800-95, SP 800-144, SP 800-146, SP 800-171, SP 800-181, ISO 12052:2011 Health Informatics—Digital Imaging and Communication in Medicine (DICOM) including Workflow and Data Management, AAMI TIR57, ANSI/AAMI/IEC 80001-1:2010, IEC Technical Report 80001-2-1, IEC Technical Report 80001-2-2, internet Engineering Task Force Request for Comments 4301, Food & Drug Administration (FDA) Content of Premarket Submissions for Management of Cybersecurity in Medical Devices, FDA Postmark Management of Cybersecurity in Medical Devices, FDA Guidance for Industry—Cybersecurity for Networked Medical Devices Containing Off-the-Shelf Software, FDA Guidance for Submission of Premarket Notifications for Medical Image Management Devices, FDA Medical Device Data Systems, Medical Image Storage Devices, Medical Image Communications Device, Department of Health & Human Services Office for Civil Rights Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act Security Rule Crosswalk to NIST Cybersecurity Framework, Department of Homeland Security Attack Surface: Healthcare and Public Sector, Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise Radiology Technical Framework.

    Additional details about the Securing Picture Archiving and Communication System (PACS) Cybersecurity for the healthcare sector use case are available at: https://nccoe.nist.gov/projects/use-cases/health-it/pacs.

    NIST cannot guarantee that all of the products proposed by respondents will be used in the demonstration. Each prospective participant will be expected to work collaboratively with NIST staff and other project participants under the terms of the consortium CRADA in the development of the Securing Picture Archiving and Communication System (PACS) Cybersecurity for the healthcare sector capability. Prospective participants' contribution to the collaborative effort will include assistance in establishing the necessary interface functionality, connection and set-up capabilities and procedures, demonstration harnesses, environmental and safety conditions for use, integrated platform user instructions, and demonstration plans and scripts necessary to demonstrate the desired capabilities. Each participant will train NIST personnel, as necessary, to operate its product in capability demonstrations to the healthcare community. Following successful demonstrations, NIST will publish a description of the security platform and its performance characteristics sufficient to permit other organizations to develop and deploy security platforms that meet the security objectives of the Securing Picture Archiving and Communication System (PACS) Cybersecurity for the healthcare sector use case. These descriptions will be public information.

    Under the terms of the consortium CRADA, NIST will support development of interfaces among participants' products by providing IT infrastructure, laboratory facilities, office facilities, collaboration facilities, and staff support to component composition, security platform documentation, and demonstration activities.

    The dates of the demonstration of the Securing Picture Archiving and Communication System (PACS) Cybersecurity for the healthcare sector capability will be announced on the NCCoE website at least two weeks in advance at http://nccoe.nist.gov/. The expected outcome of the demonstration is to improve securing picture archiving and communications system (PACS) cybersecurity across an entire healthcare sector enterprise. Participating organizations will gain from the knowledge that their products are interoperable with other participants' offerings.

    For additional information on the NCCoE governance, business processes, and NCCoE operational structure, visit the NCCoE website http://nccoe.nist.gov/.

    Kevin A. Kimball, Chief of Staff.
    [FR Doc. 2018-09897 Filed 5-8-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-13-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Proposed Information Collection; Comment Request; Observer Programs' Information That Can Be Gathered Only Through Questions 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 July 9, 2018.

    ADDRESSES:

    Direct all written comments to Jennifer Jessup, Departmental Paperwork Clearance Officer, Department of Commerce, Room 6616, 14th and Constitution Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20230 (or via the internet at [email protected]).

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Requests for additional information or copies of the information collection instrument and instructions should be directed to Liz Chilton, (301) 427-8201 or [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. Abstract

    The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) deploys fishery observers on United States (U.S.) commercial fishing vessels and to fish processing plants in order to collect biological and economic data. NMFS has at least one observer program in each of its five Regions. These observer programs provide the most reliable and effective method for obtaining information that is critical for the conservation and management of living marine resources. Observer programs primarily obtain information through direct observations by employees or agents of NMFS; and such observations are not subject to the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA). However, observer programs also collect the following information that requires clearance under the PRA: (1) Standardized questions of fishing vessel captains/crew or fish processing plant managers/staff, which include gear and performance questions, safety questions, and trip costs, crew size and other economic questions; (2) questions asked by observer program staff/contractors to plan observer deployments; (3) forms that are completed by observers and that fishing vessel captains are asked to review and sign; (4) questionnaires to evaluate observer performance; and (5) a form to certify that a fisherman is the permit holder when requesting observer data from the observer on the vessel. NMFS seeks to renew OMB PRA clearance for these information collections.

    The information collected will be used to: (1) Monitor catch and bycatch in federally managed commercial fisheries; (2) understand the population status and trends of fish stocks and protected species, as well as the interactions between them; (3) determine the quantity and distribution of net benefits derived from living marine resources; (4) predict the biological, ecological, and economic impacts of existing management action and proposed management options; and (5) ensure that the observer programs can safely and efficiently collect the information required for the previous four uses. In particular, these biological and economic data collection programs contribute to legally mandated analyses required under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA), the Endangered Species Act (ESA), the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA), Executive Order 12866 (E.O. 12866), as well as a variety of state statutes. The confidentiality of the data will be protected as required by the MSA, Section 402(b).

    II. Method of Collection

    The information will be collected by (1) NMFS observers while they are deployed on a vessel to observe a particular fishing trip; questions will be asked in-person to the captain, crew and/or owner (if on board the vessel) during the course of the observed trip; (2) via mail through follow up surveys of economic information not available during the trip; (3) via telephone or mail survey by the observer program staff or contractor planning to deploy observers; or (4) via feedback questionnaires mailed to the vessel owners or captains to evaluate observer performance.

    III. Data

    OMB Control Number: 0648-0593.

    Form Number: None.

    Type of Review: Regular submission.

    Affected Public: Business or other for-profit organizations.

    Estimated Number of Respondents: 20,643.

    Estimated Time per Response: 51 minutes. Information will be collected for observed fishing trips and deployments to fish processing plants; therefore, there will be multiple responses for some respondents, but counted as one response per trip or plant visit.

    Estimated Total Annual Burden Hours: 26,172.

    Estimated Total Annual Cost to Public: $1,160.

    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: May 3, 2018. Sarah Brabson, NOAA PRA Clearance Officer.
    [FR Doc. 2018-09835 Filed 5-8-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-22-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Proposed Extension of a Currently Approved Information Collection; Comment Request; Aleutian Islands Pollock Fishery 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 this continuing information collection, as required by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995.

    DATES:

    Written comments must be submitted on or before July 9, 2018.

    ADDRESSES:

    Direct all written comments to Jennifer Jessup, Departmental Paperwork Clearance Officer, Department of Commerce, Room 6616, 14th and Constitution Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20230 (or via the internet at [email protected]).

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Requests for additional information or copies of the information collection instrument and instructions should be directed to Gabrielle Aberle, 907-586-7228.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. Abstract

    This request is for extension of a currently approved information collection.

    Amendment 82 to the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area (FMP) established a framework for the management of the Aleutian Islands subarea (AI) directed pollock fishery. An AI pollock fishery was allocated to the Aleut Corporation, Adak, Alaska, for the purpose of economic development in Adak, Alaska. The Aleut Corporation is identified in Public Law 108-199 as a business incorporated pursuant to the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (43 U.S.C. 1601 et seq.). Regulations implementing the FMP appear at 50 CFR part 679.

    Each year at least 14 days before harvesting pollock or processing pollock in the AI directed pollock fishery, the Aleut Corporation selects harvesting vessels and processors for participation in this fishery. The Aleut Corporation submits its selected participants to the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) for approval. On approval, NMFS mails the Aleut Corporation a letter that includes a list of the approved participants. A copy of this letter must be retained on board each participating vessel and on site each shoreside processor at all times.

    II. Method of Collection

    The Aleut Corporation submits the participant letter to NMFS by mail.

    III. Data

    OMB Control Number: 0648-0513.

    Form Number(s): None.

    Type of Review: Regular submission (extension of a current information collection).

    Affected Public: Business or other for-profit organizations.

    Estimated Number of Respondents: 1.

    Estimated Time per Response: Annual Aleutian Islands Fishery Participant Letter, 5 minutes.

    Estimated Total Annual Burden Hours: 1.

    Estimated Total Annual Cost to Public: $1 in recordkeeping/reporting costs.

    IV. Request for Comments

    Comments are invited on: (a) Whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information shall have practical utility; (b) the accuracy of the agency's estimate of the burden (including hours and cost) of the proposed collection of information; (c) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (d) ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on respondents, including through the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology.

    Comments submitted in response to this notice will be summarized and/or included in the request for OMB approval of this information collection; they also will become a matter of public record.

    Dated: May 3, 2018. Sarah Brabson, NOAA PRA Clearance Officer.
    [FR Doc. 2018-09834 Filed 5-8-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-22-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request

    The Department of Commerce will submit to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for clearance the following proposal for collection of information under the provisions of the Paperwork Reduction Act (44 U.S.C. Chapter 35).

    Agency: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

    Title: Florida Fishing and Boating Survey.

    OMB Control Number: 0648-xxxx.

    Form Number(s): None.

    Type of Request: Regular (request for a new information collection).

    Number of Respondents: 4,335.

    Average Hours per Response: 5 minutes.

    Burden Hours: 361.

    Needs and Uses: This request is for a new information collection.

    The objective of the short survey will be to understand how anglers respond to changes in trip costs and fishing regulations in the Gulf of Mexico. We are conducting this survey to improve our ability to predict changes the number of fishing trips anticipated with changes in economic conditions or fishing regulations. This will improve the analysis of the economic effects of proposed changes in fishing regulations and changes in economic factors that affect the cost of fishing such as fuel prices.

    The population consists of those anglers who fish in the Gulf of Mexico from Florida, including those who possess a license to fish, and those who are not required to have a license (e.g., seniors). We plan to independently sample from the frame designed for the Fishing Effort Survey (FES) of the Marine Recreational Fishing Program (MRIP). Anglers will be mailed a postcard that directs them to a website to complete the survey.

    Affected Public: Individuals or households.

    Frequency: One time.

    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: May 3, 2018. Sarah Brabson, NOAA PRA Clearance Officer.
    [FR Doc. 2018-09836 Filed 5-8-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-22-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RIN 0648-XG218 Taking and Importing Marine Mammals; Taking Marine Mammals Incidental to Construction and Operation of the Liberty Drilling and Production Island, Beaufort Sea, Alaska AGENCY:

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

    ACTION:

    Notice; receipt of application for Letter of Authorization; request for comments and information.

    SUMMARY:

    NMFS has received a request from Hilcorp Alaska, LLC (Hilcorp) for authorization to take small numbers of marine mammals incidental to the construction and operation of the Liberty Drilling and Production Island (LDPI) in Foggy Island Bay, Beaufort Sea, Alaska, over the course of five years from the date of issuance. Pursuant to regulations implementing the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), NMFS is announcing receipt of Hilcorp's request for the development and implementation of regulations governing the incidental taking of marine mammals. NMFS invites the public to provide information, suggestions, and comments on Hilcorp's application and request.

    DATES:

    Comments and information must be received no later than June 8, 2018.

    ADDRESSES:

    Comments on the applications should be addressed to Jolie Harrison, Chief, Permits and Conservation Division, Office of Protected Resources, National Marine Fisheries Service. Physical comments should be sent to 1315 East-West Highway, Silver Spring, MD 20910 and electronic comments should be sent to [email protected]

    Instructions: NMFS is not responsible for comments sent by any other method, to any other address or individual, or received after the end of the comment period. Comments received electronically, including all attachments, must not exceed a 25-megabyte file size. Attachments to electronic comments will be accepted in Microsoft Word or Excel or Adobe PDF file formats only. All comments received are a part of the public record and will generally be posted online at https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/node/23111 without change. All personal identifying information (e.g., name, address) voluntarily submitted by the commenter may be publicly accessible. Do not submit confidential business information or otherwise sensitive or protected information.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Jaclyn Daly, Office of Protected Resources, NMFS, (301) 427-8401. An electronic copy of the Hilcorp's application may be obtained online at https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/node/23111. 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 incidental take authorization 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.

    Except with respect to certain activities not pertinent here, the MMPA defines “harassment” as any act of pursuit, torment, or annoyance, which (i) has the potential to injure a marine mammal or marine mammal stock in the wild (Level A harassment); or (ii) has the potential to disturb a marine mammal or marine mammal stock in the wild by causing disruption of behavioral patterns, including, but not limited to, migration, breathing, nursing, breeding, feeding, or sheltering (Level B harassment).

    Summary of Request

    On April 26, 2018, NMFS received an adequate and complete application from Hilcorp requesting authorization for take of marine mammals incidental to construction, drilling, and production activities related to the construction and operation of the LDPI in Foggy Island Bay, Alaska. The requested regulations and LOA would be valid for five years from November 1, 2019 through October 31, 2024. Hilcorp plans to conduct necessary work, including impact and vibratory pile driving, ice road construction, drilling, and production to construct, install, and operate the LDPI. The proposed action may incidentally expose marine mammals occurring in the vicinity to elevated levels of underwater sound and human presence, thereby resulting in incidental take, by Level A and Level B harassment of cetaceans and pinnipeds, and potentially mortality of pinnipeds (from ice road construction) in Foggy Island Bay. Therefore, Hilcorp requests authorization to incidentally take marine mammals.

    Specified Activities

    Hilcorp is proposing to develop the Liberty Oil Field reservoir, located on the Outer Continental Shelf in Foggy Island Bay, Beaufort Sea, Alaska. Total recovery over an estimated field life of 15 to 20 years is predicted to be in the range of 80 to 150 million stock tank barrels of oil. To extract the oil, Hilcorp is proposing to construct a 9.3 acre artificial island (the LDPI) in 19 feet (5.8 meters) of water in Foggy Island Bay, approximately 5 miles (8 kilometers) north of the Kadleroshilik River and install supporting infrastructure (e.g., ice roads, pipeline). Ice roads would be constructed annually and begin November 2019 (execute year 1). Island construction, which requires impact and vibratory pile driving, is proposed to take place in 2020 (or execute year 2 of the project). Pile driving would primarily occur during ice-covered season; however, up to two weeks of pile driving may occur during the open-water season. Pipeline installation is anticipated to occur in 2021 (or execute year three of the project). Drilling is proposed to occur from 2021 through 2024 (or execute years three through five). These activities have the potential to harass bowhead whales (Balaena mysticetus), gray whales (Eschrichtius robustus), beluga whales (Delphinapterus leucas), ringed seals (Phoca hispida), bearded seals (Erignathus barbatus), and spotted seals (Phoca largha). Ice road construction may also result in the mortality of ringed seals.

    Information Solicited

    Interested persons may submit information, suggestions, and comments concerning Hilcorp's request (see ADDRESSES). NMFS will consider all information, suggestions, and comments related to the request during the development of proposed regulations governing the incidental taking of marine mammals by Hilcorp, if appropriate.

    Dated: May 4, 2018. Donna S. Wieting, Director, Office of Protected Resources, National Marine Fisheries Service.
    [FR Doc. 2018-09904 Filed 5-8-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-22-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request

    The Department of Commerce will submit to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for clearance the following proposal for collection of information under the provisions of the Paperwork Reduction Act (44 U.S.C. Chapter 35).

    Agency: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

    Title: Washington Steelhead Anglers Survey.

    OMB Control Number: 0648-xxxx.

    Form Number(s): None.

    Type of Request: Regular (request for a new information collection).

    Number of Respondents: 1,652.

    Average Hours per Response: Screening survey, 5 minutes; non-angler survey, 10 minutes; angler survey, 25 minutes.

    Burden Hours: 444.

    Needs and Uses: The Northwest Fisheries Science Center and Southwest Fisheries Science Center are undertaking an economics research project to assess the preferences of recreational steelhead anglers for trip attributes including opportunities for catching wild and hatchery steelhead. The Economic Survey of Recreational Steelhead Fishermen (ESRSF) will yield information on angling preferences that will inform management of recreational steelhead resources and steelhead hatchery operations in The Pacific Northwest. More specifically, the ESRSF will collect data needed to (1) assess the socioeconomic characteristics of recreational anglers; (2) assess the economic value of steelhead recreational fishing trips through statistical estimation of models; and (3) assess the change in these values associated with possible changes in recreational steelhead angling opportunities, including catch rates of wild and hatchery fish, site attributes, and travel costs.

    Affected Public: Individuals or households.

    Frequency: Once every five years.

    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: May 3, 2018. Sarah Brabson, NOAA PRA Clearance Officer.
    [FR Doc. 2018-09837 Filed 5-8-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-22-P
    COMMODITY FUTURES TRADING COMMISSION Renewal of the Market Risk Advisory Committee AGENCY:

    Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

    ACTION:

    Notice of renewal.

    SUMMARY:

    The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (Commission) is publishing this notice to announce the renewal of the Market Risk Advisory Committee (MRAC). The Commission has determined that the renewal of the MRAC is necessary and in the public's interest, and the Commission has consulted with the General Services Administration's Committee Management Secretariat regarding the MRAC's renewal.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Alicia L. Lewis, MRAC Designated Federal Officer and Special Counsel to Commissioner Rostin Behnam, at 202-418-5862 or [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    In support of the Commission's mission of ensuring the integrity of the derivatives markets as well as the monitoring and management of systemic risk, the MRAC's objectives and scope of activities are to conduct public meetings, advise, and submit reports and recommendations to the Commission on: (1) Systemic issues that impact the stability of the derivatives markets and other related financial markets; and (2) the impact and implications of the evolving market structure of the derivatives markets and other related financial markets. The MRAC will operate for two years from the date of renewal unless the Commission directs that the MRAC terminate on an earlier date. A copy of the renewal charter will be posted on the Commission's website at www.cftc.gov.

    Dated: May 4, 2018. Christopher Kirkpatrick, Secretary of the Commission.
    [FR Doc. 2018-09891 Filed 5-8-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6351-01-P
    BUREAU OF CONSUMER FINANCIAL PROTECTION Community Bank Advisory Council Meeting AGENCY:

    Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection.

    ACTION:

    Notice of public meeting.

    SUMMARY:

    Under the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA), this notice sets forth the announcement of a public meeting of the Community Bank Advisory Council (CBAC or Council) of the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection (Bureau). The notice also describes the functions of the Council.

    DATES:

    The meeting date is Thursday, May 24, 2018, from approximately 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. eastern daylight time. The CBAC Card, Payment, and Deposits Markets Subcommittee, CBAC Consumer Lending Subcommittee, and CBAC Mortgages and Small Business Lending Markets Subcommittee will take place on Thursday, May 24, 2018.

    ADDRESSES:

    The meeting location is the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection, 1700 G Street NW, Washington, DC 20552.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Crystal Dully, Outreach and Engagement Associate, 202-435-9588, [email protected], Consumer Advisory Board and Councils Office, External Affairs, 1700 G Street NW, Washington, DC 20552. If you require this document in an alternative electronic format, please contact [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    I. Background

    Section 2 of the CBAC Charter provides: Pursuant to the executive and administrative powers conferred on the Bureau by section 1012 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Dodd-Frank Act), the Director established the Community Bank Advisory Council under agency authority.

    Section 3 of the CBAC Charter states: “The purpose of the Advisory Council is to advise the Bureau in the exercise of its functions under the federal consumer financial laws as they pertain to community banks with total assets of $10 billion or less.”

    II. Agenda

    The Community Bank Advisory Council will discuss the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA), the Electronic Fund Transfer Act (Regulation E), debt collection, mortgage origination, and several of the Bureau's Requests for Information (RFI) related to the Call for Evidence initiative by Acting Director Mulvaney.

    Persons who need a reasonable accommodation to participate should contact [email protected], 202-435-9EEO, 1-855-233-0362, or 202-435-9742 (TTY) at least ten business days prior to the meeting or event to request assistance. The request must identify the date, time, location, and title of the meeting or event, the nature of the assistance requested, and contact information for the requester. CFPB will strive to provide, but cannot guarantee that accommodation will be provided for late requests.

    Written comments will be accepted from interested members of the public and should be sent to [email protected], a minimum of seven (7) days in advance of the meeting. The comments will be provided to the CBAC members for consideration. Individuals who wish to attend the Community Bank Advisory Council meeting must RSVP to [email protected] by noon, Wednesday, May 24, 2018. Members of the public must RSVP by the due date and must include “CBAC” in the subject line of the RSVP.

    III. Availability

    The Council's agenda will be made available to the public on Wednesday May 9, 2018, via consumerfinance.gov. Individuals should express in their RSVP if they require a paper copy of the agenda.

    A recording and summary of this meeting will be available after the meeting on the Bureau's website consumerfinance.gov.

    Dated: April 24, 2018. Kirsten Sutton, Chief of Staff, Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection.
    [FR Doc. 2018-09735 Filed 5-8-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4810-AM-P
    DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE Department of the Army [Docket ID: USA-2018-HQ-0004] Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request AGENCY:

    Department of the Army, DOD.

    ACTION:

    30-day information collection notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The Department of Defense has submitted to OMB for clearance the following proposal for collection of information under the provisions of the Paperwork Reduction Act.

    DATES:

    Consideration will be given to all comments received by June 8, 2018.

    ADDRESSES:

    Comments and recommendations on the proposed information collection should be emailed to Ms. Jasmeet Seehra, DoD Desk Officer, at [email protected] Please identify the proposed information collection by DoD Desk Officer, Docket ID number, and title of the information collection.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Fred Licari, 571-372-0493, or [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Title; Associated Form; and OMB Number: Service Members Transitioning from Active Duty to Veterans Status; OMB Control Number 0702-XXXX.

    Type of Request: New.

    Number of Respondents: 600.

    Responses per Respondent: 1.

    Annual Responses: 600.

    Average Burden per Response: 35 minutes.

    Annual Burden Hours: 350.

    Needs and Uses: This study, exploratory in nature, is designed to capture baseline data prior to transition and at three subsequent data points after the transition out of service. The purpose of data capture before, during, and after transition is to allow the researchers to monitor how transition stressors change over time and what factors might influence their course. This information will be enormously useful in attempts to design and implement interventions that might target these stressors.

    Participants will be recruited during a set nine month window in which Service Members have self-identified as transitioning out of the service within the six months. Participation in the study is voluntary and participants will be consented twice, once at baseline (time point 1) while the Service Member is still active duty and then again at time point 2 as civilians. This burden information only accounts for the public being affected.

    Affected Public: Individuals or Households.

    Frequency: Annually.

    Respondent's Obligation: Voluntary.

    OMB Desk Officer: Ms. Jasmeet Seehra.

    You may also submit comments and recommendations, identified by Docket ID number and title, by the following method:

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

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

    DOD Clearance Officer: Mr. Frederick Licari.

    Requests for copies of the information collection proposal should be sent to Mr. Licari at [email protected]

    Dated: May 3, 2018. Shelly E. Finke, Alternate OSD Federal Register, Liaison Officer, Department of Defense.
    [FR Doc. 2018-09811 Filed 5-8-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3710-08-P
    DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE Office of the Secretary [Docket ID DOD-2018-OS-0023] Proposed Collection; Comment Request AGENCY:

    Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment, DoD.

    ACTION:

    Information collection notice.

    SUMMARY:

    In compliance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, the Office of Economic Adjustment announces a proposed public information collection and seeks public comment on the provisions thereof. 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 information collection; (c) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (d) ways to minimize the burden of the information collection on respondents, including through the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology.

    DATES:

    Consideration will be given to all comments received by July 9, 2018.

    ADDRESSES:

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

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

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

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

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    To request more information on this proposed information collection or to obtain a copy of the proposal and associated collection instruments, please write to the Department of Defense, Office of Economic Adjustment, 2231 Crystal Drive, Suite 520, Arlington, Virginia, 22202-3711, ATTN: Ms. Elizabeth Chimienti or call (703) 901-7644 or email eliz[email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Title; Associated Form; and OMB Number: Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) Military Base Reuse Status; DD Form 2740; OMB Control Number 0790-0003.

    Needs and Uses: Through the Office of Economic Adjustment (OEA), Department of Defense (DoD) funds are provided to communities for economic adjustment planning in response to closures and realignments of military installations. A measure of program evaluation is the monitoring of civilian job creation, and the type of redevelopment at former military installations. The respondents to the annual survey will generally be a single point of contact at the local level that is responsible for overseeing the base redevelopment effort. If this data is not collected, OEA will have no accurate, timely information regarding the civilian reuse of former military bases. As the administrator of the Defense Economic Adjustment Program, OEA has a responsibility to encourage private sector use of lands and buildings to generate jobs as military activity diminishes, and to serve as a clearinghouse for reuse data.

    Affected Public: Business or other for-profit; State, local, or tribal government.

    Annual Burden Hours: 100.

    Number of Respondents: 100.

    Responses per Respondent: 1.

    Annual Responses: 100.

    Average Burden per Response: 1 hour.

    Frequency: Annually.

    Dated: May 3, 2018. Shelly E. Finke, Alternate OSD Federal Register, Liaison Officer, Department of Defense.
    [FR Doc. 2018-09823 Filed 5-8-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 5001-06-P
    DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION [Docket No. ED-2018-ICCD-0016] Agency Information Collection Activities; Submission to the Office of Management and Budget for Review and Approval; Comment Request; Assurance of Compliance—Civil Rights Certificate AGENCY:

    Office for Civil Rights (OCR), Department of Education (ED).

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, ED is proposing an extension of an existing information collection.

    DATES:

    Interested persons are invited to submit comments on or before June 8, 2018.

    ADDRESSES:

    To access and review all the documents related to the information collection listed in this notice, please use http://www.regulations.gov by searching the Docket ID number ED-2018-ICCD-0016. Comments submitted in response to this notice should be submitted electronically through the Federal eRulemaking Portal at http://www.regulations.gov by selecting the Docket ID number or via postal mail, commercial delivery, or hand delivery. Please note that comments submitted by fax or email and those submitted after the comment period will not be accepted. Written requests for information or comments submitted by postal mail or delivery should be addressed to the Director of the Information Collection Clearance Division, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue SW, LBJ, Room 216-32, Washington, DC 20202-4537.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    For specific questions related to collection activities, please contact Elizabeth Wiegman, 202-453-6039.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The Department of Education (ED), in accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA) (44 U.S.C. 3506(c)(2)(A)), provides the general public and Federal agencies with an opportunity to comment on proposed, revised, and continuing collections of information. This helps the Department assess the impact of its information collection requirements and minimize the public's reporting burden. It also helps the public understand the Department's information collection requirements and provide the requested data in the desired format. ED is soliciting comments on the proposed information collection request (ICR) that is described below. The Department of Education is especially interested in public comment addressing the following issues: (1) Is this collection necessary to the proper functions of the Department; (2) will this information be processed and used in a timely manner; (3) is the estimate of burden accurate; (4) how might the Department enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (5) how might the Department minimize the burden of this collection on the respondents, including through the use of information technology. Please note that written comments received in response to this notice will be considered public records.

    Title of Collection: Assurance of Compliance—Civil Rights Certificate.

    OMB Control Number: 1870-0503

    Type of Review: An extension of an existing information collection.

    Respondents/Affected Public: Private Sector; State, Local, and Tribal Governments.

    Total Estimated Number of Annual Responses: 25.

    Total Estimated Number of Annual Burden Hours: 8.

    Abstract: The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has enforcement responsibilities under several civil rights laws, including Title VI, Title IX, Section 504, the Age Discrimination Act, and the Boy Scouts of America Equal Access Act. To meet these responsibilities, OCR collects assurances of compliance from applicants for Federal financial assistance from, and applicants for funds made available through, the Department of Education, as required by regulations. These entities include, for example, State educational agencies, local education agencies, and postsecondary educational institutions. If a recipient violates one or more of these civil rights laws, OCR and the Department of Justice can used the signed assurances of compliance in an enforcement proceeding.

    Dated: May 3, 2018. Stephanie Valentine, Acting Director, Information Collection Clearance Division, Office of the Chief Privacy Officer, Office of Management.
    [FR Doc. 2018-09833 Filed 5-8-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4000-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION National Assessment Governing Board AGENCY:

    National Assessment Governing Board, U.S. Department of Education.

    ACTION:

    Announcement of open and closed meetings.

    SUMMARY:

    This notice sets forth the agenda for the May 17-19, 2018 Quarterly Board Meeting of the National Assessment Governing Board (hereafter referred to as Governing Board). This notice provides information to members of the public who may be interested in attending the meeting or providing written comments related to the work of the Governing Board. Notice of this meeting is required under § 10(a)(2) of the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA). This meeting notice is late due to a technical issue with the publication of the notice.

    DATES:

    The Quarterly Board Meeting will be held on the following dates:

    • May 17, 2018 from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

    • May 18, 2018 from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

    • May 19, 2018 from 7:30 a.m. to 10:45 a.m.

    ADDRESSES:

    Embassy Suites Montgomery Hotel and Conference Center, 300 Tallapoosa Street, Montgomery, Alabama 36104.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Munira Mwalimu, Executive Officer/Designated Federal Official for the Governing Board, 800 North Capitol Street NW, Suite 825, Washington, DC 20002, telephone: (202) 357-6938, fax: (202) 357-6945, email: [email protected].

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Statutory Authority and Function: The Governing Board is established under the National Assessment of Educational Progress Authorization Act, Title III of Public Law 107-279. Written comments may be submitted electronically or in hard copy to the attention of the Executive Officer/Designated Federal Official (see contact information noted above). Information on the Governing Board and its work can be found at www.nagb.gov.

    The Governing Board is established to formulate policy for the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). The Governing Board's responsibilities include the following: Selecting subject areas to be assessed, developing assessment frameworks and specifications, developing appropriate student achievement levels for each grade and subject tested, developing standards and procedures for interstate and national comparisons, improving the form and use of NAEP, developing guidelines for reporting and disseminating results, and releasing initial NAEP results to the public.

    May 17-19, 2018 Committee Meetings

    The Governing Board's standing committees will meet to conduct regularly scheduled work based on agenda items planned for this Quarterly Board Meeting and follow-up items as reported in the Governing Board's committee meeting minutes available at https://www.nagb.gov/governing-board/quarterly-board-meetings.html.

    Detailed Meeting Agenda: May 17-19, 2018 May 17: Committee Meetings

    Ad Hoc Committee on Measures of Postsecondary Preparedness: Open Session: 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

    Executive Committee: Open Session: 5:15 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

    May 18: Full Governing Board and Committee Meetings

    Full Governing Board: Open Session: 8:30 a.m. to 10:15 a.m.; 1:15 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

    Committee Meetings

    Assessment Development Committee (ADC): Open Session: 10:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

    Reporting and Dissemination (R&D): Open Session 10:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

    Committee on Standards, Design and Methodology (COSDAM): Open Session: 10:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.;

    Joint Session—R&D and COSDAM: Open Session: 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m.

    May 19: Full Governing Board and Committee Meetings

    Nominations Committee: Closed Session: 7:30 a.m. to 8:15 a.m.

    Full Governing Board: Open Session: 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.

    Ad Hoc Screening Committee on Executive Director Search: Closed Session 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

    On Thursday, May 17, 2018, the Ad Hoc Committee on Measures of Postsecondary Preparedness will meet in open session from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Thereafter, the Executive Committee will convene in open session from 5:15 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

    On Friday, May 18, 2018, the Governing Board will meet in open session from 8:30 a.m. to 10:15 a.m. From 8:30 a.m. to 8:45 a.m., the Governing Board will review and approve the May 17-19, 2018 Governing Board meeting agenda and meeting minutes from the March 2018 Quarterly Board Meeting. Thereafter, from 8:45 a.m. to 9:15 a.m. the Governing Board will receive welcome remarks from Alabama leaders to include John Merrill, Secretary of State. From 9:15 a.m. to 10:15 a.m., a panel of state leaders and educators will provide a briefing on Pre-K education issues and share information about Alabama's programs. At 10:15 a.m., the Governing Board will recess for a 15 minute break and convene for standing committee meetings which will take place from 10:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

    ADC will meet in open session from 10:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. The committee will receive a briefing and have a panel discussion related to the NAEP Mathematics Framework. R&D will meet in open session from 10:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. to discuss recent NAEP release activities, core contextual variables, and the Long-Term Trend Assessment. From 10:30 a.m. to 11:45 a.m., COSDAM will discuss a draft revised policy for achievement level setting.

    Following a short break, COSDAM will convene in a joint open session with R&D to discuss issues related to communication and interpretation of the NAEP achievement levels from 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m.

    On Friday, May 18, 2018, the Board will meet in open session from 1:15 p.m. to 2:25 p.m. to receive a briefing on how state mathematics curricula relate to NAEP mathematics. Thereafter, the Board will discuss implementing NAEP assessment schedule priorities from 2:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. Following this session, the Board will convene in small breakout discussion groups at 3:15 p.m. to discuss implementing NAEP assessment schedule priorities. The breakout sessions will conclude at 4:15 p.m. Following a short break, the Board will reconvene from 4:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. to summarize and reflect on the breakout discussion groups. The May 18, 2018 session of the Governing Board meeting will adjourn at 5:00 p.m.

    On Saturday, May 19, 2018, the Nominations Committee will meet in closed session from 7:30 a.m. to 8:15 a.m. The Committee will discuss nominees for Governing Board vacancies for terms beginning October 1, 2018. The Nominations Committee's discussions pertain solely to internal personnel rules and practices of an agency and information of a personal nature where disclosure would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy. As such, the discussions are protected by exemptions 2 and 6 of § 552b(c) of Title 5 of the United States Code.

    On May 19, 2018, the Governing Board will convene in open session from 8:30 a.m. to 9:15 a.m. to receive an update from the Ad Hoc Committee on Post-Secondary Preparedness. The Governing Board will then receive reports from its standing committees from 9:15 a.m. to 9:45 a.m. From 9:45 a.m. to 10:45 a.m. the Governing Board will meet in closed session to receive a briefing on results Connecting NAEP to State and Local as it relates to results for the State Mapping Report and the Stanford Education Data Archive project. This briefing must be in closed session because data for this study has not been released to the public. Public disclosure of secure data would significantly impede implementation of the NAEP assessment program if conducted in open session. Such matters are protected by exemption 9(B) of § 552b of Title 5 U.S.C.

    The Governing Board's Ad Hoc Screening Committee—established by the Chair after consultation with the Governing Board—will meet in closed session from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. to review applications for the Executive Director vacancy. These discussions pertain solely to internal personnel rules and practices of an agency and information of a personal nature where disclosure would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy. As such, the discussions are protected by exemptions 2 and 6 of § 552b(c) of Title 5 of the United States Code.

    Access to Records of the Meeting: Pursuant to FACA requirements, the public may also inspect the meeting materials at www.nagb.gov beginning on Thursday, May 17, 2018, by 10:00 a.m. EST. The official verbatim transcripts of the public meeting sessions will be available for public inspection no later than 30 calendar days following the meeting.

    Reasonable Accommodations: The meeting site is accessible to individuals with disabilities. If you will need an auxiliary aid or service to participate in the meeting (e.g., interpreting service, assistive listening device, or materials in an alternate format), notify the contact person listed in this notice no later than 21 days prior to the meeting.

    Electronic Access to this Document: The official version of this document is the document published in the Federal Register. Internet access to the official edition of the Federal Register and the Code of Federal Regulations is available via the Federal Digital System at: www.thefederalregister.org/fdsys. At this site you can view this document, as well as all other documents of this Department published in the Federal Register, in text or Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF). To use PDF, you must have Adobe Acrobat Reader, which is available free at the Adobe website. You may also access documents of the Department published in the Federal Register by using the article search feature at: www.federalregister.gov. Specifically, through the advanced search feature at this site, you can limit your search to documents published by the Department.

    Authority:

    Pub. L. 107-279, Title III—National Assessment of Educational Progress § 301.

    Dated: May 3, 2018. Munira Mwalimu, Executive Officer, delegated authority as Designated Federal Official, National Assessment Governing Board (NAGB), U.S. Department of Education.
    [FR Doc. 2018-09831 Filed 5-8-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4000-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY [FE Docket Nos. 11-162-LNG, 15-67-LNG, 15-90-LNG, and 16-34-LNG] Change in Control: Cameron LNG, LLC AGENCY:

    Office of Fossil Energy, DOE.

    ACTION:

    Notice of change in control.

    SUMMARY:

    The Office of Fossil Energy (FE) of the Department of Energy (DOE) gives notice of receipt of a Notice of Proposed Change in Control (Notice) filed March 23, 2018, by Cameron LNG, LLC (Cameron LNG) in FE Docket Nos. 11-162-LNG, 15-67-LNG, 15-90-LNG, and 16-34-LNG. The Notice describes a proposed change in control of ENGIE, S.A., an indirect parent entity. The Notice was filed under section 3 of the Natural Gas Act (NGA).

    DATES:

    Protests, motions to intervene, or notices of intervention, as applicable, and written comments are to be filed using procedures detailed in the Public Comment Procedures section no later than 4:30 p.m., Eastern time, May 24, 2018.

    ADDRESSES:

    Electronic Filing by email: [email protected]

    Regular Mail U.S. Department of Energy (FE-34), Office of Regulation and International Engagement, Office of Fossil Energy, P.O. Box 44375, Washington, DC 20026-4375.

    Hand Delivery or Private Delivery Services (e.g., FedEx, UPS, etc.) U.S. Department of Energy (FE-34), Office of Regulation and International Engagement, Office of Fossil Energy, Forrestal Building, Room 3E-042, 1000 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20585.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Larine Moore or Amy Sweeney, U.S. Department of Energy (FE-34), Office of Regulation and International Engagement, Office of Fossil Energy, Forrestal Building, Room 3E-042, 1000 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20585, (202) 586-9478; (202) 586-2627.

    Cassandra Bernstein or Ronald (R.J.) Colwell, U.S. Department of Energy (GC-76), Office of the Assistant General Counsel for Electricity and Fossil Energy, Forrestal Building, 1000 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20585, (202) 586-9793; (202) 586-8499.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Summary of Change in Control

    Cameron LNG filed a Notice of Proposed Change in Control in the above-referenced dockets.1 In the Notice, Cameron LNG states that it is a direct, wholly-owned subsidiary of Cameron LNG Holdings, LLC (Cameron Holdings). According to Cameron LNG, the following entities currently hold direct membership interests in Cameron Holdings: Sempra LNG Holdings II, LLC, 50.2% interest; ENGIE Cameron LNG Corporation, 16.6% interest; Mitsui & Co. Cameron LNG Investment LLC, 16.6% interest; and Japan LNG Investment, LLC, 16.6% interest.2

    1 Cameron LNG, LLC, FE Docket Nos. 11-162-LNG, et al., Statement of Proposed Change in Control (Mar. 23, 2018) [hereinafter Cameron LNG Notice.].

    2See id. at 2.

    Cameron LNG describes a proposed transaction involving ENGIE Cameron LNG Corporation (ENGIE Member).3 The ENGIE member is a Delaware corporation and an indirect, wholly owned subsidiary of ENGIE, S.A (ENGIE).4 Specifically, Cameron LNG states that another entity, Total S.A., is planning to acquire a portion of ENGIE's global LNG business (Proposed Transaction). The U.S. component of this Proposed Transaction would confer to Total S.A. a 100% indirect ownership interest in the ENGIE Member.5 Total S.A. and ENGIE contemplate that this Proposed Transaction will close by the end of June 2018.6

    3See id.

    4See id. at n.6.

    5 Cameron LNG is advised that its described change in control may also require the approval of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS). DOE expresses no opinion regarding the need for review by CFIUS. Additional information may be obtained at: http://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/international/Pages/Committee-on-Foreign-Investment-in-US.aspx.

    6See Cameron LNG Notice at 3-6.

    Additional details can be found in Cameron LNG's Notice, posted on the DOE/FE website at: https://www.energy.gov/sites/prod/files/2018/03/f50/Cameron%20LNG%20CIC%2003_23_18.pdf.

    DOE/FE Evaluation

    DOE/FE will review Cameron LNG's Notice in accordance with its Procedures for Changes in Control Affecting Applications and Authorizations to Import or Export Natural Gas (CIC Revised Procedures).7 Consistent with the CIC Revised Procedures, this Notice addresses only the authorizations granted to Cameron LNG to export liquefied natural gas (LNG) to non-free trade agreement (non-FTA) countries in DOE/FE Order Nos. 3391-A (FE Docket No. 11-162-LNG), 3797 (FE Docket No. 15-67-LNG), 3846 (FE Docket No. 15-90-LNG), and the non-FTA portion of the authorization issued in DOE/FE Order No. 3904 (FE Docket No. 16-34-LNG).8 If no interested person protests the change in control and DOE takes no action on its own motion, the change in control will be deemed granted 30 days after publication in the Federal Register. If one or more protests are submitted, DOE will review any motions to intervene, protests, and answers, and will issue a determination as to whether the proposed change in control has been demonstrated to render the underlying authorization inconsistent with the public interest.

    7 79 FR 65541 (Nov. 5, 2014).

    8 Cameron LNG's Notice also applies to its FTA authorizations (see Cameron LNG Notice at 6), but DOE/FE has responded to that portion of the Notice separately pursuant to its Change in Control Procedures, 79 FR 65542.

    Public Comment Procedures

    Interested persons will be provided 15 days from the date of publication of this notice in the Federal Register in order to move to intervene, protest, and answer Cameron LNG's Notice. Protests, motions to intervene, notices of intervention, and written comments are invited in response to this notice only as to the change in control described in Cameron LNG's Notice, and only with respect to Cameron LNG's non-FTA authorizations in DOE/FE Order Nos. 3391-A, 3797, 3846, and 3904. All protests, comments, motions to intervene, or notices of intervention must meet the requirements specified by DOE's regulations in 10 CFR part 590.

    Filings may be submitted using one of the following methods: (1) Preferred method: emailing the filing to [email protected], with the individual FE Docket Number(s) in the title line, or Cameron LNG Change in Control in the title line to include all applicable dockets in this notice; (2) mailing an original and three paper copies of the filing to the Office of Regulation and International Engagement at the address listed in ADDRESSES; or (3) hand delivering an original and three paper copies of the filing to the Office of Regulation and International Engagement at the address listed in ADDRESSES. All filings must include a reference to the individual FE Docket Number(s) in the title line, or Cameron LNG Change in Control in the title line to include all applicable dockets in this notice. Please note: If submitting a filing via email, please include all related documents and attachments (e.g., exhibits) in the original email correspondence. Please do not include any active hyperlinks or password protection in any of the documents or attachments related to the filing. All electronic filings submitted to DOE must follow these guidelines to ensure that all documents are filed in a timely manner. Any hardcopy filing submitted greater in length than 50 pages must also include, at the time of the filing, a digital copy on disk of the entire submission.

    Cameron LNG's Notice and any filed protests, motions to intervene, notices of intervention, and comments are available for inspection and copying in the Office of Regulation and International Engagement docket room, Room 3E-042, 1000 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20585. The docket room is open between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.

    The Notice and any filed protests, motions to intervene, notices of intervention, and comments will also be available electronically by going to the following DOE/FE Web address: http://www.fe.doe.gov/programs/gasregulation/index.html.

    Issued in Washington, DC, on May 3, 2018. Amy Sweeney, Director, Division of Natural Gas Regulation, Office of Fossil Energy.
    [FR Doc. 2018-09873 Filed 5-8-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6450-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY National Nuclear Security Administration 229 Boundary Notice for the Pantex Plant Administrative Support Complex AGENCY:

    National Nuclear Security Administration, Department of Energy (DOE).

    ACTION:

    Notice of 229 Boundary revisions for the Pantex Plant Administrative Support Complex.

    SUMMARY:

    Pursuant to Section 229 of the Atomic Energy Act of 1954 (as amended), notice is hereby given that the United States Department of Energy is adding to its DOE- and contractor-occupied property at the Pantex Plant in Carson County, Texas, covered by DOE's regulations, Trespassing on Department of Energy Property, in the Code of Federal Regulations. In addition to the previously identified areas of the Pantex Plant, these regulations hereby prohibit the unauthorized entry onto and the unauthorized carrying, transporting, or otherwise introducing or causing to be introduced any dangerous weapon, explosive, or other dangerous instrument or material, into or upon the following described property of the Pantex Plant of the United States Department of Energy, National Nuclear Security Administration Production Office.

    DATES:

    This action is effective on May 9, 2018.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Larry Warner, U.S. Department of Energy, National Nuclear Security Administration, P.O. Box 30030, Amarillo, TX 79120. Email: [email protected] Phone: 806-573-7129.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The DOE, successor agency to the Atomic Energy Commission, is authorized by section 229 of the Atomic Energy Act of 1954, as amended (42 U.S.C. 2278a), and by section 301 of the Department of Energy Organization Act (42 U.S.C. 7151), to issue regulations relating to the entry upon and carrying, transporting, or otherwise introducing or causing to be introduced, any dangerous weapon, explosive, or other dangerous instrument or material likely to produce substantial injury or damage to persons or property, into or upon any facility, installation, or real property subject to the jurisdiction, administration, or custody of the DOE. To exercise this statutory authority, on August 16, 1963, the DOE first promulgated the regulations now found at 10 CFR part 860, and on September 14, 1993 (58 FR 47985), DOE revised and reissued these regulations.

    The Pantex Plant is a DOE NNSA facility located in Carson County, Texas, northeast of Amarillo, Texas. By notice published on October 19, 1965 (30 FR 13287), DOE prohibited unauthorized entry into or upon the Pantex Plant by providing a property description in the Federal Register. The Pantex Plant property description was revised on July 31, 1985 (50 FR 31004) (as corrected on December 16, 1985 (50 FR 51283)), and was again revised on September 20, 1991 (56 FR 47746). By publishing this Notice, DOE hereby adds the property described below to its previously published property descriptions of the Pantex Plant, and prohibits the unauthorized entry upon and the unauthorized introduction of weapons, explosives, dangerous materials, or dangerous instruments, into and upon, the Pantex Plant. Section 860.5 of Title 10 of the Code of Federal Regulations provides that conviction for willful unauthorized entry into or upon areas enclosed by a fence, wall, floor, roof or other structural barrier can result in a fine not to exceed $100,000 or imprisonment for not more than one year, or both. Section 860.5 also provides that conviction for willful unauthorized entry into areas not enclosed by a fence, wall, floor, roof, or other such structural barrier may result in a fine of not more than $5,000. Per § 860.7, the prohibitions of §§ 860.3 and 860.4 are effective upon publication of this Notice and with posting in accordance with § 860.6.

    The addition is described in further detail in the paragraphs that follow.

    Property Description:

    A 52.26 Acre tract of land out of the northern portion of section 30 and the south half of section 31, block M-4, J. H. Gibson Survey, Carson County, Texas, and more particularly described as follows:

    Beginning at a 1/2″; Iron Rod with a yellow cap inscribed “RPLS 4263” (such type cap and rod hereafter referred to as an OJD Cap) found on the west right-of-way line of F.M. NO. 2373 same being on the north line of said south half of said Section 31 which bears S 00° 12′ 30″ E a distance of 2644.40 feet and S 89° 21′ 01″ W a distance of 58.19 feet from a Railroad Spike found at the northeast corner of said Section 31 for the northeast corner of this tract.

    Thence S 00° 11′ 06″ E, along said west right-of-way line, a distance of 2626.71 feet to an OJD Cap found on said west right-of-way line for an angle corner of this tract.

    Thence S 00° 05′ 06″ E, continuing along said west right-of-way line, a distance of 1018.47 feet to an OJD Cap found on said west right-of-way line for the southeast corner of this tract.

    Thence S 89° 54′ 54″ W a distance of 1281.57 feet to an OJD Cap found for the southwest corner of this tract.

    Thence N 00° 05′ 06″ W a distance of 1698.80 feet to an OJD Cap found for the most westerly northwest corner of this tract.

    Thence N 89° 48′ 54″ E a distance of 1230.38 feet to an OJD Cap found for an angle corner of this tract.

    Thence N 00° 11′ 06″ W a distance of 1893.74 feet to an OJD Cap found for an angle corner of this tract.

    Thence N 45° 25′ 02″ W a distance of 70.43 feet to an OJD Cap found on said north line for the most northerly northwest corner of this tract.

    Thence N 89° 21′ 01″ E a distance of 100.00 feet to the place of beginning and containing 52.26 acres of land.

    This description is in addition to the descriptions contained in the Federal Register notices published on October 19, 1965, July 31, 1985 (as corrected on December 16, 1985), and September 20, 1991, and includes all buildings, structures, installations, and parcels of real property therein.

    Notices stating the pertinent prohibitions of §§ 860.3 and 860.4 and the penalties of § 860.5 will be posted at any entrances of the above-referenced areas and at intervals along their perimeters where 10 CFR part 860 is to be implemented, as provided in § 860.6.

    Issued in Carson County, Texas on May 1, 2018. Arnold E. Guevara, Assistant Manager for Safeguards and Security.
    [FR Doc. 2018-09876 Filed 5-8-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6450-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission [Docket No. OR18-22-000] Notice of Petition for Declaratory Order: Buckeye Pipe Line Company, L.P., Laurel Pipe Line Company, L.P.

    Take notice that on April 30, 2018, pursuant to Rule 207(a)(2) of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's (Commission) Rules of Practice and Procedure, 18 CFR 385.207(a)(2) (2017), Buckeye Pipe Line Company, L.P. (Buckeye) and Laurel Pipe Line Company, L.P. (Laurel) (collectively, Buckeye/Laurel) filed a joint petition for a declaratory order seeking approval of the overall tariff rate structure and terms and conditions of service for a new service to be provided by using expanded Buckeye capacity, and by developing new bi-directional capability on the Laurel system, all as more fully explained in the petition.

    Any person desiring to intervene or to protest this filing must file in accordance with Rules 211 and 214 of the Commission's Rules of Practice and Procedure (18 CFR 385.211, 385.214). Protests will be considered by the Commission in determining the appropriate action to be taken, but will not serve to make protestants parties to the proceeding. Any person wishing to become a party must file a notice of intervention or motion to intervene, as appropriate. Such notices, motions, or protests must be filed on or before the comment date. Anyone filing a motion to intervene or protest must serve a copy of that document on the Petitioner.

    The Commission encourages electronic submission of protests and interventions in lieu of paper using the “eFiling” link at http://www.ferc.gov. Persons unable to file electronically should submit an original and 5 copies of the protest or intervention to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street NE, Washington, DC 20426.

    This filing is accessible on-line at http://www.ferc.gov, using the “eLibrary” link and is available for review in the Commission's Public Reference Room in Washington, DC. There is an “eSubscription” link on the website that enables subscribers to receive email notification when a document is added to a subscribed docket(s). For assistance with any FERC Online service, please email [email protected], or call (866) 208-3676 (toll free). For TTY, call (202) 502-8659.

    Comment Date: 5:00 p.m. Eastern time on May 30, 2018.

    Dated: May 3, 2018. Nathaniel J. Davis, Sr., Deputy Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2018-09860 Filed 5-8-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Combined Notice of Filings #1

    Take notice that the Commission received the following electric corporate filings:

    Docket Numbers: EC18-90-000.

    Applicants: Washington County Power, LLC.

    Description: Application for Authorization of Transaction Under Section 203 of the Federal Power Act, and Requests for Expedited Action, et. al. of Washington County Power, LLC.

    Applicants: 5/1/18.

    Accession Number: 20180501-5417.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/22/18.

    Take notice that the Commission received the following electric rate filings:

    Docket Numbers: ER10-3194-006; ER10-3195-006.

    Applicants: MATEP LLC, MATEP Limited Partnership.

    Description: Notice of Non-Material Change in Status of MATEP LLC, et al.

    Applicants: 4/30/18.

    Accession Number: 20180430-5522.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/21/18.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-1346-004.

    Applicants: Midcontinent Independent System Operator, Inc.

    Description: Compliance filing: 2018-05-02_SA 2911 LEPA-MISO External NRIS (J373) Compliance (4th Sub) to be effective 4/6/2016.

    Applicants: 5/2/18.

    Accession Number: 20180502-5154.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/23/18.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-1817-005.

    Applicants: Midcontinent Independent System Operator, Inc.

    Description: Compliance filing: 2018-05-02_Additional Compliance filing of E-NRIS pro forma (5th) to be effective 4/5/2016.

    Applicants: 5/2/18.

    Accession Number: 20180502-5153.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/23/18.

    Docket Numbers: ER17-256-004; ER17-242-004; ER17-243-004; ER17-245-004; ER17-652-004

    Applicants: Darby Power, LLC, Gavin Power, LLC, Lawrenceburg Power, LLC, Lightstone Marketing LLC, Waterford Power, LLC.

    Description: Notice of Change in Status of Darby Power, LLC, et. al.

    Applicants: 4/30/18.

    Accession Number: 20180430-5521.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/21/18.

    Docket Numbers: ER18-1217-001.

    Applicants: Southwestern Electric Power Company.

    Description: Tariff Amendment: Amended and Restated NTEC PSA to be effective 5/31/2018.

    Applicants: 5/3/18.

    Accession Number: 20180503-5012.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/24/18.

    Docket Numbers: ER18-1511-000.

    Applicants: PJM Interconnection, L.L.C.

    Description: § 205(d) Rate Filing: Second Revised ISA, SA No. 3483; Queue No. AA2-069 to be effective 4/2/2018.

    Applicants: 5/2/18.

    Accession Number: 20180502-5150.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/23/18.

    Docket Numbers: ER18-1512-000.

    Applicants: Virginia Electric and Power Company.

    Description: Compliance filing: Informational Filing of Virginia Electric and Power Company to be effective N/A.

    Applicants: 5/3/18.

    Accession Number: 20180503-5001.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/24/18.

    Docket Numbers: ER18-1513-000

    Applicants: Entergy Arkansas, Inc., Entergy Louisiana, LLC, Entergy Mississippi, Inc., Entergy New Orleans, LLC, Entergy Texas, Inc.

    Description: Post-Retirement Benefits Other than Pensions for 2017 Test Year of Entergy Arkansas, Inc., et al.

    Applicants: 5/1/18.

    Accession Number: 20180501-5416.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/22/18.

    Take notice that the Commission received the following electric securities filings:

    Docket Numbers: ES18-36-000; ES18-37-000.

    Applicants: Entergy Arkansas, LLC, Entergy Mississippi, LLC.

    Description: Joint Application for Section 204 Authorizations of Entergy Arkansas, LLC, et al.

    Applicants: 4/30/18.

    Accession Number: 20180430-5519.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/21/18.

    The filings are accessible in the Commission's eLibrary system by clicking on the links or querying the docket number.

    Any person desiring to intervene or protest in any of the above proceedings must file in accordance with Rules 211 and 214 of the Commission's Regulations (18 CFR 385.211 and 385.214) on or before 5:00 p.m. Eastern time on the specified comment date. Protests may be considered, but intervention is necessary to become a party to the proceeding.

    eFiling is encouraged. More detailed information relating to filing requirements, interventions, protests, service, and qualifying facilities filings can be found at: http://www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/efiling/filing-req.pdf. For other information, call (866) 208-3676 (toll free). For TTY, call (202) 502-8659.

    Dated: May 3, 2018. Nathaniel J. Davis, Sr., Deputy Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2018-09861 Filed 5-8-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Before Commissioners: Cheryl A. LaFleur, Neil Chatterjee, Robert F. Powelson, and Richard Glick CinCap V, LLC Docket No. ER10-1325-008 Duke Energy Beckjord, LLC Docket No. ER17-1968-000 Duke Energy Carolinas, LLC Docket No. ER17-1967-000 Duke Energy Commercial Enterprises, Inc Docket No. ER17-1970-000 Duke Energy Florida, LLC Docket No. ER17-1971-000 Duke Energy Progress, LLC Docket No. ER17-1964-000 Duke Energy Renewable Services, LLC Docket No. ER17-1972-000 Duke Energy SAM, LLC Docket No. ER17-1973-000 Louisville Gas and Electric Company Docket No. ER10-1511-007 Kentucky Utilities Company Docket No. ER10-2231-006 LG&E Energy Marketing Inc Docket No. ER10-1714-009 Florida Power & Light Company Docket No. ER10-1852-017 Live Oak Solar, LLC Docket No. ER16-1354-003 NextEra Energy Marketing, LLC Docket No. ER17-838-001 NEPM II, LLC Docket No. ER11-4462-026 River Bend Solar, LLC Docket No. ER16-1913-002 White Oak Solar, LLC Docket No. ER16-1293-003 White Pine Solar, LLC Docket No. ER16-1277-003 South Carolina Electric & Gas Company Docket No. ER10-2498-004 Alabama Power Company Docket No. ER10-2881-031 Southern Power Company Docket No. ER10-2882-033 Mississippi Power Company Docket No. ER10-2883-031 Georgia Power Company Docket No. ER10-2884-031 Gulf Power Company Docket No. ER10-2885-031 Oleander Power Project, Limited Partnership Docket No. ER10-2641-030 Southern Company-Florida, LLC Docket No. ER10-2663-031 Mankato Energy Center, LLC Docket No. ER10-1874-005 Tampa Electric Company Docket No. ER10-1437-006 Order Accepting Simultaneous Transmission Import Limit Values for the Southeast Region and Providing Clarification on Simultaneous Transmission Import Limit Studies

    1. In June 2017,1 CinCap V, LLC, Duke Energy Beckjord, LLC, Duke Energy Carolinas, LLC, Duke Energy Commercial Enterprises, Inc., Duke Energy Florida, LLC, Duke Energy Progress, LLC, Duke Energy Renewable Services, LLC, Duke Energy SAM, LLC; Louisville Gas and Electric Company, Kentucky Utilities Company, LG&E Energy Marketing Inc.; Florida Power & Light Company, Live Oak Solar, LLC, NextEra Energy Marketing, LLC, NEPM II, LLC, River Bend Solar, LLC, White Oak Solar, LLC, White Pine Solar, LLC; South Carolina Electric & Gas Company; Southern Company Services, Inc. (Southern Company), acting as agent for Alabama Power Company, Southern Power Company, Mississippi Power Company, Georgia Power Company, Gulf Power Company, and their affiliates, Oleander Power Project, Limited Partnership, Southern Company—Florida LLC, Mankato Energy Center, LLC; and Tampa Electric Company (collectively, the Southeast Transmission Owners) submitted updated market power analyses for the Southeast region in accordance with the regional reporting schedule.2 The Southeast Transmission Owners included Simultaneous Transmission Import Limit (SIL) values for the December 2014-November 2015 study period for balancing authority areas in the Southeast region.

    1 We note that some of the Southeast Transmission Owners submitted amendments to their filings.

    2See Market-Based Rates for Wholesale Sales of Electric Energy, Capacity and Ancillary Services by Public Utilities, Order No. 697, FERC Stats. & Regs. ¶ 31,252, at P 882, clarified, 121 FERC ¶ 61,260 (2007), order on reh'g, Order No. 697-A, FERC Stats. & Regs. ¶ 31,268, clarified, 124 FERC ¶ 61,055, order on reh'g, Order No. 697-B, FERC Stats. & Regs. ¶ 31,285 (2008), order on reh'g, Order No. 697-C, FERC Stats. & Regs. ¶ 31,291 (2009), order on reh'g, Order No. 697-D, FERC Stats. & Regs. ¶ 31,305 (2010), aff'd sub nom. Montana Consumer Counsel v. FERC, 659 F.3d 910 (9th Cir. 2011), cert. denied, 133 S. Ct. 26 (2012). See also Refinements to Policies and Procedures for Market-Based Rates for Wholesale Sales of Electric Energy, Capacity and Ancillary Services by Public Utilities, Order No. 816, FERC Stats. & Regs. ¶ 31,374, at P 353 (2015), order on reh'g, Order No. 816-A, FERC Stats. & Regs. ¶ 31,382 (2016).

    2. In this order, the Commission accepts the SIL values identified in Appendix A (Commission-accepted SIL values). These Commission-accepted SIL values will be used by the Commission to analyze updated market power analyses submitted by transmission owners for the Southeast region as well as any updated market power analyses filed by non-transmission owning sellers in the Southeast region for this study period. SIL studies are used as a basis for calculating import capability to serve load in the relevant geographic market when performing market power analyses. SIL values quantify a study area's simultaneous import capability from its aggregated first-tier area. The values accepted herein are based on SIL studies submitted by the Southeast Transmission Owners with their updated market power analyses. The Southeast Transmission Owners' updated market power analyses themselves, including any responsive pleadings, are being addressed in separate orders in the relevant dockets.

    3. We note that other transmission owners in the Southeast region also submitted updated market power analyses. The updated market power analyses for those transmission owners have been or will be addressed in separate orders in the relevant dockets.3

    3See, e.g., Alcoa Power Generating Inc., Docket No. ER10-3069-007 (Dec. 1, 2017) (delegated order).

    4. Additionally in this order, we provide clarification on the calculation of SIL values.

    I. Background

    5. In Order No. 697, the Commission adopted a regional filing schedule for filing updated market power analyses.4 The Commission explained that the transmission-owning utilities have the information necessary to perform SIL studies and therefore determined that such utilities would be required to file their updated market power analyses in advance of other entities in each region.5

    4 Order No. 697, FERC Stats. & Regs. ¶ 31,252 at P 882.

    5Id. P 889.

    6. In addition to providing SIL studies for their respective balancing authority areas, the Southeast Transmission Owners provided SIL studies for their respective first-tier balancing authority areas. Specifically, SIL studies were submitted for the following balancing authority areas that, collectively, are first-tier to the Southeast Transmission Owners: City of Tallahassee, Jacksonville Electric Authority, Midcontinent Independent System Operator, Inc. (MISO),6 PowerSouth Energy Cooperative, South Carolina Public Service Authority (Santee Cooper), Seminole Electric Cooperative, and the Tennessee Valley Authority.

    6 This order does not address SIL values for the MISO market. The SIL values for the MISO market are addressed in a separate order. Entergy Arkansas, Inc., Docket No. ER10-1763-003 (Apr. 11, 2018) (delegated order).

    II. Discussion

    7. We begin by commending the Southeast Transmission Owners for coordinating the preparation of their SIL studies. Such coordination leads to more accurate and consistent SIL study results. The SIL values we accept herein are based on calculations by the Southeast Transmission Owners.

    8. These calculations resulted in a few cases where there were conflicting SIL values for certain Florida balancing authority areas.7 In those cases, we have selected the values submitted by the Tampa Electric Company.8

    7 Conflicting SIL values were submitted for the Florida Power & Light Company, Duke Energy Florida, and the Jacksonville Electric Authority balancing authority areas.

    8 Tampa Electric Company's SIL study utilized case studies based on models provided by the Florida Reliability Coordinating Council.

    9. The Southeast Transmission Owners generally performed their SIL studies correctly. However, the review of these filings, as well as the review of filings for other regions, leads the Commission to conclude that it is appropriate to remind sellers of its expectations, and provide clarification, with respect to the calculation of SIL values. As the Commission has previously stated, each transmission owner should utilize the methodologies outlined in its Commission-approved Open Access Transmission Tariff (OATT) to calculate its simultaneous import capability that would have been available to suppliers in surrounding first-tier markets during each seasonal peak.9 The Commission has stated that transfer capability should also include any other limits (such as stability, voltage, capacity benefit margin (CBM), transmission reserve margin (TRM)) as defined in the OATT and that existed during each seasonal peak.10 In addition, the Commission has stated that the transmission owner must utilize the Open Access Same-Time Information System (OASIS) practices consistent with the administration of its tariff.11 The Commission has clarified that the term “OASIS practices” refers to the operating practices historically used by the first-tier and study area transmission providers to calculate and post available transfer capability (ATC) and to evaluate requests for firm transmission service.12 The Commission has specified that the SIL study should not deviate from and must reasonably reflect the seller's OASIS operating practices.13 The Commission emphasizes here that each transmission owner's SIL values must reflect TRM and CBM in the same manner as utilized to calculate and post ATC and to evaluate requests for firm transmission service.14

    9AEP Power Marketing, Inc., 107 FERC ¶ 61,018, at P 84, order on reh'g, 108 FERC ¶ 61,026 (2004).

    10Id.

    11 Order No. 816, FERC Stats. & Regs. ¶ 31,374 at 154.

    12Id.

    13 Order No. 697, FERC Stats. & Regs. ¶ 31,252 at P 354.

    14 The SIL values that Southern Company derived in its January 16, 2018 sensitivity analysis for the Southern Company balancing authority area are consistent with the clarification provided in this order and therefore are the SIL values accepted by the Commission.

    10. The Commission will use the Commission-accepted SIL values identified in Appendix A when reviewing the pending updated market power analyses submitted by transmission owners in the Southeast region as well as any updated market power analyses filed by non-transmission owning sellers in the Southeast region for this study period. Future filers submitting screens for the balancing authority areas and study period identified in Appendix A are encouraged to use these Commission-accepted SIL values. In the alternative, a filer may propose different SIL values provided that the filer's accompanying SIL studies comply with Commission directives and that the filer fully supports the values used and explains why the Commission should consider a different SIL value for a particular study area other than the Commission-accepted SIL values provided in Appendix A. In the event that the results 15 for one or more of a particular seller's screens differ if the seller-supplied SIL value is used instead of the Commission-accepted SIL value, the order on that particular filing will examine the seller-supplied SIL study and address whether the seller-supplied SIL value is acceptable. However, when the overall results of the screens would be unchanged, i.e., the seller would pass using either set of SIL values or fail using either set of SIL values, the Commission-accepted SIL values found in Appendix A will be used and the order would not address the seller-supplied SIL values.

    15 Results refer to the results of the market share and/or pivotal supplier screens. For example, if a seller fails the market share screen for a particular season in a particular market using either SIL value, we would consider the result unchanged. Similarly, if the seller passes the screen using either value, the result is also unchanged.

    The Commission orders:

    (A) The specific Commission-accepted SIL values identified in Appendix A to this order are hereby accepted for purposes of analyzing updated market power analyses for the Southeast region, as discussed in the body of this order.

    (B) The Secretary is hereby directed to publish a copy of this order in the Federal Register.

    By the Commission. Chairman McIntyre is not participating.

    Issued: May 1, 2018. Nathaniel J. Davis, Sr., Deputy Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2018-09854 Filed 5-8-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Combined Notice of Filings

    Take notice that the Commission has received the following Natural Gas Pipeline Rate and Refund Report filings:

    Filings Instituting Proceedings

    Docket Numbers: RP18-783-000.

    Applicants: Northern Natural Gas Company.

    Description: § 4(d) Rate Filing: 20180501 Winter PRA Fuel Rates to be effective 11/1/2018.

    Filed Date: 5/1/18.

    Accession Number: 20180501-5380.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/14/18.

    Docket Numbers: RP18-784-000.

    Applicants: Columbia Gas Transmission, LLC.

    Description: § 4(d) Rate Filing: TCO Virginia Power Negotiated Rate Amendment to be effective 5/1/2018.

    Filed Date: 5/1/18.

    Accession Number: 20180501-5382.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/14/18.

    Docket Numbers: RP18-785-000.

    Applicants: Columbia Gas Transmission, LLC.

    Description: § 4(d) Rate Filing: CNX Antero Amendment Filing to be effective 5/1/2018.

    Filed Date: 5/1/18.

    Accession Number: 20180501-5383.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/14/18.

    Docket Numbers: RP18-786-000.

    Applicants: ETC Tiger Pipeline, LLC.

    Description: § 4(d) Rate Filing: Fuel Filing on 5-1-18 to be effective 6/1/2018.

    Filed Date: 5/1/18.

    Accession Number: 20180501-5394.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/14/18.

    Docket Numbers: RP18-787-000.

    Applicants: Fayetteville Express Pipeline LLC.

    Description: § 4(d) Rate Filing: Fuel Filing on 5-1-18 to be effective 6/1/2018.

    Filed Date: 5/1/18.

    Accession Number: 20180501-5397.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/14/18.

    Docket Numbers: RP18-788-000.

    Applicants: Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company, L.L.C.

    Description: § 4(d) Rate Filing: Volume No. 2—Triad Expansion Project to be effective 6/1/2018.

    Filed Date: 5/1/18.

    Accession Number: 20180501-5400.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/14/18.

    Docket Numbers: RP18-789-000.

    Applicants: Cheniere Corpus Christi Pipeline, LP.

    Description: Compliance filing CCPL Compliance Filing for Docket No. CP12-508-000 to be effective 6/1/2018.

    Filed Date: 5/1/18.

    Accession Number: 20180501-5402.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/14/18.

    Docket Numbers: RP18-790-000.

    Applicants: Enable Gas Transmission, LLC.

    Description: § 4(d) Rate Filing: Negotiated Rate Filing—May 2018 Spire 1005896 to be effective 5/1/2018.

    Filed Date: 5/1/18.

    Accession Number: 20180501-5404.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/14/18.

    Docket Numbers: RP18-791-000.

    Applicants: Cheniere Corpus Christi Pipeline, LP.

    Description: § 4(d) Rate Filing: CCPL/CCL Negotiated Rate to be effective 6/1/2018.

    Filed Date: 5/2/18.

    Accession Number: 20180502-5044.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/14/18.

    Docket Numbers: RP18-792-000.

    Applicants: Northern Natural Gas Company.

    Description: § 4(d) Rate Filing: 20180502 Negotiated Rate to be effective 5/2/2018.

    Filed Date: 5/2/18.

    Accession Number: 20180502-5147.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/14/18.

    Docket Numbers: RP18-793-000.

    Applicants: Granite State Gas Transmission, Inc.

    Description: § 4(d) Rate Filing: Amendment Settlement Filing to be effective 7/31/2018.

    Filed Date: 5/2/18.

    Accession Number: 20180502-5148.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/14/18.

    The filings are accessible in the Commission's eLibrary system by clicking on the links or querying the docket number.

    Any person desiring to intervene or protest in any of the above proceedings must file in accordance with Rules 211 and 214 of the Commission's Regulations (18 CFR 385.211 and 385.214) on or before 5:00 p.m. Eastern time on the specified comment date. Protests may be considered, but intervention is necessary to become a party to the proceeding.

    eFiling is encouraged. More detailed information relating to filing requirements, interventions, protests, service, and qualifying facilities filings can be found at: http://www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/efiling/filing-req.pdf. For other information, call (866) 208-3676 (toll free). For TTY, call (202) 502-8659.

    Dated: May 3, 2018. Nathaniel J. Davis, Sr., Deputy Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2018-09850 Filed 5-8-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission [Docket No. IC18-5-000] Commission Information Collection Activities (FERC-917 and FERC-918); Comment Request; Extension AGENCY:

    Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

    ACTION:

    Comment request.

    SUMMARY:

    In compliance with the requirements of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (Commission or FERC) is submitting its information collection FERC-917 (Electric Transmission Facilities) and FERC-918 (Standards for Business Practices and Communication Protocols for Public Utilities to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB)] for review of the information collection requirements. Any interested person may file comments directly with OMB and should address a copy of those comments to the Commission as explained below. The Commission previously published a Notice in the Federal Register 2/6/2018 requesting public comments. The Commission received no comments on the FERC-917 nor the FERC-918 and is making this notation in its submittal to OMB.

    DATES:

    Comments on the collection of information are due by June 8, 2018.

    ADDRESSES:

    Comments filed with OMB, identified by the OMB Control No. 1902-0233 (for both the FERC-917 and FERC-918), should be sent via email to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs: [email protected] Attention: Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Desk Officer. The Desk Officer may also be reached via telephone at 202-395-8528.

    A copy of the comments should also be sent to the Commission, in Docket No. IC18-5-000, by either of the following methods:

    eFiling at Commission's website: http://www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/efiling.asp.

    Mail/Hand Delivery/Courier: Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Secretary of the Commission, 888 First Street NE, Washington, DC 20426.

    Instructions: All submissions must be formatted and filed in accordance with submission guidelines at: http://www.ferc.gov/help/submission-guide.asp. For user assistance contact FERC Online Support by email at [email protected], or by phone at: (866) 208-3676 (toll-free), or (202) 502-8659 for TTY.

    Docket: Users interested in receiving automatic notification of activity in this docket or in viewing/downloading comments and issuances in this docket may do so at http://www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/docs-filing.asp.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Ellen Brown may be reached by email at [email protected], by telephone at (202) 502-8663, and by fax at (202) 273-0873.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Title: FERC-917 (Electric Transmission Facilities) and FERC-918 (Standards for Business Practices and Communication Protocols for Public Utilities.

    OMB Control No.: 1902-0233.

    Type of Request: Three-year extension of the FERC-917 and FERC-918 information collection requirements with no changes to the reporting requirements.

    Abstract: On February 17, 2007, the Commission issued Order No. 890 1 to address and remedy opportunities for undue discrimination under the pro forma Open Access Transmission Tariff (OATT) adopted in 1996 by Order No. 888.2 Through Order No. 890, the Commission:

    1 Final Rule in Docket Nos. RM05-17-000 and RM05-25-000, issued 2/16/2007.

    2 Promoting Wholesale Competition Through Open Access Non-discriminatory Transmission Services by Public Utilities; Recovery of Stranded Costs by Public Utilities and Transmitting Utilities, Order No. 888, 61 FR 21540 (May 10, 1996), FERC Stats. & Regs. ¶ 31,036 (1996), order on reh'g, Order No. 888-A, 62 FR 12274 (Mar. 14, 1997), FERC Stats. & Regs. ¶ 31,048 (1997), order on reh'g, Order No. 888-B, 81 FERC ¶ 61,248 (1997), order on reh'g, Order No. 888-C, 82 FERC ¶ 61,046 (1998), aff'd in relevant part sub nom. Transmission Access Policy Study Group v. FERC, 225 F.3d 667 (D.C. Cir. 2000), aff'd sub nom. New York v. FERC, 535 U.S. 1 (2002).

    • Adopted pro forma OATT provisions necessary to keep imbalance charges closely related to incremental costs;

    • Increased nondiscriminatory access to the grid by requiring public utilities, working through the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC), to develop consistent methodologies for available transfer capability (ATC) calculation and to publish those methodologies to increase transparency;

    • Required an open, transparent, and coordinated transmission planning process thereby increasing the ability of customers to access new generating resources and promote efficient utilization of transmission;

    • Gave the right to customers to request from transmission providers, studies addressing congestion and/or integration of new resource loads in areas of the transmission system where they have encountered transmission problems due to congestion or where they believe upgrades and other investments may be necessary to reduce congestion and to integrate new resources;

    • Required both the transmission provider's merchant function and network customers to include a statement with each application for network service or to designate a new network resource that attests, for each network resource identified, that the transmission customer owns or has committed to purchase the designated network resource and the designated network resource comports with the requirements for designated network resources. The network customer includes this attestation in the customer's comment section of the request when it confirms the request on the Open Access Same-Time Information System (OASIS);

    • Required with regard to capacity reassignment that: (a) All sales or assignments of capacity be conducted through or otherwise posted on the transmission provider's OASIS on or before the date the reassigned service commences; (b) assignees of transmission capacity execute a service agreement prior to the date on which the reassigned service commences; and (c) transmission providers aggregate and summarize in an electric quarterly report the data contained in these service agreements;

    • Adopted an operational penalties annual filing that provides information regarding the penalty revenue the transmission provider has received and distributed; and

    • Required creditworthiness information to be included in a transmission provider's OATT. Attachment L must specify the qualitative and quantitative criteria that the transmission provider uses to determine the level of secured and unsecured credit required.

    The Commission required a NERC/NAESB 3 team to draft and review Order No. 890 reliability standards and business practices. The team was to solicit comment from each utility on developed standards and practices and utilities were to implement each, after Commission approval. Public utilities, working through NERC, were to revise reliability standards to require the exchange of data and coordination among transmission providers and, working through NAESB, were to develop complementary business practices.

    3 NAESB is the North American Energy Standards Board.

    Required OASIS postings included:

    • Explanations for changes in ATC values;

    • Capacity benefit margin (CBM) reevaluations and quarterly postings;

    • OASIS metrics and accepted/denied requests;

    • Planning redispatch offers and reliability redispatch data;

    • Curtailment data;

    • Planning and system impact studies;

    • Metrics for system impact studies; and

    • All rules.

    Incorporating the Order No. 890 standards into the Commission's regulations benefits wholesale electric customers by streamlining utility business practices, transactional processes, and OASIS procedures, and by adopting a formal ongoing process for reviewing and upgrading the Commission's OASIS standards and other electric industry business practices. These practices and procedures benefit from the implementation of generic industry standards.

    The Commission's Order No. 890 regulations can be found in 18 CFR 35.28 (pro forma tariff requirements), and 37.6 and 37.7 (OASIS requirements).

    Type of Respondents: Provide information on any types of entities who respond to the information collection.

    Estimate of Annual Burden4 : The estimated annual public reporting burdens for FERC-917 (requirements in 18 CFR 35.28) and FERC-918 (requirements in 18 CFR 37.6 and 37.7) are reduced from the original estimates made three years ago. The reductions are due to the incorporation and completion of:

    4 The Commission defines burden as the total time, effort, or financial resources expended by persons to generate, maintain, retain, or disclose or provide information to or for a Federal agency. For further explanation of what is included in the information collection burden, reference 5 Code of Federal Regulations 1320.3.

    • One-time pro forma tariff and standards changes by utilities in existence at that time, which would not be needed unless the tariff and/or standards are changed again; and

    • completed development and comment solicitation of the required NERC/NAESB reliability standards and business practices. The other activities are annual ongoing requirements. The estimated annual figures follow:

    5 Burden is defined as the total time, effort, or financial resources expended by persons to generate, maintain, retain, or disclose or provide information to or for a Federal agency. For further explanation of what is included in the information collection burden, refer to 5 Code of Federal Regulations 1320.3.

    FERC information collection Annual
  • number of
  • respondents
  • Average
  • number of
  • reponses per
  • respondent
  • Average
  • burden 5 hours
  • per response
  • Total annual
  • burden hours
  • (1) (2) (3) (1)×(2)×(3) 18 CFR 35.28 (FERC-917) Conforming tariff changes 0 0 0 0 Revision of Imbalance Charges 0 0 0 0 ATC revisions 0 0 0 0 Planning (Attachment K) 134 1 100 13,400 Congestion studies 134 1 300 40,200 Attestation of network resource commitment 134 1 1 134 Capacity reassignment 134 1 100 13,400 Operational Penalty annual filing 134 1 10 1,340 Creditworthiness—include criteria in the tariff 0 0 0 0 FERC-917—Sub Total Part 35 68,474 18 CFR 37.6 & 37.7 (FERC-918) ATC-related standards: NERC/NAESB Team to develop 0 0 0 0 Review and comment by utility 0 0 0 0 Implementation by each utility 0 0 0 0 Mandatory data exchanges 134 1 80 10,720 Explanation of change of ATC values 134 1 100 13,400 Reevaluate CBM and post quarterly 134 1 20 2,680 Post OASIS metrics; requests accepted/denied 134 1 90 12,060 Post planning redispatch offers and reliability redispatch data 134 1 20 2,680 Post curtailment data 134 1 10 1,340 Post Planning and System Impact Studies 134 1 5 670 Posting of metrics for System Impact Studies 134 1 100 13,400 Post all rules to OASIS 134 1 5 670 FERC-918—Recordkeeping Requirements 134 1 40 5,360 FERC-918 -Sub Total of Part 37 Reporting Requirements 57,620 FERC-918—Sub Total of Reporting and Recordkeeping Requirements 62,980 Total FERC-917 and FERC-918 (Part 35 + Part 37, Reporting and Recordkeeping Requirements) 131,454

    Comments: Comments are invited on: (1) Whether the collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the Commission, including whether the information will have practical utility; (2) the accuracy of the agency's estimate of the burden and cost of the collection of information, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used; (3) ways to enhance the quality, utility and clarity of the information collection; and (4) ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond, including the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology.

    Dated: May 3, 2018. Nathaniel J. Davis, Sr., Deputy Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2018-09859 Filed 5-8-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Combined Notice of Filings #2

    Take notice that the Commission received the following electric rate filings:

    Docket Numbers: ER10-2641-031; ER10-1874-007; ER10-2663-032; ER10-2881-032; ER10-2882-034; ER10-2883-032; ER10-2884-032; ER10-2885-032; ER16-2509-003; ER17-2400-003; ER17-2401-003; ER17-2403-003; ER17-2404-003.

    Applicants: Oleander Power Project, Limited Partnership, Southern Company—Florida LLC, Mankato Energy Center, LLC, Alabama Power Company, Southern Power Company, Mississippi Power Company, Georgia Power Company, Gulf Power Company, Rutherford Farm, LLC, SP Butler Solar, LLC, SP Decatur Parkway Solar, LLC, SP Pawpaw Solar, LLC, SP Sandhills Solar, LLC.

    Description: Notification of Change in Status of Oleander Power Project, Limited Partnership, et al.

    Filed Date: 5/3/18.

    Accession Number: 20180503-5091.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/24/18.

    Docket Numbers: ER18-1464-002.

    Applicants: Midcontinent Independent System Operator, Inc.

    Description: Tariff Amendment: 2018-05-03_2nd Amendment to Sub-Regional Power Balance Constraints filing to be effective 6/27/2018.

    Filed Date: 5/3/18.

    Accession Number: 20180503-5111.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/24/18.

    Docket Numbers: ER18-1482-001.

    Applicants: Pacific Gas and Electric Company.

    Description: Tariff Amendment: Errata to Q1 2018 Quarterly Filing of City and County of San Francisco's WDT SA to be effective 3/31/2018.

    Filed Date: 5/3/18.

    Accession Number: 20180503-5053.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/24/18.

    Docket Numbers: ER18-1507-000.

    Applicants: PJM Interconnection, L.L.C.

    Description: § 205(d) Rate Filing: First Revised ISA, SA No. 2013, Queue No. AC2-018 to be effective 4/11/2018.

    Filed Date: 5/2/18.

    Accession Number: 20180502-5186.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/23/18.

    Docket Numbers: ER18-1514-000.

    Applicants: Southern California Edison Company.

    Description: § 205(d) Rate Filing: GIA & DSA Goleta Energy Center Project SA Nos. 1004-1005 to be effective 5/4/2018.

    Filed Date: 5/3/18.

    Accession Number: 20180503-5050.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/24/18.

    The filings are accessible in the Commission's eLibrary system by clicking on the links or querying the docket number.

    Any person desiring to intervene or protest in any of the above proceedings must file in accordance with Rules 211 and 214 of the Commission's Regulations (18 CFR 385.211 and 385.214) on or before 5:00 p.m. Eastern time on the specified comment date. Protests may be considered, but intervention is necessary to become a party to the proceeding.

    eFiling is encouraged. More detailed information relating to filing requirements, interventions, protests, service, and qualifying facilities filings can be found at: http://www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/efiling/filing-req.pdf. For other information, call (866) 208-3676 (toll free). For TTY, call (202) 502-8659.

    Dated: May 3, 2018. Nathaniel J. Davis, Sr., Deputy Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2018-09849 Filed 5-8-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Notice of Document Labelling Guidance for Documents Submitted to or Filed With the Commission or Commission Staff

    Take notice that, pursuant to National Archives and Records Administration procedures for appropriate handling of documents (81 FR 63323 (Sept. 14, 2016)), the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (Commission) will follow the Information Governance Policy and Guidelines for the Protection of Sensitive Information requirements as described in 18 CFR 388.112 and 388.113. As a result, every submission or filing with the Commission or Commission staff that contains sensitive material (as described below) should be labeled controlled unclassified information (CUI). The documents described below should be labeled as follows:

    Documents containing Critical Energy/Electric Infrastructure Information (CEII), see 18 CFR 388.113, should include in a top center header of each page of the document the following text: CUI//CEII.

    Documents containing information that section 388.112 of the Commission's regulations, 18 CFR 388.112, recognizes as privileged, and documents containing information within the scope of protective orders and agreements in Commission proceedings, should include in a top center header of each page of the document the following text: CUI//PRIV.

    Documents containing multiple information types, should reference each information type in a top center header of each page of the document in the following format: CUI//[Information Type]/[Additional Information Type], e.g., CUI//CEII/PRIV.

    For information that is CEII, filers are reminded that they must clearly segregate those portions of the documents that contain CEII, and indicate how long the CEII label should apply (not to exceed five years unless redesignated by the CEII Coordinator). See Fixing America's Surface Transportation Act, Public Law 114-94, 61,003, 129 Stat. 1312, 1773-1779 (2015); see also 18 CFR 388.113(d)(1)(i-ii).

    For information that is privileged or within the scope of a protective order or agreement, filers are reminded that they also need to clearly identify within the document those specific portions of the document (i.e., lines or individual words or numbers)—containing such material. See 18 CFR 388.112(b).

    This notice supersedes and clarifies an earlier notice issued April 14, 2017. (See Notice of Document Labelling Guidance for Documents Submitted to or Filed with the Commission or Commission Staff, April 14, 2017)

    Dated: May 3, 2018. Nathaniel J. Davis, Sr., Deputy Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2018-09856 Filed 5-8-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission [Docket Nos. CP18-102-000 & CP18-103-000] Notice of Intent to Prepare an Environmental Assessment for the Proposed Cheyenne Connector Pipeline and Cheyenne Hub Enhancement Projects and Request for Comments On Environmental Issues: Cheyenne Connector, LLC; Rockies Express Pipeline LLC

    The staff of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC or Commission) will prepare an environmental assessment (EA) that will discuss the environmental impacts of the construction and operation of facilities by Cheyenne Connector, LLC and Rockies Express Pipeline LLC (“applicants”) in Weld County, Colorado. The Commission will use this EA in its decision-making process to determine whether the applicants' projects are in the public convenience and necessity. According to the applicants, the proposed projects are being developed to work in tandem to deliver natural gas produced in Weld County to the Cheyenne Hub; therefore, the Commission is evaluating these two projects within a single EA.

    This notice announces the opening of the scoping process the Commission will use to gather input from the public and interested agencies on the projects. You can make a difference by providing us with your specific comments or concerns about the projects. Your comments should focus on the potential environmental effects, reasonable alternatives, and measures to avoid or lessen environmental impacts. Your input will help the Commission staff determine what issues they need to evaluate in the EA. To ensure that your comments are timely and properly recorded, please send your comments so that the Commission receives them in Washington, DC on or before June 4, 2018.

    If you sent comments on either of these projects to the Commission before the opening of this docket on March 5, 2018, you will need to file those comments in the appropriate docket number (i.e., CP18-102-000 and/or CP18-103-000) to ensure they are considered as part of this proceeding.

    This notice is being sent to the Commission's current environmental mailing list for the projects. State and local government representatives should notify their constituents of these proposed projects and encourage them to comment on their areas of concern.

    If you are a landowner receiving this notice, a pipeline company representative may contact you about the acquisition of an easement to construct, operate, and maintain the proposed facilities. The company would seek to negotiate a mutually acceptable agreement. However, if the Commission approves these projects, that approval conveys with it the right of eminent domain. Therefore, if easement negotiations fail to produce an agreement, the pipeline company could initiate condemnation proceedings where compensation would be determined in accordance with state law.

    The applicants provided landowners with a fact sheet prepared by the FERC entitled “An Interstate Natural Gas Facility On My Land? What Do I Need To Know?” This fact sheet addresses a number of typically asked questions, including the use of eminent domain and how to participate in the Commission's proceedings. It is also available for viewing on the FERC website (www.ferc.gov).

    Public Participation

    For your convenience, there are three methods you can use to submit your comments to the Commission. The Commission encourages electronic filing of comments and has expert staff available to assist you at (202) 502-8258 or [email protected] Please carefully follow these instructions so that your comments are properly recorded.

    (1) You can file your comments electronically using the eComment feature on the Commission's website (www.ferc.gov) under the link to Documents and Filings. This is an easy method for submitting brief, text-only comments on a project;

    (2) You can file your comments electronically by using the eFiling feature on the Commission's website (www.ferc.gov) under the link to Documents and Filings. With eFiling, you can provide comments in a variety of formats by attaching them as a file with your submission. New eFiling users must first create an account by clicking on “eRegister.” If you are filing a comment on a particular project, please select “Comment on a Filing” as the filing type; or

    (3) You can file a paper copy of your comments by mailing them to the following address. Be sure to reference the appropriate docket number of concern (either CP18-102-000 or CP18-103-000) with your submission: Kimberly D. Bose, Secretary, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street NE, Room 1A, Washington, DC 20426.

    Please note this is not your only public input opportunity; refer to the review process flow chart in appendix 1.1

    1 The appendices referenced in this notice will not appear in the Federal Register. Copies of the appendices were sent to all those receiving this notice in the mail and are available at www.ferc.gov using the link called “eLibrary” or from the Commission's Public Reference Room, 888 First Street NE, Washington, DC 20426, or call (202) 502-8371. For instructions on connecting to eLibrary, refer to the last page of this notice.

    Summary of the Proposed Projects

    The applicants propose to construct and operate new natural gas pipeline, metering, and compression facilities in Weld County, Colorado. The Cheyenne Connector Pipeline Project (Docket No. CP18-102-000) would transport northward about 600,000 dekatherms per day of natural gas from natural gas processing plants to a delivery interconnect with Rockies Express Pipeline LLC (Rockies Express) at the Cheyenne Hub. The Cheyenne Hub Enhancement Project (Docket No. CP18-103-000) would include additional natural gas compression facilities at the existing Cheyenne Hub to enable deliveries between Rockies Express and other interconnected pipelines at the Cheyenne Hub. According to the applicants, their Cheyenne Connector Pipeline and Cheyenne Hub Enhancement Projects are needed to transport and move growing natural gas production originating in Weld County to national markets.

    The Cheyenne Connector Pipeline Project would consist of the following facilities:

    • Approximately 70 miles of 36-inch-diameter pipeline, including three associated mainline valves and other ancillary facilities; and

    • Five meter and regulating stations.

    The Cheyenne Hub Enhancement Project would consist of the following facilities:

    • One new approximately 32,100 horsepower “Cheyenne Hub Booster Compressor Station”; and

    • Enhancements to modify the existing Cheyenne Hub interconnect facilities, including installation of pipe, valves, fittings, filters, and ancillary equipment.

    The general locations of the projects' facilities are shown in appendix 2.

    Land Requirements for Construction

    Construction of the proposed aboveground and pipeline facilities would disturb about 1,720.3 acres of land. Following construction, the applicants would maintain about 470.5 acres for permanent operation of the projects' facilities; the remaining acreage would be restored and revert to former uses. About 46 percent of the proposed pipeline route parallels existing pipeline rights-of-way.

    The EA Process

    The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) requires the Commission to take into account the environmental impacts that could result from an action whenever it considers the issuance of a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity. NEPA also requires us 2 to discover and address concerns the public may have about proposals. This process is referred to as “scoping.” The main goal of the scoping process is to focus the analysis in the EA on the important environmental issues. By this notice, the Commission requests public comments on the scope of the issues to be addressed in the EA. We will consider all filed comments during the preparation of the EA.

    2 “We,” “us,” and “our” refer to the environmental staff of the Commission's Office of Energy Projects.

    In the EA we will discuss impacts that could occur as a result of the construction and operation of the proposed projects under these general headings:

    • Geology and soils;

    • land use;

    • water resources, fisheries, and wetlands;

    • cultural resources;

    • vegetation and wildlife;

    • air quality and noise;

    • endangered and threatened species;

    • socioeconomics;

    • public safety; and

    • cumulative impacts.

    We will also evaluate reasonable alternatives to the proposed projects or portions of the projects, and make recommendations on how to lessen or avoid impacts on the various resource areas.

    The EA will present our independent analysis of the issues. The EA will be available in the public record through eLibrary. We will publish and distribute the EA to the public for an allotted comment period. We will consider all comments on the EA before making our recommendations to the Commission. To ensure we have the opportunity to consider and address your comments, please carefully follow the instructions in the Public Participation section, beginning on page 2.

    With this notice, we are asking agencies with jurisdiction by law and/or special expertise with respect to the environmental issues of these projects to formally cooperate with us in the preparation of the EA.3 Agencies that would like to request cooperating agency status should follow the instructions for filing comments provided under the Public Participation section of this notice.

    3 The Council on Environmental Quality regulations addressing cooperating agency responsibilities are at Title 40, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 1501.6.

    Consultations Under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act

    In accordance with the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation's implementing regulations for section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act, we are using this notice to initiate consultation with the Colorado State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO), and to solicit their views and those of other government agencies, interested Indian tribes, and the public on the projects' potential effects on historic properties.4 We will define the project-specific Area of Potential Effects (APE) in consultation with the SHPO as the projects develop. On natural gas facility projects, the APE at a minimum encompasses all areas subject to ground disturbance (examples include construction right-of-way, contractor/pipe storage yards, compressor stations, and access roads). Our EA for these projects will document our findings on the impacts on historic properties and summarize the status of consultations under section 106.

    4 The Advisory Council on Historic Preservation's regulations are at Title 36, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 800. Those regulations define historic properties as any prehistoric or historic district, site, building, structure, or object included in or eligible for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places.

    Environmental Mailing List

    The environmental mailing list includes federal, state, and local government representatives and agencies; elected officials; environmental and public interest groups; Native American Tribes; other interested parties; and local libraries and newspapers. This list also includes all affected landowners (as defined in the Commission's regulations) who are potential right-of-way grantors, whose property may be used temporarily for project purposes, or who own homes within certain distances of aboveground facilities, and anyone who submits comments on a project. We will update the environmental mailing list as the analysis proceeds to ensure that we send the information related to this environmental review to all individuals, organizations, and government entities interested in and/or potentially affected by the proposed projects.

    Copies of the EA will be sent to the environmental mailing list for public review and comment. If you would prefer to receive a paper copy of the document instead of the CD version or would like to remove your name from the mailing list, please return the attached Information Request (appendix 3).

    Becoming an Intervenor

    In addition to involvement in the EA scoping process, you may want to become an “intervenor” which is an official party to the Commission's proceeding. Intervenors play a more formal role in the process and are able to file briefs, appear at hearings, and be heard by the courts if they choose to appeal the Commission's final ruling. An intervenor formally participates in the proceeding by filing a request to intervene. Instructions for becoming an intervenor are in the “Document-less Intervention Guide” under the “e-filing” link on the Commission's website. Motions to intervene are more fully described at http://www.ferc.gov/resources/guides/how-to/intervene.asp.

    Additional Information

    Additional information about the projects is available from the Commission's Office of External Affairs, at (866) 208-FERC, or on the FERC website at www.ferc.gov using the “eLibrary” link. Click on the eLibrary link, click on “General Search” and enter the docket number, excluding the last three digits in the Docket Number field (i.e., CP18-102 or CP18-103). Be sure you have selected an appropriate date range. For assistance, please contact FERC Online Support at [email protected] or toll free at (866) 208-3676, or for TTY, contact (202) 502-8659. The eLibrary link also provides access to the texts of formal documents issued by the Commission, such as orders, notices, and rulemakings.

    In addition, the Commission offers a free service called eSubscription which allows you to keep track of all formal issuances and submittals in specific dockets. This can reduce the amount of time you spend researching proceedings by automatically providing you with notification of these filings, document summaries, and direct links to the documents. Go to www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/esubscription.asp.

    Finally, public sessions or site visits will be posted on the Commission's calendar located at www.ferc.gov/EventCalendar/EventsList.aspx along with other related information.

    Dated: May 3, 2018. Nathaniel J. Davis, Sr., Deputy Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2018-09858 Filed 5-8-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission [Docket No. EL18-136-000] Notice of Institution of Section 206 Proceeding and Refund Effective Date; NRG Wholesale Generation LP

    On May 3, 2018, the Commission issued an order in Docket No. EL18-136-000, pursuant to section 206 of the Federal Power Act (FPA), 16 U.S.C. 824e (2012), instituting an investigation into whether NRG Wholesale Generation LP's rates for Reactive Service may be unjust and unreasonable. NRG Wholesale Generation LP, 163 FERC ¶ 61,086 (2018).

    The refund effective date in Docket No. EL18-136-000, established pursuant to section 206(b) of the FPA, will be the date of publication of this notice in the Federal Register.

    Any interested person desiring to be heard in Docket No. EL18-136-000 must file a notice of intervention or motion to intervene, as appropriate, with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street, NE, Washington, DC 20426, in accordance with Rule 214 of the Commission's Rules of Practice and Procedure, 18 CFR 385.214, within 21 days of the date of issuance of the order.

    Dated: May 3, 2018. Nathaniel J. Davis, Sr., Deputy Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2018-09852 Filed 5-8-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission [Docket No. AD18-9-000] Notice of Electric Quarterly Report Users Group Meeting

    On March 6, 2018 the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (Commission) issued a notice that Commission staff will hold an Electric Quarterly Report (EQR) Users Group meeting on June 5, 2018. The meeting will take place from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. (EST), in the Commission Meeting Room at 888 First Street NE, Washington, DC 20426. All interested persons are invited to attend. For those unable to attend in person, access to the meeting will be available via webcast.

    Commission staff is hereby supplementing the March 6, 2018 notice with the agenda for discussion. During the meeting, Commission staff and EQR users will discuss potential improvements to the EQR program and the EQR filing process. Recent meetings have focused on issues pertaining primarily to EQR filers. However, in the upcoming meeting, staff will also include sessions for those accessing and using EQR data. While discussion topics to be considered for the formal agenda were due by April 16, 2018, feedback may be emailed to [email protected]

    Commission staff will discuss and seek feedback on common EQR audit findings, techniques for accessing EQR data, and examples of how EQR data is used and interpreted. Please note that matters pending before the Commission and subject to ex parte limitations cannot be discuss