Federal Register Vol. 83, No.95,

Federal Register Volume 83, Issue 95 (May 16, 2018)

Page Range22587-22829
FR Document

83_FR_95
Current View
Page and SubjectPDF
83 FR 22717 - Sunshine Act: Notice of Public MeetingPDF
83 FR 22713 - Sunshine Act MeetingPDF
83 FR 22613 - Certain Quartz Surface Products From the People's Republic of China: Initiation of Less-Than-Fair-Value InvestigationPDF
83 FR 22618 - Certain Quartz Surface Products From the People's Republic of China: Initiation of Countervailing Duty InvestigationPDF
83 FR 22612 - Notice of Request To Renew an Approved Information Collection (Requirements To Notify FSIS of Adulterated or Misbranded Product, Prepare and Maintain Written Recall Procedures, and Document Certain HACCP Plan Reassessments)PDF
83 FR 22604 - Eliminating Unnecessary Requirements for Hog Carcass CleaningPDF
83 FR 22607 - Pennsylvania Regulatory Program; CorrectionPDF
83 FR 22611 - Notice of Request for Revision of an Approved Information Collection (Voluntary Recalls of Meat, Poultry, and Egg Products)PDF
83 FR 22607 - Pennsylvania Abandoned Mine Land Reclamation ProgramPDF
83 FR 22751 - Open Meeting of the Taxpayer Advocacy Panel Joint Committee: ChangePDF
83 FR 22653 - Applications for New Awards; Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad Fellowship ProgramPDF
83 FR 22649 - Applications for New Awards; Fulbright-Hays Group Projects Abroad ProgramPDF
83 FR 22644 - Applications for New Award; Center To Improve Social and Emotional Learning and School Safety-Cooperative AgreementPDF
83 FR 22700 - National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering; Notice of Closed MeetingPDF
83 FR 22700 - National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute; Notice of Closed MeetingPDF
83 FR 22701 - National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences; Notice of Closed MeetingsPDF
83 FR 22700 - Center for Scientific Review; Amended Notice of MeetingPDF
83 FR 22716 - Product Change-Priority Mail Express, Priority Mail, & First-Class Package Service Negotiated Service AgreementPDF
83 FR 22717 - Product Change-Priority Mail and First-Class Package Service Negotiated Service AgreementPDF
83 FR 22716 - Product Change-Priority Mail Express and Priority Mail Negotiated Service AgreementPDF
83 FR 22668 - Applicability Determination Index (ADI) Data System Recent Posting: Agency Applicability Determinations, Alternative Monitoring Decisions, and Regulatory Interpretations Pertaining to Standards of Performance for New Stationary Sources, Emission Guidelines and Federal Plan Requirements for Existing Sources, National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants, and the Stratospheric Ozone Protection ProgramPDF
83 FR 22688 - Proposed Information Collection Activity; Comment RequestPDF
83 FR 22678 - Notice of Order Denying Petition To Set Aside Consent Agreement and Proposed Final OrderPDF
83 FR 22752 - Survey of Foreign Ownership of U.S. Securities as of June 30, 2018PDF
83 FR 22690 - Agency Information Collection Activities; Submission for Office of Management and Budget Review; Comment Request; Generic Clearance for the Collection of Qualitative Data on Tobacco Products and CommunicationsPDF
83 FR 22593 - Removal of the Federal Reformulated Gasoline Program from the Northern Kentucky Portion of the Cincinnati-Hamilton Ozone Maintenance AreaPDF
83 FR 22712 - Certain Non-Volatile Memory Devices and Products Containing the Same; Notice of Request for Statement on the Public InterestPDF
83 FR 22622 - Pacific Fishery Management Council; Public MeetingPDF
83 FR 22624 - North Pacific Fishery Management Council; Public MeetingPDF
83 FR 22623 - Fisheries of the South Atlantic; Southeast Data, Assessment, and Review (SEDAR); Stock ID Review Workshop for Cobia (Rachycentron canadum)PDF
83 FR 22592 - Safety Zones; Fireworks and Swim Events in Captain of the Port New York ZonePDF
83 FR 22657 - Agency Information Collection ExtensionPDF
83 FR 22741 - Petition for Approval of Product Safety PlanPDF
83 FR 22661 - Commission Information Collection Activities (FERC-725G); Comment Request; RevisionPDF
83 FR 22659 - Portland General Electric Company; Notice of Application Accepted for Filing, Soliciting Comments, Motions To Intervene, and ProtestsPDF
83 FR 22587 - Energy Conservation Program: Energy Conservation Standards for Ceiling Fan Light KitsPDF
83 FR 22740 - Agency Information Collection Activities; Revision of an Information Collection: Financial Responsibility, Trucking and Freight ForwardingPDF
83 FR 22687 - Change in Bank Control Notices; Acquisitions of Shares of a Bank or Bank Holding CompanyPDF
83 FR 22688 - Rescission of FTR BulletinsPDF
83 FR 22692 - HHS Blueprint to Lower Drug Prices and Reduce Out-of-Pocket CostsPDF
83 FR 22601 - Coastal Migratory Pelagic Resources of the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Region; 2017-2018 Commercial Closure for King Mackerel in the Gulf of Mexico Northern ZonePDF
83 FR 22602 - Atlantic Highly Migratory Species; Atlantic Bluefin Tuna FisheriesPDF
83 FR 22739 - Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific AffairsPDF
83 FR 22684 - Proposed Collection; Comment RequestPDF
83 FR 22681 - Proposed Collection; Comment RequestPDF
83 FR 22749 - Petition for Exemption From the Federal Motor Vehicle Theft Prevention Standard; Ford Motor CompanyPDF
83 FR 22742 - Petition for Exemption From the Federal Motor Vehicle Theft Prevention Standard; BMW of North America, LLCPDF
83 FR 22744 - Reports, Forms, and Recordkeeping RequirementsPDF
83 FR 22738 - Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC) Meeting NoticePDF
83 FR 22609 - Mandatory Deposit of Electronic-Only Books: Extension of Comment PeriodPDF
83 FR 22702 - Public Meeting of the National Geospatial Advisory CommitteePDF
83 FR 22714 - Holtec International HI-STORE Consolidated Interim Storage Facility ProjectPDF
83 FR 22796 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; Cboe C2 Exchange, Inc.; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of a Proposed Rule Change To Amend Rules in Connection With the Migration of Cboe C2 to Cboe EDGX Options TechnologyPDF
83 FR 22740 - Motorcyclist Advisory Council to the Federal Highway AdministrationPDF
83 FR 22711 - Agency Information Collection Activities; Plans and InformationPDF
83 FR 22689 - Blood Products Advisory Committee; Notice of MeetingPDF
83 FR 22589 - Airworthiness Directives; Boeing AirplanesPDF
83 FR 22704 - Quarterly Status Report of Water Service, Repayment, and Other Water-Related Contract ActionsPDF
83 FR 22658 - Meeting of the Defense Programs Advisory CommitteePDF
83 FR 22685 - Agency Information Collection Activities; Announcement of Board Approval Under Delegated Authority and Submission to OMBPDF
83 FR 22710 - Central Valley Project Improvement Act Water Management PlansPDF
83 FR 22687 - Information Collection; Claims and AppealsPDF
83 FR 22713 - Advisory Board; Notice of MeetingPDF
83 FR 22743 - Denial of Motor Vehicle Defect Petition, DP17-002PDF
83 FR 22660 - Order Establishing Briefing Schedule: Duke Energy Corporation Progress Energy, Inc.; Carolina Power & Light CompanyPDF
83 FR 22664 - Commission Information Collection Activities: (FERC-65, FERC-65a, FERC-65b, FERC-725v) Consolidated Comment Request; ExtensionPDF
83 FR 22663 - Notice of Application: UGI Central Penn Gas, Inc. and UGI Utilities, Inc.PDF
83 FR 22666 - Notice of Request Under Blanket Authorization: Southern Star Central Gas Pipeline, Inc.PDF
83 FR 22658 - Combined Notice of FilingsPDF
83 FR 22667 - Combined Notice of Filings #1PDF
83 FR 22691 - Agency Information Collection Request. 30-Day Public Comment RequestPDF
83 FR 22701 - Agency Information Collection Activities: Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request; Post Disaster Survivor Preparedness ResearchPDF
83 FR 22680 - Filing Dates for the Texas Special Election in the 27th Congressional DistrictPDF
83 FR 22624 - Takes of Marine Mammals Incidental to Specified Activities; Taking Marine Mammals Incidental to the Annapolis Passenger Ferry Dock Project, Puget Sound, WashingtonPDF
83 FR 22720 - Franklin Alternative Strategies Funds, et al.PDF
83 FR 22730 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; Cboe BYX Exchange, Inc.; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of a Proposed Rule Change Related to Fees for Use on Cboe BYX Exchange, Inc.PDF
83 FR 22728 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; Cboe BZX Exchange, Inc.; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of a Proposed Rule Change Related to Fees for Use on Cboe BZX Exchange, Inc.PDF
83 FR 22717 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; Nasdaq PHLX LLC; Order Granting Approval of Proposed Rule Change To Create a New Rule 1081, To Amend Electronic Market Maker Obligations and Quoting Requirements for Electronic ROTs, Which Will Be Defined To Include SQTs, RSQTs, Directed SQTs, Directed RSQTs, Specialists, and Remote SpecialistsPDF
83 FR 22726 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of a Proposed Rule Change To Revise the Language of Certain Administrative Rules To Continue To Help Ensure That They Reflect MSRB Practices and Improve Consistency Among the RulesPDF
83 FR 22722 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; Cboe BZX Exchange, Inc.; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of a Proposed Rule Change To List and Trade Under BZX Rule 14.11(c)(4) Shares of the iShares Long-Term National Muni Bond ETF of iShares TrustPDF
83 FR 22715 - Proposed Submission of Information Collection for OMB Review; Comment Request; Locating and Paying ParticipantsPDF
83 FR 22751 - List of Countries Requiring Cooperation With an International BoycottPDF
83 FR 22738 - Presidential Declaration of a Major Disaster for Public Assistance Only for the State of HawaiiPDF
83 FR 22703 - National Register of Historic Places; Notification of Pending Nominations and Related ActionsPDF
83 FR 22702 - Agency Information Collection Activities; “7 CFR Part 1; 43 CFR Part 45; 50 CFR Part 221; The Alternatives Process in Hydropower Licensing”PDF
83 FR 22732 - Program for Allocation of Regulatory Responsibilities Pursuant To Rule 17d-2; Notice of Filing and Order Approving and Declaring Effective an Amended Plan for the Allocation of Regulatory Responsibilities Between the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc., Cboe Exchange, Inc., and Cboe C2 Exchange, Inc.PDF
83 FR 22738 - Presidential Declaration of a Major Disaster for Public Assistance Only for the Commonwealth of KentuckyPDF
83 FR 22595 - Tebuconazole; Pesticide TolerancesPDF
83 FR 22715 - Information Collection Request Submission for OMB ReviewPDF
83 FR 22678 - National Environmental Justice Advisory Council; Notification of Public Teleconference and Public CommentPDF
83 FR 22754 - National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants: Surface Coating of Wood Building Products Residual Risk and Technology ReviewPDF

Issue

83 95 Wednesday, May 16, 2018 Contents Agriculture Agriculture Department See

Food Safety and Inspection Service

Safety Enviromental Enforcement Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Plans and Information, 22711-22712 2018-10415 Children Children and Families Administration NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 22688-22689 2018-10461 Coast Guard Coast Guard RULES Safety Zones: Fireworks and Swim Events in Captain of the Port New York Zone, 22592-22593 2018-10447 Commerce Commerce Department See

International Trade Administration

See

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Defense Department Defense Department NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Claims and Appeals, 22687-22688 2018-10408 Education Department Education Department NOTICES Applications for New Awards: Center To Improve Social and Emotional Learning and School Safety—Cooperative Agreement, 22644-22649 2018-10474 Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad Fellowship Program, 22653-22657 2018-10476 Fulbright-Hays Group Projects Abroad Program, 22649-22653 2018-10475 Energy Department Energy Department See

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

See

National Nuclear Security Administration

RULES Energy Conservation Program: Standards for Ceiling Fan Light Kits, 22587-22589 2018-10440 NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 22657-22658 2018-10445
Environmental Protection Environmental Protection Agency RULES Pesticide Tolerances: Tebuconazole, 22595-22601 2018-10345 Removal of Federal Reformulated Gasoline Program From Northern Kentucky Portion of Cincinnati-Hamilton Ozone Maintenance Area, 22593-22595 2018-10456 PROPOSED RULES National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants: Surface Coating of Wood Building Products Residual Risk and Technology Review, 22754-22794 2018-09080 NOTICES Applicability Determination Index Data System Recent Posting: Standards of Performance for New Stationary Sources, Emission Guidelines and Federal Plan Requirements for Existing Sources, National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants, and Stratospheric Ozone Protection Program, 22668-22678 2018-10463 Meetings: National Environmental Justice Advisory Council; Teleconference, 22678 2018-09556 Orders Denying Petitions To Set Aside Consent Agreements and Proposed Final Orders, 22678-22680 2018-10460 Federal Aviation Federal Aviation Administration RULES Airworthiness Directives: Boeing Airplanes, 22589-22592 2018-10413 Federal Election Federal Election Commission NOTICES Filing Dates: Texas Special Election, 27th Congressional District, 22680-22681 2018-10386 Federal Emergency Federal Emergency Management Agency NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Post Disaster Survivor Preparedness Research, 22701-22702 2018-10393 Federal Energy Federal Energy Regulatory Commission NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 22661-22666 2018-10401 2018-10443 Applications: UGI Central Penn Gas, Inc., UGI Utilities, Inc., 22663 2018-10400 Combined Filings, 22658-22659, 22667 2018-10397 2018-10398 Hydroelectric Applications: Portland General Electric Co., 22659-22660 2018-10442 Orders: Duke Energy Corp. Progress Energy, Inc., Carolina Power and Light Co., 22660-22661 2018-10402 Requests for Blanket Authorizations: Southern Star Central Gas Pipeline, Inc., 22666-22667 2018-10399 Federal Highway Federal Highway Administration NOTICES Meetings: Motorcyclist Advisory Council, 22740 2018-10416 Federal Housing Finance Agency Federal Housing Finance Agency NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 22681-22685 2018-10430 2018-10431 Federal Motor Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Financial Responsibility, Trucking and Freight Forwarding, 22740-22741 2018-10439 Federal Railroad Federal Railroad Administration NOTICES Product Safety Plans: Petition for Approval, 22741-22742 2018-10444 Federal Reserve Federal Reserve System NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 22685-22687 2018-10410 Changes in Bank Control: Acquisitions of Shares of a Bank or Bank Holding Company, 22687 2018-10438 Food and Drug Food and Drug Administration NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Generic Clearance for Collection of Qualitative Data on Tobacco Products and Communications, 22690-22691 2018-10457 Meetings: Blood Products Advisory Committee, 22689-22690 2018-10414 Food Safety Food Safety and Inspection Service PROPOSED RULES Eliminating Unnecessary Requirements for Hog Carcass Cleaning, 22604-22607 2018-10488 NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Requirements To Notify FSIS of Adulterated or Misbranded Product, Prepare and Maintain Written Recall Procedures, and Document Certain HACCP Plan Reassessments, 22612-22613 2018-10489 Voluntary Recalls of Meat, Poultry, and Egg Products, 22611-22612 2018-10484 General Services General Services Administration NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Claims and Appeals, 22687-22688 2018-10408 Federal Travel Regulation Bulletins; Rescissions, 22688 2018-10436 Geological Geological Survey NOTICES Meetings: National Geospatial Advisory Committee, 22702 2018-10419 Health and Human Health and Human Services Department See

Children and Families Administration

See

Food and Drug Administration

See

National Institutes of Health

NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 22691-22692 2018-10394 Blueprint to Lower Drug Prices and Reduce Out-of-Pocket Costs, 22692-22700 2018-10435
Homeland Homeland Security Department See

Coast Guard

See

Federal Emergency Management Agency

Interior Interior Department See

Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement

See

Geological Survey

See

National Park Service

See

Reclamation Bureau

See

Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement Office

NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Alternatives Process in Hydropower Licensing, 22702-22703 2018-10370
Internal Revenue Internal Revenue Service NOTICES Meetings: Taxpayer Advocacy Panel Joint Committee, 22751 2018-10481 International Trade Adm International Trade Administration NOTICES Antidumping or Countervailing Duty Investigations, Orders, or Reviews: Certain Quartz Surface Products From the People's Republic of China, 22618-22622 2018-10532 Initiations of Less-Than-Fair-Value Investigations: Certain Quartz Surface Products From the People's Republic of China, 22613-22618 2018-10533 International Trade Com International Trade Commission NOTICES Investigations; Determinations, Modifications, and Rulings, etc.: Certain Non-Volatile Memory Devices and Products Containing Same, 22712-22713 2018-10451 Justice Department Justice Department See

National Institute of Corrections

Library Library of Congress PROPOSED RULES Mandatory Deposit of Electronic-Only Books: Extension of Comment Period, 22609-22610 2018-10421 NASA National Aeronautics and Space Administration NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Claims and Appeals, 22687-22688 2018-10408 National Highway National Highway Traffic Safety Administration NOTICES Federal Motor Vehicle Theft Prevention Standard; Exemption Petitions: BMW of North America, LLC, 22742-22743 2018-10428 Motor Vehicle Defect Petitions; Denials, 22743-22744 2018-10404 National Institute Corrections National Institute of Corrections NOTICES Meetings: Advisory Board, 22713 2018-10406 National Institute National Institutes of Health NOTICES Meetings: Center for Scientific Review, 22700 2018-10470 National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, 22701 2018-10471 National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, 22700 2018-10472 National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering, 22700-22701 2018-10473 Energy National Nuclear National Nuclear Security Administration NOTICES Meetings: Defense Programs Advisory Committee, 22658 2018-10411 National Oceanic National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RULES Atlantic Highly Migratory Species: Atlantic Bluefin Tuna Fisheries, 22602-22603 2018-10433 Coastal Migratory Pelagic Resources of Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Region: 2017-2018 Commercial Closure for King Mackerel in Gulf of Mexico Northern Zone, 22601-22602 2018-10434 NOTICES Fisheries of the South Atlantic: Southeast Data, Assessment, and Review; Stock ID Review Workshop for Cobia (Rachycentron canadum), 22623 2018-10448 Meetings: North Pacific Fishery Management Council, 22624 2018-10449 Pacific Fishery Management Council, 22622-22623 2018-10450 Takes of Marine Mammals Incidental to Specified Activities: Annapolis Passenger Ferry Dock Project, Puget Sound, WA, 22624-22644 2018-10385 National Park National Park Service NOTICES National Register of Historic Places: Pending Nominations and Related Actions, 22703-22704 2018-10371 National Transportation National Transportation Safety Board NOTICES Meetings; Sunshine Act, 22713-22714 2018-10537 Nuclear Regulatory Nuclear Regulatory Commission NOTICES Environmental Impact Statements; Availability, etc.: Holtec International HI-STORE Consolidated Interim Storage Facility Project, 22714-22715 2018-10418 Peace Peace Corps NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 22715 2018-09879 Pension Benefit Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Locating and Paying Participants, 22715-22716 2018-10374 Postal Service Postal Service NOTICES Product Changes: Priority Mail and First-Class Package Service Negotiated Service Agreement, 22717 2018-10468 Priority Mail Express and Priority Mail Negotiated Service Agreement, 22716 2018-10467 Priority Mail Express, Priority Mail, and First-Class Package Service Negotiated Service Agreement, 22716-22717 2018-10469 Railroad Retirement Railroad Retirement Board NOTICES Meetings; Sunshine Act, 22717 2018-10541 Reclamation Reclamation Bureau NOTICES Central Valley Project Improvement Act Water Management Plans, 22710-22711 2018-10409 Quarterly Status Report of Water Service, Repayment, and Other Water-Related Contract Actions, 22704-22710 2018-10412 Securities Securities and Exchange Commission NOTICES Applications: Franklin Alternative Strategies Funds, et al., 22720-22722 2018-10383 Programs for Allocation of Regulatory Responsibilities Pursuant to Rule 17d-2: Amended Plan for Allocation of Regulatory Responsibilities Between Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc., Cboe Exchange, Inc., and Cboe C2 Exchange, Inc., 22732-22738 2018-10369 Self-Regulatory Organizations; Proposed Rule Changes: Cboe BYX Exchange, Inc., 22730-22731 2018-10381 Cboe BZX Exchange, Inc., 22722-22726, 22728-22730 2018-10377 2018-10380 Cboe C2 Exchange, Inc., 22796-22829 2018-10417 Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board, 22726-22728 2018-10378 Nasdaq PHLX, LLC, 22717-22720 2018-10379 Small Business Small Business Administration NOTICES Disaster Declarations: Hawaii; Public Assistance Only, 22738 2018-10372 Kentucky; Public Assistance Only, 22738 2018-10368 State Department State Department NOTICES Annual Certification of Shrimp-Harvesting Nations, 22739-22740 2018-10432 Meetings: Overseas Security Advisory Council, 22738-22739 2018-10426 Surface Mining Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement Office PROPOSED RULES Pennsylvania Abandoned Mine Land Reclamation Program, 22607-22609 2018-10483 Pennsylvania Regulatory Program; Correction, 22607 2018-10485 Transportation Department Transportation Department See

Federal Aviation Administration

See

Federal Highway Administration

See

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

See

Federal Railroad Administration

See

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 22744-22749 2018-10427 Petitions for Exemptions From Federal Motor Vehicle Theft Prevention Standards: Ford Motor Co., 22749-22751 2018-10429
Treasury Treasury Department See

Internal Revenue Service

NOTICES List of Countries Requiring Cooperation With International Boycott, 22751-22752 2018-10373 Survey of Foreign Ownership of U.S. Securities as of June 30, 2018, 22752 2018-10459
Separate Parts In This Issue Part II Environmental Protection Agency, 22754-22794 2018-09080 Part III Securities and Exchange Commission, 22796-22829 2018-10417 Reader Aids

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

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83 95 Wednesday, May 16, 2018 Rules and Regulations DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY 10 CFR Part 430 [EERE-2012-BT-STD-0045] RIN 1904-AC87 Energy Conservation Program: Energy Conservation Standards for Ceiling Fan Light Kits AGENCY:

Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Department of Energy.

ACTION:

Final rule.

SUMMARY:

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is publishing this final rule to amend the compliance date for energy conservation standards for ceiling fan light kits (CFLKs). The energy conservation standards for CFLKs were issued by DOE on January 6, 2016, and compliance with the standards was required on January 7, 2019. The “Ceiling Fan Energy Conservation Harmonization Act,” subsequently deemed the compliance date for DOE's CFLKs standards to be January 21, 2020, and required DOE to amend its regulation to reflect this requirement. DOE is also updating a cross-reference in the regulations that was mistakenly not updated when the ceiling fan energy conservation standards were codified.

DATES:

This rule is effective May 16, 2018. The compliance date for the standards established for CFLKs is January 21, 2020.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Lucy deButts, U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Building Technologies Office, EE-5B, 1000 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20585-0121. Telephone: (202) 287-1604. Email: [email protected]

Elizabeth Kohl, U.S. Department of Energy, Office of General Counsel, GC-33, 1000 Independence Avenue SW, Washington DC 20585-0121. Telephone (202) 586-7796. Email: [email protected]

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Title III, Part B of the Energy Policy and Conservation Act of 1975 (EPCA), Public Law 94-163 (42 U.S.C. 6291-6309, as codified), established the Energy Conservation Program for Consumer Products Other Than Automobiles. These products include CFLKs, the subject of this document. Section 325(ff)(5) of EPCA authorizes DOE to consider amended standards for CFLKs. On January 6, 2016 DOE promulgated an energy conservation standard for CFLKs with a compliance date of 3 years after the date of issuance, or January 7, 2019. Section 325(ff)(5) required that the compliance date of the standards be at least 2 years after the date of issuance, and the 3 year lead time DOE specified in the final standards rule is consistent with other provisions of EPCA that require a 3-year lead time for some products. Section 325(ff)(6) of EPCA also authorizes DOE to consider amended standards for ceiling fans, as a separate product under the statute. DOE promulgated an energy conservation standard for ceiling fans on January 19, 2017. The compliance date for the ceiling fan standards rule is January 21, 2020. Section 325(ff)(6) did not have a similar provision regarding the compliance date for ceiling fan standards; however, as with the CFLK rule, the 3 year lead time DOE specified in the final standards rule is consistent with other provisions of EPCA that require a 3-year lead time for some products.

After DOE's promulgation of final rules establishing energy conservation standards for CFLKs and Ceiling Fans, Congress enacted S. 2030, the “Ceiling Fan Energy Conservation Harmonization Act” (“the Act”), which was signed into law as Public Law 115-161 on April 3, 2018. The Act amended the compliance date for the CFLK standards to establish a single compliance date for the energy conservation standards for both CFLKs and ceiling fans. The Act also required that DOE, not later than 60 days after the date of enactment, make any technical and conforming changes to any regulation, guidance document, or procedure necessary to implement the changed compliance date. This action codifies Congress's revision of the compliance date for CFLKs in DOEs regulations at 10 CFR 430.32(s).

DOE is also updating a cross reference in 10 CFR 430.32(s)(5), changing the reference to paragraph (s)(2) or (3) to paragraph (s)(3) or (4). Paragraph (s)(5) provides requirements for ceiling fan light kits other than those specified in the cross-referenced paragraphs, which were not updated when the new ceiling fan standards were codified as paragraph (s)(2).

In light of the applicable statutory requirement enacted by Congress to deem the compliance date for CFLK standards to be January 21, 2020, the absence of any benefit in providing comment given that the rule incorporates the specific requirement established by Public Law 115-161, DOE finds that there is good cause under 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B) to not provide prior notice and an opportunity for public comment on the actions outlined in this document to implement Public Law 115-161. DOE similarly finds good cause under 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B) to not provide prior notice and an opportunity for public comment on the update to the erroneous cross-reference. For these reasons, providing prior notice and an opportunity for public comment would, in this instance, be unnecessary and contrary to the public interest. For the same reason, DOE finds good cause pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3) to waive the 30-day delay in effective date for this rule.

Procedural Requirements A. Review Under Executive Order 12866, “Regulatory Planning and Review”

This final rule is not a “significant regulatory action” under any of the criteria set out in section 3(f) of Executive Order 12866, “Regulatory Planning and Review.” 58 FR 51735 (October 4, 1993). Accordingly, this action was not subject to review by the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) in the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).

B. Review Under Executive Order 13771

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

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

(i) Eliminate jobs, or inhibit job creation;

(ii) Are outdated, unnecessary, or ineffective;

(iii) Impose costs that exceed benefits;

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

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

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

DOE concludes that this final rule is consistent with the directives set forth in these executive orders. Specifically, this final rule is a deregulatory action to implement Public Law 115-161, which amended the compliance date for the CFLK standards to establish a single compliance date for the energy conservation standards for both CFLKs and ceiling fans. This action is estimated to result in cost savings. Assuming a 7 percent discount rate, this final rule would yield annualized cost savings of approximately $0.29 million (2016$).

C. Review Under the Regulatory Flexibility Act

The Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.) requires preparation of an initial regulatory flexibility analysis for any rule that by law must be proposed for public comment, unless the agency certifies that the rule, if promulgated, will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. As required by Executive Order 13272, Proper Consideration of Small Entities in Agency Rulemaking, 67 FR 53461 (August 16, 2002), DOE published procedures and policies on February 19, 2003, to ensure that the potential impacts of its rules on small entities are properly considered during the rulemaking process. 68 FR 7990. The Department has made its procedures and policies available on the Office of General Counsel's website: http://www.gc.doe.gov. DOE is revising the Code of Federal Regulations to incorporate, without change, a revised compliance date prescribed by Public Law 115-161. Because this is a technical amendment for which a general notice of proposed rulemaking is not required, the analytical requirements of the Regulatory Flexibility Act do not apply to this rulemaking.

D. Review Under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995

This rulemaking imposes no new information or recordkeeping requirements. Accordingly, Office of Management and Budget clearance is not required under the Paperwork Reduction Act. (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.)

E. Review Under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969

DOE has determined that this rule is covered under the Categorical Exclusion found in DOE's National Environmental Policy Act regulations at paragraph A.6 of appendix A to subpart D, 10 CFR part 1021, which applies to rulemakings that are strictly procedural. Accordingly, neither an environmental assessment nor an environmental impact statement is required.

F. Review Under Executive Order 13132, “Federalism”

Executive Order 13132, “Federalism.” 64 FR 43255 (Aug. 10, 1999) imposes certain requirements on Federal agencies formulating and implementing policies or regulations that preempt State law or that have Federalism implications. The Executive Order requires agencies to examine the constitutional and statutory authority supporting any action that would limit the policymaking discretion of the States and to carefully assess the necessity for such actions. The Executive Order also requires agencies to have an accountable process to ensure meaningful and timely input by State and local officials in the development of regulatory policies that have Federalism implications. On March 14, 2000, DOE published a statement of policy describing the intergovernmental consultation process it will follow in the development of such regulations. 65 FR 13735. EPCA governs and prescribes Federal preemption of State regulations as to energy conservation for the products that are the subject of this final rule. States can petition DOE for exemption from such preemption to the extent, and based on criteria, set forth in EPCA. (42 U.S.C. 6297) No further action is required by Executive Order 13132.

G. Review Under Executive Order 12988, “Civil Justice Reform”

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

H. Review Under the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995

Title II of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (UMRA) (Pub. L. 104-4) requires each Federal agency to assess the effects of Federal regulatory actions on State, local, and Tribal governments and the private sector. For a proposed regulatory action likely to result in a rule that may cause the expenditure by State, local, and Tribal governments, in the aggregate, or by the private sector of $100 million or more in any one year (adjusted annually for inflation), section 202 of UMRA requires a Federal agency to publish a written statement that estimates the resulting costs, benefits, and other effects on the national economy. (2 U.S.C. 1532(a),(b)) The UMRA also requires a Federal agency to develop an effective process to permit timely input by elected officers of State, local, and Tribal governments on a proposed “significant intergovernmental mandate,” and requires an agency plan for giving notice and opportunity for timely input to potentially affected small governments before establishing any requirements that might significantly or uniquely affect small governments. On March 18, 1997, DOE published a statement of policy on its process for intergovernmental consultation under UMRA (62 FR 12820) (also available at http://www.gc.doe.gov). This final rule contains neither an intergovernmental mandate nor a mandate that may result in the expenditure of $100 million or more in any year, so these requirements under the UMRA do not apply.

I. Review Under the Treasury and General Government Appropriations Act, 1999

Section 654 of the Treasury and General Government Appropriations Act, 1999 (Pub. L. 105-277) requires Federal agencies to issue a Family Policymaking Assessment for any rule that may affect family well-being. This final rule would not have any impact on the autonomy or integrity of the family as an institution. Accordingly, DOE has concluded that it is not necessary to prepare a Family Policymaking Assessment.

J. Review Under Executive Order 12630, “Governmental Actions and Interference With Constitutionally Protected Property Rights”

The Department has determined, under Executive Order 12630, “Governmental Actions and Interference With Constitutionally Protected Property Rights,” 53 FR 8859 (March 18, 1988), that this rule would not result in any takings which might require compensation under the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution.

K. Review Under the Treasury and General Government Appropriations Act, 2001

Section 515 of the Treasury and General Government Appropriations Act, 2001 (44 U.S.C. 3516, note) disseminations of information to the public under guidelines established by each agency pursuant to general guidelines issued by OMB. OMB's guidelines were published at 67 FR 8452 (February 22, 2002), and DOE's guidelines were published at 67 FR 62446 (October 7, 2002). DOE has reviewed this rulemaking under the OMB and DOE guidelines and has concluded that it is consistent with applicable policies in those guidelines.

L. Review Under Executive Order 13211, “Actions Concerning Regulations That Significantly Affect Energy Supply, Distribution, or Use”

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

M. Congressional Notification

As required by 5 U.S.C. 801, DOE will report to Congress on the promulgation of this rule prior to its effective date. The report will state that it has been determined that the rule is not a “major rule” as defined by 5 U.S.C. 804(2).

Approval of the Office of the Secretary

The Secretary of Energy has approved publication of this final rule.

List of Subjects in 10 CFR Part 430

Administrative practice and procedure, Confidential business information, Energy conservation, Household appliances, Small businesses.

Issued in Washington, DC, on May 9, 2018. Daniel R. Simmons, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.

For the reasons set forth in the preamble, DOE hereby amends chapter II, subchapter D, of title 10 of the Code of Federal Regulations as set forth below:

PART 430—ENERGY CONSERVATION PROGRAM FOR CONSUMER PRODUCTS 1. The authority citation for part 430 continues to read as follows: Authority:

42 U.S.C. 6291-6309; 28 U.S.C. 2461 note.

§ 430.32 [Amended]
2. Section 430.32 is amended by: a. In paragraphs (s)(3), (4), (5), and (6), removing the language “January 7, 2019” each place it appears and adding in its place “January 21, 2020”. b. In paragraph (s)(5), removing the language “paragraphs (s)(2) or (3)” and adding in its place “paragraph (s)(3) or (4)”.
[FR Doc. 2018-10440 Filed 5-15-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6450-01-P
DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration 14 CFR Part 39 [Docket No. FAA-2018-0413; Product Identifier 2018-NM-061-AD; Amendment 39-19283; AD 2018-10-08] RIN 2120-AA64 Airworthiness Directives; Boeing Airplanes AGENCY:

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

ACTION:

Final rule; request for comments.

SUMMARY:

We are superseding Airworthiness Directive (AD) 2016-09-05, which applied to certain The Boeing Company Model 717-200 airplanes. AD 2016-09-05 required a detailed inspection for distress of the vertical stabilizer leading edge skin, and related investigative and corrective actions if necessary. It also required, for certain airplanes, repetitive inspections of the front spar cap for any loose or missing fasteners, or any cracking, and related investigative and corrective actions if necessary. This AD requires repetitive inspections for distress, cracking, and loose or missing fasteners in the vertical stabilizer leading edge skin and front spar cap, with new compliance times for certain airplanes. This AD was prompted by reports of cracking in the leading edge of the vertical stabilizer and front spar web. We are issuing this AD to address the unsafe condition on these products.

DATES:

This AD is effective May 31, 2018.

The Director of the Federal Register approved the incorporation by reference of a certain publication listed in this AD as of May 31, 2018.

ADDRESSES:

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

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

Fax: 202-493-2251.

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

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

For service information identified in this final rule, contact Boeing Commercial Airplanes, Attention: Contractual & Data Services (C&DS), 2600 Westminster Blvd., MC 110-SK57, Seal Beach, CA 90740-5600; telephone 562-797-1717; internet https://www.myboeingfleet.com. You may view this service information at the FAA, Transport Standards Branch, 2200 South 216th St., Des Moines, WA. For information on the availability of this material at the FAA, call 206-231-3195. It is also available on the internet at http://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2018-0413.

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-2018-0413; or in person at Docket Operations between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The AD docket contains this final rule, the regulatory evaluation, any comments received, and other information. The street address for Docket Operations (phone: 800-647-5527) is in the ADDRESSES section. Comments will be available in the AD docket shortly after receipt.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Muoi Vuong, Aerospace Engineer, Airframe Section, FAA, Los Angeles ACO Branch, 3960 Paramount Boulevard, Lakewood, CA 90712-4137; phone: 562-627-5205; fax: 562-627-5210; email: [email protected]

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Discussion

We issued AD 2016-09-05, Amendment 39-18503 (81 FR 26673, May 4, 2016) (“AD 2016-09-05”), for certain The Boeing Company Model 717-200 airplanes. AD 2016-09-05 required a detailed inspection for any distress of the vertical stabilizer leading edge skin, and related investigative and corrective actions if necessary. It also required, for certain airplanes, repetitive detailed inspections of the front spar cap for any loose or missing fasteners, repetitive eddy current testing high frequency (ETHF) and radiographic testing (RT) inspections of the front spar cap for any crack, and related investigative and corrective actions if necessary. AD 2016-09-05 resulted from reports of 10 cases of elongated fastener holes in the vertical stabilizer leading edge. We issued AD 2016-09-05 to address cracking in the vertical stabilizer leading edge and front spar cap, which may result in the structure becoming unable to support limit load, and may lead to the loss of the vertical stabilizer.

Actions Since AD 2016-09-05 Was Issued

Since we issued AD 2016-09-05, four cases of elongated fastener holes in the vertical stabilizer leading edge and nine cases of front spar cap damage or cracks were reported. Seven of the nine cases involved small cracks of approximately 0.3 inch in the front spar cap. Two of the nine cases involved a severed front spar cap and front spar web cracking, and one also involved skin cracking. The longest cracks, 4.5 inches in length, were discovered in the left skin of the vertical stabilizer leading edge and the front spar web of a Boeing Model 717-200 airplane during an initial inspection required by AD 2016-09-05. We determined that for airplanes on which an initial inspection has not been done as specified in AD 2016-09-05, a revised compliance time is needed. We are issuing this AD to address the unsafe condition on these products.

Related Service Information Under 1 CFR Part 51

We reviewed Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 717-55A0012, Revision 1, dated April 11, 2018. The service information describes procedures for doing detailed inspections of the front spar cap for any loose or missing fasteners, ETHF or RT inspections for distress and for cracking in the vertical stabilizer leading edge and front spar cap at the splice at station Zfs=52.267, and applicable on-condition actions. This service information is reasonably available because the interested parties have access to it through their normal course of business or by the means identified in the ADDRESSES section.

FAA's Determination

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

AD Requirements

Although this AD does not explicitly restate the requirements of AD 2016-09-05, this AD would retain the requirements of AD 2016-09-05, with revised compliance times for airplanes that have not completed the requirements of AD 2016-09-05. The requirements of AD 2016-09-05 are referenced in the service information identified previously, which, in turn, is referenced in paragraph (g) of this AD.

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 comment 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 cracks in the vertical stabilizer leading edge and front spar cap could result in the structure becoming unable to support limit load, and may lead to the loss of the vertical stabilizer. Therefore, we find good cause that notice and opportunity for prior public comment are impracticable. In addition, for the reason(s) stated above, we find that good cause exists for making this amendment effective in less than 30 days.

Comments Invited

This AD is a final rule that involves requirements affecting flight safety and 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-2018-0413 and Product Identifier 2018-NM-061-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 106 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
  • Inspections for distress (retained actions from AD 2016-09-05) 11 work-hours × $85 per hour = $935 per inspection cycle $0 $935 per inspection cycle $99,110 per inspection cycle. Repetitive inspections for cracking and loose or missing fasteners (retained actions from AD 2016-09-05) 7 work-hours × $85 per hour = $595 per inspection cycle 0 $595 per inspection cycle $63,070 per inspection cycle.

    The new requirements of this AD add no additional economic burden.

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

    Authority for This Rulemaking

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

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

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

    Regulatory Findings

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

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

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

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

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

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

    List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 39

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

    Adoption of the Amendment

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

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

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

    § 39.13 [Amended]
    2. The FAA amends § 39.13 by removing Airworthiness Directive (AD) 2016-09-05, Amendment 39-18503 (81 FR 26673, May 4, 2016), and adding the following new AD: 2018-10-08 The Boeing Company: Amendment 39-19283; Docket No. FAA-2018-0413; Product Identifier 2018-NM-061-AD. (a) Effective Date

    This Airworthiness Directive (AD)is effective May 31, 2018.

    (b) Affected ADs

    This AD replaces AD 2016-09-05, Amendment 39-18503 (81 FR 26673, May 4, 2016) (“AD 2016-09-05”).

    (c) Applicability

    This AD applies to The Boeing Company Model 717-200 airplanes, certificated in any category, as identified in Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 717-55A0012, Revision 1, dated April 11, 2018.

    (d) Subject

    Air Transport Association (ATA) of America Code 55, Stabilizers.

    (e) Unsafe Condition

    This AD was prompted by multiple reports of the vertical stabilizer leading edge showing signs of fastener distress, multiple cracked or severed front spar caps, and cracks in the left skin of the vertical stabilizer leading edge and in the front spar web, discovered during initial inspections required by AD 2016-09-05. We have determined that a revised compliance time is needed for airplanes on which the initial inspection has not been done as specified in AD 2016-09-05. We are issuing this AD to address cracking in the vertical stabilizer leading edge and front spar cap, which may result in the structure becoming unable to support limit load, and may lead to loss of the vertical stabilizer.

    (f) Compliance

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

    (g) Required Actions

    Except as required by paragraph (h) of this AD, at the applicable time specified in paragraph 1.E., “Compliance,” of Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 717-55A0012, Revision 1, dated April 11, 2018, do all applicable actions identified as “RC” (required for compliance) in, and in accordance with, the Accomplishment Instructions of Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 717-55A0012, Revision 1, dated April 11, 2018.

    (h) Exceptions to Service Information Specifications

    (1) For purposes of determining compliance with the requirements of this AD: Where Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 717-55A0012, Revision 1, dated April 11, 2018, uses the phrase “the Revision 1 issue date of this service bulletin,” this AD requires using the effective date of this AD.

    (2) Where Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 717-55A0012, Revision 1, dated April 11, 2018, specifies contacting Boeing, and specifies that action as RC: This AD requires repair using a method approved in accordance with the procedures specified in paragraph (j) of this AD.

    (i) Credit for Previous Actions

    (1) This paragraph provides credit for the initial inspection specified in paragraph (g) of this AD, if that inspection was performed before June 8, 2016 (the effective date of AD 2016-09-05), using Boeing MOM-MOM-14-0437-01B(R1), dated July 3, 2014. This service information is not incorporated by reference in this AD.

    (2) This paragraph provides credit for the actions specified in paragraph (g) of this AD, if those actions were performed before the effective date of this AD using Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 717-55A0012, dated June 12, 2015. This service information was incorporated by reference in AD 2016-09-05.

    (j) Alternative Methods of Compliance (AMOCs)

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

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

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

    (4) AMOCs approved previously for AD 2016-09-05 are approved as AMOCs for the corresponding provisions of Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 717-55A0012, Revision 1, dated April 11, 2018, that are required by paragraph (g) of this AD.

    (5) Except as required by paragraph (h)(2) of this AD: For service information that contains steps that are labeled as Required for Compliance (RC), the provisions of paragraphs (j)(5)(i) and (j)(5)(ii) of this AD apply.

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

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

    (k) Related Information

    (1) For more information about this AD, contact: Muoi Vuong, Aerospace Engineer, Airframe Section, FAA, Los Angeles ACO Branch, 3960 Paramount Boulevard, Lakewood, CA 90712-4137; phone: 562-627-5205; fax: 562-627-5210; email: [email protected]

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

    (l) Material Incorporated by Reference

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

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

    (i) Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 717-55A0012, Revision 1, dated April 11, 2018.

    (ii) Reserved.

    (3) For service information identified in this AD, contact Boeing Commercial Airplanes, Attention: Contractual & Data Services (C&DS), 2600 Westminster Blvd., MC 110-SK57, Seal Beach, CA 90740-5600; telephone 562-797-1717; internet https://www.myboeingfleet.com.

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

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

    Issued in Des Moines, Washington, on May 8, 2018. Jeffrey E. Duven, Director, System Oversight Division, Aircraft Certification Service.
    [FR Doc. 2018-10413 Filed 5-15-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910-13-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY Coast Guard 33 CFR Part 165 [Docket No. USCG-2018-0250] Safety Zones; Fireworks and Swim Events in Captain of the Port New York Zone AGENCY:

    Coast Guard, DHS.

    ACTION:

    Notice of enforcement of regulation.

    SUMMARY:

    The Coast Guard will enforce various safety zones within the Captain of the Port New York Zone on the specified dates and times. This action is necessary to ensure the safety of vessels, spectators and participants from hazards associated with fireworks. During the enforcement period, no person or vessel may enter the safety zones without permission of the Captain of the Port (COTP).

    DATES:

    The regulation for the safety zones described in 33 CFR 165.160 will be enforced on the dates and times listed in the table below.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    If you have questions regarding this document, call or email Petty Officer First Class Ronald Sampert U.S. Coast Guard; telephone 718-354-4197, email [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The Coast Guard will enforce the safety zones listed in 33 CFR 165.160 on the specified dates and times as indicated in Tables 1 and 2 below. This regulation was published in the Federal Register on November 9, 2011 (76 FR 69614).

    Table 1 1. 2018 Ellis Island Medals of Honor (N.E.C.O.), Liberty Island Safety Zone, 33 CFR 165.160(2.1) • Launch site: A barge located in approximate position 40°41′16.5″ N 074°02′23″ W (NAD 1983) located in Federal Anchorage 20-C, about 360 yards east of Liberty Island. This Safety Zone is a 360-yard radius from the barge.
  • • Date: May 12, 2018.
  • • Time: 11:30 p.m.-12:30 a.m.
  • 2. Carnival Horizon Ship Christening, Pier 90 Hudson River Safety Zone, 33 CFR 165.160(5.4) • Launch site: A barge located in approximate position 40°46′11.8″N, 074°00′14.8″W (NAD 1983) about 375 yards west of Pier 90. This Safety Zone is a 360-yard radius from the barge.
  • • Date: May 23, 2018.
  • • Time: 10:00 p.m.-10:30 p.m.
  • 3. Marist College O.A.C.A.C., Poughkeepsie, NY, Hudson River Safety Zone, 33 CFR 165.160(5.13) • Launch site: A barge located in approximate position 41°42′24.50″ N, 073°56′44.16″ W (NAD 1983), approximately 420 yards north of the Mid Hudson Bridge. This Safety Zone is a 300-yard radius from the barge.
  • • Date: June 7, 2018.
  • • Time: 8:30 p.m.-9:30 p.m.
  • 4. Boston Consulting Group, Ellis Island Safety Zone, 33 CFR 165.160(2.2) • Launch site: A barge located between Federal Anchorages 20-A and 20-B, in approximate position 40°41′45″ N, 074°03′42″ W (NAD 1983), about 260 yards south of Ellis Island. This Safety Zone is a 240-yard radius from the barge.
  • • Date: June 8, 2018.
  • • Time: 10:00 p.m.-10:30 p.m.
  • Table 2 5. Newburgh Beacon Swim, Safety Zone, 33 CFR 165.160(1.2) • Location: Participants will cross the Hudson River between Newburgh, to Beacon, New York approximately 1300 yards south of the Newburgh-Beacon bridges. This Safety Zone includes all waters within a 100-yard radius of each participating swimmer.
  • • Date: July 28, 2018.
  • • Time: 09:00 a.m.-11:30 a.m.
  • Under the provisions of 33 CFR 165.160, vessels may not enter the safety zones unless given permission from the COTP or a designated representative. Spectator vessels may transit outside the safety zones but may not anchor, block, loiter in, or impede the transit of other vessels. The Coast Guard may be assisted by other Federal, State, or local law enforcement agencies in enforcing this regulation.

    This document is issued under authority of 33 CFR 165.160(a) and 5 U.S.C. 552(a). In addition to the publication of this document in the Federal Register, the Coast Guard will provide mariners with advanced notification of enforcement periods via the Local Notice to Mariners and marine information broadcasts. If the COTP determines that a safety zone need not be enforced for the full duration stated in this notification, a Broadcast Notice to Mariners may be used to grant general permission to enter the safety zone.

    Dated: April 27, 2018. M.H. Day, Captain, U.S. Coast Guard, Captain of the Port New York.
    [FR Doc. 2018-10447 Filed 5-15-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9110-04-P
    ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY 40 CFR Part 80 [EPA-HQ-OAR-2018-0114; FRL-9977-50-OAR] Removal of the Federal Reformulated Gasoline Program from the Northern Kentucky Portion of the Cincinnati-Hamilton Ozone Maintenance Area AGENCY:

    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

    ACTION:

    Notification of final action on petition.

    SUMMARY:

    The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is taking final action in announcing its approval of the petition by Kentucky to opt-out of the federal reformulated gasoline (RFG) program and remove the requirement to sell federal RFG for Boone, Campbell, and Kenton counties (the Northern Kentucky Area), which are part of the Cincinnati-Hamilton, Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana maintenance area for the 2008 ozone national ambient air quality standard (NAAQS) (Cincinnati-Hamilton, OH-KY-IN Area). EPA has determined that this removal of the federal RFG program for the Northern Kentucky Area is consistent with the applicable provisions of the Clean Air Act (CAA) and EPA's regulations.

    DATES:

    The effective date for removal of the Northern Kentucky Area from the federal RFG program is July 1, 2018.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    David Dickinson, Office of Transportation and Air Quality, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, DC 20460; telephone number: (202) 343-9256; email address: [email protected] or Rudy Kapichak, Office of Transportation and Air Quality, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, (2000 Traverwood, Ann Arbor, MI 48105); telephone number: 734-214-4574; email address: [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

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

    Entities potentially affected by this final action are fuel producers and distributors who do business in the Northern Kentucky Area.

    Examples of potentially
  • regulated entities
  • NAICS 1 codes
    Petroleum refineries 324110
  • 424710
  • Gasoline Marketers and Distributors 424720 Gasoline Retail Stations 447110 Gasoline Transporters 484220
  • 484230
  • The above table is not intended to be exhaustive, but rather provides a guide for readers regarding entities likely to be regulated by this action. The table lists the types of entities of which EPA is aware that potentially could be affected by this final action. Other types of entities not listed on the table could also be affected by this final action. To determine whether your organization could be affected by this final action, you should carefully examine the regulations in 40 CFR part 80, subpart D—Reformulated Gasoline. If you have questions regarding the applicability of this action to a particular entity, see the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section of this preamble.

    1 North American Industry Classification System.

    B. How can I get copies of this document and other related information?

    EPA has established a docket for this action under Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2018-0114. All documents in the docket are listed on the www.regulations.gov website. Although listed in the index, some information may not be publicly available, e.g., Confidential Business Information (CBI) or other information whose disclosure is restricted by statute. Certain other material, such as copyrighted material, is not placed on the internet and will be publicly available only in hard copy form. Publicly available docket materials are available electronically through www.regulations.gov.

    II. Background A. What is the RFG program?

    The 1990 Clean Air Act (CAA) amendments established specific requirements for the RFG program to reduce ozone levels in certain areas in the country experiencing ground-level ozone or smog problems by reducing vehicle emissions of compounds that form ozone, specifically volatile organic compounds (VOCs). The 1990 CAA amendments, specifically CAA section 211(k)(5), directed EPA to issue regulations that specify how gasoline can be “reformulated” so as to result in significant reductions in vehicle emissions of ozone-forming and toxic air pollutants relative to the 1990 baseline fuel, and to require the use of such reformulated gasoline in certain “covered areas.” The CAA defined certain nonattainment areas as “covered areas” which are required to use reformulated gasoline (RFG) and provided other areas with an ability to “opt-in” to the RFG program. CAA section 211(k)(6) provides an opportunity for an area classified as a Marginal, Moderate, Serious, or Severe ozone nonattainment area, or which is in the ozone transport region established by CAA section 184(a), to “opt-in” to the RFG program upon application by the governor of the state (or his authorized representative) and subsequent action by EPA.

    As in other RFG covered areas, RFG opt-in areas are subject to the prohibition in CAA section 211(k)(5) on the sale or dispensing by any person of conventional (non-RFG) gasoline to ultimate consumers in the covered area. The prohibition also includes the sale or dispensing by any refiner, blender, importer, or marketer of conventional gasoline for resale in any covered areas, without segregating the conventional gasoline from RFG and clearly marking conventional gasoline as not for sale to ultimate consumers in a covered area. EPA first published regulations for the RFG program on February 16, 1994 (59 FR 7716).

    Kentucky voluntarily opted Boone, Campbell, and Kenton Counties into the RFG program in 1995. Kentucky also opted its portion of the Louisville ozone area (Jefferson County and parts of Bullitt and Oldham Counties) into the RFG program; however, today's action does not affect the use of RFG in the Louisville ozone area. A current listing of the RFG covered areas and a summary of RFG requirements can be found on EPA's website at: https://www.epa.gov/gasoline-standards/reformulated-gasoline.

    B. Opt-Out Procedures

    The RFG regulations (40 CFR 80.72—Procedures for opting out of the covered areas) provide the process and criteria for a reasonable transition out of the RFG program if a state decides to opt-out.2 These opt-out regulations provide that the governor of the state must submit a petition to the Administrator requesting to opt-out of the RFG program. The petition must include specific information on how, if at all, the state has relied on RFG in a proposed or approved state implementation plan (SIP) or plan revision and, if RFG is relied upon, how the SIP will be revised to reflect the state's opt-out from RFG. The opt-out regulations also provide that EPA will notify the state in writing of the Agency's action on the petition and the date the opt-out becomes effective (i.e., the date RFG is no longer required in the affected area) when the petition is approved. The opt-out regulations also provide that EPA will publish a Federal Register notice announcing the approval of any opt-out petition and the effective date of such opt-out. If a SIP revision is required, the effective date of EPA's approval of the opt-out can be no less than 90 days from the effective date of EPA's approval of the revision to the SIP that removes RFG as a control measure. See 40 CFR 80.72(c)(7).

    2 Pursuant to authority under CAA sections 211(c) and (k) and 301(a), EPA promulgated regulations at 40 CFR 80.72 to provide criteria and general procedures for states to opt-out of the RFG program where the state had previously voluntarily opted into the program. The regulations were initially adopted on July 8, 1996 (61 FR 35673) (the RFG “Opt-out Rule”); and were revised on October 20, 1997 (62 FR 54552).

    EPA determined in the RFG “Opt-out Rule” that it would not be necessary to conduct a separate rulemaking for each future opt-out request. (See 61 FR 35673 at 35675 (July 8, 1996)). EPA established a petition process to address, on a case-by-case basis, future individual state requests to opt-out of the RFG program. The opt-out regulations establish clear and objective criteria for EPA to apply. These regulatory criteria address when a state's petition is complete and the appropriate transition time for opting out. As EPA stated in the preamble to the Opt-out Rule, this application of regulatory criteria on a case-by-case basis to individual opt-out requests does not require notice-and-comment rulemaking, either under CAA section 307(d) or the Administrative Procedure Act. Thus, in this action, EPA is applying the criteria and following the procedures specified in its opt-out regulations to approve Kentucky's petition.

    C. Opt-out of RFG for the Northern Kentucky Portion of the Cincinnati-Hamilton OH-KY-IN Maintenance Area

    On April 18, 2017, Kentucky submitted a petition to the EPA Administrator requesting to opt-out from the RFG program for Boone, Campbell and Kenton counties (the Northern Kentucky Area).3 In order to fulfill the requirements of the RFG opt-out regulations, on September 13, 2018, Kentucky submitted a revision to its maintenance plan for the Northern Kentucky Area to remove the emissions reductions associated with the use of RFG in this area and to demonstrate that the RFG opt-out would not interfere with the area's ability to attain or maintain the 2008 ozone NAAQS and any other NAAQS as required by CAA section 110(l). (See 40 CFR 80.72(b)). EPA published a proposed approval of the SIP revision on February 14, 2018 (83 FR 6496) and a final approval of the SIP revision on April 2, 2018 (83 FR 13872). The final approval of the maintenance plan revision was effective upon publication, April 2, 2018. The RFG opt-out regulations provide that the opt-out effective date shall be no less than 90 days from the EPA SIP approval effective date. (See 40 CFR 80.72(c)(7)). EPA is unaware of any reason that the effective date should be postponed, and therefore, is establishing an opt-out effective date of July 1, 2018 for the Northern Kentucky Area.

    3 The Secretary of Kentucky's Energy and Environment Cabinet submitted the opt-out petition on behalf of the Commonwealth of Kentucky. A copy of the opt-out petition is included in the docket.

    As provided by the RFG Opt-out Rule and the opt-out regulations, EPA will publish a final rule at a later date to remove the three counties in the Northern Kentucky Area from the list of RFG covered areas in 40 CFR 80.70 after the effective date of the opt-out. EPA believes that it is prudent to complete this ministerial exercise to revise the list of covered areas in the Code of Federal Regulations after the effective date of the opt-out.

    III. Action

    EPA is approving Kentucky's petition because it contained the information required by 40 CFR 80.72, including that Kentucky revised the approved maintenance plan for the 2008 ozone NAAQS for the Northern Kentucky Area to remove the emissions reductions associated with RFG. EPA is also determining the opt-out effective date by applying the criteria in 40 CFR 80.72(c)(7). As discussed in Section II.A. of this document, the opt-out regulations require that if a state included RFG as a control measure in an approved SIP, the state must revise the SIP, reflecting the removal of RFG as a control measure before an opt-out can be effective and the opt-out cannot be effective less than 90 days after the effective date of the approval of the SIP revision. EPA published a final approval of Kentucky's maintenance plan revision and noninterference demonstration on April 2, 2018 (83 FR 13872). The final approval was effective upon publication.

    In summary, EPA is today notifying the public that it has applied its regulatory criteria to approve the petition by Kentucky to opt-out of the RFG program for the Northern Kentucky Area of the Cincinnati-Hamilton, OH-KY-IN ozone maintenance area and is thereby removing the prohibition on the sale of conventional gasoline in that area as of July 1, 2018. (See 40 CFR 80.72). This opt-out effective date applies to retailers, wholesale purchasers, consumers, refiners, importers, and distributors.

    Dated: May 9, 2018. E. Scott Pruitt, Administrator.
    [FR Doc. 2018-10456 Filed 5-15-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
    ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY 40 CFR Part 180 [EPA-HQ-OPP-2017-0032; FRL-9976-62] Tebuconazole; Pesticide Tolerances AGENCY:

    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

    ACTION:

    Final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    This regulation establishes tolerances for residues of tebuconazole in or on ginseng, fresh at 0.15 parts per million (ppm) and ginseng, dried at 0.40 ppm. Bayer CropScience LP, requested these tolerances under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA).

    DATES:

    This regulation is effective May 16, 2018. Objections and requests for hearings must be received on or before July 16, 2018, and must be filed in accordance with the instructions provided in 40 CFR part 178 (see also Unit I.C. of the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION).

    ADDRESSES:

    The docket for this action, identified by docket identification (ID) number EPA-HQ-OPP-2017-0032, is available at http://www.regulations.gov or at the Office of Pesticide Programs Regulatory Public Docket (OPP Docket) in the Environmental Protection Agency Docket Center (EPA/DC), West William Jefferson Clinton Bldg., Rm. 3334, 1301 Constitution Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20460-0001. The Public Reading Room is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding legal holidays. The telephone number for the Public Reading Room is (202) 566-1744, and the telephone number for the OPP Docket is (703) 305-5805. Please review the visitor instructions and additional information about the docket available at http://www.epa.gov/dockets.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

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

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

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

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

    • Crop production (NAICS code 111).

    • Animal production (NAICS code 112).

    • Food manufacturing (NAICS code 311).

    • Pesticide manufacturing (NAICS code 32532).

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

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

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

    Under FFDCA section 408(g), 21 U.S.C. 346a, any person may file an objection to any aspect of this regulation and may also request a hearing on those objections. You must file your objection or request a hearing on this regulation in accordance with the instructions provided in 40 CFR part 178. To ensure proper receipt by EPA, you must identify docket ID number EPA-HQ-OPP-2017-0032 in the subject line on the first page of your submission. All objections and requests for a hearing must be in writing, and must be received by the Hearing Clerk on or before July 16, 2018. Addresses for mail and hand delivery of objections and hearing requests are provided in 40 CFR 178.25(b).

    In addition to filing an objection or hearing request with the Hearing Clerk as described in 40 CFR part 178, please submit a copy of the filing (excluding any Confidential Business Information (CBI)) for inclusion in the public docket. Information not marked confidential pursuant to 40 CFR part 2 may be disclosed publicly by EPA without prior notice. Submit the non-CBI copy of your objection or hearing request, identified by docket ID number EPA-HQ-OPP-2017-0032, by one of the following methods:

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

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

    Hand Delivery: To make special arrangements for hand delivery or delivery of boxed information, please follow the instructions at http://www.epa.gov/dockets/contacts.html. Additional instructions on commenting or visiting the docket, along with more information about dockets generally, is available at http://www.epa.gov/dockets.

    II. Summary of Petitioned-For Tolerance

    In the Federal Register of April 10, 2017 (82 FR 17175) (FRL-9959-61), EPA issued a document pursuant to FFDCA section 408(d)(3), 21 U.S.C. 346a(d)(3), announcing the filing of a pesticide petition (PP 6E8534) by Bayer CropScience LP, 2 T.W. Alexander Drive, P.O. Box 12014, Research Triangle Park, NC 27709. The petition requested that 40 CFR part 180 be amended by establishing tolerances for residues of tebuconazole, α-[2-(4-Chlorophenyl)ethyl]-α-(1,1-dimethylethyl)-1H-1,2,4-triazole-1-ethanol, in or on ginseng, fresh at 0.15 ppm and ginseng, dried/red at 0.4 ppm. This document referenced a summary of the petition prepared by Bayer CropScience LP, the registrant, which is available in the docket, http://www.regulations.gov. No comments were received in response to the notice of filing.

    III. Aggregate Risk Assessment and Determination of Safety

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

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

    A. Toxicological Profile

    EPA has evaluated the available toxicity data and considered its validity, completeness, and reliability as well as the relationship of the results of the studies to human risk. EPA has also considered available information concerning the variability of the sensitivities of major identifiable subgroups of consumers, including infants and children.

    The toxicological profile remains unchanged from the discussion contained in the final rule published in the Federal Register on November 15, 2013 (78 FR 68741) (FRL-9392-1), which is hereby incorporated into this document.

    Specific information on the studies received and the nature of the adverse effects caused by tebuconazole as well as the no-observed-adverse-effect-level (NOAEL) and the lowest-observed-adverse-effect-level (LOAEL) from the toxicity studies can be found at http://www.regulations.gov in document Human Health Aggregate Risk Assessment for Establishment of a Permanent Tolerance Without U.S. Registration for Residues in/on Ginseng at pages 24-26 in docket ID number EPA-HQ-OPP-2017-0032.

    B. Toxicological Points of Departure/Levels of Concern

    Once a pesticide's toxicological profile is determined, EPA identifies toxicological points of departure (POD) and levels of concern to use in evaluating the risk posed by human exposure to the pesticide. For hazards that have a threshold below which there is no appreciable risk, the toxicological POD is used as the basis for derivation of reference values for risk assessment. PODs are developed based on a careful analysis of the doses in each toxicological study to determine the dose at which no adverse effects are observed (the NOAEL) and the lowest dose at which adverse effects of concern are identified (the LOAEL). Uncertainty/safety factors are used in conjunction with the POD to calculate a safe exposure level—generally referred to as a population-adjusted dose (PAD) or a reference dose (RfD)—and a safe margin of exposure (MOE). For non-threshold risks, the Agency assumes that any amount of exposure will lead to some degree of risk. Thus, the Agency estimates risk in terms of the probability of an occurrence of the adverse effect expected in a lifetime. For more information on the general principles EPA uses in risk characterization and a complete description of the risk assessment process, see http://www2.epa.gov/pesticide-science-and-assessing-pesticide-risks/assessing-human-health-risk-pesticides.

    A summary of the toxicological endpoints for tebuconazole used for human risk assessment can be found in the preamble to the final rule published in the Federal Register on November 15, 2013.

    C. Exposure Assessment

    1. Dietary exposure from food and feed uses. In evaluating dietary exposure to tebuconazole, EPA considered exposure under the petitioned-for tolerances as well as all existing tebuconazole tolerances in 40 CFR 180.474. EPA assessed dietary exposures from tebuconazole in food as follows:

    i. Acute exposure. Quantitative acute dietary exposure and risk assessments are performed for a food-use pesticide, if a toxicological study has indicated the possibility of an effect of concern occurring as a result of a 1-day or single exposure. Such effects were identified for tebuconazole. In estimating acute dietary exposure, EPA used food consumption information from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) 2003-2008 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, What We Eat in America, (NHANES/WWEIA). As to residue levels in food, a somewhat refined acute probalistic dietary exposure assessment was conducted for all existing and proposed food uses of tebuconazole. For the acute assessment, anticipated residues for grapes, grape juice, and peaches were derived using the latest USDA Pesticide Data Program (PDP) monitoring data. Anticipated residues for all other registered and proposed food commodities were based on field trial data. Anticipated residues for all current uses were further refined using percent crop treated (%CT) data where available. Percentage of imported orange juice and oranges were also provided. Default DEEM (ver. 7.81) and empirical processing factors were assumed.

    ii. Chronic exposure. In conducting the chronic dietary exposure assessment EPA used the food consumption data from the USDA 2003-2008 (NHANES/WWEIA). As to residue levels in food, EPA used field trial data, USDA PDP data, assumed PCT data levels and used empirical DEEM (ver. 7.81) default processing factors as described in Unit III.C.iv.

    iii. Cancer. Based on the data summarized in Unit III.A., EPA has concluded that a nonlinear RfD approach is appropriate for assessing cancer risk to tebuconazole. The chronic risk assessment or RfD approach is considered to be protective of any cancer effects; therefore, a separate cancer assessment was not conducted.

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

    Section 408(b)(2)(F) of FFDCA states that the Agency may use data on the actual percent of food treated for assessing chronic dietary risk only if:

    • Condition a: The data used are reliable and provide a valid basis to show what percentage of the food derived from such crop is likely to contain the pesticide residue.

    • Condition b: The exposure estimate does not underestimate exposure for any significant subpopulation group.

    • Condition c: Data are available on pesticide use and food consumption in a particular area, the exposure estimate does not understate exposure for the population in such area.

    In addition, the Agency must provide for periodic evaluation of any estimates used. To provide for the periodic evaluation of the estimate of PCT as required by FFDCA section 408(b)(2)(F), EPA may require registrants to submit data on PCT.

    For the acute assessment, the Agency estimated the PCT for existing uses as follows: Almonds 15%; apples 2.5%; apricots 20%; asparagus 30%; barley 2.5%; beans green 2.5%; cantaloupes 10%; cherries 45%; corn 2.5%; cotton 2.5%; cucumbers 2.5%; dry beans/peas 5%; garlic 95%; grapes 40%; nectarines 30%; oats 2.5%; onions 5%; peaches 25%; peanuts 65%; pears 5%; pecans 25%; plums/prunes 5%; soybeans 2.5%; squash 5%; sweet corn 5%; and wheat 25%.

    For the chronic assessment, the Agency estimated the PCT for existing uses as follows: Almonds 5%; apples 2.5%; apricots 10%; asparagus 5%; barley 2.5%; beans green 1%; cantaloupes 2.5%; cherries 25%; corn 1%; cotton 1%; cucumbers 1%; dry beans/peas 2.5%; garlic 65%; grapes 25%; nectarines 20%; oats 2.5%; onions 5%; peaches 10%; peanuts 45%; pears 5%; pecans 10%; pistachios 5%; plums/prunes 2.5%; pumpkins 2.5%; soybeans 1%; squash 2.5%; sweet corn 2.5%; walnuts 2.5%; watermelons 15%; and wheat 5%.

    The following estimated percent import estimates for the import oranges were used: Acute: Orange 16%; and orange juice 58%; Chronic: orange 12%; orange juice 46%. For all other crops not listed above, EPA assumed that 100% of the crop was treated.

    In most cases, EPA uses available data from United States Department of Agriculture/National Agricultural Statistics Service (USDA/NASS), proprietary market surveys, and California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) Pesticide Use Reporting (PUR) for the chemical/crop combination for the most recent 10 years. EPA uses an average PCT for chronic dietary risk analysis and a maximum PCT for acute dietary risk analysis. The average PCT figure for each existing use is derived by combining available public and private market survey data for that use, averaging across all observations, and rounding to the nearest 5%, except for those situations in which the average PCT is less than 2.5% or 1%. In those cases, EPA uses 2.5% or 1%, respectively, as the average PCT value. The maximum PCT figure is the highest observed maximum value reported within the recent 10 years of available public and private market survey data for the existing use and rounded up to the nearest multiple of 5%, except in those situations in which the maximum PCT is less than 2.5%, in which case, the Agency uses 2.5% as the maximum PCT.

    The Agency believes that the three conditions discussed in Unit III.C.1.iv have been met. With respect to Condition a, PCT estimates are derived from Federal and private market survey data, which are reliable and have a valid basis. The Agency is reasonably certain that the percentage of the food treated is not likely to be an underestimation. As to Conditions b and c, regional consumption information and consumption information for significant subpopulations is taken into account through EPA's computer-based model for evaluating the exposure of significant subpopulations including several regional groups. Use of this consumption information in EPA's risk assessment process ensures that EPA's exposure estimate does not understate exposure for any significant subpopulation group and allows the Agency to be reasonably certain that no regional population is exposed to residue levels higher than those estimated by the Agency. Other than the data available through national food consumption surveys, EPA does not have available reliable information on the regional consumption of food to which tebuconazole may be applied in a particular area.

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

    Based on the Pesticide Root Zone Model/Exposure Analysis Modeling System (PRZM/EXAMS) and Screening Concentration in Ground Water (SCI-GROW) models the estimated drinking water concentrations (EDWCs) of tebuconazole for acute exposures are estimated to be 87.7 parts per billion (ppb) for surface water and 1.56 ppb for ground water and for chronic exposures are estimated to be 68.8 ppb for surface water and 1.56 ppb for ground water.

    Modeled estimates of drinking water concentrations were previously entered into the dietary exposure model. For acute dietary risk assessment, a distribution of 30-year daily surface water concentration was estimated for the EDWCs of tebuconazole. For chronic dietary risk assessment, the water concentration of value 68.8 ppb was previously used to assess the contribution to drinking water. Because the use of tebuconazole on ginseng is not associated with a U.S. registration, there is no impact on drinking water residues. As a result, the Agency is relying on the drinking water residues used in the dietary risk assessment previously provided, “Drinking water and ecological risk for new use of tebuconazole/fluoxastrobin combination for turf and ornamental use”, which can be found at http://regulations.gov, under docket ID number EPA-HQ-OPP-2013-0653-0007.

    3. From non-dietary exposure. The term “residential exposure” is used in this document to refer to non-occupational, non-dietary exposure (e.g., for lawn and garden pest control, indoor pest control, termiticides, and flea and tick control on pets). Tebuconazole is currently registered for the following uses that could result in residential exposures: Turf, flower gardens, trees, ornamentals, and pressure-treated wood.

    EPA assessed residential exposure using the following assumptions: For residential handlers, exposure is expected to be short-term. Intermediate-term exposures are not likely because of the intermittent nature of applications by homeowners. For post-application exposures, the Agency assessed residential dermal and incidental oral post-application exposure for adults and children golfing, working in gardens, and performing physical activities on pressure-treated wood after application of tebuconazole may receive exposure to tebuconazole residues. Post-application exposure is expected to be short-term in duration. For assessment of both handler and post-application exposures, dermal and inhalation exposures were combined since the same endpoint and point of departure (POD) is used for both routes of exposure.

    Further information regarding EPA standard assumptions and generic inputs for residential exposures may be found at http://www.epa.gov/pesticide-science-and-assessing-pesticide-risks/standard-operating-procedures-residential-pesticide.

    Because no new residential uses are being requested at this time, an updated residential exposure assessment would not normally be required. Each of the existing residential use patterns had been previously assessed and the resulting exposures and risk estimates did not exceed the agency's LOC. Since those assessments were conducted, however, a turf transferrable residue (TTR) study required by the Agency in 2013 was submitted to support a reevaluation of the aggregate exposures from the registered use on golf course turf. In addition, the agency updated the residential standard operating procedures and body weights to be used in all human health assessments. Therefore, the existing residential use patterns were reassessed using the updated procedures and data, since the residential exposures can impact the aggregate assessment for tebuconazole. The TTR study is reviewed in a separate HED memorandum available in the docket EPA-HQ-OPP-2017-0032.

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

    Tebuconazole is a member of the conazole class of fungicides containing the 1,2,4-triazole moiety. Although conazoles act similarly in plants (fungi) by inhibiting ergosterol biosynthesis, there is not necessarily a relationship between their pesticidal activity and their mechanism of toxicity in mammals. Structural similarities do not constitute a common mechanism of toxicity. Evidence is needed to establish that the chemicals operate by the same, or essentially the same, sequence of major biochemical events. In conazoles, however, a variable pattern of toxicological responses is found; some are hepatotoxic and hepatocarcinogenic in mice. Some induce thyroid tumors in rats. Some induce developmental, reproductive, and neurological effects in rodents. Furthermore, the conazoles produce a diverse range of biochemical events including altered cholesterol levels, stress responses, and altered DNA methylation. It is not clearly understood whether these biochemical events are directly connected to their toxicological outcomes. Thus, there is currently no conclusive data to indicate that conazoles share common mechanisms of toxicity, and EPA is not following a cumulative risk approach based on a common mechanism of toxicity for the conazoles. For information regarding EPA's procedures for cumulating effects from substances found to have a common mechanism of toxicity, see EPA's website at http://www.epa.gov/pesticide-science-and-assessing-pesticide-risks/cumulative-assessment-risk-pesticides.

    Unlike other pesticides for which EPA has followed a cumulative risk approach based on a common mechanism of toxicity, EPA has not made a common mechanism of toxicity finding as to tebuconazole and any other substances. Although the conazoles produce 1,2,4 triazole and its acid-conjugated metabolites (triazolylalanine and triazolylacetic acid), 1,2,4 triazole and its acid-conjugated metabolites do not contribute to the toxicity of the parent conazoles. The Agency has assessed the aggregate risks from the 1,2,4 triazole and its acid-conjugated metabolites (triazolylalanine and triazolylacetic acid) separately. Tebuconazole does not appear to produce any other toxic metabolite produced by other substances. For the purposes of this action, therefore, EPA has not assumed that tebuconazole has a common mechanism of toxicity with other substances.

    D. Safety Factor for Infants and Children

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

    2. Prenatal and postnatal sensitivity. The toxicity database for tebuconazole includes prenatal developmental toxicity studies in three species (mouse, rat, and rabbit), a reproductive toxicity study in rats, and a developmental neurotoxicity study in rats. The data from prenatal developmental toxicity studies in mice and a developmental neurotoxicity study in rats indicated an increased quantitative and qualitative susceptibility following in utero exposure to tebuconazole. The NOAELs/LOAELs for developmental toxicity in these studies were found at dose levels less than those that induce maternal toxicity or in the presence of slight maternal toxicity. There was no indication of increased quantitative susceptibility in the rat and rabbit developmental toxicity studies, the NOAELs for developmental toxicity were comparable to or higher than the NOAELs for maternal toxicity. In all three species, however, there was indication of increased qualitative susceptibility. For most studies, minimal maternal toxicity was seen at the LOAEL (consisting of increases in hematological findings in mice, increased liver weights in rabbits and rats, and decreased body weight gain/food consumption in rats) and did not increase substantially in severity at higher doses. However, there was more concern for the developmental effects at each LOAEL, which included increases in runts, increased fetal loss, and malformations in mice; increased skeletal variations in rats; and increased fetal loss and frank malformations in rabbits. Additionally, more severe developmental effects (including frank malformations) were seen at higher doses in mice, rats and rabbits. In the developmental neurotoxicity study, maternal toxicity was seen only at the high dose (decreased body weights, body weight gains, and food consumption, prolonged gestation and dystocia as well as decreased offspring survival).

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

    i. The toxicity database for tebuconazole is complete.

    ii. Tebuconazole demonstrated neurotoxicity in the acute neurotoxicity study in rats; the lowest observable adverse effect level (LOAEL) of 100 mg/kg/day was based on increased motor activity in male and female rats and decreased footsplay in female rats. Although the subchronic neurotoxicity study was unacceptable since there was inadequate dosing, a new subchronic neurotoxicity study is not needed to evaluate levels at which subchronic neurotoxicity might occur; neurotoxicity was seen in other studies in the database at considerably lower doses than those tested in the subchronic neurotoxicity study. Malformations indicative of nervous system development disruption were seen in developmental toxicity studies in mice, rats, and rabbits. Neurotoxicity was also seen in the rat developmental neurotoxicity study as decreases in body weights, decreases in absolute brain weights, changes in brain morphometric parameters, and decreases in motor activity in offspring at the LOAEL of 8.8 mg/kg/day; a no observable adverse effect level (NOAEL) could not be established. The LOAEL (8.8 mg/kg/day) was employed as the point of departure (POD) for assessing risk for all exposure scenarios, and an FQPA SF of 3X has been retained as an uncertainty factor for use of a LOAEL to extrapolate a NOAEL (UFL). To determine whether the UFL is protective of any potential neurotoxicity, a Benchmark Dose (BMD) analysis of the datasets relevant to the adverse offspring effects (decreased body weight and brain weight) seen at the LOAEL in the developmental neurotoxicity (DNT) study was conducted. All of the BMDLs (benchmark dose lower limit) modeled successfully on statistically significant effects were 1-2X lower than the LOAEL. Therefore, an extrapolated NOAEL is not likely to be 10X lower than the LOAEL and that use of an UFL of 3X would not underestimate risk. Using an FQPA SF of 3X in risk assessment results in a NOAEL of 2.9 mg/kg/day (8.8 mg/kg/day ÷ 3X = 2.9 mg/kg/day), which is further supported by other studies in the tebuconazole toxicity database, with the lowest NOAELs being 3 and 2.9 mg/kg/day, from a developmental toxicity study in mice and a chronic toxicity study in dogs, respectively (respective LOAELs 10 and 4.5 mg/kg/day).

    iii. There were increases in qualitative susceptibility in the prenatal developmental studies in rats, mice, and rabbits and in quantitative susceptibility in mice and developmental neurotoxicity in rats. However, the toxicity endpoint observed in developmental neurotoxicity study in rats was employed to establish the point of departure (POD) for risk assessment for all exposure scenarios. This toxicity endpoint was the most sensitive one, and the resulting POD was protective of all adverse effects found in the tebuconazole toxicity database. Therefore, the degree of concern for residual uncertainties for prenatal and/or postnatal toxicity was low.

    iv. There are no residual uncertainties identified in the exposure databases. EPA utilized a tiered approach in estimating exposure to tebuconazole. While some refinements were incorporated into dietary and residential exposure calculations, EPA is confident that the aggregate risk from exposure to tebuconazole in food, water and residential pathways will not be underestimated. The acute and chronic dietary exposure assessments incorporated somewhat refined estimates of residues in food commodities from reliable field trial data reflecting maximum use conditions, recent monitoring data from USDA's Pesticide Data Program (PDP), and relevant market survey data on the percentage of crops treated. Estimated concentrations of tebuconazole in drinking water were incorporated into the chronic dietary analysis as the upper bound point estimate and into the probabilistic acute dietary analysis as a distribution. For the residential exposure pathways (ornamentals, golf course turf, and treated wood products), potential exposure resulting from tebuconazole outdoor uses in the residential setting was assessed using screening-level inputs that assumes an adult or child will come in contact with turf and other surfaces immediately after application.

    E. Aggregate Risks and Determination of Safety

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

    1. Acute risk. Using the exposure assumptions discussed in this unit for acute exposure, the acute dietary exposure from food and water to tebuconazole will occupy 77% of the aPAD for all infants (< 1 year old), the population group receiving the greatest exposure.

    2. Chronic risk. Using the exposure assumptions described in this unit for chronic exposure, EPA has concluded that chronic exposure to tebuconazole from food and water will utilize 22% of the cPAD for all infants (< 1 year old) the population group receiving the greatest exposure. Based on the explanation in Unit III.C.3., regarding residential use patterns, chronic residential exposure to residues of tebuconazole is not expected.

    3. Short-term risk and Intermediate-term risk. Short-term and intermediate-term risk aggregate exposure takes into account short-term residential exposure and intermediate-term residential exposure plus chronic exposure to food and water (considered to be a background exposure level). Tebuconazole is currently registered for uses that could result in short-term residential exposure that could co-occur with background dietary exposure over the short-term (1-30 days), whereas co-occurring intermediate exposures (1-6 months) are less likely. However, since the POD employed for both durations are the same, the aggregate assessments address both exposure durations. Using the exposure assumptions described in this unit for short-term exposures, EPA has concluded that residential exposures result in aggregate MOEs of 580 for adults, 600 for youths 11 to <16 years old, and children 6 to <11 years 500 for the activity of golfing and 330 for children (1-2 years old) engaging in activities on pressure treated wood surfaces. Because EPA's level of concern (LOC) for tebuconazole is a MOE of 300 or below, these MOEs are not of concern. Therefore, aggregate risk estimates for all examined population subgroups were not of concern to the Agency.

    4. Aggregate cancer risk for U.S. population. Based on the Agency's determination that the chronic risk assessment will be protective of any cancer effects, a separate quantitative cancer risk assessment was not conducted. Because there is no chronic risk of concern from aggregate exposure to tebuconazole, the Agency concludes that aggregate exposure to tebuconazole will not result in cancer risks of concern.

    5. Aggregate Assessment for Free Triazole & its Conjugates. The conazole class of compounds, which includes tebuconazole, can form the common metabolite 1,2,4-triazole and two triazole conjugates (triazolylalanine and triazolylacetic acid). To support existing tolerances and to establish new tolerances for triazole-containing pesticides, including tebucaonazole, EPA conducted a human health risk assessment for exposure to 1,2,4-triazole, triazolylalanine, and triazolylacetic acid resulting from the use of all current and pending uses of any triazole-containing fungicide. The risk assessment is a highly conservative, screening-level evaluation in terms of hazards associated with common metabolites (e.g., use of a maximum combination of uncertainty factors) and potential dietary and non-dietary exposures (i.e., high end estimates of both dietary and non-dietary exposures). The Agency retained a 3X for the LOAEL to NOAEL safety factor when the reproduction study was used. In addition, the Agency retained a 10X for the lack of studies including a developmental neurotoxicity (DNT) study. The assessment includes evaluations of risks for various subgroups, including those comprised of infants and children. The Agency's complete risk assessment is found in the propiconazole reregistration docket at http://www.regulations.gov, Docket Identification (ID) Number EPA-HQ-OPP-2005-0497. The Agency's latest updated aggregate risk assessment for the triazole-containing metabolites was finalized on July 18, 2017 and includes the proposed new uses of tebuconazole. That assessment concluded that aggregate exposure to the triazole metabolites does not exceed the Agency's level of concern.

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

    IV. Other Considerations A. Analytical Enforcement Methodology

    Adequate enforcement methodology (Gas Chromatography/Nitrogen Phosphorus Detector (GC/NPD) is available to enforce the tolerance expression.

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

    B. International Residue Limits

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

    The Codex has established MRLs for tebuconazole in or on ginseng and ginseng, dried at 0.15 ppm and 0.40 ppm, respectively. These MRLs are the same as the tolerances established for tebuconazole in the United States.

    C. Revisions to Petitioned-For Tolerances

    For dried ginseng, the Agency is revising the commodity definition for the requested tolerance to reflect the correct commodity vocabulary currently used by the Agency. Specifically, ginseng dried/red was changed to ginseng, dried. Additionally, the Agency is revising the significant figures for the tolerance level based on current policy.

    V. Conclusion

    Therefore, tolerances are established for residues of tebuconazole, α-[2-(4-Chlorophenyl)ethyl]-α-(1,1-dimethylethyl)-1H-1,2,4-triazole-1-ethanol, in or on ginseng, dried at 0.40 ppm and ginseng, fresh at 0.15 ppm.

    VI. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews

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

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

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

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

    VII. Congressional Review Act

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

    List of Subjects in 40 CFR Part 180

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

    Dated: April 30, 2018. Daniel Rosenblatt, Acting Director, Registration Division, Office of Pesticide Program.

    Therefore, 40 CFR chapter I is amended as follows:

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

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

    2. In § 180.474, add alphabetically the entries “Ginseng, dried” and “Ginseng, fresh” to the table in paragraph (a)(1) to read as follows:
    § 180.474 Tebuconazole; tolerances for residues.

    (a) * * *

    (1) * * *

    Commodity Parts per
  • million
  • *    *    *    *    * Ginseng, dried 1 0.40 Ginseng, fresh 1 0.15 *    *    *    *    * 1 There are no U.S. registrations.
    [FR Doc. 2018-10345 Filed 5-15-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 622 [Docket No. 160426363-7275-02] RIN 0648-XF920 Coastal Migratory Pelagic Resources of the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Region; 2017-2018 Commercial Closure for King Mackerel in the Gulf of Mexico Northern Zone AGENCY:

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

    ACTION:

    Temporary rule; closure.

    SUMMARY:

    NMFS implements an accountability measure (AM) for commercial king mackerel in the northern zone of the Gulf of Mexico (Gulf) exclusive economic zone (EEZ) through this temporary rule. NMFS has determined that the commercial quota for king mackerel in the northern zone of the Gulf EEZ will be reached by May 15, 2018. Therefore, NMFS closes the northern zone of the Gulf EEZ to commercial king mackerel fishing on May 15, 2018. This closure is necessary to protect the Gulf king mackerel resource.

    DATES:

    The closure is effective at 12:01 a.m., local time, May 15, 2018, until 12:01 a.m., local time, on October 1, 2018.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Kelli O'Donnell, NMFS Southeast Regional Office, telephone: 727-824-5305, email: [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The fishery for coastal migratory pelagic fish includes king mackerel, Spanish mackerel, and cobia, and is managed under the Fishery Management Plan for the Coastal Migratory Pelagic Resources of the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Region (FMP). The FMP was prepared by the Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic Fishery Management Councils and is implemented by NMFS under the authority of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act) by regulations at 50 CFR part 622. All weights for Gulf king mackerel below apply as either round or gutted weight.

    On April 11, 2017, NMFS published a final rule to implement Amendment 26 to the FMP in the Federal Register (82 FR 17387). That final rule adjusted the management boundaries, zones, and annual catch limits for Gulf migratory group king mackerel (Gulf king mackerel). The commercial quota for the Gulf king mackerel in the Gulf northern zone is 511,200 lb (231,876 kg) for the current fishing year, October 1, 2017, through September 30, 2018 (50 CFR 622.384(b)(1)(ii)).

    The Gulf king mackerel northern zone is located in the EEZ between a line at 87°31.6′ W long., which is a line extending due south of the state boundary of Alabama and Florida, and a line at 26°19.48′ N lat., which is a line extending west from the boundary of Lee and Collier Counties in southwest Florida.

    Regulations at 50 CFR 622.388(a)(1)(i) require NMFS to close the commercial sector for Gulf king mackerel in the northern zone when the commercial quota is reached, or is projected to be reached, by filing a notification to that effect with the Office of the Federal Register. NMFS has determined the commercial quota of 511,200 lb (231,876 kg) for Gulf king mackerel in the northern zone will be reached by May 15, 2018. Accordingly, the northern zone is closed to commercial fishing for Gulf king mackerel effective from 12:01 a.m., local time, on May 15, 2018, through September 30, 2018, the end of the current fishing year.

    During the closure, a person on board a vessel that has been issued a valid Federal commercial or charter vessel/headboat permit for coastal migratory pelagic fish may continue to retain the king mackerel in the northern zone under the recreational bag and possession limits specified in 50 CFR 622.382(a)(1)(ii) and (a)(2), as long as the recreational sector for Gulf king mackerel in the northern zone is open (50 CFR 622.384(e)(1)).

    Also during the closure, king mackerel from the closed zone, including those harvested under the bag and possession limits, may not be purchased or sold. This prohibition does not apply to king mackerel from the closed zone that were harvested, landed ashore, and sold prior to the closure and were held in cold storage by a dealer or processor (50 CFR 622.384(e)(2)).

    Classification

    The Regional Administrator for the NMFS Southeast Region has determined this temporary rule is necessary for the conservation and management of Gulf king mackerel and is consistent with the Magnuson-Stevens Act and other applicable laws.

    This action is taken under 50 CFR 622.384(e) and 622.388(a)(1)(i), and is exempt from review under Executive Order 12866.

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

    This action responds to the best scientific information available. The Assistant Administrator for NOAA Fisheries (AA) finds good cause to waive the requirements to provide prior notice and opportunity for public comment pursuant to the authority set forth at 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B) as such procedures are unnecessary and contrary to the public interest. Such procedures are unnecessary because the rule implementing the commercial quota and the associated AM has already been subject to notice and public comment, and all that remains is to notify the public of the closure. Additionally, allowing prior notice and opportunity for public comment is contrary to the public interest because of the need to implement immediately this action to protect the king mackerel stock, because the capacity of the fishing fleet allows for rapid harvest of the commercial quota. Prior notice and opportunity for public comment would require time and could potentially result in a harvest well in excess of the established commercial quota.

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

    Authority:

    16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.

    Dated: May 11, 2018. Jennifer M. Wallace, Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service.
    [FR Doc. 2018-10434 Filed 5-11-18; 4:15 pm] BILLING CODE 3510-22-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 635 [Docket No. 150121066-5717-02] RIN 0648-XG237 Atlantic Highly Migratory Species; Atlantic Bluefin Tuna Fisheries AGENCY:

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

    ACTION:

    Temporary rule; closure of Angling category Gulf of Mexico trophy fishery.

    SUMMARY:

    NMFS closes the Gulf of Mexico Angling category fishery for large medium and giant (“trophy” (i.e., measuring 73 inches curved fork length or greater)) Atlantic bluefin tuna (BFT). This action is being taken to prevent overharvest of the Angling category Gulf of Mexico trophy BFT subquota.

    DATES:

    Effective 11:30 p.m., local time, May 13, 2018, through December 31, 2018.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Sarah McLaughlin or Brad McHale, 978-281-9260.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Regulations implemented under the authority of the Atlantic Tunas Convention Act (ATCA; 16 U.S.C. 971 et seq.) and the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act; 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.) governing the harvest of BFT by persons and vessels subject to U.S. jurisdiction are found at 50 CFR part 635. Section 635.27 subdivides the U.S. BFT quota recommended by the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) among the various domestic fishing categories, per the allocations established in the 2006 Consolidated Atlantic Highly Migratory Species Fishery Management Plan (2006 Consolidated HMS FMP) (71 FR 58058, October 2, 2006) and amendments.

    NMFS is required, under § 635.28(a)(1), to file a closure notice with the Office of the Federal Register for publication when a BFT quota is reached or is projected to be reached. On and after the effective date and time of such notification, for the remainder of the fishing year or for a specified period as indicated in the notification, retaining, possessing, or landing BFT under that quota category is prohibited until the opening of the subsequent quota period or until such date as specified in the notice.

    Angling Category Large Medium and Giant Gulf of Mexico “Trophy” Fishery Closure

    The 2018 BFT fishing year, which is managed on a calendar-year basis and subject to an annual calendar-year quota, began January 1, 2018. The Angling category season opened January 1, 2018, and continues through December 31, 2018. The currently codified Angling category quota is 195.2 metric tons (mt), of which 4.5 mt is allocated for the harvest of large medium and giant (trophy) BFT by vessels fishing under the Angling category quota, with 1.5 mt allocated for each of the following areas: North of 39°18′ N lat. (off Great Egg Inlet, NJ); south of 39°18′ N lat. and outside the Gulf of Mexico (the “southern area”); and in the Gulf of Mexico. Trophy BFT measure 73 inches (185 cm) curved fork length or greater.

    Based on reported landings from the NMFS Automated Catch Reporting System, NMFS has determined that the codified Angling category Gulf of Mexico trophy BFT subquota has been reached and exceeded and that a closure of the Gulf of Mexico trophy BFT fishery is warranted. Therefore, retaining, possessing, or landing large medium or giant BFT in the Gulf of Mexico by persons aboard vessels permitted in the HMS Angling category and the HMS Charter/Headboat category (when fishing recreationally) must cease at 11:30 p.m. local time on May 13, 2018. This closure will remain effective through December 31, 2018. This action is intended to prevent further overharvest of the Angling category Gulf of Mexico trophy BFT subquota, and is taken consistent with the regulations at § 635.28(a)(1).

    If needed, subsequent Angling category adjustments will be published in the Federal Register. Information regarding the Angling category fishery for Atlantic tunas, including daily retention limits for BFT measuring 27 inches (68.5 cm) to less than 73 inches and any further Angling category adjustments, is available at hmspermits.noaa.gov or by calling (978) 281-9260. HMS Angling and HMS Charter/Headboat category permit holders may catch and release (or tag and release) BFT of all sizes, subject to the requirements of the catch-and-release and tag-and-release programs at § 635.26. Anglers are also reminded that all BFT that are released must be handled in a manner that will maximize survival, and without removing the fish from the water, consistent with requirements at § 635.21(a)(1). For additional information on safe handling, see the “Careful Catch and Release” brochure available at https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/resource/outreach-and-education/careful-catch-and-release-brochure.

    HMS Charter/Headboat and Angling category vessel owners are required to report the catch of all BFT retained or discarded dead, within 24 hours of the landing(s) or end of each trip, by accessing hmspermits.noaa.gov or by using the HMS Catch Reporting App.

    Classification

    The Assistant Administrator for NMFS (AA) finds that it is impracticable and contrary to the public interest to provide prior notice of, and an opportunity for public comment on, this action for the following reasons:

    The regulations implementing the 2006 Consolidated HMS FMP and amendments provide for inseason retention limit adjustments and fishery closures to respond to the unpredictable nature of BFT availability on the fishing grounds, the migratory nature of this species, and the regional variations in the BFT fishery. The closure of the Gulf of Mexico Angling category trophy fishery is necessary to prevent any further overharvest of the Gulf of Mexico trophy fishery subquota. NMFS provides notification of closures by publishing the notice in the Federal Register, emailing individuals who have subscribed to the Atlantic HMS News electronic newsletter, and updating the information posted on the Atlantic Tunas Information Line and on hmspermits.noaa.gov.

    These fisheries are currently underway and delaying this action would be contrary to the public interest as it could result in excessive trophy BFT landings that may result in future potential quota reductions for the Angling category, depending on the magnitude of a potential Angling category overharvest. NMFS must close the Gulf of Mexico trophy BFT fishery before additional landings of these sizes of BFT occur. Therefore, the AA finds good cause under 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B) to waive prior notice and the opportunity for public comment. For all of the above reasons, there is good cause under 5 U.S.C. 553(d) to waive the 30-day delay in effectiveness.

    This action is being taken under 50 CFR 635.28(a)(1), and is exempt from review under Executive Order 12866.

    Authority:

    16 U.S.C. 971 et seq. and 1801 et seq.

    Dated: May 11, 2018. Jennifer M. Wallace, Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service.
    [FR Doc. 2018-10433 Filed 5-11-18; 4:15 pm] BILLING CODE 3510-22-P
    83 95 Wednesday, May 16, 2018 Proposed Rules DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Food Safety and Inspection Service 9 CFR Part 310 [Docket No. FSIS-2018-0005] RIN: 0583-AD68 Eliminating Unnecessary Requirements for Hog Carcass Cleaning AGENCY:

    Food Safety and Inspection Service, USDA.

    ACTION:

    Proposed rule.

    SUMMARY:

    The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is proposing to amend the Federal meat inspection regulations by removing the provision requiring the cleaning of hog carcasses before any incision is made preceding evisceration. This provision, although focusing on the presentation of carcass dressing defects, impedes the adoption of more efficient, effective procedures under other regulations to ensure that carcasses and parts are free of contamination. Also, the provision is no longer necessary because other regulations require carcass cleaning, the maintenance of sanitary conditions, and the prevention of hazards reasonably likely to occur in the slaughter process.

    DATES:

    Comments must be received by July 16, 2018.

    ADDRESSES:

    FSIS invites interested persons to submit comments on FSIS-2018-0005. Comments may be submitted by one of the following methods:

    Federal eRulemaking Portal: This website provides the ability to type short comments directly into the comment field on this web page or attach a file for lengthier comments. Go to http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the on-line instructions at that site for submitting comments.

    Mail, including CD-ROMs, etc.: Send to Docket Clerk, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food Safety and Inspection Service, 1400 Independence Avenue SW, Mailstop 3758, Room 6065, Washington, DC 20250-3700.

    Hand- or courier-delivered submittals: Deliver to 1400 Independence Avenue SW, Room 6065, Washington, DC 20250-3700.

    Instructions: All items submitted by mail or electronic mail must include the Agency name and docket number FSIS-2018-0005. Comments received in response to this docket will be made available for public inspection and posted without change, including any personal information, to http://www.regulations.gov.

    Docket: For access to background documents or comments received, call (202)720-5627 to schedule a time to visit the FSIS Docket Room at 1400 Independence Avenue SW, Room 6065, Washington, DC 20250-3700.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Roberta Wagner, Assistant Administrator, Office of Policy and Program Development, FSIS; Telephone: (202) 205-0495.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Background

    Under the Federal Meat Inspection Act (21 U.S.C. 601-695), FSIS carries out an inspection program to ensure that carcasses, parts, and products of amenable species of livestock are wholesome, not adulterated, and properly marked, labeled and packaged. Among other provisions of the Act is a requirement for post-mortem inspection of livestock carcasses, including swine carcasses (21 U.S.C. 604). This inspection must be completed before the carcasses or the meat or meat food products derived from them are moved to further processing (21 U.S.C. 605) and preparation for commerce (also under inspection) (21 U.S.C. 606(a)).

    Under the Act, the Agency may prescribe rules and regulations of sanitation under which establishments must be maintained (21 U.S.C. 608). More generally, the Agency may issue rules and regulations necessary for the efficient execution of the Act's provisions (21 U.S.C. 621).

    Accordingly, FSIS and its predecessors have issued regulations governing inspection. The regulations include post-mortem inspection requirements, criteria for determining whether or not meat or meat food products are adulterated, and requirements for inspected establishments to develop and maintain Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) plans and Sanitation Standard Operating Procedures (Sanitation SOPs).

    Among the post-mortem inspection regulations is one titled “Cleaning of hog carcasses before incising” (9 CFR 310.11). This regulation states, “All hair, scurf, and dirt, including all hoofs and claws, shall be removed from hog carcasses and the carcasses thoroughly washed and cleaned, before any incision is made for inspection or evisceration.” The carcass cleaning that the regulation is referring to typically begins in an official slaughter establishment after stunning, bleeding, and scalding, and continues after gambrelling 1 and singeing, along with trimming of jowls, lips, and eyelids, but before dropping of the head. This regulation has helped to ensure that carcasses are clean when presented for post-mortem inspection.

    1 Suspending the carcass by the legs from a metal frame or hanger—a gambrel.

    Another post-mortem-inspection regulation, 9 CFR 310.18, on “Contamination of carcasses, organs, or other parts,” addresses the prevention and removal of contamination from carcasses (before or after incision), organs, and other parts. Under this regulation, any contamination remaining post-incision or post-evisceration is removed.

    Regulations on Sanitation SOPs (9 CFR 304.3, 416.12-17) require establishments to have written procedures to ensure sanitary operating conditions that will prevent contamination and adulteration of products. The HACCP regulations (9 CFR 304.3, and 417, particularly 9 CFR 417.2, and 417.4) require establishments to have HACCP plans to prevent or reduce to acceptable levels any hazards reasonably likely to occur. These include any contamination hazards that are not already minimized through the implementation of Sanitation SOPs or other prerequisite programs. FSIS and members of the regulated industry have found that the regulation on cleaning hog carcasses before incising, 9 CFR 310.11, may impede the application of alternative, more efficient, procedures for removing hair, scurf, and dirt after the first incision preceding the dropping of the head and evisceration.

    Because the current regulation is prescriptive and requires dehairing before evisceration, the establishment has limited flexibility. Removing the regulation will enable an establishment to remove hair, scurf, nails, and hooves at other points in the process and to do so in a way that may prove to be more efficient. For example, removing hair from the snout when the snout is on a table, beyond the point where the first incision is made, and the snout is also not moving on the line is more efficient than trying to remove the hair on a moving carcass with the head still attached.

    These more efficient procedures also ensure that carcasses will be free of contamination when moved within an establishment to, or shipped in commerce for, further processing. The alternative procedures can be incorporated in a prerequisite program aimed at preventing contamination. When executed and documented, the program can support an establishment's hazard analysis (as per 9 CFR 417.5(a)(1)) and HACCP plan. At times, the Agency has, under an exemption regulation, at 9 CFR 303.1(h), granted waivers from the requirements of 9 CFR 310.11 to permit the use of the alternative procedures.

    For example, carcass defects and blemishes too small to be detected during slaughter can be removed during off-line inspection or during further processing. So, some establishments are using alternative procedures for removing, after carcass dressing, hairs that are not readily visible. Such defects may be regarded as finished carcass defects and not as contamination or sanitary dressing defects. Singed eyelashes remaining on the carcass or isolated, individual, hairs on the head or face of the ham may be found after the first incision. Such defects may be removed effectively when pulling the snout and when “facing” (trimming the excess fat along the inside surfaces of) hams in the cutting room, where carcasses are broken down in a sanitary manner into standard wholesale or retail cuts. Remaining hoofs and claws (i.e., nails) can be removed after the first incision or later in processing when feet are discarded or not saved for food in the cutting room. FSIS has found the performance of establishments using the alternative procedures to be satisfactory.

    Establishments using the alternatives are listed on the FSIS website at: https://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/wcm/connect/188bf583-45c9-4837-9205-37e0eb1ba243/Waiver_Table.pdf?MOD=AJPERES

    By relying on the authority of 9 CFR 310.18 and the Sanitation SOP and HACCP regulations, establishments have the flexibility to implement these or other procedures to remove any defects during the stages of slaughter and further processing that follow evisceration. They can make their operations more efficient and effective without compromising food safety. Therefore, these other regulations, and establishment compliance therewith, make 9 CFR 310.11 unnecessary.

    FSIS is therefore proposing to remove 9 CFR 310.11 from the regulations.

    Modernization of Swine Slaughter Inspection

    On February 1, 2018, FSIS proposed a new regulation to modernize swine inspection (83 FR 4780). Among other things, in this rule, FSIS is proposing to require that all official swine slaughter establishments develop, implement, and maintain in their HACCP systems written procedures to prevent the contamination of carcasses and parts by enteric pathogens, fecal material, ingesta, and milk throughout the entire slaughter and dressing operation. These procedures must include sampling and analysis for microbial organisms to monitor process control for enteric pathogens, as well as written procedures to prevent visible fecal material, ingesta, and milk contamination. In addition, FSIS is proposing to require that all official swine slaughter establishments develop, implement, and maintain in their HACCP systems written procedures to prevent contamination of the pre-operational environment by enteric pathogens. Therefore, in the modernization proposed rule, FSIS is proposing additional requirements that, if finalized, will further prevent contamination of swine carcasses. If finalized, this rule would provide more support for eliminating section 310.11, as is proposed above.

    Executive Orders 12866 and 13563, and the Regulatory Flexibility Act

    Executive Orders 12866 and 13563 direct agencies to assess all costs and benefits of available regulatory alternatives and, if regulation is necessary, to select regulatory approaches that maximize net benefits (including potential economic, environmental, public health and safety benefits, distributive impacts, and equity). Executive Order (E.O.) 13563 emphasizes the importance of quantifying both costs and benefits, of reducing costs, of harmonizing rules, and of promoting flexibility. This proposed rule has been designated as a “non-significant” regulatory action under section 3(f) of E.O. 12866. Accordingly, the rule has not been reviewed by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) under E.O. 12866.

    Economic Analysis Expected Cost Savings and Benefits Associated With the Proposed Rule

    This proposed rule is expected to reduce swine slaughter labor costs by approximately $11.81 million annually. These savings are due to industry's practice of dedicating labor pre-incision, solely to comply with 310.11. Under the proposed rule, this labor would no longer be needed because the work can be accomplished by existing labor located post-incision. FSIS's labor cost savings estimate assumes that the labor affected by the proposed rule is equivalent to that in the Bureau of Labor Statistics' (BLS's) slaughtering and meat-packing occupational category, for which the industry annual wage is $27,140.2 The Agency seeks comment on this assumption. Applying a benefits-and-overhead factor of 2 brings this occupation's total annual labor costs per position to $54,280 ($27,140 × 2).

    2 BLS Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) May 2016 National Industry-Specific Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates for North American Industrial Classification (NAICS) code 311600 (Animal Slaughtering and Processing) https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/naics4_311600.htm> Last Modified 3/31/2017 Accessed on 1/19/2018.

    The number of positions affected at each establishment depends on the establishment's size, slaughter volume, number of lines and shifts it operates, and days of operation. Large 3 swine establishments are thought to dedicate from one to three full-time positions per line and per shift to comply with 9 CFR 310.11; while small 4 high-volume 5 establishments dedicate between one and two positions for the same purpose. Small low-volume and very small 6 establishments are thought to dedicate between one quarter-time and one full-time position to compliance with this regulation. The Agency seeks comment on these labor-demand estimates.

    3 A large establishment has 500 or more employees.

    4 A small establishment has between 10 and 499 employees.

    5 9 CFR 310.25(a)(2)(v) defines very low volume swine slaughter establishments as slaughtering 20,000 head annually or fewer. For the purposes of this analysis, FSIS has labeled swine establishments that annually slaughter more than 20,000 head per year as high-volume establishments.

    6 A very small establishment has less than 10 employees or less than $2.5 million in annual sales.

    According to data from the Agency's electronic Public Health Inspection System (PHIS), 479 very small establishments, 54 small low-volume establishments, 51 small high-volume establishments, and 23 7 large swine establishments would be affected by this rule. This analysis takes into consideration the fact that some large and small high-volume establishments operate multiple lines and multiple shifts. This analysis assumes that all other establishments operate one line and one shift per day. Data from PHIS also show that, on average, large establishments annually operate 266 days, small high-volume establishments 239 days, small low-volume establishments 95 days, and very small establishments 67 days. The proposed rule is expected to lead to a reduction in industry positions at these establishments; see table 1. Table 2 provides the estimated labor cost savings from the proposed rule, given the expected labor costs, number of positions, and days of operation. The annual cost savings range from $5.27 million to $19.03 million, with a mid-point of $11.81 million.

    7 While there are 28 large swine establishments, five are operating under waivers from 9 CFR 310.11 and are not expected to experience a decrease in their demand for labor resulting from implementation of this proposed rule.

    Table 1—Estimated Industry Labor Reductions From Removing 310.11 Size of est Number of
  • establishments *
  • Number of positions reduced Low Medium High
    Large 23 37 74 111 Small High Volume 51 26 77 102 Small Low Volume 54 14 27 54 Very Small 479 120 240 479 Combined 607 196 417 746 * Public Health Information System (PHIS).
    Table 2—Labor Wage Cost (Savings) From Removing 310.11, 2016 Size of est Number of
  • establishments *
  • Total annual labor costs (savings)
  • (M$) **
  • Low Medium High
    Large 23 ($2.06) ($4.11) ($6.17) Small High Volume 51 (1.27) (3.82) (5.09) Small Low Volume 54 (.27) (.54) (1.07) Very Small 479 (1.68) (3.35) (6.7) Combined 612 (5.27) (11.81) (19.03) Annualized Costs (Savings), Over 10 Years (M$) Assuming a 3% Discount Rate (5.27) (11.81) (19.03) Assuming a 7% Discount Rate (5.27) (11.81) (19.03) * Public Health Information System (PHIS). ** Wage estimates were sourced from BLS OES May 2016 National Industry-Specific Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates for NAICS code 311600 <https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/naics4_311600.htm> Last Modified 3/31/2017. Accessed on 1/19/2018.
    Expected Costs Associated With This Action

    The proposed rule has no expected costs associated with it.

    Expected Effects on Small Entities

    The FSIS Acting Administrator has made a preliminary determination that this proposed rule will not have a significant impact on a substantial number of small entities, as defined by the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601). The expected labor cost reductions associated with the proposed rule are not likely to be large enough to significantly impact an entity. Further, the proposed rule does not have any cost increases.

    Executive Order 13771

    Consistent with E.O. 13771 (82 FR 9339, February 3, 2017), FSIS has estimated that this proposed rule would yield cost savings. Therefore, if finalized as proposed, this rule is expected to be an E.O. 13771 deregulatory action.

    Paperwork Reduction Act

    No new paperwork requirements are associated with this proposed rule.

    Executive Order 12988

    This proposed rule has been reviewed under E.O. 12988, Civil Justice Reform. If this proposed rule is adopted: (1) All State and local laws and regulations that are inconsistent with this rule will be preempted; (2) No retroactive effect will be given to this rule; and (3) Administrative proceedings will not be required before parties may file suit in court challenging this rule.

    E-Government Act

    FSIS and USDA are committed to achieving the purposes of the E-Government Act (44 U.S.C. 3601, et seq.) by, among other things, promoting the use of the internet and other information technologies and providing increased opportunities for citizen access to Government information and services, and for other purposes.

    Additional Public Notification

    FSIS will announce this proposal on-line through the FSIS web page located at: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/regulations_&_policies/Proposed_Rules/index.asp. FSIS also will make copies of this Federal Register publication available through the FSIS Constituent Update, which is used to provide information regarding FSIS policies, procedures, regulations, Federal Register notices, FSIS public meetings, and other types of information that could affect or would be of interest to our constituents and stakeholders. The Update is available on the FSIS web page. Through the web page, FSIS is able to provide information to a much broader, more diverse audience. In addition, FSIS offers an email subscription service which provides automatic and customized access to selected food safety news and information. This service is available at: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/subscribe. Options range from recalls to export information, regulations, directives, and notices. Customers can add or delete subscriptions themselves, and have the option to password protect their accounts.

    USDA Non-Discrimination Statement

    No agency, officer, or employee of the USDA, on the grounds of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, age, marital status, family/parental status, income derived from a public assistance program, or political beliefs, shall exclude from participation in, deny the benefits of, or subject to discrimination, any person in the United States under any program or activity conducted by the USDA.

    How To File a Complaint of Discrimination

    To file a complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, which may be accessed online at http://www.ocio.usda.gov/sites/default/files/docs/2012/Complain_combined_6_8_12.pdf, or write a letter signed by you or your authorized representative.

    Send your completed complaint form or letter to USDA by mail, fax, or email: Mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Director, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410, Fax: (202) 690-7442, Email: [email protected].

    Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.), should contact USDA's TARGET Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice and TDD).

    List of Subjects in 9 CFR 310

    Animal diseases, Meat inspection.

    For the reasons set out in the preamble, FSIS is proposing to amend 9 CFR part 310 as follows:

    PART 310—POST-MORTEM INSPECTION 1. The authority citation for part 310 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    21 U.S.C. 601-695; 7 CFR 2.18, 2.53.

    § 310.11 [Removed and reserved]
    2. Section 310.11 is removed and reserved. Done, at Washington, DC. Paul Kiecker Acting Administrator.
    [FR Doc. 2018-10488 Filed 5-15-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410-DM-P
    DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement 30 CFR Part 938 [PA-166-FOR; Docket ID: OSM-2017-0008 S1D1S SS08011000 SX064A000 189S180110; S2D2S SS08011000 SX064A000 18XS501520] Pennsylvania Regulatory Program; Correction AGENCY:

    Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE), Interior.

    ACTION:

    Proposed rule; correction.

    SUMMARY:

    We, the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement published a document in the Federal Register on May 8, 2018, reopening the comment period and announcing a public hearing on an amendment to the Pennsylvania Regulatory Program. The document contained an incorrect date for the public hearing.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Mr. Ben Owens, Chief, Pittsburgh Field Division, Telephone: (412) 937-2827. Email: [email protected]

    Correction

    In the proposed rule of May 8, 2018, in FR Doc. 2018-09767, on page 20774 in the third column, correct the DATES caption to read:

    DATES: We will accept written comments until 4 p.m., Eastern Standard Time (EST), June 7, 2018. The public hearing will be held on May 17, 2018, from 5:30 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. EST. Correction

    In the proposed rule of May 8, 2018, in FR Doc. 2018-09767, on page 20775 in the first column, correct the “Public Hearing” caption to read:

    Public Hearing: The public hearing will be held at the Double Tree by Hilton Pittsburgh-Green Tree, 500 Mansfield Avenue, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15205; phone number: 412-922-8400, on Thursday, May 17, 2018, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. EST. Those wishing to provide oral testimony need to register between 5:00 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.

    Dated: May 10, 2018. Sterling J. Rideout, Assistant Director, Program Support.
    [FR Doc. 2018-10485 Filed 5-15-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4310-05-P
    DEPARTMENT OF INTERIOR Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement 30 CFR Part 938 [SATS No. PA-165-FOR; Docket ID: OSM-2016-0013; S1D1S SS08011000 SX064A000 189S180110; S2D2S SS08011000 SX064A000 18XS501520] Pennsylvania Abandoned Mine Land Reclamation Program AGENCY:

    Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE), Interior.

    ACTION:

    Proposed rule; public comment period and opportunity for public hearing on proposed amendment.

    SUMMARY:

    We, the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE), are announcing receipt of a proposed amendment to the Pennsylvania Abandoned Mine Land Reclamation (AMLR) Plan (hereinafter, the Plan) under the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977 (SMCRA or the Act). Through this proposed amendment, Pennsylvania would modify its AMLR Plan by adding Reclamation Plan Amendment No. 3, to allow the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP) to administer a State Emergency Program under Title IV of the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977. The plan covers coordination of emergency reclamation work between the Commonwealth and the OSMRE as well as procedures for implementing the National Environmental Policy Act and other Commonwealth procedures.

    This document gives the locations and times where the Pennsylvania AMLR Plan documents and this proposed amendment to that Plan are available for your inspection, establishes the comment period during which you may submit written comments on the amendment, and describes the procedures we will follow for the public hearing, if one is requested.

    DATES:

    We will accept written comments on this amendment until 4:00 p.m., Eastern Standard Time (e.s.t.), June 15, 2018. If requested, we will hold a public hearing about the amendment on June 11, 2018. We will accept requests to speak at a hearing until 4:00 p.m., e.s.t. on May 31, 2018.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments, identified by SATS No. PA-165-FOR; Docket ID: OSM-2016-0013 by any of the following methods:

    Mail/Hand Delivery: Mr. Ben Owens, Chief, Pittsburgh Field Office, Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement, 3 Parkway Center, Pittsburgh, PA, 15220.

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

    Instructions: All submissions received must include the agency name and docket number for this rulemaking. For detailed instructions on submitting comments and additional information on the rulemaking process, see the “Public Comment Procedures” heading of the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section of this document.

    Docket: In addition to obtaining copies of documents at www.regulations.gov, you may receive one free copy of the amendment by contacting OSMRE's Pittsburgh Field Office (PFO). For access to the docket to review copies of the Pennsylvania program, this amendment, a listing of any scheduled public hearings, and all written comments received in response to this document, you may go to the address listed below during normal business hours, Monday through Friday, excluding holidays.

    Mr. Ben Owens, Chief, Pittsburgh Field Office, Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement, 3 Parkway Center, Pittsburgh, PA 15220, Telephone: (412) 937-2827, Email: [email protected]

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Mr. Ben Owens, Chief, Pittsburgh Field Office, Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement, 3 Parkway Center, Pittsburgh, PA 15220, Telephone: (412) 937-2827, Email: [email protected].

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    I. Background on the Pennsylvania AMLR Program II. Description of the Proposed Amendment III. Public Comment Procedures IV. Procedural Determinations I. Background on the Pennsylvania AMLR Program

    The AMLR program was established by Title IV of SMCRA in response to concerns over threats to the health and safety of the public and environmental damage caused by coal mining activities conducted before the enactment of the Act. The program is funded by a reclamation fee collected on each active coal mine to finance the reclamation of abandoned coal mines and for other authorized activities. Section 405 of the Act allows States and Tribes to assume exclusive responsibility for reclamation activity within the State or on Tribal lands if they develop and submit to the Secretary of the Interior (Secretary) for approval, a program for the reclamation of abandoned coal mines. The Secretary approved the Pennsylvania AMLR Plan, effective July 31, 1982. You can find background information on the Plan, including the Secretary's findings, the disposition of comments, and the approval of the Plan in the July 30 1982, Federal Register (47 FR 33083). You can find later actions concerning the Pennsylvania AMLR Plan and amendments to the Plan at 30 CFR 938.20 and 938.25.

    II. Description of the Proposed Amendment

    By letter dated November 22, 2016 (Administrative Record No. PA 898.00), Pennsylvania sent us an amendment to its AMLR Plan under SMCRA (30 U.S.C. 1201 et seq.).

    Pennsylvania is requesting to modify the Commonwealth's Plan to allow the PADEP to administer a State Emergency Program under Title IV of the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977 (30 U.S.C.A. §§  1201-1328). The coordination of emergency reclamation work between the Commonwealth and the OSMRE will be handled by the PADEP. The PADEP intends to follow Chapter 4-120 of OSMRE's Federal Assistance Manual (FAM) entitled, “State Emergency AML Reclamation Program.” Coordination with other agencies for environmental clearance will be on a project specific basis as outlined in the “OSMRE Handbook on Procedures for Implementing the National Environmental Policy Act” and other Commonwealth procedures.

    OSMRE notes that before September 30, 2010, OSMRE conducted emergency AML reclamation in Pennsylvania. Effective October 1, 2010, OSMRE transitioned emergency AML reclamation responsibilities to PADEP leading to the submittal of the proposed amendment. [Administrative Record Number PA 898.05]. The following are the proposed changes contained in Pennsylvania's submission.

    A. Attached to the proposed program amendment are an official designation by the Governor of Pennsylvania in 1978 that the Department of Environmental Resources is the State Agency authorized to implement and administer the Abandoned Mine Reclamation Program, and a 2016 memorandum from the PADEP's Office of Chief Counsel specifying PADEP's statutory authority to establish and administer an Emergency Program as part of its State AMLR Plan. The Office of Chief Counsel's memorandum notes that “Section 16 of the Land and Water Conservation and Reclamation Act (32 P.S. § 5116 (Allotment of moneys)) and the Mine Fire and Subsidence Remedial Project Indemnification Law (52 P.S. 30.201-30.206) provide PADEP the authority to conduct activities consistent with an Emergency Reclamation Program.”

    The proposed program amendment includes policies and procedures the Commonwealth will follow in conducting the Emergency Response Program. Emergency response reclamation activities involve entering upon any land where eligible abandoned coal mine related emergencies exist and doing all things necessary or expedient to protect the public health, safety or general welfare from the adverse effects of legacy coal mining practices. PADEP will handle the coordination of emergency reclamation work between the State and OSMRE as outlined in PFO's OSMRE Emergency Response protocol and using the procedures set out in OSMRE's FAM. PADEP will conduct all investigations and eligibility findings required by Title IV of SMCRA. When emergency conditions warrant an immediate response, the PADEP will initiate appropriate action upon receipt of an approval, a “Limited Emergency Response,” or a verbal approval from OSMRE. A Limited Emergency Response is described in OSMRE's Federal Assistance Manual. The objective of the Limited Emergency Response is to stabilize the emergency aspects of the problem by eliminating the immediate danger to public health, safety, and welfare. Any remaining reclamation should then be accomplished as part of a regular non-emergency AML project.

    B. PADEP may enter on any land where an emergency exists or on land adjacent thereto for access, to prevent the adverse impacts of the emergency in order to protect the public health, safety and general welfare. While PADEP will make all reasonable efforts to notify the landowners and receive consent for right of entry, the State will obtain access in accordance with 30 CFR 877.14 when property owners will not grant permission. All emergency project development, design, realty, construction, and administration will generally be done by PADEP, following the procedures used in the State's Non-Emergency Title IV Program.

    On October 14, 2016, PADEP posted public notice that an opportunity existed for public comment on the draft amendment and specifically notified stakeholders of this opportunity. The public Notice was posted in the PA Bulletin on both PADEP's online eComment and on the Bureau of Abandoned Mine Reclamation websites. No comments were received.

    C. Under the proposed amendment, PADEP may undertake an emergency project in any of the eligible coalfields found in Pennsylvania and these projects may involve any eligible legacy coal mining related problems. A site is eligible for AML funding if it was mined for coal or was affected by such mining, was abandoned or left in an inadequate reclamation status prior to August 3, 1977, the date of enactment of SMCRA, and if it is determined that there is no continuing reclamation responsibility under State or other Federal laws. See 30 U.S.C. 1234. A site that was mined after August 3, 1977, may be eligible for AML funding if it meets the criteria in section 402(g)(4)(B)(i) or (ii). See 30 U.S.C. 1232(g)(4)(B)(i) or (ii).

    D. The proposed program amendment satisfies the objectives of the abandoned mine land program as set out in Section 403 of SMCRA, FAM Chapter 4, OSMRE Directive AML-4 and the NEPA handbook, which are available at https://www.osmre.gov. The State has indicated that it will have the capability and the administrative structure to properly implement the Emergency Response Program as described in this amendment and is willing and able to work closely with OSMRE to ensure its success.

    The full text of the program amendment is available for you to read at the locations listed above under ADDRESSES or at www.regulations.gov.

    III. Public Comment Procedures

    Under the provisions of 30 CFR 732.17(h), we are seeking your comments on whether the amendment satisfies the applicable program approval criteria of 30 CFR 732.15. If we approve the amendment, it will become part of the Pennsylvania's State Program.

    Electronic or Written Comments

    If you submit written or electronic comments on the proposed rule during the 30-day comment period, they should be specific, confined to issues pertinent to the proposed regulations, and explain the reason for any recommended change(s). We appreciate any and all comments, but those most useful and likely to influence decisions on the final regulations will be those that either involve personal experience or include citations to and analyses of SMCRA, its legislative history, its implementing regulations, case law, other pertinent State or Federal laws or regulations, technical literature, or other relevant publications.

    We cannot ensure that comments received after the close of the comment period (see DATES) or sent to an address other than those listed (see ADDRESSES) will be included in the docket for this rulemaking and considered.

    Public Availability of Comments

    Before including your address, phone number, email address, or other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment including your personal identifying information, may be made publicly available at any time. While you can ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so.

    Public Hearing

    If you wish to speak at the public hearing, contact the person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT by 4:00 p.m., e.s.t. on May 31, 2018. If you are disabled and need reasonable accommodations to attend a public hearing, contact the person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT. We will arrange the location and time of the hearing with those persons requesting the hearing. If no one requests an opportunity to speak, we will not hold a hearing.

    To assist the transcriber and ensure an accurate record, we request, if possible, that each person who speaks at the public hearing provide us with a written copy of his or her comments. The public hearing will continue on the specified date until everyone scheduled to speak has been given an opportunity to be heard. If you are in the audience and have not been scheduled to speak and wish to do so, you will be allowed to speak after those who have been scheduled. We will end the hearing after everyone scheduled to speak, and others present in the audience who wish to speak, have been heard.

    Public Meeting

    If only one person requests an opportunity to speak, we may hold a public meeting rather than a public hearing. If you wish to meet with us to discuss the amendment, please request a meeting by contacting the person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT. All such meetings are open to the public and, if possible, we will post notices of meetings at the locations listed under ADDRESSES. We will make a written summary of each meeting a part of the administrative record.

    IV. Procedural Determinations Executive Order 12866—Regulatory Planning and Review

    Pursuant to Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Guidance dated October 12, 1993, the approval of state program amendments is exempted from OMB review under Executive Order 12866.

    Other Laws and Executive Orders Affecting Rulemaking

    When a State submits a plan amendment to OSMRE for review and that amendment changes the objectives, scope or major policies followed, our regulations at 30 CFR 884.14 and 884.15 require us either to hold a public hearing on a plan amendment or make a finding that the State provided adequate notice and opportunity for public comment. Pennsylvania has elected to have OSMRE publish a notice in the Federal Register indicating receipt of the proposed amendment and soliciting comments. We will conclude our review of the proposed amendment after the close of the public comment period and determine whether the amendment should be approved, approved in part, or not approved. At that time, we will also make the determinations and certifications required by the various laws and executive orders governing the rulemaking process and include them in the final rule.

    List of Subjects in 30 CFR Part 938

    Intergovernmental relations, Surface mining, Underground mining.

    Dated: May 9, 2018 Thomas D. Shope, Regional Director, Appalachian Region.
    [FR Doc. 2018-10483 Filed 5-15-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4310-05-P
    LIBRARY OF CONGRESS Copyright Office 37 CFR Part 202 [Docket No. 2016-03] Mandatory Deposit of Electronic-Only Books: Extension of Comment Period AGENCY:

    U.S. Copyright Office, Library of Congress.

    ACTION:

    Notice of proposed rulemaking; extension of comment period.

    SUMMARY:

    The U.S. Copyright Office is further extending the deadline for the submission of written comments in response to its April 16, 2018 notice of proposed rulemaking, regarding revisions to its regulations to finalize a 2010 interim rule regarding mandatory deposit of electronic-only works, and to make electronic-only books published in the United States subject to the mandatory deposit requirements if they are affirmatively demanded by the Office.

    DATES:

    The comment period for the notice of proposed rulemaking, published on April 16, 2018 at 83 FR 16269, is extended by an additional forty-five days. Comments must be made in writing and must be received in the U.S. Copyright Office no later than July 16, 2018.

    ADDRESSES:

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

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Cindy P. Abramson, Assistant General Counsel, by email at [email protected] or John R. Riley at [email protected] Both can be reached by telephone at 202-707-8350.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    On April 16, 2018, the U.S. Copyright Office issued a proposed rulemaking making revisions to its regulations to finalize a 2010 interim rule regarding mandatory deposit of electronic-only works, and to make electronic-only books published in the United States subject to the mandatory deposit requirements if they are affirmatively demanded by the Office.1 The Office invited public comment on the notice of proposed rulemaking. To ensure that members of the public have sufficient time to respond, and to ensure that the Office has the benefit of a complete record, the Office is extending the submission deadline by an additional forty-five days. Written comments now are due no later than July 16, 2018.

    1 83 FR 16269 (April 16, 2018).

    Dated: May 11, 2018. Sarang V. Damle, General Counsel and Associate Register of Copyrights.
    [FR Doc. 2018-10421 Filed 5-15-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 1410-30-P
    83 95 Wednesday, May 16, 2018 Notices DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Food Safety and Inspection Service [Docket No. FSIS-2018-0017] Notice of Request for Revision of an Approved Information Collection (Voluntary Recalls of Meat, Poultry, and Egg Products) AGENCY:

    Food Safety and Inspection Service, USDA.

    ACTION:

    Notice and request for comments.

    SUMMARY:

    In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 and Office of Management and Budget (OMB) regulations, the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is announcing its intention to revise the approved information collection regarding voluntary recalls from commerce of meat, poultry, and egg products. FSIS has reduced the burden estimate by 2,000 hours due to updated information on recall effectiveness checks. The approval for this information collection will expire on September 30, 2018.

    DATES:

    Submit comments on or before July 16, 2018.

    ADDRESSES:

    FSIS invites interested persons to submit comments on this Federal Register notice. Comments may be submitted by one of the following methods:

    Federal eRulemaking Portal: This website provides the ability to type short comments directly into the comment field on this web page or attach a file for lengthier comments. Go to http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the on-line instructions at that site for submitting comments.

    Mail, including CD-ROMs, etc.: Send to Docket Clerk, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food Safety and Inspection Service, 1400 Independence Avenue SW, Mailstop 3758, Room 6065, Washington, DC 20250-3700.

    Hand- or courier-delivered submittals: Deliver to 1400 Independence Avenue SW, Room 6065, Washington, DC 20250-3700.

    Instructions: All items submitted by mail or electronic mail must include the Agency name and docket number FSIS-2018-0017. Comments received in response to this docket will be made available for public inspection and posted without change, including any personal information, to http://www.regulations.gov.

    Docket: For access to background documents or comments received, call (202) 720-5627 to schedule a time to visit the FSIS Docket Room at 1400 Independence Avenue SW, Room 6065, Washington, DC 20250-3700.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Gina Kouba, Office of Policy and Program Development, Food Safety and Inspection Service, USDA, 1400 Independence Avenue SW, Room 6065, South Building, Washington, DC 20250-3700; (202) 720-5627.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Title: Voluntary Recalls of Meat, Poultry, and Egg Products.

    OMB Control Number: 0583-0135.

    Expiration Date: 9/30/2018.

    Type of Request: Revision of an approved information collection.

    Abstract: FSIS, by delegation (7 CFR 2.18, 2.53), exercises the functions of the Secretary as specified in the Federal Meat Inspection Act (FMIA) (21 U.S.C. 601, et seq.), the Poultry Products Inspection Act (PPIA) (21U.S.C. 451, et seq.) and the Egg Products Inspection Act (EPIA) (21 U.S.C. 1031, et seq.). These statutes mandate that FSIS protect the public by verifying that meat, poultry, and egg products are safe, wholesome, unadulterated, and properly labeled and packaged.

    FSIS is requesting a revision to the approved information collection addressing paperwork requirements regarding the Agency's requests that establishments voluntarily recall from commerce of meat, poultry, and egg products. FSIS has reduced the burden estimate by 2,000 hours due to updated information on recall effectiveness checks. The approval for this information collection will expire on September 30, 2018.

    FSIS requests that a firm that has produced or imported meat, poultry, or egg product that is adulterated or misbranded and has distributed it in commerce recall the product in question. When there is a recall, FSIS asks that the recalling firm (e.g., a manufacturer, distributor, or importer of record) provide the Agency with some basic information, including the identity of the recalled product, the reason for the recall, and information about the distributors and retail consignees to whom the product was actually shipped. Under the FMIA, firms are required to keep such records that fully and correctly disclose all transactions in their business (21 U.S.C. 642). Under the PPIA, firms are required to keep such records as are properly necessary for the effective enforcement of the PPIA (21 U.S.C. 460(b)).

    When a firm voluntarily recalls a product, FSIS conducts recall effectiveness checks. In conducting recall effectiveness checks, if the recall is to the retail or consumer level, the Agency contacts the distributors and actual retail consignees to ensure that they were notified of the recall, to verify the amount of product they received, and to confirm that they are removing the product from commerce and returning it to the recalling firm or otherwise disposing of the product.

    FSIS has made the following estimates based upon an information collection assessment.

    Estimate of Burden: FSIS estimates that it will take respondents an average of approximately 1.08 hours to collect and make this information available to FSIS.

    Respondents: Official establishments, importers of record, and retail consignees.

    Estimated Number of Respondents: 6,090.

    Estimated Number of Responses per Respondent: 1.

    Estimated Total Annual Burden on Respondents: 6,600 hours.

    Copies of this information collection assessment can be obtained from Gina Kouba, Office of Policy and Program Development, Food Safety and Inspection Service, USDA, 1400 Independence Avenue SW, Room 6065, South Building, Washington, DC 20250-3700; (202) 720-5627.

    Comments are invited on: (a) Whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of FSIS's functions, including whether the information will have practical utility; (b) the accuracy of FSIS's estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information, including the validity of the method and assumptions used; (c) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (d) ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information, including through the use of appropriate automated, electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques, or other forms of information technology. Comments may be sent to both FSIS, at the addresses provided above, and the Desk Officer for Agriculture, Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Office of Management and Budget, Washington, DC 20253.

    Responses to this notice will be summarized and included in the request for OMB approval. All comments will also become a matter of public record.

    Additional Public Notification

    Public awareness of all segments of rulemaking and policy development is important. Consequently, FSIS will announce this Federal Register publication on-line through the FSIS web page located at: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/federal-register.

    FSIS also will make copies of this publication available through the FSIS Constituent Update, which is used to provide information regarding FSIS policies, procedures, regulations, Federal Register notices, FSIS public meetings, and other types of information that could affect or would be of interest to our constituents and stakeholders. The Update is available on the FSIS web page. Through the web page, FSIS is able to provide information to a much broader, more diverse audience. In addition, FSIS offers an email subscription service which provides automatic and customized access to selected food safety news and information. This service is available at: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/subscribe. Options range from recalls to export information, regulations, directives, and notices. Customers can add or delete subscriptions themselves, and have the option to password protect their accounts.

    USDA Non-Discrimination Statement

    No agency, officer, or employee of the USDA shall, on the grounds of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, age, marital status, family/parental status, income derived from a public assistance program, or political beliefs, exclude from participation in, deny the benefits of, or subject to discrimination any person in the United States under any program or activity conducted by the USDA.

    How to File a Complaint of Discrimination

    To file a complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, which may be accessed online at http://www.ocio.usda.gov/sites/default/files/docs/2012/Complain_combined_6_8_12.pdf, or write a letter signed by you or your authorized representative.

    Send your completed complaint form or letter to USDA by mail, fax, or email:

    Mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Director, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410.

    Fax: (202) 690-7442.

    Email: [email protected]

    Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.), should contact USDA's TARGET Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice and TDD).

    Done at Washington, DC.

    Paul Kiecker, Acting Administrator.
    [FR Doc. 2018-10484 Filed 5-15-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410-DM-P
    DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Food Safety and Inspection Service [Docket No. FSIS-2018-0018] Notice of Request To Renew an Approved Information Collection (Requirements To Notify FSIS of Adulterated or Misbranded Product, Prepare and Maintain Written Recall Procedures, and Document Certain HACCP Plan Reassessments) AGENCY:

    Food Safety and Inspection Service, USDA.

    ACTION:

    Notice and request for comments.

    SUMMARY:

    In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 and Office of Management and Budget (OMB) regulations, the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is announcing its intention to renew the approved information collection regarding requirements for official establishments to notify FSIS of adulterated or misbranded product, prepare and maintain written recall procedures, and document certain HACCP plan reassessments. The approval for this information collection will expire on September 30, 2018. FSIS is making no changes to the approved collection. The public may comment on either the entire information collection or on one of its three parts.

    DATES:

    Submit comments on or before July 16, 2018.

    ADDRESSES:

    FSIS invites interested persons to submit comments on this Federal Register notice. Comments may be submitted by one of the following methods:

    Federal eRulemaking Portal: This website provides the ability to type short comments directly into the comment field on this web page or attach a file for lengthier comments. Go to http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the on-line instructions at that site for submitting comments.

    Mail, including CD-ROMs, etc.: Send to Docket Clerk, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food Safety and Inspection Service, 1400 Independence Avenue SW, Mailstop 3758, Room 6065, Washington, DC 20250-3700.

    Hand- or courier-delivered submittals: Deliver to 1400 Independence Avenue SW, Room 6065, Washington, DC 20250-3700.

    Instructions: All items submitted by mail or electronic mail must include the Agency name and docket number FSIS-2018-0018. Comments received in response to this docket will be made available for public inspection and posted without change, including any personal information, to http://www.regulations.gov.

    Docket: For access to background documents or comments received, call (202) 720-5627 to schedule a time to visit the FSIS Docket Room at 1400 Independence Avenue SW, Room 6065, Washington, DC 20250-3700.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Gina Kouba, Office of Policy and Program Development, Food Safety and Inspection Service, USDA, 1400 Independence Avenue SW, Room 6065, South Building, Washington, DC 20250-3700; (202) 720-5627.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Title: Requirements for Official Establishments to Notify FSIS of Adulterated or Misbranded Product, Prepare and Maintain Written Recall Procedures, and Document Certain HACCP Plan Reassessments.

    OMB Control Number: 0583-0144.

    Expiration Date: 9/30/2018.

    Type of Request: Renewal of an approved information collection.

    Abstract: FSIS, by delegation (7 CFR 2.18, 2.53), exercises the functions of the Secretary as specified in the Federal Meat Inspection Act (FMIA) (21 U.S.C. 601, et seq.), the Poultry Products Inspection Act (PPIA) (21 U.S.C. 451, et seq.), and the Egg Products Inspection Act (EPIA) (21 U.S.C. 1031, et seq.). These statutes mandate that FSIS protect the public by verifying that meat, poultry, and egg products are safe, wholesome, unadulterated, and properly labeled and packaged.

    The regulations at 9 CFR 418.2, 418.3 and 417.4(a)(3) require establishments to notify FSIS of adulterated or misbranded product, prepare and maintain written recall procedures, and document certain HACCP plan reassessments. Accordingly, FSIS requires three information collection activities under these regulations. First, FSIS requires that official establishments notify the appropriate District Office that an adulterated or misbranded product received by or originating from the establishment has entered commerce, if the establishment believes or has reason to believe that this has happened. Second, FSIS requires that establishments prepare and maintain written procedures for the recall of meat and poultry products produced and shipped by the establishment for use should it become necessary for the establishment to remove product from commerce. These written recall procedures have to specify how the establishment will decide whether to conduct a product recall, and how the establishment will effect the recall should it decide that one is necessary. Finally, FSIS requires that establishments document each reassessment of the establishment's HACCP plans. FSIS requires establishments to reassess their HACCP plans annually and whenever any changes occur that could affect the hazard analysis or alter the HACCP plan. For annual reassessments, if the establishment determines that no changes are necessary, documentation of this determination is not necessary.

    FSIS is requesting renewal of the approved information collection addressing paperwork and recordkeeping requirements for these three activities. The approval for this information collection will expire on September 30, 2018. FSIS is making no changes to the approved collection. The public may comment on either the entire information collection or on one of its three parts. FSIS has made the following estimates based upon an information collection assessment.

    Estimate of Burden of Average Hours per Response: 1.159.

    Respondents: Official meat and poultry products establishments.

    Estimated Number of Respondents: 6,300.

    Estimated Number of Responses: 40,960.

    Estimated Number of Responses per Respondent: 6.5.

    Estimated Total Annual Burden on Respondents: 47,475.

    Copies of this information collection assessment can be obtained from Gina Kouba, Office of Policy and Program Development, Food Safety and Inspection Service, USDA, 1400 Independence Avenue SW, Room 6065, South Building, Washington, DC 20250-3700; (202) 720-5627.

    Comments are invited on: (a) Whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of FSIS's functions, including whether the information will have practical utility; (b) the accuracy of FSIS's estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information, including the validity of the method and assumptions used; (c) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (d) ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information, including through the use of appropriate automated, electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques, or other forms of information technology. Comments may be sent to both FSIS, at the addresses provided above, and the Desk Officer for Agriculture, Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Office of Management and Budget, Washington, DC 20253.

    Responses to this notice will be summarized and included in the request for OMB approval. All comments will also become a matter of public record.

    Additional Public Notification

    Public awareness of all segments of rulemaking and policy development is important. Consequently, FSIS will announce this Federal Register publication on-line through the FSIS web page located at: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/federal-register.

    FSIS also will make copies of this publication available through the FSIS Constituent Update, which is used to provide information regarding FSIS policies, procedures, regulations, Federal Register notices, FSIS public meetings, and other types of information that could affect or would be of interest to our constituents and stakeholders. The Update is available on the FSIS web page. Through the web page, FSIS is able to provide information to a much broader, more diverse audience. In addition, FSIS offers an email subscription service which provides automatic and customized access to selected food safety news and information. This service is available at: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/subscribe. Options range from recalls to export information, regulations, directives, and notices. Customers can add or delete subscriptions themselves, and have the option to password protect their accounts.

    USDA Non-Discrimination Statement

    No agency, officer, or employee of the USDA shall, on the grounds of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, age, marital status, family/parental status, income derived from a public assistance program, or political beliefs, exclude from participation in, deny the benefits of, or subject to discrimination any person in the United States under any program or activity conducted by the USDA.

    How to File a Complaint of Discrimination

    To file a complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, which may be accessed online at http://www.ocio.usda.gov/sites/default/files/docs/2012/Complain_combined_6_8_12.pdf, or write a letter signed by you or your authorized representative.

    Send your completed complaint form or letter to USDA by mail, fax, or email:

    Mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Director, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410.

    Fax: (202) 690-7442.

    Email: [email protected]

    Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.), should contact USDA's TARGET Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice and TDD).

    Done at Washington, DC.

    Paul Kiecker, Acting Administrator.
    [FR Doc. 2018-10489 Filed 5-15-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410-DM-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE International Trade Administration [A-570-084] Certain Quartz Surface Products From the People's Republic of China: Initiation of Less-Than-Fair-Value Investigation AGENCY:

    Enforcement and Compliance, International Trade Administration, Department of Commerce.

    DATES:

    Applicable May 7, 2018.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Andrew Medley or Whitley Herndon at (202) 482-4987 or (202) 482-6274, respectively; AD/CVD Operations, Enforcement and Compliance, International Trade Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce, 1401 Constitution Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20230.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The Petition

    On April 17, 2018, the U.S. Department of Commerce (Commerce) received an antidumping duty (AD) Petition concerning imports of certain quartz surface products (quartz surface products) from the People's Republic of China (China), filed in proper form on behalf of Cambria Company LLC (the petitioner).1 The AD Petition was accompanied by a countervailing duty (CVD) Petition concerning imports of quartz surface products from China (collectively, Petition). The petitioner is a domestic producer of quartz surface products.2

    1See Petitioner's Letter, “Petitions for the Imposition of Antidumping Duties and Countervailing Duties: Certain Quartz Surface Products from the People's Republic of China,” dated April 17, 2018 (the Petition).

    2See Volume I of the Petition at 2.

    On April 20, 26, and 30, 2018, Commerce requested supplemental information pertaining to certain aspects of the Petition.3 The petitioner responded to these requests on April 24 and 30, and May 1, 2018, respectively.4 On May 1, 2018, we received comments on industry support and a polling request from M S International, Inc. (MSI), a U.S. importer.5 On May 3, 2018, the petitioner provided a response to MSI's comments on industry support.6 On May 4, 2018, MSI submitted comments on the petitioner's Industry Support Supplement.7

    3See Commerce Letter re: Petition for the Imposition of Antidumping Duties on Imports of Certain Quartz Surface Products from the People's Republic of China: Supplemental Questions, dated April 20, 2018; Memoranda re: Petitions for the Imposition of Antidumping and Countervailing Duties on Imports of Certain Quartz Surface Products from the People's Republic of China, dated April 27, 2018, and re: Petitions for the Imposition of Antidumping and Countervailing Duties on Imports of Certain Quartz Surface Products from the People's Republic of China, dated May 1, 2018.

    4See Petitioner's Letters, “Certain Quartz Surface Products from the People's Republic of China: Response to Supplemental Questions—Antidumping,” dated April 24, 2018 (AD Supplement); “Certain Quartz Surface Products from the People's Republic of China: Responses to Supplemental Questions—General Issues,” dated April 24, 2018 (General Issues Supplement); “Certain Quartz Surface Products from the People's Republic of China: Response to Supplemental Questions—Antidumping,” dated April 30, 2018 (Second Supplement); and “Certain Quartz Surface Products from the People's Republic of China: Response to Supplemental Questions re: Scope,” dated May 1, 2018 (Scope Supplement).

    5See letter from M S International, Inc., “Quartz Surface Products from the People's Republic of China: Comments on the Lack of Standing of the Petitioner and Requests for Action,” dated May 1, 2018 (M S International Standing Challenge).

    6See petitioner's letter, “Certain Quartz Surface Products from the People's Republic of China: Petitioner's Response to MSI's Comments on Standing,” dated May 3, 2018 (Industry Support Supplement).

    7See letter from M S International, Inc., “Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Investigations of Quartz Surface Products from the People's Republic of China: Reply to Petitioner's Comments on Lack of Standing,” dated May 4, 2018 (Second M S International Standing Challenge).

    In accordance with section 732(b) of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (the Act), the petitioner alleges that imports of quartz surface products from China are being, or are likely to be, sold in the United States at less than fair value within the meaning of section 731 of the Act, and that such imports are materially injuring, or threatening material injury to, the domestic industry producing quartz surface products in the United States. Consistent with section 732(b)(1) of the Act, the Petition is accompanied by information reasonably available to the petitioner supporting its allegation.

    Commerce finds that the petitioner filed the Petition on behalf of the domestic industry because the petitioner is an interested party as defined in section 771(9)(C) of the Act. Commerce also finds that the petitioner demonstrated sufficient industry support with respect to the initiation of the AD investigation that the petitioner is requesting.8

    8See the “Determination of Industry Support for the Petition” section, infra.

    Period of Investigation

    Because China is a non-market economy (NME) country, pursuant to 19 CFR 351.204(b)(1), the period of investigation (POI) is October 1, 2017, through March 31, 2018.

    Scope of the Investigation

    The products covered by this investigation are quartz surface products from China. For a full description of the scope of this investigation, see the Appendix to this notice.

    Scope Comments

    During our review of the Petition, Commerce issued questions to, and received responses from, the petitioner pertaining to the proposed scope to ensure that the scope language in the Petition is an accurate reflection of the products for which the domestic industry is seeking relief.9 As a result of these exchanges, the scope of the Petition was modified to clarify the description of merchandise covered by the Petition. The description of the merchandise covered by this initiation, as described in the Appendix to this notice, reflects these clarifications.

    9See General Issues Supplement at 2-6 and Exhibit 2; see also Second Supplement at 1 and Supplemental Exhibit I-1; and Scope Supplement at Exhibit 1.

    As discussed in the preamble to Commerce's regulations, we are setting aside a period for interested parties to raise issues regarding product coverage (scope).10 Commerce will consider all comments received from interested parties and, if necessary, will consult with interested parties prior to the issuance of the preliminary determination. If scope comments include factual information,11 all such factual information should be limited to public information. To facilitate preparation of its questionnaires, Commerce requests that all interested parties submit such comments by 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time (ET) on May 29, 2018, which is the next business day after 20 calendar days from the signature date of this notice.12 Any rebuttal comments, which may include factual information, must be filed by 5:00 p.m. ET on June 7, 2018, which is 10 calendar days from the initial comments deadline.

    10See Antidumping Duties; Countervailing Duties, Final Rule, 62 FR 27296, 27323 (May 19, 1997).

    11See 19 CFR 351.102(b)(21) (defining “factual information”).

    12See 19 CFR 351.303(b).

    Commerce requests that any factual information parties consider relevant to the scope of the investigation be submitted during this period. However, if a party subsequently finds that additional factual information pertaining to the scope of the investigation may be relevant, the party may contact Commerce and request permission to submit the additional information. All such submissions must be filed on the records of each of the concurrent AD and CVD investigations.

    Filing Requirements

    All submissions to Commerce must be filed electronically using Enforcement and Compliance's Antidumping Duty and Countervailing Duty Centralized Electronic Service System (ACCESS).13 An electronically-filed document must be received successfully in its entirety by the time and date it is due. Documents exempted from the electronic submission requirements must be filed manually (i.e., in paper form) with Enforcement and Compliance's APO/Dockets Unit, Room 18022, U.S. Department of Commerce, 1401 Constitution Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20230, and stamped with the date and time of receipt by the applicable deadlines.

    13See Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Proceedings: Electronic Filing Procedures; Administrative Protective Order Procedures, 76 FR 39263 (July 6, 2011); see also Enforcement and Compliance; Change of Electronic Filing System Name, 79 FR 69046 (November 20, 2014) for details of Commerce's electronic filing requirements, effective August 5, 2011. Information on help using ACCESS can be found at https://access.trade.gov/help.aspx and a handbook can be found at https://access.trade.gov/help/Handbook%20on%20Electronic%20Filling%20Procedures.pdf.

    Comments on Product Characteristics for AD Questionnaires

    Commerce is providing interested parties an opportunity to comment on the appropriate physical characteristics of quartz surface products to be reported in response to Commerce's AD questionnaires. This information will be used to identify the key physical characteristics of the merchandise under consideration in order to report the relevant factors of production accurately, as well as to develop appropriate product-comparison criteria.

    Interested parties may provide any information or comments that they feel are relevant to the development of an accurate list of physical characteristics. In order to consider the suggestions of interested parties in developing and issuing the AD questionnaire, all product characteristics comments must be filed by 5:00 p.m. ET on May 29, 2018, which is the next business day after 20 calendar days from the signature date of this notice.14 Any rebuttal comments must be filed by 5:00 p.m. ET on June 5, 2018. All comments and submissions to Commerce must be filed electronically using ACCESS, as explained above, on the record of the China less-than-fair-value investigation.

    14See 19 CFR 351.303(b).

    Determination of Industry Support for the Petition

    Section 732(b)(1) of the Act requires that a petition be filed on behalf of the domestic industry. Section 732(c)(4)(A) of the Act provides that a petition meets this requirement if the domestic producers or workers who support the petition account for: (i) At least 25 percent of the total production of the domestic like product; and (ii) more than 50 percent of the production of the domestic like product produced by that portion of the industry expressing support for, or opposition to, the petition. Moreover, section 732(c)(4)(D) of the Act provides that, if the petition does not establish support of domestic producers or workers accounting for more than 50 percent of the total production of the domestic like product, Commerce shall: (i) Poll the industry or rely on other information in order to determine if there is support for the petition, as required by subparagraph (A); or (ii) determine industry support using a statistically valid sampling method to poll the “industry.”

    Section 771(4)(A) of the Act defines the “industry” as the producers as a whole of a domestic like product. Thus, to determine whether a petition has the requisite industry support, the statute directs Commerce to look to producers and workers who produce the domestic like product. The International Trade Commission (ITC), which is responsible for determining whether “the domestic industry” has been injured, must also determine what constitutes a domestic like product in order to define the industry. While both Commerce and the ITC must apply the same statutory definition regarding the domestic like product,15 they do so for different purposes and pursuant to a separate and distinct authority. In addition, Commerce's determination is subject to limitations of time and information. Although this may result in different definitions of the like product, such differences do not render the decision of either agency contrary to law.16

    15See section 771(10) of the Act.

    16See USEC, Inc. v. United States, 132 F. Supp. 2d 1, 8 (CIT 2001) (citing Algoma Steel Corp., Ltd. v. United States, 688 F. Supp. 639, 644 (CIT 1988), aff'd 865 F.2d 240 (Fed. Cir. 1989)).

    Section 771(10) of the Act defines the domestic like product as “a product which is like, or in the absence of like, most similar in characteristics and uses with, the article subject to an investigation under this title.” Thus, the reference point from which the domestic like product analysis begins is “the article subject to an investigation” (i.e., the class or kind of merchandise to be investigated, which normally will be the scope as defined in the petition).

    With regard to the domestic like product, the petitioner does not offer a definition of the domestic like product distinct from the scope of the investigation.17 Based on our analysis of the information submitted on the record, we have determined that quartz surface products, as defined in the scope, constitute a single domestic like product, and we have analyzed industry support in terms of that domestic like product.18

    17See Volume I of the Petition at 13.

    18 For a discussion of the domestic like product analysis as applied to this case and information regarding industry support, see Initiation Checklist), at Attachment II, Analysis of Industry Support for the Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Petitions Covering Certain Quartz Surface Products from the People's Republic of China (Attachment II). This checklist is dated concurrently with this notice and on file electronically via ACCESS. Access to documents filed via ACCESS is also available in the Central Records Unit, Room B8024 of the main Department of Commerce building.

    In determining whether the petitioner has standing under section 732(c)(4)(A) of the Act, we considered the industry support data contained in the Petition with reference to the domestic like product as defined in the “Scope of the Investigation,” in the Appendix to this notice. To establish industry support, the petitioner provided its own production of the domestic like product in 2017 and compared this to the estimated total production of the domestic like product for the entire domestic industry.19 We relied on data the petitioner provided for purposes of measuring industry support.20

    19See Volume I of the Petition at 3 and Exhibit I-3; see also General Issues Supplement at 13-14 and Exhibit 15.

    20Id. at 3 and Exhibit I-3; see also General Issues Supplement at 13-14 and Exhibit 15; see also Industry Support Supplement at 3 and Exhibit 1. For further discussion, see Initiation Checklist at Attachment II.

    In a letter dated May 1, 2018, MSI, a U.S. importer, submitted comments on industry support and requested that Commerce poll the industry to determine industry support.21 The petitioner responded to these comments in the Industry Support Supplement, dated May 3, 2018. In a letter dated May 4, 2018, MSI submitted comments on the petitioner's Industry Support Supplement.22 For further discussion of these comments, see Attachment II of the Initiation Checklist.

    21See M S International Standing Challenge.

    22See Second M S International Standing Challenge.

    Our review of the data provided in the Petition, the General Issues Supplement, Industry Support Supplement, and other information readily available to Commerce indicates that the petitioner has established industry support for the Petition.23 First, the Petition established support from domestic producers (or workers) accounting for more than 50 percent of the total production of the domestic like product and, as such, Commerce is not required to take further action in order to evaluate industry support (e.g., polling).24 Second, the domestic producers (or workers) have met the statutory criteria for industry support under section 732(c)(4)(A)(i) of the Act because the domestic producers (or workers) who support the Petition account for at least 25 percent of the total production of the domestic like product.25 Finally, the domestic producers (or workers) have met the statutory criteria for industry support under section 732(c)(4)(A)(ii) of the Act because the domestic producers (or workers) who support the Petition account for more than 50 percent of the production of the domestic like product produced by that portion of the industry expressing support for, or opposition to, the Petition.26 Accordingly, Commerce determines that the Petition was filed on behalf of the domestic industry within the meaning of section 732(b)(1) of the Act.

    23See Volume I of the Petition, at 3 and Exhibit I-3; see also General Issues Supplement at 13-14 and Exhibit 15; see also Industry Support Supplement at 3 and Exhibit 1. For further discussion, see Initiation Checklist at Attachment II.

    24Id.; see also section 732(c)(4)(D) of the Act.

    25See Initiation Checklist at Attachment II.

    26Id.

    Commerce finds that the petitioner filed the Petition on behalf of the domestic industry because it is an interested party as defined in section 771(9)(C) of the Act, and it has demonstrated sufficient industry support with respect to the AD investigation that it is requesting that Commerce initiate.27

    27Id.

    Allegations and Evidence of Material Injury and Causation

    The petitioner alleges that the U.S. industry producing the domestic like product is being materially injured, or is threatened with material injury, by reason of the imports of the subject merchandise sold at less than normal value (NV). In addition, the petitioner alleges that subject imports exceed the negligibility threshold provided for under section 771(24)(A) of the Act.28

    28See General Issues Supplement at 14-15 and Exhibit 16.

    The petitioner contends that the industry's injured condition is illustrated by a significant and increasing volume of subject imports; reduced market share; underselling and price depression or suppression; lost sales and lost revenues; negative effects on the existing product development and production efforts of the domestic industry; and negative impact on the domestic industry's financial and operating indicators, such as sales, profits, return on investment, cash flow, capacity utilization, and employment.29 We have assessed the allegations and supporting evidence regarding material injury, threat of material injury, and causation, and we have determined that these allegations are properly supported by adequate evidence, and meet the statutory requirements for initiation.30

    29See Volume I of the Petition at 10-30 and Exhibits I-3 and I-9 through I-19; see also General Issues Supplement at 14-15 and Exhibits 16 through 18.

    30See Initiation Checklist at Attachment III, Analysis of Allegations and Evidence of Material Injury and Causation for the Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Petitions Covering Certain Quartz Surface Products from the People's Republic of China.

    Allegations of Sales at Less Than Fair Value

    The following is a description of the allegations of sales at less than fair value upon which Commerce based its decision to initiate an AD investigation of imports of quartz surface products from China. The sources of data for the deductions and adjustments relating to U.S. price and NV are discussed in greater detail in the Initiation Checklist.

    Export Price

    The petitioner based export price (EP) on quoted offer prices for quartz surface products produced in China.31 The petitioner made no deductions from U.S. price.32

    31See Initiation Checklist.

    32Id.

    Normal Value

    Commerce considers China to be an NME country.33 In accordance with section 771(18)(C)(i) of the Act, any determination that a foreign country is an NME country shall remain in effect until revoked by Commerce. Therefore, we continue to treat China as an NME country for purposes of the initiation of this investigation. Accordingly, NV in China is appropriately based on factors of production (FOPs) valued in a surrogate market economy country, in accordance with section 773(c) of the Act.34

    33See Antidumping Duty Investigation of Certain Aluminum Foil from the People's Republic of China: Affirmative Preliminary Determination of Sales at Less-Than-Fair Value and Postponement of Final Determination, 82 FR 50858, 50861 (November 2, 2017) (citing Memorandum to Gary Taverman, “China's Status as a Non-Market Economy,” dated October 26, 2017), unchanged in Certain Aluminum Foil from the People's Republic of China: Final Determination of Sales at Less Than Fair Value, 83 FR 9282 (March 5, 2018).

    34See Initiation Checklist.

    The petitioner claims that Mexico is an appropriate surrogate country for China because it is a market economy country that is at a level of economic development comparable to that of China, it is a significant producer of comparable merchandise, and public information is available to value factor input costs.35 The petitioner provided publicly available information from Mexico to value all FOPs.36 Based on the information provided by the petitioner, we determine that it is appropriate to use Mexico as the primary surrogate country for initiation purposes.

    35See Volume II of the Petition at 2-5.

    36Id. at 7 and Exhibit II-11; see also AD Supplement at Exhibits II-11(D) and II-11(E); and Second Supplement at 4-5 and Exhibits II-11(D) and II-11(J)(1).

    Interested parties will have the opportunity to submit comments regarding surrogate country selection and, pursuant to 19 CFR 351.301(c)(3)(i), will be provided an opportunity to submit publicly available information to value FOPs within 30 days before the scheduled date of the preliminary determination.

    Factors of Production

    Because information regarding the FOPs and volume of inputs consumed by Chinese producers/exporters was not reasonably available, the petitioner used its own product-specific consumption rates to estimate the Chinese manufacturers' FOPs.37 The petitioner valued the estimated FOPs using surrogate values from Mexico, as noted above.38 Where appropriate, the petitioner used the average POI exchange rate to convert the data to U.S. dollars.39

    37Id. at Exhibit II-11 at Attachments A and B.

    38Id. at Exhibit II-11; see also AD Supplement at Exhibits II-11(D) and II-11(E); and Second Supplement at 2-4 and Exhibits II-11(D) through II-11(J)(1).

    39See Second Supplement at 2 and Exhibits II-11(K) and II-11(I)(1).

    Fair Value Comparisons

    Based on the data provided by the petitioner, there is reason to believe that imports of quartz surface products from China are being, or are likely to be, sold in the United States at less than fair value. Based on comparisons of EP to NV in accordance with sections 772 and 773 of the Act, the estimated dumping margins for quartz surface products from China range from 303.38 percent to 336.69 percent.40

    40See Initiation Checklist.

    Initiation of Less-than-Fair-Value Investigation

    Based upon the examination of the Petition, we find that the Petition meets the requirements of section 732 of the Act. Therefore, we are initiating an AD investigation to determine whether imports of quartz surface products from China are being, or are likely to be, sold in the United States at less than fair value. In accordance with section 733(b)(1)(A) of the Act and 19 CFR 351.205(b)(1), unless postponed, we will make our preliminary determination no later than 140 days after the date of this initiation.

    Respondent Selection

    The petitioner named 308 companies in China as producers/exporters of quartz surface products.41 After considering our resources, Commerce has determined that we do not have sufficient administrative resources to issue quantity and value (Q&V) questionnaires to all 308 identified producers and exporters. Therefore, Commerce has determined to limit the number of Q&V questionnaires we will send out to exporters and producers identified in U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) data for U.S. imports of quartz surface products during the POI under the appropriate Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States number listed in the “Scope of the Investigation,” in the Appendix. Accordingly, Commerce will send Q&V questionnaires based on producers and exporters that are identified in the Petition and that also appear in the CBP data.

    41See General Issues Supplement at 1-2 and Exhibit 1.

    On April 30, 2018, Commerce released CBP data under administrative protective order (APO) to all parties with access to information protected by APO and indicated that interested parties wishing to comment on the CBP data must do so within three business days of the publication date of the notice of initiation of this AD investigation.42 We further stated that we will not accept rebuttal comments.43

    42See Memorandum, “Certain Quartz Surface Products from China Antidumping Duty Petition: Release of Customs Data from U.S. Customs and Border Protection,” dated April 30, 2018.

    43Id.

    In addition, Commerce will post the Q&V questionnaire along with filing instructions on the Enforcement and Compliance website at http://www.trade.gov/enforcement/news.asp. In accordance with our standard practice for respondent selection in AD cases involving NME countries, we intend to base respondent selection on the responses to the Q&V questionnaire that we receive.

    Producers/exporters of quartz surface products that do not receive Q&V questionnaires by mail may still submit a response to the Q&V questionnaire and can obtain a copy of the Q&V questionnaire from Enforcement & Compliance's website. The Q&V response must be submitted by the relevant Chinese exporters/producers no later than 5:00 p.m. ET on May 21, 2018. All Q&V responses must be filed electronically via ACCESS.

    Separate Rates

    In order to obtain separate-rate status in an NME investigation, exporters and producers must submit a separate-rate application.44 The specific requirements for submitting a separate-rate application in this investigation are outlined in detail in the application itself, which is available on Commerce's website at http://enforcement.trade.gov/nme/nme-sep-rate.html. The separate-rate application will be due 30 days after publication of this initiation notice.45 Exporters and producers who submit a separate-rate application and have been selected as mandatory respondents will be eligible for consideration for separate-rate status only if they respond to all parts of Commerce's AD questionnaire as mandatory respondents. Commerce requires that companies from China submit a response to both the Q&V questionnaire and the separate-rate application by the respective deadlines in order to receive consideration for separate-rate status. Companies not filing a timely Q&V response will not receive separate-rate consideration.

    44See Policy Bulletin 05.1: Separate-Rates Practice and Application of Combination Rates in Antidumping Investigation involving Non-Market Economy Countries (April 5, 2005), available at http://enforcement.trade.gov/policy/bull05-1.pdf (Policy Bulletin 05.1).

    45 Although in past investigations this deadline was 60 days, consistent with 19 CFR 351.301(a), which states that “the Secretary may request any person to submit factual information at any time during a proceeding,” this deadline is now 30 days.

    Use of Combination Rates

    Commerce will calculate combination rates for certain respondents that are eligible for a separate rate in an NME investigation. The Separate Rates and Combination Rates Bulletin states:

    {w}hile continuing the practice of assigning separate rates only to exporters, all separate rates that the Department will now assign in its NME Investigation will be specific to those producers that supplied the exporter during the period of investigation. Note, however, that one rate is calculated for the exporter and all of the producers which supplied subject merchandise to it during the period of investigation. This practice applies both to mandatory respondents receiving an individually calculated separate rate as well as the pool of non-investigated firms receiving the weighted-average of the individually calculated rates. This practice is referred to as the application of “combination rates” because such rates apply to specific combinations of exporters and one or more producers. The cash-deposit rate assigned to an exporter will apply only to merchandise both exported by the firm in question and produced by a firm that supplied the exporter during the period of investigation.46

    46See Policy Bulletin 05.1 at 6 (emphasis added).

    Distribution of Copies of the Petition

    In accordance with section 732(b)(3)(A)(i) of the Act and 19 CFR 351.202(f), copies of the public version of the Petition have been provided to the government of China via ACCESS. To the extent practicable, we will attempt to provide a copy of the public version of the Petition to each exporter named in the Petition, as provided under 19 CFR 351.203(c)(2).

    ITC Notification

    We will notify the ITC of our initiation, as required by section 732(d) of the Act.

    Preliminary Determination by the ITC

    The ITC will preliminarily determine, within 45 days after the date on which the Petition was filed, whether there is a reasonable indication that imports of quartz surface products from China are materially injuring or threatening material injury to a U.S. industry. A negative ITC determination will result in the investigation being terminated.47 Otherwise, the investigation will proceed according to statutory and regulatory time limits.

    47Id.

    Submission of Factual Information

    Factual information is defined in 19 CFR 351.102(b)(21) as: (i) Evidence submitted in response to questionnaires; (ii) evidence submitted in support of allegations; (iii) publicly available information to value factors under 19 CFR 351.408(c) or to measure the adequacy of remuneration under 19 CFR 351.511(a)(2); (iv) evidence placed on the record by Commerce; and (v) evidence other than factual information described in (i)-(iv). 19 CFR 351.301(b) requires any party, when submitting factual information, to specify under which subsection of 19 CFR 351.102(b)(21) the information is being submitted 48 and, if the information is submitted to rebut, clarify, or correct factual information already on the record, to provide an explanation identifying the information already on the record that the factual information seeks to rebut, clarify, or correct.49 Time limits for the submission of factual information are addressed in 19 CFR 351.301, which provides specific time limits based on the type of factual information being submitted. Interested parties should review the regulations prior to submitting factual information in this investigation.

    48See 19 CFR 351.301(b).

    49See 19 CFR 351.301(b)(2).

    Extensions of Time Limits

    Parties may request an extension of time limits before the expiration of a time limit established under 19 CFR 351.301, or as otherwise specified by the Secretary. In general, an extension request will be considered untimely if it is filed after the expiration of the time limit established under 19 CFR 351.301. For submissions that are due from multiple parties simultaneously, an extension request will be considered untimely if it is filed after 10:00 a.m. ET on the due date. Under certain circumstances, we may elect to specify a different time limit by which extension requests will be considered untimely for submissions which are due from multiple parties simultaneously. In such a case, we will inform parties in the letter or memorandum setting forth the deadline (including a specified time) by which extension requests must be filed to be considered timely. An extension request must be made in a separate, stand-alone submission; under limited circumstances we will grant untimely-filed requests for the extension of time limits. Parties should review Extension of Time Limits; Final Rule, 78 FR 57790 (September 20, 2013), available at http://www.thefederalregister.org/fdsys/pkg/FR-2013-09-20/html/2013-22853.htm, prior to submitting factual information in this investigation. Certification Requirements

    Any party submitting factual information in an AD or CVD proceeding must certify to the accuracy and completeness of that information.50 Parties must use the certification formats provided in 19 CFR 351.303(g).51 Commerce intends to reject factual submissions if the submitting party does not comply with the applicable certification requirements.

    50See section 782(b) of the Act.

    51See also Certification of Factual Information to Import Administration During Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Proceedings, 78 FR 42678 (July 17, 2013) (Final Rule). Answers to frequently asked questions regarding the Final Rule are available at http://enforcement.trade.gov/tlei/notices/factual_info_final_rule_FAQ_07172013.pdf.

    Notification to Interested Parties

    Interested parties must submit applications for disclosure under APO in accordance with 19 CFR 351.305. On January 22, 2008, Commerce published Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Proceedings: Documents Submission Procedures; APO Procedures, 73 FR 3634 (January 22, 2008). Parties wishing to participate in this investigation should ensure that they meet the requirements of these procedures (e.g., the filing of letters of appearance as discussed at 19 CFR 351.103(d)).

    This notice is issued and published pursuant to sections 732(c)(2) and 777(i) of the Act, and 19 CFR 351.203(c).

    Dated: May 7, 2018. Gary Taverman, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Operations, performing the non-exclusive functions and duties of the Assistant Secretary for Enforcement and Compliance. Appendix—Scope of the Investigation

    The merchandise covered by the investigation is certain quartz surface products.52 Quartz surface products consist of slabs and other surfaces created from a mixture of materials that includes predominately silica (e.g., quartz, quartz powder, cristobalite) as well as a resin binder (e.g., an unsaturated polyester). The incorporation of other materials, including, but not limited to, pigments, cement, or other additives does not remove the merchandise from the scope of the investigation. However, the scope of the investigation only includes products where the silica content is greater than any other single material, by actual weight. Quartz surface products are typically sold as rectangular slabs with a total surface area of approximately 45 to 60 square feet and a nominal thickness of one, two, or three centimeters. However, the scope of this investigation includes surface products of all other sizes, thicknesses, and shapes. In addition to slabs, the scope of this investigation includes, but is not limited to, other surfaces such as countertops, backsplashes, vanity tops, bar tops, work tops, tabletops, flooring, wall facing, shower surrounds, fire place surrounds, mantels, and tiles. Certain quartz surface products are covered by the investigation whether polished or unpolished, cut or uncut, fabricated or not fabricated, cured or uncured, edged or not edged, finished or unfinished, thermoformed or not thermoformed, packaged or unpackaged, and regardless of the type of surface finish.

    52 Quartz surface products may also generally be referred to as engineered stone or quartz, artificial stone or quartz, agglomerated stone or quartz, synthetic stone or quartz, processed stone or quartz, manufactured stone or quartz, and Bretonstone®.

    In addition, quartz surface products are covered by the investigation whether or not they are imported attached to, or in conjunction with, non-subject merchandise such as sinks, sink bowls, vanities, cabinets, and furniture. If quartz surface products are imported attached to, or in conjunction with, such non-subject merchandise, only the quartz surface product is covered by the scope.

    Subject merchandise includes material matching the above description that has been finished, packaged, or otherwise fabricated in a third country, including by cutting, polishing, curing, edging, thermoforming, attaching to, or packaging with another product, or any other finishing, packaging, or fabrication that would not otherwise remove the merchandise from the scope of the investigation if performed in the country of manufacture of the quartz surface products.

    The scope of the investigation does not cover quarried stone surface products, such as granite, marble, soapstone, or quartzite. Specifically excluded from the scope of the investigation are crushed glass surface products. Crushed glass surface products are surface products in which the crushed glass content is greater than any other single material, by actual weight.

    The products subject to the scope are currently classified in the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) under the following subheading: 6810.99.0010. Subject merchandise may also enter under subheadings 6810.11.0010, 6810.11.0070, 6810.19.1200, 6810.19.1400, 6810.19.5000, 6810.91.0000, 6810.99.0080, 6815.99.4070, 2506.10.0010, 2506.10.0050, 2506.20.0010, 2506.20.0080. The HTSUS subheadings set forth above are provided for convenience and U.S. Customs purposes only. The written description of the scope is dispositive.

    [FR Doc. 2018-10533 Filed 5-15-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-DS-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE International Trade Administration [C-570-085] Certain Quartz Surface Products From the People's Republic of China: Initiation of Countervailing Duty Investigation AGENCY:

    Enforcement and Compliance, International Trade Administration, Department of Commerce.

    DATES:

    Applicable May 7, 2018.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Darla Brown at (202) 482-1791, Joshua Tucker at (202) 482-2044, or Terre Keaton Stefanova at (202) 482-1280, AD/CVD Operations, Enforcement and Compliance, International Trade Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce, 1401 Constitution Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20230.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Petition

    On April 17, 2018, the U.S. Department of Commerce (Commerce) received a countervailing duty (CVD) petition concerning imports of certain quartz surface products (quartz surface products) from the People's Republic of China (China), filed in proper form on behalf of Cambria Company LLC (the petitioner).1 The CVD Petition was accompanied by an antidumping duty (AD) Petition concerning imports of quartz surface products China. The petitioner is a domestic producer of quartz surface products.2

    1See the petitioner's Letter, “Petitions for the Imposition of Antidumping and Countervailing Duties: Certain Quartz Surface Products from the People's Republic of China,” dated April 17, 2018 (the Petition).

    2Id. at Volume I of the Petition at I-2.

    On April 20, 2018, Commerce requested supplemental information pertaining to certain aspects of the Petition. The petitioner filed additional information on April 24, 2018.3 On May 1, 2018, Commerce requested that the petitioner clarify the scope of the Petition, and in response, the petitioner submitted certain revisions to the scope.4 On May 1, 2018, we received comments on industry support and a polling request from M S International, Inc. (MSI), a U.S. importer.5 On May 3, 2018, the petitioner provided a response to MSI's comments on industry support.6 On May 4, 2018, MSI submitted comments on the petitioner's Industry Support Supplement.7

    3See the petitioner's Letter, “Certain Quartz Surface Products from the People's Republic of China: Response to Supplemental Questions—General Issues,” dated April 24, 2018 (General Issues Supplement). See also Petitioner's Letter, “Certain Quartz Surface Products from the People's Republic of China: Response to Supplemental Questions—Countervailing Duties,” dated April 24, 2018.

    4See the petitioner's Letter, “Certain Quartz Surface Products from the People's Republic of China: Response to Supplemental Questions re: Scope,” dated May 1, 2018.

    5See letter from M S International, Inc., “Quartz Surface Products from the People's Republic of China: Comments on the Lack of Standing of the Petitioner and Requests for Action,” dated May 1, 2018 (M S International Standing Challenge).

    6See the petitioner's letter, “Certain Quartz Surface Products from the People's Republic of China: Petitioner's Response to MSI's Comments on Standing,” dated May 3, 2018 (Industry Support Supplement).

    7 letter from M S International, Inc., “Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Investigations of Quartz Surface Products from the People's Republic of China: Reply to Petitioner's Comments on Lack of Standing,” dated May 4, 2018 (Second M S International Standing Challenge).

    In accordance with section 702(b)(1) of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (the Act), the petitioner alleges that the Government of China (GOC) is providing countervailable subsidies, within the meaning of sections 701 and 771(5) of the Act, to producers of quartz surface products in China and imports of such products are materially injuring, or threatening material injury to, the domestic quartz surface products industry in the United States. Consistent with section 702(b)(1) of the Act and 19 CFR 351.202(b), for those alleged programs on which we are initiating a CVD investigation, the Petition is accompanied by information reasonably available to the petitioner supporting its allegations.

    Commerce finds that the petitioner filed the Petition on behalf of the domestic industry because the petitioner is an interested party as defined in section 771(9)(C) of the Act. Commerce also finds that the petitioner demonstrated sufficient industry support necessary for the initiation of the requested CVD investigation.8

    8See “Determination of Industry Support for the Petition” section, infra.

    Period of Investigation

    Because the Petition was filed on April 17, 2018, the period of investigation is January 1, 2017, through December 31, 2017.

    Scope of the Investigation

    The products covered by this investigation are quartz surface products from China. For a full description of the scope of this investigation, see the Appendix to this notice.

    Scope Comments

    During our review of the Petition, Commerce issued questions to, and received responses from, the petitioner pertaining to the proposed scope to ensure that the scope language in the Petition is an accurate reflection of the products for which the domestic industry is seeking relief.9 As a result of these exchanges, the scope of the Petition was modified to clarify the description of merchandise covered by the Petition. The description of the merchandise covered by this initiation, as described in the Appendix to this notice, reflects these clarifications.

    9See General Issues Supplement, at 3-5.

    As discussed in the Preamble to Commerce's regulations, we are setting aside a period for interested parties to raise issues regarding product coverage (scope).10 Commerce will consider all comments received from interested parties and, if necessary, will consult with interested parties prior to the issuance of the preliminary determination. If scope comments include factual information,11 all such factual information should be limited to public information. To facilitate preparation of its questionnaires, Commerce requests that all interested parties submit such comments by 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time (ET) on May 29, 2018, which is the next business day after 20 calendar days from the signature date of this notice. Any rebuttal comments, which may include factual information, must be filed by 5:00 p.m. ET on June 8, 2018, which is 10 calendar days from the initial comments deadline.12

    10See Antidumping Duties; Countervailing Duties, Final Rule, 62 FR 27296, 27323 (May 19, 1997) (Preamble).

    11See 19 CFR 351.102(b)(21) (defining “factual information”).

    12See 19 CFR 351.303(b).

    Commerce requests that any factual information parties consider relevant to the scope of the investigation be submitted during this period. However, if a party subsequently finds that additional factual information pertaining to the scope of the investigation may be relevant, the party may contact Commerce and request permission to submit the additional information. All such submissions must be filed on the records of the concurrent AD and CVD investigations.

    Filing Requirements

    All submissions to Commerce must be filed electronically using Enforcement and Compliance's Antidumping Duty and Countervailing Duty Centralized Electronic Service System (ACCESS).13 An electronically filed document must be received successfully in its entirety by the time and date it is due. Documents exempted from the electronic submission requirements must be filed manually (i.e., in paper form) with Enforcement and Compliance's APO/Dockets Unit, Room 18022, U.S. Department of Commerce, 1401 Constitution Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20230, and stamped with the date and time of receipt by the applicable deadlines.

    13See Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Proceedings: Electronic Filing Procedures; Administrative Protective Order Procedures, 76 FR 39263 (July 6, 2011). See also Enforcement and Compliance: Change of Electronic Filing System Name, 79 FR 69046 (November 20, 2014) for details of Commerce's electronic filing requirements, which went into effect on August 5, 2011. Information on help using ACCESS can be found at https://access.trade.gov/help.aspx, and a handbook can be found at https://access.trade.gov/help/Handbook%20on%20Electronic%20Filling%20Procedures.pdf.

    Consultations

    Pursuant to sections 702(b)(4)(A)(i) and (ii) of the Act, Commerce notified representatives of the GOC of the receipt of the Petition and provided them the opportunity for consultations with respect to the Petition.14 The GOC did not request consultations.

    14See Letter from Commerce, “Countervailing Duty Petition on Certain Quartz Surface Products from the People's Republic of China,” dated April 18, 2018.

    Determination of Industry Support for the Petition

    Section 702(b)(1) of the Act requires that a petition be filed on behalf of the domestic industry. Section 702(c)(4)(A) of the Act provides that a petition meets this requirement if the domestic producers or workers who support the petition account for: (i) At least 25 percent of the total production of the domestic like product; and (ii) more than 50 percent of the production of the domestic like product produced by that portion of the industry expressing support for, or opposition to, the petition. Moreover, section 702(c)(4)(D) of the Act provides that, if the petition does not establish support of domestic producers or workers accounting for more than 50 percent of the total production of the domestic like product, Commerce shall: (i) Poll the industry or rely on other information in order to determine if there is support for the petition, as required by subparagraph (A); or (ii) determine industry support using a statistically valid sampling method to poll the “industry.”

    Section 771(4)(A) of the Act defines the “industry” as the producers as a whole of a domestic like product. Thus, to determine whether a petition has the requisite industry support, the statute directs Commerce to look to producers and workers who produce the domestic like product. The International Trade Commission (ITC), which is responsible for determining whether “the domestic industry” has been injured, must also determine what constitutes a domestic like product in order to define the industry. While both Commerce and the ITC must apply the same statutory definition regarding the domestic like product,15 they do so for different purposes and pursuant to a separate and distinct authority. In addition, Commerce's determination is subject to limitations of time and information. Although this may result in different definitions of the like product, such differences do not render the decision of either agency contrary to law.16

    15See section 771(10) of the Act.

    16See USEC, Inc. v. United States, 132 F. Supp. 2d 1, 8 (CIT 2001) (citing Algoma Steel Corp., Ltd. v. United States, 688 F. Supp. 639, 644 (CIT 1988), aff'd 865 F.2d 240 (Fed. Cir. 1989)).

    Section 771(10) of the Act defines the domestic like product as “a product which is like, or in the absence of like, most similar in characteristics and uses with, the article subject to an investigation under this title.” Thus, the reference point from which the domestic like product analysis begins is “the article subject to an investigation” (i.e., the class or kind of merchandise to be investigated, which normally will be the scope as defined in the petition).

    With regard to the domestic like product, the petitioner does not offer a definition of the domestic like product distinct from the scope of the investigation.17 Based on our analysis of the information submitted on the record, we have determined that quartz surface products, as defined in the scope, constitute a single domestic like product, and we have analyzed industry support in terms of that domestic like product.18

    17See Volume I of the Petition, at 13.

    18 For a discussion of the domestic like product analysis as applied to this case and information regarding industry support, see Countervailing Duty Investigation Initiation Checklist: Certain Quartz Surface Products from the People's Republic of China (Initiation Checklist), at Attachment II, Analysis of Industry Support for the Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Petitions Covering Certain Quartz Surface Products from the People's Republic of China (Attachment II). This checklist is dated concurrently with this notice and on file electronically via ACCESS. Access to documents filed via ACCESS is also available in the Central Records Unit, Room B8024 of the main Department of Commerce building.

    In determining whether the petitioner has standing under section 702(c)(4)(A) of the Act, we considered the industry support data contained in the Petition with reference to the domestic like product as defined in the “Scope of the Investigation,” in the Appendix to this notice. To establish industry support, the petitioner provided its own production of the domestic like product in 2017 and compared this to the estimated total production of the domestic like product for the entire domestic industry.19 We relied on data the petitioner provided for purposes of measuring industry support.20

    19See Volume I of the Petition, at 3 and Exhibit I-3; see also General Issues Supplement, at 13-14 and Exhibit 15.

    20Id. at 3 and Exhibit I-3; see also General Issues Supplement, at 13-14 and Exhibit 15; see also Industry Support Supplement, at 3 and Exhibit 1. For further discussion, see Initiation Checklist, at Attachment II.

    In a letter dated May 1, 2018, MSI, a U.S. importer, submitted comments on industry support and requested that Commerce poll the industry to determine industry support.21 The petitioner responded to these comments in the Industry Support Supplement, dated May 3, 2018. In a letter dated May 4, 2018, MSI submitted comments on the petitioner's Industry Support Supplement.22 For further discussion of these comments, see Attachment II of the Initiation Checklist.

    21See M S International Standing Challenge.

    22See Second M S International Standing Challenge.

    Our review of the data provided in the Petition, the General Issues Supplement, Industry Support Supplement, and other information readily available to Commerce indicates that the petitioner has established industry support for the Petition.23 First, the Petition established support from domestic producers (or workers) accounting for more than 50 percent of the total production of the domestic like product and, as such, Commerce is not required to take further action in order to evaluate industry support (e.g., polling).24 Second, the domestic producers (or workers) have met the statutory criteria for industry support under section 702(c)(4)(A)(i) of the Act because the domestic producers (or workers) who support the Petition account for at least 25 percent of the total production of the domestic like product.25 Finally, the domestic producers (or workers) have met the statutory criteria for industry support under section 702(c)(4)(A)(ii) of the Act because the domestic producers (or workers) who support the Petition account for more than 50 percent of the production of the domestic like product produced by that portion of the industry expressing support for, or opposition to, the Petition.26 Accordingly, Commerce determines that the Petition was filed on behalf of the domestic industry within the meaning of section 702(b)(1) of the Act.

    23See Volume I of the Petition, at 3 and Exhibit I-3; see also General Issues Supplement at 13-14 and Exhibit 15; see also Industry Support Supplement at 3 and Exhibit 1. For further discussion, see Initiation Checklist at Attachment II.

    24Id.; see also section 702(c)(4)(D) of the Act.

    25See Initiation Checklist, at Attachment II.

    26Id.

    Commerce finds that the petitioner filed the Petition on behalf of the domestic industry because it is an interested party as defined in section 771(9)(C) of the Act, and it has demonstrated sufficient industry support with respect to the CVD investigation that it is requesting that Commerce initiate.27

    27Id.

    Injury Test

    Because China is a “Subsidies Agreement Country” within the meaning of section 701(b) of the Act, section 701(a)(2) of the Act applies to this investigation. Accordingly, the ITC must determine whether imports of the subject merchandise from China materially injure, or threaten material injury to, a U.S. industry.

    Allegations and Evidence of Material Injury and Causation

    The petitioner alleges that imports of the subject merchandise are benefitting from countervailable subsidies and that such imports are causing, or threaten to cause, material injury to the U.S. industry producing the domestic like product. In addition, the petitioner alleges that subject imports exceed the negligibility threshold provided for under section 771(24)(A) of the Act.28

    28See General Issues Supplement, at 14-15 and Exhibit 16.

    The petitioner contends that the industry's injured condition is illustrated by a significant and increasing volume of subject imports; reduced market share; underselling and price depression or suppression; lost sales and lost revenues; negative effects on the existing product development and production efforts of the domestic industry; and negative impact on the domestic industry's financial and operating indicators, such as sales, profits, return on investment, cash flow, capacity utilization, and employment.29 We have assessed the allegations and supporting evidence regarding material injury, threat of material injury, and causation, and we have determined that these allegations are properly supported by adequate evidence, and meet the statutory requirements for initiation.30

    29See Volume I of the Petition, at 10-30 and Exhibits I-3 and I-9 through I-19; see also General Issues Supplement, at 14-15 and Exhibits 16 through 18.

    30See Initiation Checklist at Attachment III, Analysis of Allegations and Evidence of Material Injury and Causation for the Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Petitions Covering Certain Quartz Surface Products from the People's Republic of China.

    Initiation of CVD Investigation

    Based on the examination of the Petition, we find that the Petition meets the requirements of section 702 of the Act. Therefore, we are initiating a CVD investigation to determine whether imports of quartz surface products from China benefit from countervailable subsidies conferred by the GOC. In accordance with section 703(b)(1) of the Act and 19 CFR 351.205(b)(1), unless postponed, we will make our preliminary determination no later than 65 days after the date of this initiation.

    Based on our review of the Petition, we find that there is sufficient information to initiate a CVD investigation on all but four of the alleged subsidy programs. For a full discussion of the basis for our decision to initiate on each program, see Initiation Checklist. A public version of the initiation checklist for this investigation is available on ACCESS.

    Respondent Selection

    The petitioner named 301 companies 31 as producers/exporters of quartz surface products in China. Commerce intends to follow its standard practice in CVD investigations and calculate company-specific subsidy rates in this investigation. In the event Commerce determines that the number of companies is large and it cannot individually examine each company based upon Commerce's resources, where appropriate, Commerce intends to select mandatory respondents based

    on U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) data for U.S. imports of quartz surface products from China during the POI under the appropriate Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States number listed in the “Scope of the Investigation,” in the Appendix.

    31See Volume I of the Petition, at Exhibit I-8.

    On May 1, 2018, Commerce released CBP data under Administrative Protective Order (APO) to all parties with access to information protected by APO and indicated that interested parties wishing to comment regarding the CBP data and respondent selection must do so within three business days of the publication date of the notice of initiation of this CVD investigation.32 Commerce will not accept rebuttal comments regarding the CBP data or respondent selection.

    32See Memorandum, “Certain Quartz Surface Products from the People's Republic of China Countervailing Duty Petition: Release of Customs Data from U.S. Customs and Border Protection,” dated May 1, 2018.

    Interested parties must submit applications for disclosure under APO in accordance with 19 CFR 351.305(b). Instructions for filing such applications may be found on Commerce's website at http://enforcement.trade.gov/apo.

    Comments must be filed electronically using ACCESS. An electronically filed document must be received successfully, in its entirety, by ACCESS no later than 5:00 p.m. ET on the date noted above. We intend to finalize our decisions regarding respondent selection within 20 days of publication of this notice.

    Distribution of Copies of the Petition

    In accordance with section 702(b)(4)(A)(i) of the Act and 19 CFR 351.202(f), copies of the public versions of the Petition have been provided to the GOC via ACCESS. To the extent practicable, we will attempt to provide a copy of the public version of the Petition to each exporter named in the Petition, as provided under 19 CFR 351.203(c)(2).

    ITC Notification

    We will notify the ITC of our initiation, as required by section 702(d) of the Act.

    Preliminary Determinations by the ITC

    The ITC will preliminarily determine, within 45 days after the date on which the Petition was filed, whether there is a reasonable indication that imports of quartz surface products from China are materially injuring, or threatening material injury to, a U.S. industry.33 A negative ITC determination will result in the investigation being terminated.34 Otherwise, this investigation will proceed according to statutory and regulatory time limits.

    33See section 703(a)(2) of the Act.

    34See section 703(a)(1) of the Act.

    Submission of Factual Information

    Factual information is defined in 19 CFR 351.102(b)(21) as: (i) Evidence submitted in response to questionnaires; (ii) evidence submitted in support of allegations; (iii) publicly available information to value factors under 19 CFR 351.408(c) or to measure the adequacy of remuneration under 19 CFR 351.511(a)(2); (iv) evidence placed on the record by Commerce; and (v) evidence other than factual information described in (i)-(iv). When submitting factual information, 19 CFR 351.301(b) requires any party to specify under which subsection of 19 CFR 351.102(b)(21) the information is being submitted 35 and, if the information is submitted to rebut, clarify, or correct factual information already on the record, to provide an explanation identifying the information already on the record that the factual information seeks to rebut, clarify, or correct.36 Time limits for the submission of factual information are addressed in 19 CFR 351.301, which provides specific time limits based on the type of factual information being submitted. Interested parties should review the regulations prior to submitting factual information in this investigation.

    35See 19 CFR 351.301(b).

    36See 19 CFR 351.301(b)(2).

    Extensions of Time Limits

    Parties may request an extension of time limits before the expiration of a time limit established under 19 CFR 351.301, or as otherwise specified by the Secretary. In general, an extension request will be considered untimely if it is filed after the expiration of the time limit established under 19 CFR 351.301. For submissions that are due from multiple parties simultaneously, an extension request will be considered untimely if it is filed after 10:00 a.m. ET on the due date. Under certain circumstances, we may elect to specify a different time limit by which extension requests will be considered untimely for submissions which are due from multiple parties simultaneously. In such a case, we will inform parties in the letter or memorandum setting forth the deadline (including a specified time) by which extension requests must be filed to be considered timely. An extension request must be made in a separate, stand-alone submission; under limited circumstances we will grant untimely-filed requests for the extension of time limits. Parties should review Extension of Time Limits; Final Rule, 78 FR 57790 (September 20, 2013), available at http://www.thefederalregister.org/fdsys/pkg/FR-2013-09-20/html/2013-22853.htm, prior to submitting factual information in this investigation.

    Certification Requirements

    Any party submitting factual information in an AD or CVD proceeding must certify to the accuracy and completeness of that information.37 Parties must use the certification formats provided in 19 CFR 351.303(g).38 Commerce intends to reject factual submissions if the submitting party does not comply with the applicable certification requirements.

    37See section 782(b) of the Act.

    38See Certification of Factual Information to Import Administration During Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Proceedings, 78 FR 42678 (July 17, 2013) (Final Rule); see also frequently asked questions regarding the Final Rule, available at http://enforcement.trade.gov/tlei/notices/factual_info_final_rule_FAQ_07172013.pdf.

    Notification to Interested Parties

    Interested parties must submit applications for disclosure under APO in accordance with 19 CFR 351.305. On January 22, 2008, Commerce published Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Proceedings: Documents Submission Procedures; APO Procedures, 73 FR 3634 (January 22, 2008). Parties wishing to participate in this investigation should ensure that they meet the requirements of these procedures (e.g., the filing of letters of appearance as discussed at 19 CFR 351.103(d)).

    This notice is issued and published pursuant to sections 702 and 777(i) of the Act and 19 CFR 351.203(c).

    Dated: May 7, 2018. Gary Taverman, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Operations, performing the non-exclusive functions and duties of the Assistant Secretary for Enforcement and Compliance. Appendix I Scope of the Investigation

    The merchandise covered by the investigation is certain quartz surface products.39 Quartz surface products consist of slabs and other surfaces created from a mixture of materials that includes predominately silica (e.g., quartz, quartz powder, cristobalite) as well as a resin binder (e.g., an unsaturated polyester). The incorporation of other materials, including, but not limited to, pigments, cement, or other additives does not remove the merchandise from the scope of the investigation. However, the scope of the investigation only includes products where the silica content is greater than any other single material, by actual weight. Quartz surface products are typically sold as rectangular slabs with a total surface area of approximately 45 to 60 square feet and a nominal thickness of one, two, or three centimeters. However, the scope of this investigation includes surface products of all other sizes, thicknesses, and shapes. In addition to slabs, the scope of this investigation includes, but is not limited to, other surfaces such as countertops, backsplashes, vanity tops, bar tops, work tops, tabletops, flooring, wall facing, shower surrounds, fire place surrounds, mantels, and tiles. Certain quartz surface products are covered by the investigation whether polished or unpolished, cut or uncut, fabricated or not fabricated, cured or uncured, edged or not edged, finished or unfinished, thermoformed or not thermoformed, packaged or unpackaged, and regardless of the type of surface finish.

    39 Quartz surface products may also generally be referred to as engineered stone or quartz, artificial stone or quartz, agglomerated stone or quartz, synthetic stone or quartz, processed stone or quartz, manufactured stone or quartz, and Bretonstone®.

    In addition, quartz surface products are covered by the investigation whether or not they are imported attached to, or in conjunction with, non-subject merchandise such as sinks, sink bowls, vanities, cabinets, and furniture. If quartz surface products are imported attached to, or in conjunction with, such non-subject merchandise, only the quartz surface product is covered by the scope.

    Subject merchandise includes material matching the above description that has been finished, packaged, or otherwise fabricated in a third country, including by cutting, polishing, curing, edging, thermoforming, attaching to, or packaging with another product, or any other finishing, packaging, or fabrication that would not otherwise remove the merchandise from the scope of the investigation if performed in the country of manufacture of the quartz surface products.

    The scope of the investigation does not cover quarried stone surface products, such as granite, marble, soapstone, or quartzite. Specifically excluded from the scope of the investigation are crushed glass surface products. Crushed glass surface products are surface products in which the crushed glass content is greater than any other single material, by actual weight.

    The products subject to the scope are currently classified in the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) under the following subheading: 6810.99.0010. Subject merchandise may also enter under subheadings 6810.11.0010, 6810.11.0070, 6810.19.1200, 6810.19.1400, 6810.19.5000, 6810.91.0000, 6810.99.0080, 6815.99.4070, 2506.10.0010, 2506.10.0050, 2506.20.0010, 2506.20.0080. The HTSUS subheadings set forth above are provided for convenience and U.S. Customs purposes only. The written description of the scope is dispositive.

    [FR Doc. 2018-10532 Filed 5-15-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-DS-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RIN 0648-XG244 Pacific Fishery Management Council; Public Meeting AGENCY:

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

    ACTION:

    Notice; public meeting.

    SUMMARY:

    The Pacific Fishery Management Council's (Pacific Council) Groundfish Management Team (GMT) will hold a webinar that is open to the public.

    DATES:

    The GMT webinar will be held Wednesday, May 30, 2018, from 1:30 p.m. until 4:30 p.m. The GMT webinar end time is an estimate, the meeting will adjourn when business for the day is completed.

    ADDRESSES:

    To attend the webinar (1) join the meeting by visiting this link http://www.gotomeeting.com/; (2) enter the Webinar ID: 798-578-157, and (3) enter your name and email address (required). After logging in to the webinar, please (1) dial this TOLL number +1 (669) 224-3412 (not a toll-free number); (2) enter the attendee phone audio access code 798-578-157; and (3) then enter your audio phone pin (shown after joining the webinar). NOTE: We have disabled Mic/Speakers as on option and require all participants to use a telephone or cell phone to participate. Technical Information and System Requirements: PC-based attendees are required to use Windows® 7, Vista, or XP; Mac®-based attendees are required to use Mac OS® X 10.5 or newer; Mobile attendees are required to use iPhone®, iPad®, AndroidTM phone or Android tablet (See the https://www.gotomeeting.com/meeting/ipad-iphone-android-apps). You may send an email to Mr. Kris Kleinschmidt at [email protected] or contact him at (503) 820-2280, extension 411 for technical assistance. A public listening station will also be available at the Pacific Council office.

    Council address: Pacific Council, 7700 NE Ambassador Place, Suite 101, Portland, OR 97220-1384; telephone: (503) 820-2280.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Mr. John DeVore, Pacific Council; telephone: (503) 820-2413.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The primary purpose of the GMT webinar is to prepare for the June 2018 Pacific Council meeting. A detailed agenda for the webinar will be available on the Pacific Council's website prior to the meeting. The GMT may also address other assignments relating to groundfish management. No management actions will be decided by the GMT. The GMT's task will be to develop recommendations for consideration by the Pacific Council at its June 2018 meeting.

    Although nonemergency issues not contained in the meeting agenda may be discussed, those issues may not be the subject of formal action during these meetings. Action will be restricted to those issues specifically listed in this document and any issues arising after publication of this document that require emergency action under section 305(c) of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, provided the public has been notified of the intent to take final action to address the emergency.

    Special Accommodations

    The public listening station is physically accessible to people with disabilities. Requests for sign language interpretation or other auxiliary aids should be directed to Mr. Kris Kleinschmidt at (503) 820-2411 at least 10 business days prior to the meeting date.

    Dated: May 11, 2018. Tracey L. Thompson, Acting Deputy Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service.
    [FR Doc. 2018-10450 Filed 5-15-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-22-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RIN 0648-XG189 Fisheries of the South Atlantic; Southeast Data, Assessment, and Review (SEDAR); Stock ID Review Workshop for Cobia (Rachycentron canadum) AGENCY:

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

    ACTION:

    Notice of SEDAR 58 Stock Identification (ID) Review Workshop for Cobia.

    SUMMARY:

    The SEDAR 58 Cobia Stock ID Process will be a multi-step process consisting of a series of workshops and webinars: Stock ID Workshop; Stock ID Review Workshop; Joint Cooperator Technical Review; and Science and Management Leadership Call. See SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION.

    DATES:

    The SEDAR 58 Cobia Stock ID Review Workshop will be held on June 5, 2018, from 1:30 p.m. to 6 p.m.; June 6, 2018, from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m.; and June 7, 2018, from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. The established times may be adjusted as necessary to accommodate the timely completion of discussion relevant to the assessment process. Such adjustments may result in the meeting being extended from, or completed prior to the time established by this notice.

    ADDRESSES:

    Meeting address: The SEDAR 58 Cobia Stock ID Review Workshop will be held at the Crowne Plaza Charleston Airport, 4831 Tanger Outlet Boulevard, North Charleston, SC 29418; telephone: (843) 744-4422.

    SEDAR address: South Atlantic Fishery Management Council, 4055 Faber Place Drive, Suite 201, N Charleston, SC 29405; www.sedarweb.org.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Julia Byrd, SEDAR Coordinator, 4055 Faber Place Drive, Suite 201, North Charleston, SC 29405; phone (843) 571-4366; email: [email protected].

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The Gulf of Mexico, South Atlantic, and Caribbean Fishery Management Councils, in conjunction with NOAA Fisheries and the Atlantic and Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commissions, have implemented the Southeast Data, Assessment and Review (SEDAR) process, a multi-step method for determining the status of fish stocks in the Southeast Region. SEDAR is a three-step process including: (1) Data Workshop; (2) Assessment Process utilizing a workshop and/or webinars; and (3) Review Workshop. Cobia Stock ID will be resolved prior to the start of the SEDAR 58 Data Workshop using the multi-step Stock ID Process. The product of the Data Workshop is a data report which compiles and evaluates potential datasets and recommends which datasets are appropriate for assessment analyses. The product of the Assessment Process is a stock assessment report which describes the fisheries, evaluates the status of the stock, estimates biological benchmarks, projects future population conditions, and recommends research and monitoring needs. The assessment is independently peer reviewed at the Review Workshop. The product of the Review Workshop is a Summary documenting panel opinions regarding the strengths and weaknesses of the stock assessment and input data. Participants for SEDAR Workshops are appointed by the Gulf of Mexico, South Atlantic, and Caribbean Fishery Management Councils and NOAA Fisheries Southeast Regional Office, Highly Migratory Species Management Division, and Southeast Fisheries Science Center. Participants include: Data collectors and database managers; stock assessment scientists, biologists, and researchers; constituency representatives including fishermen, environmentalists, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs); international experts; and staff of Councils, Commissions, and state and federal agencies.

    The items of discussion at the Cobia Stock ID Review Workshop are as follows:

    1. Review the recommendations of the SEDAR 58 Cobia Stock ID Workshop.

    2. Determine whether the stock structure recommended by the SEDAR Stock ID Workshop is reasonable and appropriate to use for the SEDAR 58 assessment unit stock.

    3. Prepare a report documenting the Review Panel's findings and recommendations regarding the SEDAR 58 assessment unit stock.

    Although non-emergency issues not contained in this agenda may come before this group for discussion, those issues may not be the subject of formal action during this meeting. Action will be restricted to those issues specifically identified in this notice and any issues arising after publication of this notice that require emergency action under section 305(c) of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, provided the public has been notified of the intent to take final action to address the emergency.

    Special Accommodations

    This meeting is accessible to people with disabilities. Requests for auxiliary aids should be directed to the SAFMC office (see ADDRESSES) at least 10 business days prior to the meeting.

    Note:

    The times and sequence specified in this agenda are subject to change.

    Authority:

    16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.

    Dated: May 11, 2018. Tracey L. Thompson, Acting Deputy Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service.
    [FR Doc. 2018-10448 Filed 5-15-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-22-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RIN 0648-XG207 North Pacific Fishery Management Council; Public Meeting AGENCY:

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

    ACTION:

    Notice of public meeting.

    SUMMARY:

    The North Pacific Fishery Management Council's (Council) Legislative Committee will meet on June 5, 2018 in Kodiak, AK.

    DATES:

    The meeting will be held on Tuesday, June 5, 2018, from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.

    ADDRESSES:

    The meeting will be held in the Katurwik Room at the Kodiak Harbor Convention Center, 236 Rezanof Drive, Kodiak, AK 99615.

    Council address: North Pacific Fishery Management Council, 605 W 4th Ave., Suite 306, Anchorage, AK 99501-2252; telephone: (907) 271-2809.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    David Witherell, Council staff; telephone: (907) 271-2809.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Agenda Tuesday, June 5, 2018

    The meeting agenda includes: (a) Update on MSA legislation and related bills, including CCC comments, (b) public comment, and (c) recommendations to the Council. The Agenda is subject to change, and the latest version will be posted at http://www.npfmc.org/.

    Public Comment

    Public comment letters will be accepted and should be submitted either electronically to David Witherell, Council staff: [email protected], or through the mail: North Pacific Fishery Management Council, 605 W 4th Ave., Suite 306, Anchorage, AK 99501-2252. In-person oral public testimony will be accepted at the scheduled place on the agenda.

    Special Accommodations

    The meeting is physically accessible to people with disabilities. Requests for sign language interpretation or other auxiliary aids should be directed to Shannon Gleason at (907) 271-2809 at least 7 working days prior to the meeting date.

    Dated: May 11, 2018. Tracey L. Thompson, Acting Deputy Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service.
    [FR Doc. 2018-10449 Filed 5-15-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-22-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RIN 0648-XG204 Takes of Marine Mammals Incidental to Specified Activities; Taking Marine Mammals Incidental to the Annapolis Passenger Ferry Dock Project, Puget Sound, Washington AGENCY:

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

    ACTION:

    Notice; proposed incidental harassment authorization; request for comments.

    SUMMARY:

    NMFS has received a request from Kitsap Transit for authorization to take marine mammals incidental to the Annapolis Passenger Ferry Dock Project in Puget Sound, Washington. Pursuant to the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), NMFS is requesting comments on its proposal to issue an incidental harassment authorization (IHA) to incidentally take marine mammals during the specified activities. NMFS will consider public comments prior to making any final decision on the issuance of the requested MMPA authorizations and agency responses will be summarized in the final notice of our decision.

    DATES:

    Comments and information must be received no later than June 15, 2018.

    ADDRESSES:

    Comments should be addressed to Jolie Harrison, Chief, Permits and Conservation Division, Office of Protected Resources, National Marine Fisheries Service. Physical comments should be sent to 1315 East-West Highway, Silver Spring, MD 20910 and electronic comments should be sent to [email protected]

    Instructions: NMFS is not responsible for comments sent by any other method, to any other address or individual, or received after the end of the comment period. Comments received electronically, including all attachments, must not exceed a 25-megabyte file size. Attachments to electronic comments will be accepted in Microsoft Word or Excel or Adobe PDF file formats only. All comments received are a part of the public record and will generally be posted online at https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/node/23111 without change. All personal identifying information (e.g., name, address) voluntarily submitted by the commenter may be publicly accessible. Do not submit confidential business information or otherwise sensitive or protected information.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Jaclyn Daly, Office of Protected Resources, NMFS, (301) 427-8401. Electronic copies of the application and supporting documents, as well as a list of the references cited in this document, may be obtained online at: https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/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 authorization for incidental takings shall be granted if NMFS finds that the taking will have a negligible impact on the species or stock(s), will not have an unmitigable adverse impact on the availability of the species or stock(s) for subsistence uses (where relevant), and if the permissible methods of taking and requirements pertaining to the mitigation, monitoring and reporting of such takings are set forth.

    NMFS has defined “negligible impact” in 50 CFR 216.103 as an impact resulting from the specified activity that cannot be reasonably expected to, and is not reasonably likely to, adversely affect the species or stock through effects on annual rates of recruitment or survival.

    The MMPA states that the term “take” means to harass, hunt, capture, kill or attempt to harass, hunt, capture, or kill any marine mammal.

    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).

    National Environmental Policy Act

    To comply with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA; 42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.) and NOAA Administrative Order (NAO) 216-6A, NMFS must review our proposed action (i.e., the issuance of an incidental harassment authorization) with respect to potential impacts on the human environment.

    This action is consistent with categories of activities identified in Categorical Exclusion B4 (incidental harassment authorizations with no anticipated serious injury or mortality) of the Companion Manual for NOAA Administrative Order 216-6A, which do not individually or cumulatively have the potential for significant impacts on the quality of the human environment and for which we have not identified any extraordinary circumstances that would preclude this categorical exclusion. Accordingly, NMFS has preliminarily determined that the issuance of the proposed IHA qualifies to be categorically excluded from further NEPA review.

    We will review all comments submitted in response to this notice prior to concluding our NEPA process or making a final decision on the IHA request.

    Summary of Request

    On March 5, 2018, NMFS received a request from Kitsap Transit for an IHA to take marine mammals incidental to pile driving and removal associated with upgrades to the Annapolis Ferry Terminal, Puget Sound, Washington. Kitsap Transit submitted a revised application on May 3, 2018 which NMFS deemed adequate and complete. Kitsap Transit's request is for take of harbor seal (Phoca vitulina richardii), Steller sea lion (Eumetopias jubatus monteriensis), California sea lion (Zalophus californianu), and harbor porpoise (Phocoena phocoena vomerina) by Level B harassment only. Neither Kitsap Transit nor NMFS expects serious injury or mortality to result from this activity and, therefore, an IHA is appropriate.

    Description of Proposed Activity Overview

    Kitsap Transit is proposing to upgrade the existing dock at its Annapolis Ferry Terminal to accommodate larger vessels by extending the dock into deeper water and bring the terminal into compliance with American Disability Act (ADA) accessibility standards. The project includes removing 10 existing concrete and steel piles that support the existing pier and float and installing 12 new steel piles to support updated structures. Piles may be removed using a vibratory hammer and new piles may be installed using a vibratory and, if necessary, an impact hammer. The project is anticipated to take 8 weeks to complete and could start as early as July 2, 2018; however, Kitsap Transit anticipates it will take a maximum of 17 days to completed pile-related work.

    Dates and Duration

    The project would occur for eight weeks between July 1, 2018 and March 2, 2019. Pile removal has been conservatively estimated to occur at a rate of 2 piles removed per day, which would require 5 days to remove 10 piles. Pile installation was conservatively estimated to occur at a rate of 1 pile per day, which would require 12 days to install 12 piles. In total, there would be 17 days (maximum) of pile driving.

    Specific Geographic Region

    The Annapolis Ferry Terminal is located in Sinclair Inlet across from Navy Base Kitsap (NBK) Bremerton and southwest of Bainbridge Island. Potential areas ensonfied during pile driving include Sinclair Inlet and portions of Port Washington Narrows, Port Orchard Passage and Rich Passage. These waterbodies range up to 130 feet in depth and substrates include silt/mud, sand, gravel, cobbles and rock outcrops. The terminal itself and parking area contains a hardened shoreline comprised of sheet piles.

    Detailed Description of Specific Activity

    The Annapolis Ferry Terminal is 34 years old with a useful life of 40 years. Kitsap Transit has determined upgrades are necessary to meet ADA requirements and accommodate larger ferry vessels. These improvements are designed to improve the ferry operation, environmental conditions, overall experience for all passengers and provide equal access for elderly and disabled passengers. To make the upgrades, Kitsap Transit is removing a portion of the existing pier, installing a longer gangway, removing the existing float and installing a larger float in deeper water. This work requires removing existing decking with a concrete saw, removing 10 existing piles, and installing 12 new piles. The concrete saw would not cause in-air harassment as no pinnipeds haulout in the immediate vicinity of the dock; therefore, this activity is not discussed further.

    Piles would be removed with a vibratory hammer. Piles would be installed using a vibratory hammer to refusal and then “proofed” with an impact hammer, if necessary. During impact hammering, Kitsap Transit would use a bubble curtain to reduce underwater sound pressure levels. The exact type and design of bubble curtain is not known.

    Kitsap Transit estimates up to four piles could be removed per day and up to two piles would be installed per day. However, to account for unexpected issues, Kitsap Transit recognizes only two piles may be removed and one pile may be installed per day. Pile removal and installation would not occur on the same day. Therefore, the maximum amount of time spent removing 10 piles would be 5 days while the maximum amount of time installing 12 piles would be 12 days for a total of 17 days. The types of piles included in the project and schedule, are included in Table 1.

    Table 1—Description of Piles To Be Installed and Removed During the Annapolis Ferry Dock Project Pile size Method Number of piles Number of days
  • (maximum)
  • Pile Removal 16.5-in concrete Vibratory 4 5 18-in steel Vibratory 6 Pile Installation 12-in steel Vibratory 4 12 Impact. 24-in steel Vibratory 8 Impact.

    Proposed mitigation, monitoring, and reporting measures are described in detail later in this document (please see “Proposed Mitigation” and “Proposed Monitoring and Reporting”).

    Description of Marine Mammals in the Area of Specified Activities

    Sections 3 and 4 of the application summarize available information regarding status and trends, distribution and habitat preferences, and behavior and life history, of the potentially affected species. Additional information regarding population trends and threats may be found in NMFS's Stock Assessment Reports (SAR; www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/sars/) and more general information about these species (e.g., physical and behavioral descriptions) may be found on NMFS's website (https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/find-species).

    Table 2 lists all species with expected potential for occurrence in Puget Sound and summarizes information related to the population or stock, including regulatory status under the MMPA and ESA and potential biological removal (PBR), where known. For taxonomy, we follow Committee on Taxonomy (2016). PBR is defined by the MMPA as the maximum number of animals, not including natural mortalities, that may be removed from a marine mammal stock while allowing that stock to reach or maintain its optimum sustainable population (as described in NMFS's SARs). While no mortality is anticipated or authorized here, PBR and annual serious injury and mortality from anthropogenic sources are included here as gross indicators of the status of the species and other threats.

    Marine mammal abundance estimates presented in this document represent the total number of individuals that make up a given stock or the total number estimated within a particular study or survey area. NMFS's stock abundance estimates for most species represent the total estimate of individuals within the geographic area, if known, that comprises that stock. All managed stocks in the specified geographical regions are assessed in either NMFS's U.S. Alaska SARs or U.S. Pacific SARs.

    Seven species (comprising eight managed stocks) are considered to have the potential to co-occur with Kitsap Transit's proposed project. While there are several other species or stocks that occur in Washington inland waters, many are not expected to occur in the vicinity of the Annapolis Ferry Terminal due to its position within the Puget Sound. These species, such as Dall's porpoise (Phocoenoides dalli dalli) and Northern elephant seals (Mirounga angustirostris) occur in more northerly waters of Puget Sound and in the vicinity of the San Juan Islands but have not been observed within the project area. Therefore, they are not discussed further. The sea otter (Enhydra lutris kenyoni) is also found in Puget Sound; however, sea otters are managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and are not considered further in this document.

    All values presented in Table 2 are the most recent available at the time of writing and are available in the draft 2017 SARs (available online at: www.fisheries.noaa.gov/national/marine-mammal-protection/draft-marine-mammal-stock-assessment-reports).

    Table 2—Marine Mammal Potentially Present in the Vicinity of the Annapolis Ferry Terminal During Construction Common name Scientific name Stock ESA/MMPA status; Strategic (Y/N)1 Stock abundance
  • (CV, Nmin, most recent abundance survey) 2
  • PBR Annual M/SI 3
    Order Cetartiodactyla—Cetacea—Superfamily Mysticeti (baleen whales) Family Eschrichtiidae: Gray whale Eschrichtius robustus Eastern North Pacific -; N 20,990 (0.05; 20,125; 2011) 624 132 Family Balaenopteridae (rorquals): Humpback whale Megaptera novaeangliae kuzira California/Oregon/Washington (CA/OR/WA) E/D; Y 1,918 (0.03; 1,876; 2014) 7 11 ≥9.2 Superfamily Odontoceti (toothed whales, dolphins, and porpoises) Family Delphinidae: Killer whale Orcinus orca4 West Coast Transient 5 -; N 243 (n/a; 2009) 2.4 0 Eastern North Pacific Southern Resident E/D; Y 83 (n/a; 2016) 0.14 0 Family Phocoenidae (porpoises): Harbor porpoise Phocoena phocoena vomerina Washington Inland Waters -; N 11,233 (0.37; 8,308; 2015) 66 ≥7.2 Order Carnivora—Superfamily Pinnipedia Family Otariidae (eared seals and sea lions): California sea lion Zalophus californianus United States -; N 296,750 (n/a; 153,337; 2011) 9,200 389 Steller sea lion Eumetopias jubatus monteriensis Eastern U.S. D; Y 41,638 (n/a; 2015) 2,498 108 Family Phocidae (earless seals): Harbor seal Phoca vitulina richardii Southern Puget Sound 6 -; N 1,568 (0.15; 1,025; 1999) Undet. 3.4 1 Endangered Species Act (ESA) status: Endangered (E), Threatened (T)/MMPA status: Depleted (D). A dash (-) indicates that the species is not listed under the ESA or designated as depleted under the MMPA. Under the MMPA, a strategic stock is one for which the level of direct human-caused mortality exceeds PBR or which is determined to be declining and likely to be listed under the ESA within the foreseeable future. Any species or stock listed under the ESA is automatically designated under the MMPA as depleted and as a strategic stock. 2 NMFS marine mammal stock assessment reports at: www.fisheries.noaa.gov/national/marine-mammal-protection/marine-mammal-stock-assessments. CV is coefficient of variation; Nmin is the minimum estimate of stock abundance. In some cases, CV is not applicable. For two stocks of killer whales, the abundance values represent direct counts of individually identifiable animals; therefore there is only a single abundance estimate with no associated CV. For certain stocks of pinnipeds, abundance estimates are based upon observations of animals (often pups) ashore multiplied by some correction factor derived from knowledge of the species' (or similar species') life history to arrive at a best abundance estimate; therefore, there is no associated CV. In these cases, the minimum abundance may represent actual counts of all animals ashore. 3 These values, found in NMFS' SARs, represent annual levels of human-caused mortality plus serious injury from all sources combined (e.g., commercial fisheries, subsistence hunting, ship strike). Annual M/SI often cannot be determined precisely and is in some cases presented as a minimum value. All M/SI values are as presented in the draft 2017 SARs. 4 Transient and resident killer whales are considered unnamed subspecies (Committee on Taxonomy, 2017). 5 The abundance estimate for this stock includes only animals from the “inner coast” population occurring in inside waters of southeastern Alaska, British Columbia, and Washington—excluding animals from the “outer coast” subpopulation, including animals from California—and therefore should be considered a minimum count. For comparison, the previous abundance estimate for this stock, including counts of animals from California that are now considered outdated, was 354. 6 Abundance estimates for the Southern Puget Sound harbor seal stock is not considered current. PBR is therefore considered undetermined for these stocks, as there is no current minimum abundance estimate for use in calculation. We nevertheless present the most recent abundance estimates, as these represent the best available information for use in this document. 7 This stock is known to spend a portion of time outside the U.S. EEZ. Therefore, the PBR presented here is the allocation for U.S. waters only and is a portion of the total. The total PBR for humpback whales is 22 (one half allocation for U.S. waters). Annual M/SI presented for these species is for U.S. waters only.

    All species that could potentially occur in the proposed project area are included in Table 2. As described below, all seven species could temporally and spatially co-occur with the activity; however, Kitsap Transit has proposed mitigation measures which eliminate the potential take of three of these species (gray whales, humpback whales, and killer whales). Therefore, Kitsap Transit has requested, and we are proposing to authorize, take of four marine mammal species: harbor seal, California sea lion, Steller sea lion, and harbor porpoise.

    Gray Whale

    Gray whales are observed in Washington inland waters in all months of the year, with peak numbers from March through June (Calambokidis et al., 2010). Most whales sighted are part of a small regularly occurring group of 6 to 10 whales that use mudflats in the Whidbey Island and Camano Island area as a springtime feeding area (Calambokidis et al., 2010). Observed feeding areas are located in Saratoga Passage between Whidbey and Camano Islands including Crescent Harbor, and in Port Susan Bay located between Camano Island and the mainland north of Everett. Gray whales that are not identified with the regularly occurring feeding group are occasionally sighted in Puget Sound. These whales are not associated with feeding areas and are often emaciated (WDFW, 2012). There are typically from 2 to 10 stranded gray whales per year in Washington (Cascadia Research, 2012).

    In Sinclair Inlet and the surrounding waterways (Rich Passage, Dyes Inlet, and Agate Passage), 11 opportunistic sightings of gray whales were reported to the Orca Network (a public marine mammal sightings database) between 2003 and 2012. One stranding occurred at NBK Bremerton in 2013. Gray whales have been sighted in Hood Canal south of the Hood Canal Bridge on six occasions since 1999, including a stranded whale. The most recent report was in 2010.

    Humpback Whale

    Prior to 2016, humpback whales were listed under the ESA as an endangered species worldwide. Following a 2015 global status review (Bettridge et al., 2015), NMFS established 14 distinct population segments (DPS) with different listing statuses (81 FR 62259; September 8, 2016) pursuant to the ESA. The DPSs that occur in U.S. waters do not necessarily equate to the existing stocks designated under the MMPA and shown in Table 2. Because MMPA stocks cannot be portioned, i.e., parts managed as ESA-listed while other parts managed as not ESA-listed, until such time as the MMPA stock delineations are reviewed in light of the DPS designations, NMFS considers the existing humpback whale stocks under the MMPA to be endangered and depleted for MMPA management purposes (e.g., selection of a recovery factor, stock status).

    Within U.S. west coast waters, three current DPSs may occur: The Hawaii DPS (not listed), Mexico DPS (threatened), and Central America DPS (endangered). According to Wade et al. (2016), the probability that whales encountered in Washington waters are from a given DPS are as follows: Hawaii, 52.9 percent (CV = 0.15); Mexico, 41.9 percent (0.14); Central America, 5.2 percent (0.91).

    Most humpback whale sightings reported since 2003 were in the main basin of Puget Sound with numerous sightings in the waters between Point No Point and Whidbey Island, Possession Sound, and southern Puget Sound in the vicinity of Point Defiance. A few sightings of possible humpback whales were reported by Orca Network in the waters near Navy Base Kitsap (NBK) Bremerton (located across Sinclair Inlet from the Annapolis Ferry Terminal) and Keyport (Rich Passage to Agate Passage area including Sinclair and Dyes Inlet) between 2003 and 2015. Humpback whales were also observed in the vicinity of Manette Bridge in Bremerton in 2016 and 2017, and a carcass was found under a dock at NBK Bremerton in 2016 (Cascadia Research, 2016). In Hood Canal, single humpback whales were observed for several weeks in 2012 and 2015. One sighting was reported in 2016. Review of the 2012 sightings information indicated they were of one individual. Prior to the 2012 sightings, there were no confirmed reports of humpback whales entering Hood Canal.

    Harbor Seal

    Harbor seals in Washington inland waters have been divided into three stocks: Hood Canal, Northern Inland Waters, and Southern Puget Sound. Animals belonging to the latter stock are ones most likely to occur in the action area during pile driving. Harbor seals are the most common pinniped found in the action area and are present year-round. They haul out on rocks, reefs, beaches, and drifting glacial ice and feed in marine, estuarine, and occasionally fresh waters. Harbor seals generally are non-migratory, with local movements associated with such factors as tides, weather, season, food availability, and reproduction (as reviewed in Carretta et al., 2014). Harbor seals have also displayed strong fidelity for haulout sites.

    There are no documented harbor seal haul-out within the immediate vicinity of the ferry terminal and much of the shoreline around the terminal has been armored with sheet-piling, preventing seals from hauling out. The nearest harbor seal haul-out is located in Dyes Inlet with less than 100 estimated individuals, approximately nine nautical miles from the site (Jefferies et al., 2000).

    California Sea Lions

    California sea lions are typically present most of the year except for mid-June through July in Washington inland waters, with peak abundance numbers between October and May (NMFS, 1997; Jeffries et al., 2000). During summer months and associated breeding periods, the inland waters are not be considered a high-use area by California sea lions, as they are returning to rookeries in California waters.

    California sea lions have been documented during shore- and boat-based surveys at NBK Bremerton since 2010, with as many as 315 individuals hauled out at one time (November 2015) on port security barrier floats. On average, 69 sea lions have been observed daily.

    Stellar Sea Lion

    Steller sea lions are not frequently observed near the action area. Shore-based surveys at NBK Bremerton (directly across Sinclar Inlet from the Annapolis Ferry Terminal) have not detected Steller sea lions since the surveys were initiated in 2010. However, a single Steller sea lion was sighted on the floating security barrier in 2012 and aerial surveys conducted by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) in 2013 noted Steller sea lion presence in the action area. WDFW identifies two Steller sea lion haulouts near the Annapolis Ferry Terminal: (1) Navigation buoys and net pen floats in Clam Bay and (2) NBK Bremerton port security barrier (Wiles, 2015). No pupping or breeding areas are present in the project area.

    Killer Whale (Transient)

    Groups of transient killer whales were observed for lengthy periods in Hood Canal in 2003 (59 days) and 2005 (172 days) (London, 2006), but were not observed again until 2016, when they were seen on a handful of days between March and May (including in Dabob Bay). Transient killer whales have been seen infrequently near NBK Bremerton, including in Dyes Inlet and Sinclair Inlet (e.g., sightings in 2010, 2013, and 2015). Sightings in the vicinity of NBK Keyport have also been infrequent, and no records were found for Rich Passage in the vicinity of NBK Manchester. Transient killer whales have been observed in Possession Sound near NS Everett.

    West Coast transient killer whales most often travel in small pods averaging four individuals (Baird and Dill, 1996); however, the most commonly observed group size in Puget Sound (waters east of Admiralty Inlet, including Hood Canal, through South Puget Sound and north to Skagit Bay) from 2004 to 2010 was 6 whales (Houghton et al., 2015).

    Killer Whales (Resident)

    Critical habitat for southern resident killer whales, designated pursuant to the ESA, includes three specific areas: (1) Summer core area in Haro Strait and waters around the San Juan Islands; (2) Puget Sound; and (3) Strait of Juan de Fuca (71 FR 69054; November 29, 2006). The primary constituent elements essential for conservation of the habitat are: (1) Water quality to support growth and development; (2) Prey species of sufficient quantity, quality, and availability to support individual growth, reproduction, and development, as well as overall population growth; and (3) Passage conditions to allow for migration, resting, and foraging. However, the six naval installations are specifically excluded from the critical habitat designation. A revision to the critical habitat designation is currently under consideration (80 FR 9682; February 24, 2015).

    Southern resident killer whales are expected to occur occasionally in the waters surrounding all of the installations except those in Hood Canal, where they have not been reported since 1995 (NMFS, 2006). Southern resident killer whales are rare near NBK Bremerton and Keyport, with the last confirmed sighting in Dyes Inlet in 1997. Southern residents have been observed in Saratoga Passage and Possession Sound near NS Everett.

    The stock contains three pods (J, K, and L pods), with pod sizes ranging from approximately 20 (in J pod) to 40 (in L pod) individuals. Group sizes encountered can be smaller or larger if pods temporarily separate or join together. Therefore, some exposure to groups of up to 20 individuals or more could occur over the 5-year duration.

    Harbor Porpoise

    Harbor porpoises, once very common in Puget Sound, are recovering from a virtual disappearance in the 1970s (Jefferson et al., 2016). Recent opportunistic sightings, strandings, and fisheries bycatches indicate that harbor porpoises have reoccupied much or all of Puget Sound in significant numbers since the 2002-2003. Jefferson et al. (2016) conducted aerial surveys throughout Puget Sound from 2013 to 2015 and developed harbor porpoise density estimates for eight stratums. When pooling all seasons, the density of harbor porpoise in southern Puget Sound for the entire year is 0.89 animals/km2 (see Table 3 in Jefferson et al., 2016).

    Marine Mammal Hearing

    Hearing is the most important sensory modality for marine mammals underwater, and exposure to anthropogenic sound can have deleterious effects. To appropriately assess the potential effects of exposure to sound, it is necessary to understand the frequency ranges marine mammals are able to hear. Current data indicate that not all marine mammal species have equal hearing capabilities (e.g., Richardson et al., 1995; Wartzok and Ketten, 1999; Au and Hastings, 2008). To reflect this, Southall et al. (2007) recommended that marine mammals be divided into functional hearing groups based on directly measured or estimated hearing ranges on the basis of available behavioral response data, audiograms derived using auditory evoked potential techniques, anatomical modeling, and other data. Note that no direct measurements of hearing ability have been successfully completed for mysticetes (i.e., low-frequency cetaceans). Subsequently, NMFS (2016) described generalized hearing ranges for these marine mammal hearing groups. Generalized hearing ranges were chosen based on the approximately 65 decibel (dB) threshold from the normalized composite audiograms, with the exception for lower limits for low-frequency cetaceans where the lower bound was deemed to be biologically implausible and the lower bound from Southall et al. (2007) retained. The functional groups and the associated frequencies are indicated below (note that these frequency ranges correspond to the range for the composite group, with the entire range not necessarily reflecting the capabilities of every species within that group):

    • Low-frequency cetaceans (mysticetes): Generalized hearing is estimated to occur between approximately 7 hertz (Hz) and 35 kilohertz (kHz);

    • Mid-frequency cetaceans (larger toothed whales, beaked whales, and most delphinids): Generalized hearing is estimated to occur between approximately 150 Hz and 160 kHz;

    • High-frequency cetaceans (porpoises, river dolphins, and members of the genera Kogia and Cephalorhynchus; including two members of the genus Lagenorhynchus, on the basis of recent echolocation data and genetic data): Generalized hearing is estimated to occur between approximately 275 Hz and 160 kHz.

    • Pinnipeds in water; Phocidae (true seals): Generalized hearing is estimated to occur between approximately 50 Hz to 86 kHz;

    • Pinnipeds in water; Otariidae (eared seals): Generalized hearing is estimated to occur between 60 Hz and 39 kHz.

    The pinniped functional hearing group was modified from Southall et al. (2007) on the basis of data indicating that phocid species have consistently demonstrated an extended frequency range of hearing compared to otariids, especially in the higher frequency range (Hemilä et al., 2006; Kastelein et al., 2009; Reichmuth et al., 2013).

    For more detail concerning these groups and associated frequency ranges, please see NMFS (2016) for a review of available information. Seven marine mammal species (four cetacean and three pinniped (two otariid and one phocid) species) have the reasonable potential to co-occur with the proposed survey activities. Please refer to Table 2. Of the cetacean species that may be present, two are classified as low-frequency cetaceans (i.e., all mysticete species), one is classified as mid-frequency cetaceans (i.e., all delphinid and ziphiid species and the sperm whale), and one is classified as high-frequency cetaceans (i.e., harbor porpoise and Kogia spp.).

    Potential Effects of Specified Activities on Marine Mammals and Their Habitat

    This section includes a summary and discussion of the ways that components of the specified activity may impact marine mammals and their habitat. The “Estimated Take by Incidental Harassment” section later in this document includes a quantitative analysis of the number of individuals that are expected to be taken by this activity. The “Negligible Impact Analysis and Determination” section considers the content of this section, the “Estimated Take by Incidental Harassment” section, and the “Proposed Mitigation” section, to draw conclusions regarding the likely impacts of these activities on the reproductive success or survivorship of individuals and how those impacts on individuals are likely to impact marine mammal species or stocks.

    Description of Sound Sources

    This section contains a brief technical background on sound, on the characteristics of certain sound types, and on metrics used in this proposal inasmuch as the information is relevant to the specified activity and to a discussion of the potential effects of the specified activity on marine mammals found later in this document. For general information on sound and its interaction with the marine environment, please see, e.g., Au and Hastings (2008); Richardson et al. (1995); Urick (1983).

    Sound travels in waves, the basic components of which are frequency, wavelength, velocity, and amplitude. Frequency is the number of pressure waves that pass by a reference point per unit of time and is measured in Hz or cycles per second. Wavelength is the distance between two peaks or corresponding points of a sound wave (length of one cycle). Higher frequency sounds have shorter wavelengths than lower frequency sounds, and typically attenuate (decrease) more rapidly, except in certain cases in shallower water. Amplitude is the height of the sound pressure wave or the “loudness” of a sound and is typically described using the relative unit of the dB. A sound pressure level (SPL) in dB is described as the ratio between a measured pressure and a reference pressure (for underwater sound, this is 1 microPascal (μPa)), and is a logarithmic unit that accounts for large variations in amplitude; therefore, a relatively small change in dB corresponds to large changes in sound pressure. The source level (SL) represents the SPL referenced at a distance of 1 meter (m) from the source (referenced to 1 μPa), while the received level is the SPL at the listener's position (referenced to 1 μPa).

    Root mean square (rms) is the quadratic mean sound pressure over the duration of an impulse. Root mean square is calculated by squaring all of the sound amplitudes, averaging the squares, and then taking the square root of the average (Urick, 1983). Root mean square accounts for both positive and negative values; squaring the pressures makes all values positive so that they may be accounted for in the summation of pressure levels (Hastings and Popper, 2005). This measurement is often used in the context of discussing behavioral effects, in part because behavioral effects, which often result from auditory cues, may be better expressed through averaged units than by peak pressures.

    Sound exposure level (SEL; represented as dB re 1 μPa2-s) represents the total energy in a stated frequency band over a stated time interval or event, and considers both intensity and duration of exposure. The per-pulse SEL is calculated over the time window containing the entire pulse (i.e., 100 percent of the acoustic energy). SEL is a cumulative metric; it can be accumulated over a single pulse, or calculated over periods containing multiple pulses. Cumulative SEL represents the total energy accumulated by a receiver over a defined time window or during an event. Peak sound pressure (also referred to as zero-to-peak sound pressure or 0-pk) is the maximum instantaneous sound pressure measurable in the water at a specified distance from the source, and is represented in the same units as the rms sound pressure.

    When underwater objects vibrate or activity occurs, sound-pressure waves are created. These waves alternately compress and decompress the water as the sound wave travels. Underwater sound waves radiate in a manner similar to ripples on the surface of a pond and may be either directed in a beam or beams or may radiate in all directions (omnidirectional sources), as is the case for sound produced by the pile driving activity considered here. The compressions and decompressions associated with sound waves are detected as changes in pressure by aquatic life and man-made sound receptors such as hydrophones.

    Even in the absence of sound from the specified activity, the underwater environment is typically loud due to ambient sound, which is defined as environmental background sound levels lacking a single source or point (Richardson et al., 1995). The sound level of a region is defined by the total acoustical energy being generated by known and unknown sources. These sources may include physical (e.g., wind and waves, earthquakes, ice, atmospheric sound), biological (e.g., sounds produced by marine mammals, fish, and invertebrates), and anthropogenic (e.g., vessels, dredging, construction) sound. A number of sources contribute to ambient sound, including wind and waves, which are a main source of naturally occurring ambient sound for frequencies between 200 Hz and 50 kHz (Mitson, 1995). In general, ambient sound levels tend to increase with increasing wind speed and wave height. Precipitation can become an important component of total sound at frequencies above 500 Hz, and possibly down to 100 Hz during quiet times. Marine mammals can contribute significantly to ambient sound levels, as can some fish and snapping shrimp. The frequency band for biological contributions is from approximately 12 Hz to over 100 kHz. Sources of ambient sound related to human activity include transportation (surface vessels), dredging and construction, oil and gas drilling and production, geophysical surveys, sonar, and explosions. Vessel noise typically dominates the total ambient sound for frequencies between 20 and 300 Hz. In general, the frequencies of anthropogenic sounds are below 1 kHz and, if higher frequency sound levels are created, they attenuate rapidly.

    The sum of the various natural and anthropogenic sound sources that comprise ambient sound at any given location and time depends not only on the source levels (as determined by current weather conditions and levels of biological and human activity) but also on the ability of sound to propagate through the environment. In turn, sound propagation is dependent on the spatially and temporally varying properties of the water column and sea floor, and is frequency-dependent. As a result of the dependence on a large number of varying factors, ambient sound levels can be expected to vary widely over both coarse and fine spatial and temporal scales. Sound levels at a given frequency and location can vary by 10-20 dB from day to day (Richardson et al., 1995). The result is that, depending on the source type and its intensity, sound from the specified activity may be a negligible addition to the local environment or could form a distinctive signal that may affect marine mammals.

    Underwater ambient sound in Puget Sound is comprised of sounds produced by a number of natural and anthropogenic sources and varies both geographically and temporally. Human-generated sound is a significant contributor to the ambient acoustic environment at the installations considered here. The underwater acoustic environment at the Annapolis Ferry Terminal is dependent upon the presence of ferries, other vessel traffic, and construction work occurring at nearby NBK Bremerton and the Manette Bridge. If ferries are approaching or docking, ambient sound levels would be higher than in absence of vessels.

    Sounds are often considered to fall into one of two general types: pulsed and non-pulsed (defined in the following). The distinction between these two sound types is important because they have differing potential to cause physical effects, particularly with regard to hearing (e.g., Ward, 1997 in Southall et al., 2007). Please see Southall et al. (2007) for an in-depth discussion of these concepts. The distinction between these two sound types is not always obvious, as certain signals share properties of both pulsed and non-pulsed sounds. A signal near a source could be categorized as a pulse, but due to propagation effects as it moves farther from the source, the signal duration becomes longer (e.g., Greene and Richardson, 1988).

    Pulsed sound sources (e.g., airguns, explosions, gunshots, sonic booms, impact pile driving) produce signals that are brief (typically considered to be less than one second), broadband, atonal transients (ANSI, 1986, 2005; Harris, 1998; ISO, 2003) and occur either as isolated events or repeated in some succession. Pulsed sounds are all characterized by a relatively rapid rise from ambient pressure to a maximal pressure value followed by a rapid decay period that may include a period of diminishing, oscillating maximal and minimal pressures, and generally have an increased capacity to induce physical injury as compared with sounds that lack these features. Non-pulsed sounds can be tonal, narrowband, or broadband, brief or prolonged, and may be either continuous or intermittent (ANSI, 1995). Some of these non-pulsed sounds can be transient signals of short duration but without the essential properties of pulses (e.g., rapid rise time). Examples of non-pulsed sounds include those produced by vessels, aircraft, machinery operations such as drilling or dredging, vibratory pile driving, and active sonar systems. The duration of such sounds, as received at a distance, can be greatly extended in a highly reverberant environment. The impulsive sound generated by impact hammers is characterized by rapid rise times and high peak levels. Vibratory hammers produce non-impulsive, continuous noise at levels lower than those produced by impact hammers. Further, rise time is not pronounced, reducing the probability and severity of injury, and sound energy is distributed over a greater amount of time (e.g., Nedwell and Edwards, 2002; Carlson et al., 2005).

    Acoustic Effects

    We previously provided general background information on marine mammal hearing (see Description of Marine Mammals in the Area of the Specified Activity). Here, we discuss the potential effects of sound on marine mammals.

    Potential Effects of Underwater Sound—Note that, in the following discussion, we refer in many cases to a review article concerning studies of noise-induced hearing loss conducted from 1996-2015 (i.e., Finneran, 2015). For study-specific citations, please see that work. Anthropogenic sounds cover a broad range of frequencies and sound levels and can have a range of highly variable impacts on marine life, from none or minor to potentially severe responses, depending on received levels, duration of exposure, behavioral context, and various other factors. The potential effects of underwater sound from active acoustic sources can potentially result in one or more of the following: temporary or permanent hearing impairment, non-auditory physical or physiological effects, behavioral disturbance, stress, and masking (Richardson et al., 1995; Gordon et al., 2004; Nowacek et al., 2007; Southall et al., 2007; Götz et al., 2009). The degree of effect is intrinsically related to the signal characteristics, received level, distance from the source, and duration of the sound exposure. In general, sudden, high level sounds can cause hearing loss, as can longer exposures to lower level sounds. Temporary or permanent loss of hearing will occur almost exclusively for noise within an animal's hearing range. Below, we describe specific manifestations of acoustic effects before providing discussion specific to pile driving.

    Richardson et al. (1995) described zones of increasing intensity of effect that might be expected to occur, in relation to distance from a source and assuming that the signal is within an animal's hearing range. First is the area within which the acoustic signal would be audible (potentially perceived) to the animal but not strong enough to elicit any overt behavioral or physiological response. The next zone corresponds with the area where the signal is audible to the animal and of sufficient intensity to elicit behavioral or physiological responsiveness. Third is a zone within which, for signals of high intensity, the received level is sufficient to potentially cause discomfort or tissue damage to auditory or other systems. Overlaying these zones to a certain extent is the area within which masking (i.e., when a sound interferes with or masks the ability of an animal to detect a signal of interest that is above the absolute hearing threshold) may occur; the masking zone may be highly variable in size.

    We describe the more severe effects (i.e., certain non-auditory physical or physiological effects) only briefly as we do not expect that there is a reasonable likelihood that pile driving may result in such effects (see below for further discussion). Potential effects from impulsive sound sources can range in severity from effects such as behavioral disturbance or tactile perception to physical discomfort, slight injury of the internal organs and the auditory system, or mortality (Yelverton et al., 1973). Non-auditory physiological effects or injuries that theoretically might occur in marine mammals exposed to high level underwater sound or as a secondary effect of extreme behavioral reactions (e.g., change in dive profile as a result of an avoidance reaction) caused by exposure to sound include neurological effects, bubble formation, resonance effects, and other types of organ or tissue damage (Cox et al., 2006; Southall et al., 2007; Zimmer and Tyack, 2007; Tal et al., 2015). The construction activities considered here do not involve the use of devices such as explosives or mid-frequency tactical sonar that are associated with these types of effects.

    NMFS defines threshold shift (TS) as “a change, usually an increase, in the threshold of audibility at a specified frequency or portion of an individual's hearing range above a previously established reference level” (NMFS, 2016). Threshold shift can be permanent (PTS) or temporary (TTS). As described in NMFS (2016), there are numerous factors to consider when examining the consequence of TS, including, but not limited to, the signal temporal pattern (e.g., impulsive or non-impulsive), likelihood an individual would be exposed for a long enough duration or to a high enough level to induce a TS, the magnitude of the TS, time to recovery (seconds to minutes or hours to days), the frequency range of the exposure (i.e., spectral content), the hearing and vocalization frequency range of the exposed species relative to the signal's frequency spectrum (i.e., how animal uses sound within the frequency band of the signal; e.g., Kastelein et al. 2014b), and their overlap (e.g., spatial, temporal, and spectral).

    Permanent Threshold Shift

    NMFS defines PTS as “a permanent, irreversible increase in the threshold of audibility at a specified frequency or portion of an individual's hearing range above a previously established reference level” (NMFS, 2016). It is the permanent elevation in hearing threshold resulting from irreparable damage to structures of the inner ear (e.g., sensory hair cells, cochlea) or central auditory system (ANSI, 1995; Ketten 2000). Available data from humans and other terrestrial mammals indicate that a measured 40 dB threshold shift approximates PTS onset (e.g., Kryter et al. 1966; Miller 1974; Henderson et al. 2008). Unlike TTS, NMFS considers PTS auditory injury and therefore constitutes Level A harassment, as defined in the MMPA.

    With the exception of a single study unintentionally inducing PTS in a harbor seal (Kastak et al., 2008), there are no empirical data measuring PTS in marine mammals largely due to the fact that, for various ethical reasons, experiments involving anthropogenic noise exposure at levels inducing PTS are not typically pursued or authorized (NMFS, 2016).

    Temporary Threshold Shift

    NMFS defines TTS as “a temporary, reversible increase in the threshold of audibility at a specified frequency or portion of an individual's hearing range above a previously established reference level” (NMFS, 2016). A TTS of 6 dB is considered the minimum threshold shift clearly larger than any day-to-day or session-to-session variation in a subject's normal hearing ability (Finneran et al., 2000; Finneran et al., 2002, as reviewed in Southall et al., 2007 for a review)). TTS can last from minutes or hours to days (i.e., there is recovery), occur in specific frequency ranges (i.e., an animal might only have a temporary loss of hearing sensitivity between the frequencies of 1 and 10 kHz)), and can be of varying amounts (for example, an animal's hearing sensitivity might be temporarily reduced by only 6 dB or reduced by 30 dB). Depending on the degree (elevation of threshold in dB), duration (i.e., recovery time), and frequency range of TTS, and the context in which it is experienced, TTS can have effects on marine mammals ranging from discountable to serious (similar to those discussed in auditory masking, below). For example, a marine mammal may be able to readily compensate for a brief, relatively small amount of TTS in a non-critical frequency range that takes place during a time when the animal is traveling through the open ocean, where ambient noise is lower and there are not as many competing sounds present. Alternatively, a larger amount and longer duration of TTS sustained during time when communication is critical for successful mother/calf interactions could have more serious impacts. We note that reduced hearing sensitivity as a simple function of aging has been observed in marine mammals, as well as humans and other taxa (Southall et al., 2007), so we can infer that strategies exist for coping with this condition to some degree, though likely not without cost.

    Currently, TTS data only exist for four species of cetaceans (bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus), beluga whale (Delphinapterus leucas), harbor porpoise, and Yangtze finless porpoise (Neophocoena asiaeorientalis)) and three species of pinnipeds (northern elephant seal, harbor seal, and California sea lion) exposed to a limited number of sound sources (i.e., mostly tones and octave-band noise) in laboratory settings (Finneran, 2015). TTS was not observed in trained spotted (Phoca largha) and ringed (Pusa hispida) seals exposed to impulsive noise at levels matching previous predictions of TTS onset (Reichmuth et al., 2016). In general, harbor seals and harbor porpoises have a lower TTS onset than other measured pinniped or cetacean species (Finneran, 2015). Additionally, the existing marine mammal TTS data come from a limited number of individuals within these species. There are no data available on noise-induced hearing loss for mysticetes. For summaries of data on TTS in marine mammals or for further discussion of TTS onset thresholds, please see Southall et al. (2007), Finneran and Jenkins (2012), Finneran (2015), and NMFS (2016).

    Behavioral Effects—Behavioral disturbance may include a variety of effects, including subtle changes in behavior (e.g., minor or brief avoidance of an area or changes in vocalizations), more conspicuous changes in similar behavioral activities, and more sustained and/or potentially severe reactions, such as displacement from or abandonment of high-quality habitat. Behavioral responses to sound are highly variable and context-specific and any reactions depend on numerous intrinsic and extrinsic factors (e.g., species, state of maturity, experience, current activity, reproductive state, auditory sensitivity, time of day), as well as the interplay between factors (e.g., Richardson et al., 1995; Wartzok et al., 2003; Southall et al., 2007; Weilgart, 2007; Archer et al., 2010). Behavioral reactions can vary not only among individuals but also within an individual, depending on previous experience with a sound source, context, and numerous other factors (Ellison et al., 2012), and can vary depending on characteristics associated with the sound source (e.g., whether it is moving or stationary, number of sources, distance from the source). Please see Appendices B-C of Southall et al. (2007) for a review of studies involving marine mammal behavioral responses to sound.

    Habituation can occur when an animal's response to a stimulus wanes with repeated exposure, usually in the absence of unpleasant associated events (Wartzok et al., 2003). Animals are most likely to habituate to sounds that are predictable and unvarying. It is important to note that habituation is appropriately considered as a “progressive reduction in response to stimuli that are perceived as neither aversive nor beneficial,” rather than as, more generally, moderation in response to human disturbance (Bejder et al., 2009). The opposite process is sensitization, when an unpleasant experience leads to subsequent responses, often in the form of avoidance, at a lower level of exposure. As noted, behavioral state may affect the type of response. For example, animals that are resting may show greater behavioral change in response to disturbing sound levels than animals that are highly motivated to remain in an area for feeding (Richardson et al., 1995; NRC, 2003; Wartzok et al., 2003). Controlled experiments with captive marine mammals have showed pronounced behavioral reactions, including avoidance of loud sound sources (Ridgway et al., 1997; Finneran et al., 2003). Observed responses of wild marine mammals to loud pulsed sound sources (typically airguns or acoustic harassment devices) have been varied but often consist of avoidance behavior or other behavioral changes suggesting discomfort (Morton and Symonds, 2002; see also Richardson et al., 1995; Nowacek et al., 2007). However, many delphinids approach low-frequency airgun source vessels with no apparent discomfort or obvious behavioral change (e.g., Barkaszi et al., 2012), indicating the importance of frequency output in relation to the species' hearing sensitivity.

    Available studies show wide variation in response to underwater sound; therefore, it is difficult to predict specifically how any given sound in a particular instance might affect marine mammals perceiving the signal. If a marine mammal does react briefly to an underwater sound by changing its behavior or moving a small distance, the impacts of the change are unlikely to be significant to the individual, let alone the stock or population. However, if a sound source displaces marine mammals from an important feeding or breeding area for a prolonged period, impacts on individuals and populations could be significant (e.g., Lusseau and Bejder, 2007; Weilgart, 2007; NRC, 2005). However, there are broad categories of potential response, which we describe in greater detail here, that include alteration of dive behavior, alteration of foraging behavior, effects to breathing, interference with or alteration of vocalization, avoidance, and flight.

    Changes in dive behavior can vary widely and may consist of increased or decreased dive times and surface intervals as well as changes in the rates of ascent and descent during a dive (e.g., Frankel and Clark, 2000; Costa et al., 2003; Ng and Leung, 2003; Nowacek et al., 2004; Goldbogen et al., 2013a, 2013b). Variations in dive behavior may reflect interruptions in biologically significant activities (e.g., foraging) or they may be of little biological significance. The impact of an alteration to dive behavior resulting from an acoustic exposure depends on what the animal is doing at the time of the exposure and the type and magnitude of the response.

    Disruption of feeding behavior can be difficult to correlate with anthropogenic sound exposure, so it is usually inferred by observed displacement from known foraging areas, the appearance of secondary indicators (e.g., bubble nets or sediment plumes), or changes in dive behavior. As for other types of behavioral response, the frequency, duration, and temporal pattern of signal presentation, as well as differences in species sensitivity, are likely contributing factors to differences in response in any given circumstance (e.g., Croll et al., 2001; Nowacek et al., 2004; Madsen et al., 2006; Yazvenko et al., 2007). A determination of whether foraging disruptions incur fitness consequences would require information on or estimates of the energetic requirements of the affected individuals and the relationship between prey availability, foraging effort and success, and the life history stage of the animal.

    Variations in respiration naturally vary with different behaviors and alterations to breathing rate as a function of acoustic exposure can be expected to co-occur with other behavioral reactions, such as a flight response or an alteration in diving. However, respiration rates in and of themselves may be representative of annoyance or an acute stress response. Various studies have shown that respiration rates may either be unaffected or could increase, depending on the species and signal characteristics, again highlighting the importance in understanding species differences in the tolerance of underwater noise when determining the potential for impacts resulting from anthropogenic sound exposure (e.g., Kastelein et al., 2001, 2005, 2006; Gailey et al., 2007; Gailey et al., 2016).

    Marine mammals vocalize for different purposes and across multiple modes, such as whistling, echolocation click production, calling, and singing. Changes in vocalization behavior in response to anthropogenic noise can occur for any of these modes and may result from a need to compete with an increase in background noise or may reflect increased vigilance or a startle response. For example, in the presence of potentially masking signals, humpback whales and killer whales have been observed to increase the length of their songs (Miller et al., 2000; Fristrup et al., 2003; Foote et al., 2004), while right whales have been observed to shift the frequency content of their calls upward while reducing the rate of calling in areas of increased anthropogenic noise (Parks et al., 2007). In some cases, animals may cease sound production during production of aversive signals (Bowles et al., 1994).

    Avoidance is the displacement of an individual from an area or migration path as a result of the presence of a sound or other stressors, and is one of the most obvious manifestations of disturbance in marine mammals (Richardson et al., 1995). For example, gray whales are known to change direction—deflecting from customary migratory paths—in order to avoid noise from airgun surveys (Malme et al., 1984). Avoidance may be short-term, with animals returning to the area once the noise has ceased (e.g., Bowles et al., 1994; Goold, 1996; Stone et al., 2000; Morton and Symonds, 2002; Gailey et al., 2007). Longer-term displacement is possible, however, which may lead to changes in abundance or distribution patterns of the affected species in the affected region if habituation to the presence of the sound does not occur (e.g., Blackwell et al., 2004; Bejder et al., 2006; Teilmann et al., 2006).

    A flight response is a dramatic change in normal movement to a directed and rapid movement away from the perceived location of a sound source. The flight response differs from other avoidance responses in the intensity of the response (e.g., directed movement, rate of travel). Relatively little information on flight responses of marine mammals to anthropogenic signals exist, although observations of flight responses to the presence of predators have occurred (Connor and Heithaus, 1996). The result of a flight response could range from brief, temporary exertion and displacement from the area where the signal provokes flight to, in extreme cases, marine mammal strandings (Evans and England, 2001). However, it should be noted that response to a perceived predator does not necessarily invoke flight (Ford and Reeves, 2008), and whether individuals are solitary or in groups may influence the response.

    Behavioral disturbance can also impact marine mammals in more subtle ways. Increased vigilance may result in costs related to diversion of focus and attention (i.e., when a response consists of increased vigilance, it may come at the cost of decreased attention to other critical behaviors such as foraging or resting). These effects have generally not been demonstrated for marine mammals, but studies involving fish and terrestrial animals have shown that increased vigilance may substantially reduce feeding rates (e.g., Beauchamp and Livoreil). In addition, chronic disturbance can cause population declines through reduction of fitness (e.g., decline in body condition) and subsequent reduction in reproductive success, survival, or both (e.g., Harrington and Veitch, 1992; Daan et al., 1996; Bradshaw et al., 1998). However, Ridgway et al. (2006) reported that increased vigilance in bottlenose dolphins exposed to sound over a five-day period did not cause any sleep deprivation or stress effects.

    Many animals perform vital functions, such as feeding, resting, traveling, and socializing, on a diel cycle (24-hour cycle). Disruption of such functions resulting from reactions to stressors such as sound exposure are more likely to be significant if they last more than one diel cycle or recur on subsequent days (Southall et al., 2007). Consequently, a behavioral response lasting less than one day and not recurring on subsequent days is not considered particularly severe unless it could directly affect reproduction or survival (Southall et al., 2007). Note that there is a difference between multi-day substantive behavioral reactions and multi-day anthropogenic activities. For example, just because an activity lasts for multiple days does not necessarily mean that individual animals are either exposed to activity-related stressors for multiple days or, further, exposed in a manner resulting in sustained multi-day substantive behavioral responses.

    Stress Responses—An animal's perception of a threat may be sufficient to trigger stress responses consisting of some combination of behavioral responses, autonomic nervous system responses, neuroendocrine responses, or immune responses (e.g., Seyle, 1950; Moberg, 2000). In many cases, an animal's first and sometimes most economical (in terms of energetic costs) response is behavioral avoidance of the potential stressor. Autonomic nervous system responses to stress typically involve changes in heart rate, blood pressure, and gastrointestinal activity. These responses have a relatively short duration and may or may not have a significant long-term effect on an animal's fitness.

    Neuroendocrine stress responses often involve the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal system. Virtually all neuroendocrine functions that are affected by stress—including immune competence, reproduction, metabolism, and behavior—are regulated by pituitary hormones. Stress-induced changes in the secretion of pituitary hormones have been implicated in failed reproduction, altered metabolism, reduced immune competence, and behavioral disturbance (e.g., Moberg, 1987; Blecha, 2000). Increases in the circulation of glucocorticoids are also equated with stress (Romano et al., 2004).

    The primary distinction between stress (which is adaptive and does not normally place an animal at risk) and “distress” is the cost of the response. During a stress response, an animal uses glycogen stores that can be quickly replenished once the stress is alleviated. In such circumstances, the cost of the stress response would not pose serious fitness consequences. However, when an animal does not have sufficient energy reserves to satisfy the energetic costs of a stress response, energy resources must be diverted from other functions. This state of distress will last until the animal replenishes its energetic reserves sufficient to restore normal function.

    Relationships between these physiological mechanisms, animal behavior, and the costs of stress responses are well-studied through controlled experiments and for both laboratory and free-ranging animals (e.g., Holberton et al., 1996; Hood et al., 1998; Jessop et al., 2003; Krausman et al., 2004; Lankford et al., 2005). Stress responses due to exposure to anthropogenic sounds or other stressors and their effects on marine mammals have also been reviewed (Fair and Becker, 2000; Romano et al., 2002b) and, more rarely, studied in wild populations (e.g., Romano et al., 2002a). For example, Rolland et al. (2012) found that noise reduction from reduced ship traffic in the Bay of Fundy was associated with decreased stress in North Atlantic right whales. These and other studies lead to a reasonable expectation that some marine mammals will experience physiological stress responses upon exposure to acoustic stressors and that it is possible that some of these would be classified as “distress.” In addition, any animal experiencing TTS would likely also experience stress responses (NRC, 2003).

    Auditory Masking—Sound can disrupt behavior through masking, or interfering with, an animal's ability to detect, recognize, or discriminate between acoustic signals of interest (e.g., those used for intraspecific communication and social interactions, prey detection, predator avoidance, navigation) (Richardson et al., 1995; Erbe et al., 2016). Masking occurs when the receipt of a sound is interfered with by another coincident sound at similar frequencies and at similar or higher intensity, and may occur whether the sound is natural (e.g., snapping shrimp, wind, waves, precipitation) or anthropogenic (e.g., shipping, sonar, seismic exploration) in origin. The ability of a noise source to mask biologically important sounds depends on the characteristics of both the noise source and the signal of interest (e.g., signal-to-noise ratio, temporal variability, direction), in relation to each other and to an animal's hearing abilities (e.g., sensitivity, frequency range, critical ratios, frequency discrimination, directional discrimination, age or TTS hearing loss), and existing ambient noise and propagation conditions.

    Under certain circumstances, marine mammals experiencing significant masking could also be impaired from maximizing their performance fitness in survival and reproduction. Therefore, when the coincident (masking) sound is man-made, it may be considered harassment when disrupting or altering critical behaviors. It is important to distinguish TTS and PTS, which persist after the sound exposure, from masking, which occurs during the sound exposure. Because masking (without resulting in TS) is not associated with abnormal physiological function, it is not considered a physiological effect, but rather a potential behavioral effect.

    The frequency range of the potentially masking sound is important in determining any potential behavioral impacts. For example, low-frequency signals may have less effect on high-frequency echolocation sounds produced by odontocetes but are more likely to affect detection of mysticete communication calls and other potentially important natural sounds such as those produced by surf and some prey species. The masking of communication signals by anthropogenic noise may be considered as a reduction in the communication space of animals (e.g., Clark et al., 2009) and may result in energetic or other costs as animals change their vocalization behavior (e.g., Miller et al., 2000; Foote et al., 2004; Parks et al., 2007; Di Iorio and Clark, 2009; Holt et al., 2009). Masking can be reduced in situations where the signal and noise come from different directions (Richardson et al., 1995), through amplitude modulation of the signal, or through other compensatory behaviors (Houser and Moore, 2014). Masking can be tested directly in captive species (e.g., Erbe, 2008), but in wild populations it must be either modeled or inferred from evidence of masking compensation. There are few studies addressing real-world masking sounds likely to be experienced by marine mammals in the wild (e.g., Branstetter et al., 2013).

    Masking affects both senders and receivers of acoustic signals and can potentially have long-term chronic effects on marine mammals at the population level as well as at the individual level. Low-frequency ambient sound levels have increased by as much as 20 dB (more than three times in terms of SPL) in the world's ocean from pre-industrial periods, with most of the increase from distant commercial shipping (Hildebrand, 2009). All anthropogenic sound sources, but especially chronic and lower-frequency signals (e.g., from vessel traffic), contribute to elevated ambient sound levels, thus intensifying masking.

    Potential Effects of the Activity—As described previously (see “Description of Active Acoustic Sound Sources”), the Navy proposes to conduct pile driving, including impact and vibratory driving. The effects of pile driving on marine mammals are dependent on several factors, including the size, type, and depth of the animal; the depth, intensity, and duration of the pile driving sound; the depth of the water column; the substrate of the habitat; the standoff distance between the pile and the animal; and the sound propagation properties of the environment. With both types of pile driving, it is likely that the onset of pile driving could result in temporary, short term changes in an animal's typical behavioral patterns and/or avoidance of the affected area.

    These behavioral changes may include changing durations of surfacing and dives, number of blows per surfacing, or moving direction and/or speed; reduced/increased vocal activities; changing/cessation of certain behavioral activities (such as socializing or feeding); visible startle response or aggressive behavior (such as tail/fluke slapping or jaw clapping); avoidance of areas where sound sources are located; and/or flight responses (Richardson et al., 1995).

    The biological significance of many of these behavioral disturbances is difficult to predict, especially if the detected disturbances appear minor. However, the consequences of behavioral modification could be expected to be biologically significant if the change affects growth, survival, or reproduction. Significant behavioral modifications that could lead to effects on growth, survival, or reproduction, such as drastic changes in diving/surfacing patterns or significant habitat abandonment are extremely unlikely in this area (i.e., shallow waters in modified industrial areas).

    The onset of behavioral disturbance from anthropogenic sound depends on both external factors (characteristics of sound sources and their paths) and the specific characteristics of the receiving animals (hearing, motivation, experience, demography) and is difficult to predict (Southall et al., 2007).

    Whether impact or vibratory driving, sound sources would be active for relatively short durations, with relation to potential for masking. The frequencies output by pile driving activity are lower than those used by most species expected to be regularly present for communication or foraging. We expect insignificant impacts from masking, and any masking event that could possibly rise to Level B harassment under the MMPA would occur concurrently within the zones of behavioral harassment already estimated for vibratory and impact pile driving, and which have already been taken into account in the exposure analysis.

    Anticipated Effects on Marine Mammal Habitat

    The proposed activities would not result in permanent impacts to habitats used directly by marine mammals, but may have potential short-term impacts to food sources such as forage fish. The proposed activities could also affect acoustic habitat (see masking discussion above), but meaningful impacts are unlikely. There are no known foraging hotspots, or other ocean bottom structures of significant biological importance to marine mammals present in the marine waters in the vicinity of the project areas. Therefore, the main impact issue associated with the proposed activity would be temporarily elevated sound levels and the associated direct effects on marine mammals, as discussed previously in this preamble. The most likely impact to marine mammal habitat occurs from pile driving effects on likely marine mammal prey (i.e., fish) near the six installations. Impacts to the immediate substrate during installation and removal of piles are anticipated, but these would be limited to minor, temporary suspension of sediments, which could impact water quality and visibility for a short amount of time, but which would not be expected to have any effects on individual marine mammals. Impacts to substrate are therefore not discussed further.

    Effects to Prey—Sound may affect marine mammals through impacts on the abundance, behavior, or distribution of prey species (e.g., crustaceans, cephalopods, fish, zooplankton). Marine mammal prey varies by species, season, and location and, for some, is not well documented. Here, we describe studies regarding the effects of noise on known marine mammal prey.

    Fish utilize the soundscape and components of sound in their environment to perform important functions such as foraging, predator avoidance, mating, and spawning (e.g., Zelick et al., 1999; Fay, 2009). Depending on their hearing anatomy and peripheral sensory structures, which vary among species, fishes hear sounds using pressure and particle motion sensitivity capabilities and detect the motion of surrounding water (Fay et al., 2008). The potential effects of noise on fishes depends on the overlapping frequency range, distance from the sound source, water depth of exposure, and species-specific hearing sensitivity, anatomy, and physiology. Key impacts to fishes may include behavioral responses, hearing damage, barotrauma (pressure-related injuries), and mortality.

    Fish react to sounds which are especially strong and/or intermittent low-frequency sounds, and behavioral responses such as flight or avoidance are the most likely effects. Short duration, sharp sounds can cause overt or subtle changes in fish behavior and local distribution. The reaction of fish to noise depends on the physiological state of the fish, past exposures, motivation (e.g., feeding, spawning, migration), and other environmental factors. Hastings and Popper (2005) identified several studies that suggest fish may relocate to avoid certain areas of sound energy. Additional studies have documented effects of pile driving on fish, although several are based on studies in support of large, multiyear bridge construction projects (e.g., Scholik and Yan, 2001, 2002; Popper and Hastings, 2009). Several studies have demonstrated that impulse sounds might affect the distribution and behavior of some fishes, potentially impacting foraging opportunities or increasing energetic costs (e.g., Fewtrell and McCauley, 2012; Pearson et al., 1992; Skalski et al., 1992; Santulli et al., 1999; Paxton et al., 2017). However, some studies have shown no or slight reaction to impulse sounds (e.g., Pena et al., 2013; Wardle et al., 2001; Jorgenson and Gyselman, 2009; Cott et al., 2012). More commonly, though, the impacts of noise on fish are temporary.

    SPLs of sufficient strength have been known to cause injury to fish and fish mortality. However, in most fish species, hair cells in the ear continuously regenerate and loss of auditory function likely is restored when damaged cells are replaced with new cells. Halvorsen et al. (2012a) showed that a TTS of 4 to 6 dB was recoverable within 24 hours for one species. Impacts would be most severe when the individual fish is close to the source and when the duration of exposure is long. Injury caused by barotrauma can range from slight to severe and can cause death, and is most likely for fish with swim bladders. Barotrauma injuries have been documented during controlled exposure to impact pile driving (Halvorsen et al., 2012b; Casper et al., 2013).

    The most likely impact to fish from pile driving activities at the project areas would be temporary behavioral avoidance of the area. The duration of fish avoidance of an area after pile driving stops is unknown, but a rapid return to normal recruitment, distribution and behavior is anticipated. In general, impacts to marine mammal prey species are expected to be minor and temporary due to the expected short daily duration of individual pile driving events and the relatively small areas being affected. It is also not expected that the industrial environment around the terminal and nearby Naval installation provides important fish habitat or harbors significant amounts of forage fish.

    The area likely impacted by the activities is relatively small compared to the available habitat in inland waters in the region. Any behavioral avoidance by fish of the disturbed area would still leave significantly large areas of fish and marine mammal foraging habitat in the nearby vicinity. As described in the preceding, the potential for Navy construction to affect the availability of prey to marine mammals or to meaningfully impact the quality of physical or acoustic habitat is considered to be insignificant. Effects to habitat will not be discussed further in this document.

    Estimated Take

    This section provides an estimate of the number of incidental takes proposed for authorization through this IHA, which will inform both NMFS' consideration of “small numbers” and the negligible impact determination.

    Harassment is the only type of take expected to result from these activities. Except with respect to certain activities not pertinent here, section 3(18) of the MMPA defines “harassment” as any act of pursuit, torment, or annoyance which (i) has the potential to injure a marine mammal or marine mammal stock in the wild (Level A harassment); or (ii) has the potential to disturb a marine mammal or marine mammal stock in the wild by causing disruption of behavioral patterns, including, but not limited to, migration, breathing, nursing, breeding, feeding, or sheltering (Level B harassment).

    Authorized takes would be by Level B harassment only, in the form of disruption of behavioral patterns for individual marine mammals resulting from exposure to pile driving. Based on the nature of the activity and the anticipated effectiveness of the mitigation measures (i.e., shutdown measures—discussed in detail below in Proposed Mitigation section), Level A harassment is neither anticipated nor proposed to be authorized.

    As described previously, no mortality is anticipated or proposed to be authorized for this activity. Below we describe how the take is estimated.

    Described in the most basic way, we estimate take by considering: (1) Acoustic thresholds above which NMFS believes the best available science indicates marine mammals will be behaviorally harassed or incur some degree of permanent hearing impairment; (2) the area or volume of water that will be ensonified above these levels in a day; (3) the density or occurrence of marine mammals within these ensonified areas; and, (4) and the number of days of activities. Below, we describe these components in more detail and present the proposed take estimate.

    Acoustic Thresholds

    Using the best available science, NMFS has developed acoustic thresholds that identify the received level of underwater sound above which exposed marine mammals would be reasonably expected to be behaviorally harassed (equated to Level B harassment) or to incur PTS of some degree (equated to Level A harassment).

    Level B Harassment for non-explosive sources—Though significantly driven by received level, the onset of behavioral disturbance from anthropogenic noise exposure is also informed to varying degrees by other factors related to the source (e.g., frequency, predictability, duty cycle), the environment (e.g., bathymetry), and the receiving animals (hearing, motivation, experience, demography, behavioral context) and can be difficult to predict (Southall et al., 2007, Ellison et al., 2011). Based on what the available science indicates and the practical need to use a threshold based on a factor that is both predictable and measurable for most activities, NMFS uses a generalized acoustic threshold based on received level to estimate the onset of behavioral harassment. NMFS predicts that marine mammals are likely to be behaviorally harassed in a manner we consider Level B harassment when exposed to underwater anthropogenic noise above received levels of 120 dB re 1 μPa (rms) for continuous (e.g., vibratory pile-driving, drilling) and above 160 dB re 1 μPa (rms) for non-explosive impulsive (e.g., seismic airguns) or intermittent (e.g., scientific sonar) sources. For in-air sounds, NMFS predicts that phocids and otariids exposed above received levels of 90 dB and 100 dB re 20 μPa (rms), respectively, may be behaviorally harassed.

    Kitsap Transit's project includes the use of continuous (vibratory pile driving) and impulsive (impact pile driving) sources, and therefore the 120 and 160 dB re 1 μPa (rms) are applicable.

    Level A harassment for non-explosive sources—NMFS' Technical Guidance for Assessing the Effects of Anthropogenic Sound on Marine Mammal Hearing (Technical Guidance, 2016) identifies dual criteria to assess auditory injury (Level A harassment) to five different marine mammal groups (based on hearing sensitivity) as a result of exposure to noise from two different types of sources (impulsive or non-impulsive). Kitsap Transit's proposed activity includes the use of impulsive (impact pile driving) and non-impulsive (vibratory pile driving) sources.

    These thresholds are provided in Table 3. The references, analysis, and methodology used in the development of the thresholds are described in NMFS 2016 Technical Guidance, which may be accessed at: http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/acoustics/guidelines.htm.

    Table 3—Thresholds Identifying the Onset of Permanent Threshold Shift Hearing group PTS onset acoustic thresholds *
  • (received level)
  • Impulsive Non-impulsive
    Low-Frequency (LF) Cetaceans Cell 1: L pk,flat : 219 dB; L E,LF,24h : 183 dB Cell 2: L E,LF,24h : 199 dB. Mid-Frequency (MF) Cetaceans Cell 3: L pk,flat : 230 dB; L E,MF,24h : 185 dB Cell 4: L E,MF,24h : 198 dB. High-Frequency (HF) Cetaceans Cell 5: L pk,flat : 202 dB; L E,HF,24h : 155 dB Cell 6: L E,HF,24h : 173 dB. Phocid Pinnipeds (PW) (Underwater) Cell 7: L pk,flat : 218 dB; L E,PW,24h : 185 dB Cell 8: L E,PW,24h : 201 dB. Otariid Pinnipeds (OW) (Underwater) Cell 9: L pk,flat : 232 dB; L E,OW,24h : 203 dB Cell 10: L E,OW,24h : 219 dB. * Dual metric acoustic thresholds for impulsive sounds: Use whichever results in the largest isopleth for calculating PTS onset. If a non-impulsive sound has the potential of exceeding the peak sound pressure level thresholds associated with impulsive sounds, these thresholds should also be considered. Note: Peak sound pressure (L pk) has a reference value of 1 μPa, and cumulative sound exposure level (L E) has a reference value of 1 μPa2s. In this Table, thresholds are abbreviated to reflect American National Standards Institute standards (ANSI 2013). However, peak sound pressure is defined by ANSI as incorporating frequency weighting, which is not the intent for this Technical Guidance. Hence, the subscript “flat” is being included to indicate peak sound pressure should be flat weighted or unweighted within the generalized hearing range. The subscript associated with cumulative sound exposure level thresholds indicates the designated marine mammal auditory weighting function (LF, MF, and HF cetaceans, and PW and OW pinnipeds) and that the recommended accumulation period is 24 hours. The cumulative sound exposure level thresholds could be exceeded in a multitude of ways (i.e., varying exposure levels and duration, duty cycle). When possible, it is valuable for action proponents to indicate the conditions under which these acoustic thresholds will be exceeded.
    Ensonified Area

    Here, we describe operational and environmental parameters of the activity that will feed into identifying the area ensonified above the acoustic thresholds.

    Sound Propagation—Transmission loss (TL) is the decrease in acoustic intensity as an acoustic pressure wave propagates out from a source. TL parameters vary with frequency, temperature, sea conditions, current, source and receiver depth, water depth, water chemistry, and bottom composition and topography. The general formula for underwater TL is:

    TL = B * log10(R1/R2), Where: B = transmission loss coefficient (assumed to be 15) R1 = the distance of the modeled SPL from the driven pile, and R2 = the distance from the driven pile of the initial measurement.

    This formula neglects loss due to scattering and absorption, which is assumed to be zero here. The degree to which underwater sound propagates away from a sound source is dependent on a variety of factors, most notably the water bathymetry and presence or absence of reflective or absorptive conditions including in-water structures and sediments. Spherical spreading occurs in a perfectly unobstructed (free-field) environment not limited by depth or water surface, resulting in a 6 dB reduction in sound level for each doubling of distance from the source (20*log(range)). Cylindrical spreading occurs in an environment in which sound propagation is bounded by the water surface and sea bottom, resulting in a reduction of 3 dB in sound level for each doubling of distance from the source (10*log(range)). As is common practice in coastal waters, here we assume practical spreading loss (4.5 dB reduction in sound level for each doubling of distance). Practical spreading is a compromise that is often used under conditions where water depth increases as the receiver moves away from the shoreline, resulting in an expected propagation environment that would lie between spherical and cylindrical spreading loss conditions.

    Sound Source Levels—The intensity of pile driving sounds is greatly influenced by factors such as the type of piles, hammers, and the physical environment in which the activity takes place. There are source level measurements available for certain pile types and sizes from the specific environment of several of the installations considered here (i.e., NBK Bangor and NBK Bremerton), but not from all. Numerous studies have examined sound pressure levels (SPLs) recorded from underwater pile driving projects in California (e.g., Caltrans, 2015) and elsewhere in Washington. In order to determine reasonable SPLs and their associated effects on marine mammals that are likely to result from pile driving at the six installations, studies with similar properties to the specified activity were evaluated.

    No direct pile driving measurements at the Annapolis Ferry Dock are available. Therefore, Kitsap Transit reviewed available values from multiple nearshore marine projects obtained from the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) using similar type of piles (e.g., size and material) and water depth (Caltrans, 2015). NMFS also evaluated the proposed source levels with respected to pile driving measurements made by the Washington Department of Transportation (WSDOT) at other ferry terminals in Puget Sound as well as measurements collected by the Navy in Puget Sound.

    Table 4—Estimated Pile Driving Source Levels Method Pile size
  • (inches)
  • Sound pressure (dB re: 1 µPa) SPL 1
  • (peak)
  • SPL
  • (rms) 1
  • SEL 1
    Impact 12 192 177 167 24 207 194 178 Vibratory 12 171 155 155 24 178 165 165 Vibratory Removal 16.5-18 175 160 160 1 Source levels presented at standard distance of 10 m from the driven pile. Peak source levels are not typically evaluated for vibratory pile driving, as vibratory driving does not present rapid rise times. SEL source levels for vibratory driving are equivalent to SPL (rms) source levels.

    The source levels presented in Table 4 are those proposed by Kitsap Transit and correspond with those found in Caltrans (2015). However, because NMFS recently proposed regulations for the U.S. Navy at multiple sites throughout Puget Sound, including NBK Bremerton located across Sinclair Inlet, NMFS also evaluated source levels used in that proposed rule. The source level provided in the Navy's proposed rule (83 FR 9366; March 5, 2018) for impact pile driving 24-in steel piles is slightly higher than that being used for this proposed IHA. Kitsap Transit proposed a source level of 178 dB SEL for impact pile driving 24-in steel piles in their application while the Navy proposed (and NMFS included in the proposed rule) a source level of 181 dB SEL. However, we accept Kitsap Transit's proposed source levels for two reasons. First, the Navy excluded three projects for which data from 24-in pile driving was available due to a low number of pile strikes and because these projects produced lower SEL values than the two projects considered in the proposed rule. Overall, the mean SEL per any one pile for the two projects considered by the Navy (Bainbridge Island and Friday Harbor) ranged from 176 to 185 dB; however, the three projects not considered (Bangor Test Pile Program, Conoco-Phillips dock, and Deep Water-Tongue Point Facility Pier Repairs) produced SELs ranging from 168 to 177 dB SEL. Second, we accept Kitsap Transit's proposed source levels because they would employ bubble curtains during all impact pile driving which is known to reduce noise levels but we are not accounting for that attenuation in this proposed IHA. Kitsap Transit's proposed source levels for impact pile driving 12-in steel piles and all vibratory pile driving and pile removal correspond to or are slightly greater than those in Caltrans (2015) and the Navy's proposed rule; therefore, we apply them here.

    When NMFS Technical Guidance (2016) was published, in recognition of the fact that ensonified area/volume could be more technically challenging to predict because of the duration component in the new thresholds, we developed a User Spreadsheet that includes tools to help predict a simple isopleth that can be used in conjunction with marine mammal density or occurrence to help predict takes. We note that because of some of the assumptions included in the methods used for these tools, we anticipate that isopleths produced are typically going to be overestimates of some degree, which will result in some degree of overestimate of Level A take. However, these tools offer the best way to predict appropriate isopleths when more sophisticated 3D modeling methods are not available, and NMFS continues to develop ways to quantitatively refine these tools, and will qualitatively address the output where appropriate. For stationary sources such as pile driving, NMFS User Spreadsheet predicts the closest distance at which, if a marine mammal remained at that distance the whole duration of the activity, it would not incur PTS. A description of inputs used in the User Spreadsheet, and the resulting isopleths are reported below.

    Kitsap Transit estimates it will take a maximum of six hours, per day, to install or remove piles using a vibratory hammer (up to four piles per day). For steel piles that are “proofed,” Kitsap Transit estimated approximately 1,000 hammer strikes per pile would be required with two piles installed per day. If piles can be installed completely with the vibratory hammer, Kitsap Transit would not use an impact hammer; however, it is included here as a possibility. A practical spreading model (15logR) was used for all calculation. NMFS considered these inputs when using the NMFS user spreadsheet (Table 5).

    Table 5—NMFS User Spreadsheet Inputs Input parameter Vibratory pile driving Impact pile driving Weighting Factor Adjustment 1 2.5 kHz 2 kHz. Source Level (SL) See Table 4 (rms values) See Table 4 (SEL values). Duration 6 hours n/a. Strikes per pile n/a 1,000. Piles per day n/a 2. Transmission loss coefficient 15 15. Distance from SL measurement 10 m 10 m. 1 For those applicants who cannot fully apply auditory weighting functions associated with the SELcum metric, NMFS has recommended the default, single frequency weighting factor adjustments (WFAs) provided here. As described in Appendix D of NMFS' Technical Guidance (NMFS, 2016), the intent of the WFA is to broadly account for auditory weighting functions below the 95 frequency contour percentile. Use of single frequency WFA is likely to over-predict Level A harassment distances.

    As described above, the Level B harassment threshold for impulsive noise (e.g., impact pile driving) is 160 dB rms. The Level B harassment threshold for continuous noise (e.g., vibratory pile driving) is 120 dB rms.

    Distances corresponding to received levels reaching NMFS harassment thresholds are provided in Table 6. These distances represent the distance at which an animal would have to remain for the entire duration considered (i.e., 6 hours of vibratory pile driving, 2,000 hammer strikes) for the potential onset of PTS to occur. These results do not consider the time it takes to re-set between piles; therefore, it is highly unlikely any species would remain at these distances for the entire duration of pile driving within a day. As a result, these distances represent the calculated outputs of the User Spreadsheet but, in reality, do not reflect a likely scenario for the potential onset of Level A harassment. Regardless, Kitsap Transit has proposed to implement shut-down zones mirroring these calculated outputs to avoid Level A harassment. We have slightly modified them and believe these modifications woulwhile we have proposed simWe Table 6 have also provided the area ensonified to the Level B harassment threshold in Table 6; these areas have been truncated to account for land.

    Table 6—Distances to Level A and B Harassment Thresholds and Area Ensonified Method Pile size
  • (inches)
  • Distance to Level A (meters) LF cetaceans MF cetaceans HF cetaceans Phocids Otariids Level B
  • (meters)
  • Level B area
  • (km2)
  • Impact (install) 12 136 4.8 162.0 72.8 5.3 136 0.1 24 735.8 26.2 876.4 393.8 28.7 1,848 5.5 Vibratory (install) 12 9.0 0.8 13.3 5.5 0.4 2,154 6.5 24 41.7 3.7 61.6 25.3 1.8 10,000 19.2 Vibratory (removal) 16.5-18 19.3 1.7 28.6 11.8 0.8 4,612 14.3
    Marine Mammal Occurrence

    In this section we provide the information about the presence, density, or group dynamics of marine mammals that will inform the take calculations.

    Available information regarding marine mammal occurrence in the vicinity of the Annapolis Ferry Terminal includes density information aggregated in the Navy's Marine Mammal Species Density Database (NMSDD; Navy, 2015) or site-specific survey information from particular installations (e.g., local pinniped counts). More recent density estimates for harbor porpoise are available in Jefferson et al. (2016).

    Specifically, a density-based analysis is used for the harbor porpoise, Dall's porpoise, and Steller sea lion, while data from site-specific abundance surveys is used for the California sea lion and harbor seal (Table 7).

    Table 7—Density or Pinniped Count Data, by Species Species Density
  • (animals/km2)
  • Average daily pinniped count
    Harbor seal 1.22 n/a Steller sea lion 0.036 n/a California sea lion n/a 69 Harbor Porpoise 0.89 n/a
    Take Calculation and Estimation

    Here we describe how the information provided above is brought together to produce a quantitative take estimate.

    Kitsap Transit did not request, and we are not proposing, to authorize Level A take of any species. The User Spreadsheet does calculate distances at which Level A take could occur for all pile activity. The largest resulting distances are for the installation of 24-in piles. The calculated distance represents the distance at which an animal would have to remain while exposed to the installation of two piles (with time in between to reset the hammer to the next pile) at 1,000 strikes per pile. In addition, only eight 24-in piles are to be installed for the project. The harbor porpoise Level A harassment distance is 876 m; however, harbor porpoise are likely transiting through the area, if present at all. Harbor seals may remain in the area. Therefore, with the incorporation of the proposed mitigation measures, we do not believe there is a likely potential for Level A take for any species. Further, no take (either Level A or Level B) of humpback whales, gray whales, and killer whales was requested or is proposed to be authorized due to the short duration of the project (17 days), the small amount of piles installed (12) and removed (5), and the incorporation of the proposed mitigation and monitoring measures (see Mitigation and Monitoring sections).

    The take calculation for harbor seal, Steller sea lion, and harbor porpoise exposures is derived using the following equation: Level B exposure estimate = species density (see Table 7) × ensonified area (based on pile size) × number of pile driving days. Because there would be 5 days of pile removal, four 12 in. piles installed over four days (maximum), and eight 24 in. piles installed over eight days (maximum), we summed each product together to produce a total take estimate. When impact and vibratory hammer use would occur on the same day, the larger Level B ensonifed zone for that day was used. For example, harbor seal exposures due to 12 inch pile driving are calculated as 1.22 animals/km2 × 6.5 km2 × 4 days = 32 exposures. Harbor seal exposures due to installing 24 in. piles is 1.22 animals/km2 × 19.2 km2 × 8 days = 187 exposures. Finally, harbor seal exposures due to pile removal is 1.22 animals/km2 × 14.3 km2 × 5 days = 87 exposures. Although we anticipate some seals may be exposed more than once, we consider each exposure to constitute a take. Therefore, total estimated take is 306 harbor seals. This process was repeated for Steller sea lions and harbor porpoise using their respective densities (see Table 7).

    The calculation for California sea lion exposures is estimated by the following equation: Level B Exposure estimate = N (estimated animals/day) × number of pile driving days. Because density is not used for this species, we simply assumed 69 sea lions could be taken on any given day of pile driving. Therefore, 69 California sea lion/day × 17 days = 1,173 California sea lion takes.

    The total estimated take for all species incidental to 17 days of pile driving is provided in Table 8.

    Table 8—Estimated Take, by Species and Stock, Incidental to Pile Driving Species Stock Total take
  • (Level B)
  • Percent of stock
    Harbor seal Southern Puget Sound 306 19.5 Steller sea lion Eastern DPS 10 0.01 California sea lion U.S 1,173 0.4 Harbor Porpoise Washington Inland Waters 224 2.0
    Proposed Mitigation

    In order to issue an IHA under Section 101(a)(5)(D) of the MMPA, NMFS must set forth the permissible methods of taking pursuant to such activity, and other means of effecting the least practicable impact on such species or stock and its habitat, paying particular attention to rookeries, mating grounds, and areas of similar significance, and on the availability of such species or stock for taking for certain subsistence uses (latter not applicable for this action). NMFS regulations require applicants for incidental take authorizations to include information about the availability and feasibility (economic and technological) of equipment, methods, and manner of conducting such activity or other means of effecting the least practicable adverse impact upon the affected species or stocks and their habitat (50 CFR 216.104(a)(11)).

    In evaluating how mitigation may or may not be appropriate to ensure the least practicable adverse impact on species or stocks and their habitat, as well as subsistence uses where applicable, we carefully consider two primary factors:

    (1) The manner in which, and the degree to which, the successful implementation of the measure(s) is expected to reduce impacts to marine mammals, marine mammal species or stocks, and their habitat. This considers the nature of the potential adverse impact being mitigated (likelihood, scope, range). It further considers the likelihood that the measure will be effective if implemented (probability of accomplishing the mitigating result if implemented as planned) the likelihood of effective implementation (probability implemented as planned). and;

    (2) the practicability of the measures for applicant implementation, which may consider such things as cost, impact on operations, and, in the case of a military readiness activity, personnel safety, practicality of implementation, and impact on the effectiveness of the military readiness activity.

    Mitigation for Marine Mammals and Their Habitat

    Kitsap Transit has proposed a number of mitigation measures designed to minimize the impacts of the project on marine mammals and their habitat. Below is a description of these measures which can also be found in the draft proposed IHA text provided at the end of this document.

    For in-water heavy machinery work (e.g., barges, tug boats), a minimum 10 m shutdown zone shall be implemented. If a marine mammal comes within 10 m of such operations, operations shall cease and vessels shall reduce speed to the minimum level required to maintain steerage and safe working conditions.

    Kitsap Transit proposes to shut down pile driving if marine mammals for which they requested take enter the Level A harassment zones as calculated in Table 6. However, these distances represent a very long duration (6 hours for pile driving plus an unknown amount of time to re-set piles) during vibratory pile driving. Therefore, we have adjusted the shutdown zones to a more practicable level. We also incorporate the shutdown zones corresponding to Level B harassment for humpback whales, gray whales, and killer whales. Kitsap Transit shall implement shutdown zones as identified in Table 9 to avoid Level A take of seals, sea lions, and harbor porpoise as well as Level A and Level B take of humpback whales, gray whales, and killer whales. Kitsap Transit shall also implement a minimum shutdown zone of a 10 m radius around the pile.

    Table 9—Shutdown Zones To Avoid Heavy Equipment Injury, Level A Harassment, or Level B Harassment Species Shutdown zones (m) Impact 12″ Impact 24″ Vibratory 12″ Vibratory 24″ Vibratory
  • removal
  • Humpback whale, Gray whale, Killer whale 136 1,848 2,154 10,000 4,612 Harbor porpoise 160 875 13 60 28 Harbor seal 73 390 1 10 25 11 Steller sea lion, California sea lion 1 10 29 1 10 1 10 1 10 1 NMFS is proposing a minimum 10 m shutdown zone to avoid potential injury from equipment.

    Pre-activity monitoring shall take place from 30 minutes prior to initiation of pile driving activity and post-activity monitoring shall continue through 30 minutes post-completion of pile driving activity. Pile driving may commence at the end of the 30-minute pre-activity monitoring period, provided observers have determined that the shutdown zone (see Table 6) is clear of marine mammals, which includes delaying start of pile driving activities if a marine mammal is sighted in the shutdown zone. A determination that the shutdown zone is clear must be made during a period of good visibility (i.e., the entire shutdown zone and surrounding waters must be visible to the naked eye).

    If a marine mammal approaches or enters the shutdown zone during activities or pre-activity monitoring, all pile driving activities at that location shall be halted or delayed, respectively. If pile driving is halted or delayed due to the presence of a marine mammal, the activity may not resume or commence until either the animal has voluntarily left and been visually confirmed beyond the shutdown zone and 15 minutes have passed without re-detection of the animal. Pile driving activities include the time to install or remove a single pile or series of piles, as long as the time elapsed between uses of the pile driving equipment is no more than thirty minutes.

    Kitsap Transit shall use soft start techniques when impact pile driving. Soft start requires contractors to provide an initial set of strikes at reduced energy, followed by a thirty-second waiting period, then two subsequent reduced energy strike sets. Soft start shall be implemented at the start of each day's impact pile driving and at any time following cessation of impact pile driving for a period of thirty minutes or longer.

    If a species for which authorization has not been granted (including humpback whales, gray whales, and killer whales), or a species for which authorization has been granted but the authorized takes are met, is observed approaching or within the Level B Isopleth (Table 6 and 9), pile driving and removal activities must shut down immediately using delay and shut-down procedures. Activities must not resume until the animal has been confirmed to have left the area or the observation time period has elapsed.

    Kitsap Transit shall use a bubble curtain during all impact pile driving. We note the estimated source levels used to calculate Level A harassment zones did not consider any reduction in noise from use of this bubble curtain (i.e., the Level A harassment isopleths consider unattenuated impact pile driving source levels).

    Kitsap Transit shall access the Orca Network website each morning prior to in-water construction activities and if pile removal or installation ceases for more than two hours. If marine mammals for which take is not authorized (e.g., killer whales, humpback whales, gray whales) are observed and on a path towards the Level B harassment zone, pile driving shall be delayed until animals are confirmed outside of and on a path away from the Level B harassment zone or if one hour passes with no subsequent sightings.

    Kitsap Transit shall implement the use of best management practices (e.g., erosion and sediment control, spill prevention and control) to minimize impacts to marine mammal habitat.

    Based on our evaluation of the applicant's proposed measures, NMFS has preliminarily determined that the proposed mitigation measures provide the means effecting the least practicable impact on the affected species or stocks and their habitat, paying particular attention to rookeries, mating grounds, and areas of similar significance.

    Proposed Monitoring and Reporting

    In order to issue an IHA for an activity, Section 101(a)(5)(D) of the MMPA states that NMFS must set forth, “requirements pertaining to the monitoring and reporting of such taking.” The MMPA implementing regulations at 50 CFR 216.104(a)(13) indicate that requests for authorizations must include the suggested means of accomplishing the necessary monitoring and reporting that will result in increased knowledge of the species and of the level of taking or impacts on populations of marine mammals that are expected to be present in the proposed action area. Effective reporting is critical both to compliance as well as ensuring that the most value is obtained from the required monitoring.

    Monitoring and reporting requirements prescribed by NMFS should contribute to improved understanding of one or more of the following:

    • Occurrence of marine mammal species or stocks in the area in which take is anticipated (e.g., presence, abundance, distribution, density).

    • Nature, scope, or context of likely marine mammal exposure to potential stressors/impacts (individual or cumulative, acute or chronic), through better understanding of: (1) Action or environment (e.g., source characterization, propagation, ambient noise); (2) affected species (e.g., life history, dive patterns); (3) co-occurrence of marine mammal species with the action; or (4) biological or behavioral context of exposure (e.g., age, calving or feeding areas).

    • Individual marine mammal responses (behavioral or physiological) to acoustic stressors (acute, chronic, or cumulative), other stressors, or cumulative impacts from multiple stressors.

    • How anticipated responses to stressors impact either: (1) Long-term fitness and survival of individual marine mammals; or (2) populations, species, or stocks.

    • Effects on marine mammal habitat (e.g., marine mammal prey species, acoustic habitat, or other important physical components of marine mammal habitat).

    • Mitigation and monitoring effectiveness.

    For all pile driving activities, at least one protected species observer (PSOs) shall be stationed at the on-shore vantage point at the outer portion of the pier to be retained to monitor and implement shutdown or delay procedures, when applicable, through communication with the equipment operator.

    If water conditions exceed a Beaufort level 2, or if visibility is limited by rain or fog, an additional on-shore observer will be positioned at the Bremerton Marina and/or a monitor will patrol the monitoring zone in a boat.

    Monitoring of pile driving shall be conducted by qualified PSOs (see below), who shall have no other assigned tasks during monitoring periods. Kitsap Transit shall adhere to the following conditions when selecting observers:

    • Independent, dedicated PSOs shall be used (i.e., not construction personnel).

    • At least one PSO must have prior experience working as a marine mammal observer during construction activities.

    • Other PSOs may substitute education (degree in biological science or related field) or training for experience.

    • Where a team of three or more PSOs are required, a lead observer or monitoring coordinator shall be designated. The lead observer must have prior experience working as a marine mammal observer during construction.

    • The Kitsap Transit shall submit PSO CVs for approval by NMFS.

    Kitsap Transit shall ensure that observers have the following additional qualifications:

    • Ability to conduct field observations and collect data according to assigned protocols.

    • Experience or training in the field identification of marine mammals, including the identification of behaviors.

    • Sufficient training, orientation, or experience with the construction operation to provide for personal safety during observations.

    • Writing skills sufficient to prepare a report of observations including but not limited to the number and species of marine mammals observed; dates and times when in-water construction activities were conducted; dates, times, and reason for implementation of mitigation (or why mitigation was not implemented when required); and marine mammal behavior.

    • Ability to communicate orally, by radio or in person, with project personnel to provide real-time information on marine mammals observed in the area as necessary.

    Kitsap Transit would also be required to submit an annual report summarizing their monitoring efforts, number of animals taken, any implementation of mitigation measures (e.g., shut downs) and abide by reporting requirements contained within the draft IHA at the end of this document.

    Negligible Impact Analysis and Determination

    NMFS has defined negligible impact as an impact resulting from the specified activity that cannot be reasonably expected to, and is not reasonably likely to, adversely affect the species or stock through effects on annual rates of recruitment or survival (50 CFR 216.103). A negligible impact finding is based on the lack of likely adverse effects on annual rates of recruitment or survival (i.e., population-level effects). An estimate of the number of takes alone is not enough information on which to base an impact determination. In addition to considering estimates of the number of marine mammals that might be “taken” through harassment, NMFS considers other factors, such as the likely nature of any responses (e.g., intensity, duration), the context of any responses (e.g., critical reproductive time or location, migration), as well as effects on habitat, and the likely effectiveness of the mitigation. We also assess the number, intensity, and context of estimated takes by evaluating this information relative to population status. Consistent with the 1989 preamble for NMFS's implementing regulations (54 FR 40338; September 29, 1989), the impacts from other past and ongoing anthropogenic activities are incorporated into this analysis via their impacts on the environmental baseline (e.g., as reflected in the regulatory status of the species, population size and growth rate where known, ongoing sources of human-caused mortality, or ambient noise levels).

    Pile driving activities associated with the Annapolis Ferry Terminal Project, as described previously, have the potential to disturb or displace marine mammals. Specifically, the specified activities may result in take, in the form of Level B harassment (behavioral disturbance) only from underwater sounds generated from pile driving. Potential takes could occur if individual marine mammals are present in the ensonified zone when pile driving is happening. No serious injury or mortality would be expected even in the absence of the proposed mitigation measures. Further, while Level A harassment potential is calculated, it is based on long exposure durations (6 hours of vibratory pile driving and 2,000 pile strikes); therefore, the true Level A harassment distances, if any, are likely closer than those provided in Table 6. Further, the potential for injury is s is expected to be essentially eliminated through implementation of the planned mitigation measures—use of the bubble curtain for impact driving steel piles, soft start (for impact driving), and shutdown zones. Impact driving, as compared with vibratory driving, has source characteristics (short, sharp pulses with higher peak levels and much sharper rise time to reach those peaks) that are potentially injurious or more likely to produce severe behavioral reactions. Given sufficient notice through use of soft start, marine mammals are expected to move away from a sound source that is annoying prior to its becoming potentially injurious or resulting in more severe behavioral reactions. Environmental conditions in inland waters are expected to generally be good, with calm sea states, and we expect conditions would allow a high marine mammal detection capability, enabling a high rate of success in implementation of shutdowns to avoid injury.

    We anticipate individuals exposed to pile driving noise generated at the Annapolis Ferry Terminal will, at most, simply move away from the sound source and be temporarily displaced from the areas of pile driving. The pile driving activities analyzed here are similar to, or less impactful than, numerous other construction activities conducted in the Puget Sound region, which have taken place with no known long-term adverse consequences from behavioral harassment. No pupping or breeding areas are present within the action area. Further, animals are likely somewhat habituated to noise-generating human activity given the proximity to Seattle-Bremerton and Port Orchard ferry lanes, recent construction at NBK Bremerton and the Manette Bridge (both of which involve pile driving), and general recreational, commercial and military vessel traffic. Monitoring reports from the Manette Bridge and NBK Bremerton demonstrate no discernable individual or population level impacts from similar pile driving activities.

    In summary and as described above, the following factors primarily support our preliminary determination that the impacts resulting from this activity are not expected to adversely affect the species or stock through effects on annual rates of recruitment or survival:

    • No mortality is anticipated or authorized;

    • As a result of the nature of the activity in concert with the planned mitigation requirements, injury is not anticipated for any species;

    • The anticipated incidents of Level B harassment consist of, at worst, temporary modifications in behavior;

    • There is no significant habitat within the industrialized project areas, including known areas or features of special significance for foraging or reproduction; and

    • The proposed mitigation measures reduce the effects of the specified activity to the level of least practicable adverse impact.

    Based on the analysis contained herein of the likely effects of the specified activity on marine mammals and their habitat, and taking into consideration the implementation of the proposed monitoring and mitigation measures, NMFS preliminarily finds that the total marine mammal take from the proposed activity will have a negligible impact on all affected marine mammal species or stocks.

    Small Numbers

    As noted above, only small numbers of incidental take may be authorized under Section 101(a)(5)(D) of the MMPA for specified activities other than military readiness activities. The MMPA does not define small numbers and so, in practice, where estimated numbers are available, NMFS compares the number of individuals taken to the most appropriate estimation of abundance of the relevant species or stock in our determination of whether an authorization is limited to small numbers of marine mammals. Additionally, other qualitative factors may be considered in the analysis, such as the temporal or spatial scale of the activities.

    We propose to authorize incidental take of four marine mammal stocks. The total amount of taking proposed for authorization is less than 2 percent of the stock of Steller sea lions, California sea lions, and harbor porpoise and less than 20 percent for harbor seals (see Table X). We note that harbor seals takes likely represent multiple exposures of fewer individuals. The amount of take proposed is considered relatively small percentages and we preliminarily find are small numbers of marine mammals relative to the estimated overall population abundances for those stocks.

    Based on the analysis contained herein of the proposed activity (including the proposed mitigation and monitoring measures) and the anticipated take of marine mammals, NMFS preliminarily finds that small numbers of marine mammals will be taken relative to the population size of the affected species or stocks.

    Unmitigable Adverse Impact Analysis and Determination

    There are no relevant subsistence uses of the affected marine mammal stocks or species implicated by this action. Therefore, NMFS has preliminarily determined that the total taking of affected species or stocks would not have an unmitigable adverse impact on the availability of such species or stocks for taking for subsistence purposes.

    Endangered Species Act (ESA)

    Section 7(a)(2) of the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (ESA: 16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.) requires that each Federal agency insure that any action it authorizes, funds, or carries out is not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of any endangered or threatened species or result in the destruction or adverse modification of designated critical habitat. To ensure ESA compliance for the issuance of IHAs, NMFS consults internally, in this case with the West Coast Region Protected Resources Division Office, whenever we propose to authorize take for endangered or threatened species.

    No incidental take of ESA-listed species is proposed for authorization or expected to result from this activity. On April 5, 2018, NMFS WCR issued a Biological Opinion to the Federal Transit Administration concluding the project is not likely to adversely affect Southern Resident killer whales and the Western North Pacific and Central American humpback whale distinct population segments (DPSs). Therefore, NMFS has determined that formal consultation under section 7 of the ESA is not required for this action.

    Proposed Authorization

    As a result of these preliminary determinations, NMFS proposes to issue an IHA to Kitsap Transit for conducting pile driving and removal in Puget Sound over the course of 17 days, provided the previously mentioned mitigation, monitoring, and reporting requirements are incorporated. This section contains a draft of the IHA itself. The wording contained in this section is proposed for inclusion in the IHA (if issued).

    This Incidental Harassment Authorization (IHA) is valid for a period of one year from the date of issuance.

    This IHA is valid only for pile driving associated with the Annapolis Ferry Dock Project, Puget Sound.

    A copy of this IHA must be in the possession of Kitsap Transit, its designees, and work crew personnel operating under the authority of this IHA.

    The species authorized for taking are the harbor seal (Phoca vitulina richardii), Steller sea lion (Eumetopias jubatus monteriensis), California sea lion (Zalophus californianu), and harbor porpoise (Phocoena phocoena vomerina).

    The taking, by Level B harassment only, is limited to the species listed in Table 8. See Table 8 for numbers of take authorized.

    The taking by injury (Level A harassment), serious injury, or death of any of the species listed in condition 3(b) of the Authorization or any taking of any other species of marine mammal is prohibited and may result in the modification, suspension, or revocation of this IHA. Kitsap Transit shall conduct briefings between construction supervisors and crews, marine mammal monitoring team, acoustical monitoring team, and Kitsap Transit staff prior to the start of all pile driving, and when new personnel join the work, in order to explain responsibilities, communication procedures, marine mammal monitoring protocol, and operational procedures.

    Mitigation Measures

    For in-water heavy machinery work (e.g., barges, tug boats), a minimum 10 m shutdown zone shall be implemented. If a marine mammal comes within 10 m of such operations, operations shall cease and vessels shall reduce speed to the minimum level required to maintain steerage and safe working conditions.

    For all pile driving activity, Kitsap Transit shall implement shutdown zones as described in Table 9.

    For all pile driving activity, Kitsap Transit shall implement a minimum shutdown zone of a 10 m radius around the pile.

    Pre-activity monitoring shall take place from 30 minutes prior to initiation of pile driving activity and post-activity monitoring shall continue through 30 minutes post-completion of pile driving activity. Pile driving may commence at the end of the 30-minute pre-activity monitoring period, provided observers have determined that the shutdown zone (see Table 6) is clear of marine mammals, which includes delaying start of pile driving activities if a marine mammal is sighted in the shutdown zone.

    A determination that the shutdown zone is clear must be made during a period of good visibility (i.e., the entire shutdown zone and surrounding waters must be visible to the naked eye).

    If a marine mammal approaches or enters the shutdown zone during activities or pre-activity monitoring, all pile driving activities at that location shall be halted or delayed, respectively. If pile driving is halted or delayed due to the presence of a marine mammal, the activity may not resume or commence until either the animal has voluntarily left and been visually confirmed beyond the shutdown zone and 15 minutes have passed without re-detection of the animal. Pile driving activities include the time to install or remove a single pile or series of piles, as long as the time elapsed between uses of the pile driving equipment is no more than thirty minutes.

    Kitsap Transit shall use soft start techniques when impact pile driving. Soft start requires contractors to provide an initial set of strikes at reduced energy, followed by a thirty-second waiting period, then two subsequent reduced energy strike sets. Soft start shall be implemented at the start of each day's impact pile driving and at any time following cessation of impact pile driving for a period of thirty minutes or longer.

    Kitsap Transit shall access the Orca Network website each morning prior to in-water construction activities and if pile removal or installation ceases for more than two hours. If marine mammals for which take is not authorized (e.g., killer whales, humpback whales, gray whales) are observed and on a path towards the Level B harassment zone, pile driving shall be delayed until animals are confirmed outside of and on a path away from the Level B harassment zone or if one hour passes with no subsequent sightings.

    Kitsap Transit shall reduce the transmission of impulsive noise into the marine environment by using a bubble curtain during all impact pile driving.

    If a species for which authorization has not been granted, or a species for which authorization has been granted but the authorized takes are met, is observed approaching or within the Level B isopleth, pile driving and removal activities must shut down immediately using delay and shut-down procedures. Activities must not resume until the animal has been confirmed to have left the area or the observation time period has elapsed.

    Monitoring and Reporting Measures

    Monitoring of pile driving shall be conducted by qualified PSOs (see below), who shall have no other assigned tasks during monitoring periods.

    For all pile driving activities, at least one protected species observer (PSOs) shall be stationed at the on-shore vantage point at the outer portion of the pier to be retained to monitor and implement shutdown or delay procedures, when applicable, through communication with the equipment operator.

    If water conditions exceed a Beaufort level 2, or if visibility is limited by rain or fog, an additional on-shore observer will be positioned at the Bremerton Marina and/or a monitor will patrol the monitoring zone in a boat.

    The PSO shall access the Orca Network each morning prior to in-water construction activities that may produce noise levels above the disturbance threshold and if pile removal or installation ceases for more than two hours.

    Kitsap Transit shall adhere to the following conditions when selecting observers:

    Independent PSOs shall be used (i.e., not construction personnel).

    The PSO must have prior experience working as a marine mammal observer during construction activities.

    Kitsap Transit shall submit PSO CVs for approval by NMFS.

    Kitsap Transit shall ensure that observers have the following additional qualifications:

    Ability to conduct field observations and collect data according to assigned protocols.

    Experience or training in the field identification of marine mammals, including the identification of behaviors.

    Sufficient training, orientation, or experience with the construction operation to provide for personal safety during observations.

    Writing skills sufficient to prepare a report of observations including but not limited to the number and species of marine mammals observed; dates and times when in-water construction activities were conducted; dates, times, and reason for implementation of mitigation (or why mitigation was not implemented when required); and marine mammal behavior.

    Ability to communicate orally, by radio or in person, with project personnel to provide real-time information on marine mammals observed in the area as necessary.

    In the unanticipated event that the specified activity clearly causes the take of a marine mammal in a manner prohibited by this IHA, such as an serious injury, or mortality, Kitsap Transit shall immediately cease the specified activities and report the incident to the Office of Protected Resources (301-427-8401), NMFS, and the West Coast Region Stranding Coordinator (1-866-767-6114), NMFS. The report must include the following information:

    Time and date of the incident;

    Description of the incident;

    Environmental conditions (e.g., wind speed and direction, Beaufort sea state, cloud cover, and visibility);

    Description of all marine mammal observations and active sound source use in the 24 hours preceding the incident;

    Species identification or description of the animal(s) involved;

    Fate of the animal(s); and

    Photographs or video footage of the animal(s).

    Activities shall not resume until NMFS is able to review the circumstances of the prohibited take. NMFS will work with Kitsap Transit to determine what measures are necessary to minimize the likelihood of further prohibited take and ensure MMPA compliance. Kitsap Transit may not resume their activities until notified by NMFS.

    In the event Kitsap Transit discovers an injured or dead marine mammal, and the lead observer determines that the cause of the injury or death is unknown and the death is relatively recent (e.g., in less than a moderate state of decomposition), Kitsap Transit shall immediately report the incident to the Office of Protected Resources, NMFS, and the West Coast Region Stranding Coordinator, NMFS.

    The report must include the same information identified in 6(b)(i) of this IHA. Activities may continue while NMFS reviews the circumstances of the incident. NMFS will work with Kitsap Transit to determine whether additional mitigation measures or modifications to the activities are appropriate.

    In the event that Kitsap Transit discovers an injured or dead marine mammal, and the lead observer determines that the injury or death is not associated with or related to the activities authorized in the IHA (e.g., previously wounded animal, carcass with moderate to advanced decomposition, or scavenger damage), Kitsap Transit shall report the incident to the Office of Protected Resources, NMFS, and the West Coast Region Stranding Coordinator, NMFS, within 24 hours of the discovery. Kitsap Transit shall provide photographs or video footage or other documentation of the stranded animal sighting to NMFS.

    This Authorization may be modified, suspended or withdrawn if the holder fails to abide by the conditions prescribed herein, or if NMFS determines the authorized taking is having more than a negligible impact on the species or stock of affected marine mammals.

    Renewals—On a case-by-case basis, NMFS may issue a second one-year IHA without additional notice when (1) another year of identical or nearly identical activities as described in the Specified Activities section is planned or (2) the activities would not be completed by the time the IHA expires and a second IHA would allow for completion of the activities beyond that described in the Dates and Duration section, provided all of the following conditions are met:

    A request for renewal is received no later than 60 days prior to expiration of the current IHA.

    The request for renewal must include the following:

    An explanation that the activities to be conducted beyond the initial dates either are identical to the previously analyzed activities or include changes so minor (e.g., reduction in pile size) that the changes do not affect the previous analyses, take estimates, or mitigation and monitoring requirements.

    A preliminary monitoring report showing the results of the required monitoring to date and an explanation showing that the monitoring results do not indicate impacts of a scale or nature not previously analyzed or authorized.

    Upon review of the request for renewal, the status of the affected species or stocks, and any other pertinent information, NMFS determines that there are no more than minor changes in the activities, the mitigation and monitoring measures remain the same and appropriate, and the original findings remain valid.

    Request for Public Comments

    We request comment on our analyses, the proposed authorization, and any other aspect of this Notice of Proposed IHA for Kitsap Transit's proposed Annapolis Ferry Terminal upgrades. We also request comment on the potential for renewal of this proposed IHA as described in the paragraph below. Please include with your comments any supporting data or literature citations to help inform our final decision on the request for MMPA authorization.

    On a case-by-case basis, NMFS may issue a second one-year IHA without additional notice when (1) another year of identical or nearly identical activities as described in the Specified Activities section is planned or (2) the activities would not be completed by the time the IHA expires and a second IHA would allow for completion of the activities beyond that described in the Dates and Duration section, provided all of the following conditions are met:

    • A request for renewal is received no later than 60 days prior to expiration of the current IHA.

    • The request for renewal must include the following:

    (1) An explanation that the activities to be conducted beyond the initial dates either are identical to the previously analyzed activities or include changes so minor (e.g., reduction in pile size) that the changes do not affect the previous analyses, take estimates, or mitigation and monitoring requirements.

    (2) A preliminary monitoring report showing the results of the required monitoring to date and an explanation showing that the monitoring results do not indicate impacts of a scale or nature not previously analyzed or authorized.

    • Upon review of the request for renewal, the status of the affected species or stocks, and any other pertinent information, NMFS determines that there are no more than minor changes in the activities, the mitigation and monitoring measures remain the same and appropriate, and the original findings remain valid.

    Dated: May 10, 2018. Elaine T. Saiz, Acting Deputy Director, Office of Protected Resources, National Marine Fisheries Service.
    [FR Doc. 2018-10385 Filed 5-15-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-22-P
    DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION Applications for New Award; Center To Improve Social and Emotional Learning and School Safety—Cooperative Agreement AGENCY:

    Office of Elementary and Secondary Education, Department of Education.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The Department of Education (Department) is issuing a notice inviting applications for a new award for fiscal year (FY) 2018 for the Center To Improve Social and Emotional Learning and School Safety (Center)—Cooperative Agreement, Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) number 84.424B.

    DATES:

    Applications Available: May 16, 2018.

    Deadline for Transmittal of Applications: July 2, 2018.

    Deadline for Intergovernmental Review: August 29, 2018.

    ADDRESSES:

    For the addresses for obtaining and submitting an application, please refer to our Common Instructions for Applicants to Department of Education Discretionary Grant Programs, published in the Federal Register on February 12, 2018 (83 FR 6003) and available at www.thefederalregister.org/fdsys/pkg/FR-2018-02-12/pdf/2018-02558.pdf.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Eve Birge, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue SW, Room 3C147, Washington, DC 20202-6450. Telephone: (202) 453-6717. Email: [email protected].

    If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) or a text telephone (TTY), call the Federal Relay Service (FRS), toll free, at 1-800-877-8339.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Full Text of Announcement I. Funding Opportunity Description

    Purpose of Program: The purpose of the Center is to provide technical assistance to support States and districts in the implementation of social and emotional learning evidence-based (as defined in this notice) programs and practices. The Center will enhance the capacity of (1) State educational agencies (SEAs) to support their local educational agencies (LEAs) and (2) LEAs to support their schools.

    Background: The Center will be supported by funds reserved for Title IV, Part A technical assistance and capacity building, pursuant to section 4103(a)(3) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA).1

    1 In December 2015, Congress enacted the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which reauthorized the ESEA. Therefore, for purposes of this notice, unless otherwise indicated, all references to the “ESEA” are to the “ESEA, as amended by the ESSA.”

    Positive social and emotional skills and abilities help students attain and apply knowledge and attitudes that enhance personal development, social relationships, and ethical behavior.2 These skills and abilities help inform how students relate to each other and adults.

    2 Weissberg, R.P., & O'Brien, M.U. (2004). What works in school-based social and emotional learning programs for positive youth development. The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 591(1), 86-97.

    Research shows that how students interact with their peers and teachers, approach their schoolwork, and form beliefs about learning has implications on how they perform in the classroom.3 Evidence-based programs and practices (EBPPs) designed to foster social and emotional learning (SEL) are associated with positive outcomes ranging from better test scores and higher graduation rates to improved social behavior.4

    3 Durlak, J.A., Weissberg, R.P., Dymnicki, A.B., Taylor, R.D. & Schellinger, K.B. (2011). The impact of enhancing students' social and emotional learning: A meta-analysis of school-based universal interventions. Child Development, January/February 2011, Volume 82, Number 1, 405-432. Retrieved at: www.casel.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/meta-analysis-child-development-1.pdf.

    4 Payton, J., Weissberg, R.P., Durlak, J.A., Dymnicki, A.B., Taylor, R.D., Schellinger, K.B., & Pachan, M. (2008). The positive impact of social and emotional learning for kindergarten to eighth-grade students: Findings from three scientific reviews. Chicago, IL: Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning. Retrieved at: www.casel.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/PDF-4-the-positive-impact-of-social-and-emotional-learning-for-kindergarten-to-eighth-grade-students-executive-summary.pdf.

    A recent meta-study of 82 school-based, universal SEL interventions involving nearly 100,000 students found that SEL benefits youth development, including improved social and emotional skills, attitudes, indicators of well-being, and increased graduation rates.5 Benefits were similar regardless of students' race, socioeconomic background, or school location.

    5 Taylor, R.D., Oberle, E., Durlak, J.A., & Weissberg, R.P. (2017). Promoting positive youth development through school-based social and emotional learning interventions: A meta-analysis of follow-up effects. Child Development, 88(4):1156-1171. doi: 10.1111/cdev.12864.

    Another study analyzed the economic impact of six SEL programs and found that on average, every dollar invested yields $11 in long-term benefits, ranging from improved mental and physical health, reduced juvenile crime, and higher lifetime earnings.6

    6 Belfield, C., Bowden, B., Klapp, A., Levin, H., Shand, R., & Zander, S. (2015). The Economic Value of Social and Emotional Learning. New York, NY: Center for Benefit-Cost Studies in Education. Retrieved at: http://cbcse.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/SEL-Revised.pdf.

    But implementation is not always consistent. When there is not adequate training or understanding by implementers, assessment of efficacy, or accountability, it can jeopardize positive student impacts.7 The technical assistance described in this notice will support States and districts by enhancing their capacity to successfully implement EBPPs.

    7 Evans, R., Murphy, S., & Scourfield, J. Implementation of a school-based social and emotional learning intervention: Understanding diffusion processes within complex systems. Prevention Science. 2015;16(5):754-764. doi:10.1007/s11121-015-0552-0.

    For the purpose of this notice inviting applications, SEL includes developing and maintaining positive relationships with peers and adults; using self-control; building social skills, including recognizing and managing emotions in oneself; understanding others' emotions and perspectives; making responsible decisions (i.e., “making good choices”); working effectively in cooperative groups; coping with frustration; reading social cues; resolving interpersonal conflicts; demonstrating compassion and empathy toward others; exercising persistence; building resilience; and developing other SEL skills and abilities.

    Under the ESEA, States have an opportunity to broaden their measures of student success to include SEL measures. LEAs that receive funds under the ESEA Title IV-A Student Support and Academic Enrichment (SSAE) Grants program may, under section 4107(a)(3)(J) of the ESEA, use those funds for SEL activities, including interventions that build resilience, self-control, empathy, persistence, and other social and behavioral skills. The following excerpt is taken from the guidance published by the Department on the SSAE grant program (https://www2.ed.gov/policy/elsec/leg/essa/essassaegrantguid10212016.pdf): “Extensive research, as well as educators' own experiences, shows that school-based SEL programs play an important role in fostering healthy relationships and increasing academic and career success.8 A growing body of research in this field is demonstrating that various tools and practices can enhance students' social and emotional development.9 For example, implementing practices that support students' sense of belonging and value can increase students' academic success.” 10

    8 Durlak, J.A., Weissberg, R.P., Dymnicki, A.B., Taylor, R.D., & Schellinger, K.B. (2011). The impact of enhancing students' social and emotional learning: A meta-analysis of school-based universal interventions. Child Development, 82(1), pp. 405-432. Retrieved at: www.casel.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/meta-analysis-child-development-1.pdf.

    9 CASEL Guide to Effective Social and Emotional Learning Programs (www.casel.org/guide/).

    10 Blackwell, L.A., Trzesniewski, K.H., & Dweck, C.S. (2007). Implicit theories of intelligence and achievement across the junior high school transition: A longitudinal study and an intervention. Child Development, 78, 246-263. Retrieved at: mtoliveboe.org/cmsAdmin/uploads/blackwell-theories-of-intelligence-child-dev-2007.pdf. Cohen, G.L., Garcia, J., Purdie-Vaugns, V., Apfel, N., & Brzustoski, P. (2009). Recursive processes in self-affirmation: Intervening to close the minority achievement gap. Science, 324, 400-403.

    State-level policies are being developed that reflect these competencies, their expansion, and measurement. Forty-five out of fifty-six ESSA State plans submitted to the Department included SEL programming and skill building. Recently released findings of the 2015-2016 School Survey on Crime and Safety revealed that 66.3 percent of all public schools have SEL programs for students.11 Increasingly, schools across the country are implementing SEL 12 as there is increasing awareness about how to support students experiencing violence in their neighborhoods and abuse in their homes, drug and alcohol addiction, and pressure to succeed in school. We anticipate that there will be an increased need for technical assistance and training in order to implement programs effectively and with fidelity.

    11 Diliberti, M., Jackson, M., and Kemp, J. (2017). Crime, Violence, Discipline, and Safety in U.S. Public Schools: Findings from the School Survey on Crime and Safety: 2015-2016 (NCES 2017-122). U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. Washington, DC. Retrieved at: http://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch.

    12 Wanless, S.B. & Domitrovich, C.E. Prevention Science (2015) 16: 1037. Retrieved at: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11121-015-0612-5.

    The Aspen Institute's National Commission on Social, Emotional, and Academic Development released a report in January 2018, How learning happens: Supporting students' social, emotional, and academic development, in which they demonstrate that SEL programming and skill building are inextricably linked to improved academic outcomes and student success; particularly salient is the assertion that professional development and training are essential in order for potential gains to be realized.13 This lends further support to the Department's decision to launch a Center to Improve Social and Emotional Learning and School Safety.

    13 The Aspen Institute National Commission on Social, Emotional, and Academic Development. How Learning Happens: Supporting Students' Social, Emotional, and Academic Development. Retrieved at https://assets.aspeninstitute.org/content/uploads/2018/01/2017_Aspen_InterimReport_Update2.pdf.

    There are many approaches to improving SEL skills and abilities. In order to meet the unique needs and preferences of States and districts, the Center must be able to provide technical assistance on a wide array of approaches. The Center must be able to identify core features of SEL and the components necessary to support implementation so that it can support States and districts with a variety of EBPPs that fit their local contexts. This flexibility and the capacity to accommodate a range of needs and requests can be accomplished, in part, by reviewing the research and evidence and developing a common understanding of the tenets or foundations on which this body of work and assistance can be built.

    Priorities: This notice contains one absolute priority. We are establishing the absolute priority for the FY 2018 grant competition and any subsequent year in which we make awards from the list of unfunded applications from this competition, in accordance with section 437(d)(1) of the General Education Provisions Act (GEPA), 20 U.S.C. 1232(d)(1).

    Absolute Priority: This priority is an absolute priority. Under 34 CFR 75.105(c)(3), we consider only applications that meet this priority.

    This priority is:

    Supporting the Implementation of Social and Emotional Learning Evidence-Based Programs and Practices

    The purpose of the Center is to provide technical assistance to support implementation of social and emotional learning (SEL) evidence-based programs and practices (EBPPs) by enhancing the capacity of (1) SEAs to support their LEAs and (2) LEAs to support their schools.

    To meet this priority, applicants must submit a plan demonstrating that the Center will be designed to—

    (a) Improve skills of SEA personnel to—

    (1) Promote SEL EBPPs through policies, funding mechanisms, and interagency coordination;

    (2) Collect and analyze data to inform decision-making regarding implementation of SEL EBPPs; and

    (3) Develop the capacity, partnerships, and proficiency needed to provide expert technical assistance regarding implementation of SEL EBPPs.

    (b) Improve skills of LEA personnel to—

    (1) Implement SEL EBPPs; and

    (2) Collect and use data to inform decision-making regarding implementation of SEL EBPPs.

    (c) Establish a cadre of subject matter experts to provide training to SEAs and LEAs on how to implement a wide array of SEL EBPPs.

    (d) Develop reliable and valid tools and processes for measuring outcomes and evaluating the fidelity of the implementation of SEL EBPPs.

    (e) Coordinate with other federally funded technical assistance centers, such as the Department's Office of Safe and Healthy Students' (OSHS) National Technical Assistance Center for the Education of Neglected or Delinquent Children and Youth, the Department's Office of Special Education Programs' (OSEP) and OSHS' Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports OSEP Technical Assistance Center, and OSEP's Technical Assistance and Dissemination to Improve Services and Results for Children with Disabilities—Technical Assistance Center on Positive Social, Emotional, and Behavioral Outcomes for Young Children with, and at Risk for, Developmental Delays or Disabilities.

    Fourth and fifth years of the project: In deciding whether to continue funding the project for the fourth and fifth years, the Secretary will consider the requirements of 34 CFR 75.253(a), as well as: (i) The recommendation of a review team consisting of experts selected by the Secretary and convening for a one-day intensive review during the last half of the second year of the project period; (ii) the timeliness with which, and how well, the requirements of the negotiated cooperative agreement have been or are being met by the project; and (iii) the quality, relevance, and usefulness of the project's products and services and the extent to which the project's products and services are aligned with the project's objectives and likely to result in the project achieving its intended outcomes.

    Definitions: The following definitions apply to this competition. The definition of “evidence-based” is from section 8101 of the ESEA. The definitions of “baseline,” “performance measure,” and “performance target” are from 34 CFR 77.1.

    Evidence-based, when used with respect to a State, local educational agency, or school activity, means an activity, strategy, or intervention that—

    (i) Demonstrates a statistically significant effect on improving student outcomes or other relevant outcomes based on—

    (I) Strong evidence from at least one well-designed and well-implemented experimental study;

    (II) Moderate evidence from at least one well-designed and well-implemented quasi-experimental study; or

    (III) Promising evidence from at least one well-designed and well-implemented correlational study with statistical controls for selection bias; or

    (ii)(I) Demonstrates a rationale based on high-quality research findings or positive evaluation that such activity, strategy, or intervention is likely to improve student outcomes or other relevant outcomes; and

    (II) Includes ongoing efforts to examine the effects of such activity, strategy, or intervention.

    Baseline means the starting point from which performance is measured and targets are set.

    Performance measure means any quantitative indicator, statistic, or metric used to gauge program or project performance.

    Performance target means a level of performance that an applicant would seek to meet during the course of a project or as a result of a project.

    Waiver of Proposed Rulemaking: Under the Administrative Procedure Act (5 U.S.C. 553), the Department generally offers interested parties the opportunity to comment on proposed priorities and application requirements. Section 437(d)(1) of GEPA, however, allows the Secretary to exempt from rulemaking requirements, regulations governing the first grant competition under a new or substantially revised program authority. This is the first grant competition for this program under Title IV, Part A (section 4103 of the ESEA) and therefore qualifies for this exemption. In order to ensure timely grant awards, the Secretary has decided to forgo public comment on the absolute priority and application requirements under section 437(d)(1) of GEPA. This priority and the application requirements will apply to the FY 2018 grant competition and any subsequent year in which we make awards from the list of unfunded applications from this competition.

    Program Authority: This grant program is authorized by Title IV, Part A, Subpart 1 (4103(3), 20 U.S.C. 7113(3)).

    Applicable Regulations: (a) The Education Department General Administrative Regulations (EDGAR) in 34 CFR parts, 75, 77, 79, 81, 82, 84, 86, 97, 98, and 99. (b) The Office of Management and Budget Guidelines to Agencies on Governmentwide Debarment and Suspension (Nonprocurement) in 2 CFR part 180, as adopted and amended as regulations of the Department in 2 CFR part 3485. (c) The Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards in 2 CFR part 200, as adopted and amended as regulations of the Department in 2 CFR part 3474. (d) The regulations in 34 CFR part 299.

    II. Award Information

    Type of Award: Cooperative agreement.

    Estimated Available Funds: $1,000,000.

    Estimated Award: $1,000,000 per year for up to 5 years.

    Estimated Number of Awards: 1.

    Note:

    The Department is not bound by any estimates in this notice.

    Project Period: Up to 60 months.

    III. Eligibility Information

    1. Eligible Applicants: Public agencies and private nonprofit or for-profit organizations, including institutions of higher education, with the demonstrated ability and capacity to carry out the activities described in this notice.

    2. Cost Sharing or Matching: This program does not require cost sharing or matching.

    3. Subgrantees: Under 34 CFR 75.708(b) and (c) a grantee under this competition may award subgrants—to directly carry out project activities described in its application—to the following types of entities: Local educational agencies, State educational agencies, institutions of higher education, and nonprofit organizations. The grantee may award subgrants to entities it has identified in an approved application or that it selects through a competition under procedures established by the grantee.

    4. Participation of Faith-based Organizations: Faith-based organizations are eligible to apply for grants under this competition provided they meet all statutory and regulatory requirements.

    IV. Application and Submission Information

    1. Application Submission Instructions: For information on how to submit an application please refer to our Common Instructions for Applicants to Department of Education Discretionary Grant Programs, published in the Federal Register on February 12, 2018 (83 FR 6003) and available at www.thefederalregister.org/fdsys/pkg/FR-2018-02-12/pdf/2018-02558.pdf.

    2. Intergovernmental Review: This program is subject to Executive Order 12372 and the regulations in 34 CFR part 79. Information about Intergovernmental Review of Federal Programs under Executive Order 12372 is in the application package for this program.

    3. Funding Restrictions: We reference regulations outlining funding restrictions in the Applicable Regulations section of this notice.

    V. Application Review Information

    1. Selection Criteria and Application Requirements: The selection criteria for this competition are from 34 CFR 75.210. We are establishing the application requirements accompanying the selection criteria for the FY 2018 grant competition and any subsequent year in which we make awards from the list of unfunded applications from this competition, in accordance with section 437(d)(1) of GEPA, 20 U.S.C. 1232(d)(1).

    The maximum score for addressing all of the selection criteria is 100 points. The points assigned to each criterion are indicated in parentheses following the criterion. Non-Federal peer reviewers will review each application and score each program narrative against the following selection criteria:

    (a) Significance of the Project (up to 30 points)

    The Secretary considers the significance of the proposed project. In determining the significance of the proposed project, the Secretary considers the following factors:

    (i) The extent to which the proposed project is likely to build local capacity to provide, improve, or expand services that address the needs of the target population. (10 points)

    (ii) The importance or magnitude of the results or outcomes likely to be attained by the proposed project. (10 points)

    (iii) The likelihood that the proposed project will result in system change or improvement. (10 points)

    In addressing this criterion, an applicant must describe, in the narrative section of the application under “Significance of the Project,” how the proposed project will—

    (1) Address the current and emerging needs of SEAs and LEAs to implement, scale-up, and sustain SEL EBPPs as evidenced by the ability and capacity to (i) present applicable national, State, regional, or local data demonstrating the needs of SEAs and LEAs to implement, scale-up, and sustain SEL EBPPs; and (ii) demonstrate knowledge of current policy initiatives and issues relating to implementing, scaling, and sustaining SEL EBPPs within the context of school improvement efforts; and

    (2) Result in (i) improved quality of SEL programming implementation; and (ii) increased scale-up of program implementation in LEAs and SEAs over the course of the project period.

    (b) Quality of Project Services (up to 35 points)

    The Secretary considers the quality of the services to be provided by the proposed project.

    (i) In determining the quality of the services to be provided by the proposed project, the Secretary considers the quality and sufficiency of strategies for ensuring equal access and treatment for eligible project participants who are members of groups that have traditionally been underrepresented based on race, color, national origin, gender, age, or disability. (5 points)

    In addition, the Secretary considers the following factors:

    (ii) The extent to which the goals, objectives, and outcomes to be achieved by the proposed project are clearly specified and measurable. (15 points)

    (iii) The extent to which the technical assistance services to be provided by the proposed project involve the use of efficient strategies, including the use of technology, as appropriate, and the leveraging of non-project resources. (15 points)

    In addressing this criterion, an applicant must describe, in the narrative section of the application under “Quality of Project Services,” how the proposed project will—

    (1) Ensure equal access and treatment for members of groups that have traditionally been underrepresented based on race, color, national origin, linguistic diversity, gender, age, or disability; in addition to vulnerable populations such as students that have had contact with the child welfare or juvenile justice systems or who have experienced homelessness. For example, describe the process that will be used to (i) identify the needs of the intended recipients for technical assistance and information; and (ii) ensure that services and products meet the needs of the intended recipients;

    (2) Achieve its goals, objectives, and intended outcomes. Evidence to address this includes (i) measurable intended project outcomes; and (ii) the theory of action on how the proposed project will achieve the intended project outcomes;

    (3) Use a conceptual framework to guide the development of project plans and activities, describing any underlying concepts, assumptions, expectations, beliefs, or theories, as well as the presumed relationship or linkages among these variables, and any empirical support for this framework;

    (4) Develop products and provide services that are of sufficient quality, intensity, and duration to achieve the intended outcomes of the proposed project. For example, describe (i) proposed activities to identify, develop, or expand the knowledge base of researchers, trainers, technical assistance providers, and practitioners; (ii) proposed approach to general technical assistance, including the intended recipients of the products and services under this approach; (iii) proposed approach to targeted technical assistance, including the intended recipients of the products and services, and its proposed approach to measure the readiness of potential recipients to work with the project, including their infrastructure, available resources, and ability to build capacity; and (iv) proposed approach to intensive, sustained technical assistance, including the intended recipients of the products and services under this approach;

    (5) Develop products and implement services to maximize the project's efficiency. For example, describe (i) how the proposed project will use technology to achieve the intended project outcomes; (ii) how the proposed project will collaborate with other related centers supported by the Department; (iii) with whom the proposed project will collaborate and the intended outcomes of this collaboration; and (iv) how the proposed project will use non-project resources effectively to achieve the intended project outcomes; and

    (6) Maintain a website that meets government or industry-recognized standards for accessibility.

    (c) Quality of the Evaluation Plan (up to 10 points)

    The Secretary considers the quality of the evaluation to be conducted of the proposed project. In determining the quality of the evaluation, the Secretary considers the following factors:

    (i) The extent to which the methods of evaluation are thorough, feasible, and appropriate to the goals, objectives, and outcomes of the proposed project. (5 points)

    (ii) The extent to which the methods of evaluation will provide performance feedback and permit periodic assessment of progress toward achieving intended outcomes. (5 points)

    In addressing this criterion, an applicant must describe, in the narrative section of the application under “Quality of the Evaluation Plan,” how—

    (1) The proposed project will collect and analyze data related to specific and measurable goals, objectives, and intended outcomes of the project. Evidence to address this includes (i) proposed evaluation methodologies, including instruments, data collection methods, and possible analyses; (ii) proposed standards or targets for determining effectiveness; and (iii) proposed methods for collecting data on implementation supports and fidelity of implementation;

    (2) The proposed project will use the evaluation results to examine the effectiveness of the project's implementation strategies and the progress toward achieving intended outcomes;

    (3) The methods of evaluation will produce quantitative and qualitative data that demonstrate whether the project achieved the intended outcomes; and

    (4) The proposed project will identify key components (i.e., the active “ingredients” that are hypothesized to be critical to achieving the relevant outcomes) through the depiction of a logic model that lays out the goals, activities, outputs, and outcomes of the proposed project.

    (d) Quality of the Management Plan (up to 25 points)

    The Secretary considers the quality of the management plan for the proposed project. In determining the quality of the management plan for the proposed project, the Secretary considers the following factors:

    (i) The adequacy of the management plan to achieve the objectives of the proposed project on time and within budget, including clearly defined responsibilities, timelines, and milestones for accomplishing project tasks. (10 points)

    (ii) The adequacy of mechanisms for ensuring high-quality products and services from the proposed project. (10 points)

    (iii) How the applicant will ensure that a diversity of perspectives are brought to bear in the operation of the proposed project, including those of parents, teachers, the business community, a variety of disciplinary and professional fields, recipients or beneficiaries of services, or others, as appropriate. (5 points)

    In addressing this criterion, an applicant must describe, in the narrative section of the application under “Quality of the Management Plan,” how—

    (1) The proposed management plan will ensure that the project's intended outcomes will be achieved on time and within budget. For example, clearly define and describe (i) responsibilities for key project personnel, consultants, and subcontractors, as appropriate; and (ii) timelines and milestones for accomplishing the project tasks, recognizing the proposed project period spans up to 60 months;

    (2) Key project personnel and any consultants and subcontractors will be allocated to the project and demonstrate the appropriateness and adequacy of these time allocations to achieve the project's intended outcomes;

    (3) The proposed management plan will ensure that the products and services provided are of high quality, including the method and regularity by which quantitative data will be collected on the scope and frequency of product use and the role(s) of users;

    (4) The proposed project will benefit from a diversity of perspectives, including families, educators, technical assistance providers, researchers, and policy makers, among others, in its development and operation; and

    (5) The proposed costs are reasonable in relation to the anticipated results and benefits.

    2. Review and Selection Process: We remind potential applicants that in reviewing applications in any discretionary grant competition, the Secretary may consider, under 34 CFR 75.217(d)(3), the past performance of the applicant in carrying out a previous award, such as the applicant's use of funds, achievement of project objectives, and compliance with grant conditions. The Secretary may also consider whether the applicant failed to submit a timely performance report or submitted a report of unacceptable quality.

    In addition, in making a competitive grant award, the Secretary requires various assurances including those applicable to Federal civil rights laws that prohibit discrimination in programs or activities receiving Federal financial assistance from the Department (34 CFR 100.4, 104.5, 106.4, 108.8, and 110.23).

    3. Risk Assessment and Specific Conditions: Consistent with 2 CFR 200.205, before awarding grants under this competition the Department conducts a review of the risks posed by applicants. Under 2 CFR 3474.10, the Secretary may impose specific conditions and, in appropriate circumstances, high-risk conditions on a grant if the applicant or grantee is not financially stable; has a history of unsatisfactory performance; has a financial or other management system that does not meet the standards in 2 CFR part 200, subpart D; has not fulfilled the conditions of a prior grant; or is otherwise not responsible.

    4. Integrity and Performance System: If you are selected under this competition to receive an award that over the course of the project period may exceed the simplified acquisition threshold (currently $150,000), under 2 CFR 200.205(a)(2) we must make a judgment about your integrity, business ethics, and record of performance under Federal awards—that is, the risk posed by you as an applicant—before we make an award. In doing so, we must consider any information about you that is in the integrity and performance system (currently referred to as the Federal Awardee Performance and Integrity Information System (FAPIIS)), accessible through the System for Award Management. You may review and comment on any information about yourself that a Federal agency previously entered and that is currently in FAPIIS.

    Please note that, if the total value of your currently active grants, cooperative agreements, and procurement contracts from the Federal Government exceeds $10,000,000, the reporting requirements in 2 CFR part 200, Appendix XII, require you to report certain integrity information to FAPIIS semiannually. Please review the requirements in 2 CFR part 200, Appendix XII, if this grant plus all the other Federal funds you receive exceed $10,000,000.

    VI. Award Administration Information

    1. Award Notices: If your application is successful, we notify your U.S. Representative and U.S. Senators and send you a Grant Award Notification (GAN); or we may send you an email containing a link to access an electronic version of your GAN. We may notify you informally, also.

    If your application is not evaluated or not selected for funding, we notify you.

    2. Administrative and National Policy Requirements: We identify administrative and national policy requirements in the application package and reference these and other requirements in the Applicable Regulations section of this notice.

    We reference the regulations outlining the terms and conditions of an award in the Applicable Regulations section of this notice and include these and other specific conditions in the GAN. The GAN also incorporates your approved application as part of your binding commitments under the grant.

    3. Open Licensing Requirements: Unless an exception applies, if you are awarded a grant under this competition, you will be required to openly license to the public grant deliverables created in whole, or in part, with Department grant funds. When the deliverable consists of modifications to pre-existing works, the license extends only to those modifications that can be separately identified and only to the extent that open licensing is permitted under the terms of any licenses or other legal restrictions on the use of pre-existing works. Additionally, a grantee or subgrantee that is awarded competitive grant funds must have a plan to disseminate these public grant deliverables. This dissemination plan can be developed and submitted after your application has been reviewed and selected for funding. For additional information on the open licensing requirements please refer to 2 CFR 3474.20(c).

    4. Reporting: (a) If you apply for a grant under this competition, you must ensure that you have in place the necessary processes and systems to comply with the reporting requirements in 2 CFR part 170 should you receive funding under the competition. This does not apply if you have an exception under 2 CFR 170.110(b).

    (b) At the end of your project period, you must submit a final performance report, including financial information, as directed by the Secretary. If you receive a multiyear award, you must submit an annual performance report that provides the most current performance and financial expenditure information as directed by the Secretary under 34 CFR 75.118. The Secretary may also require more frequent performance reports under 34 CFR 75.720(c). For specific requirements on reporting, please go to www.ed.gov/fund/grant/apply/appforms/appforms.html.

    5. Performance Measures:

    (a) Program performance measures. The Department has established the following performance measures for assessing the effectiveness of the Center to Improve Social and Emotional Learning and School Safety—Cooperative Agreement:

    • The number of training and technical assistance events provided by the Center to SEAs and LEAs.

    • The percentage of training and technical assistance services and products provided by the Center to SEAs and LEAs that are deemed to be useful through an independent expert review.

    • For a representative sample of LEAs that receive training or technical assistance, the percentage of LEAs in which SEL EBPPs are implemented in schools with fidelity as determined through an independent expert review.

    (b) Performance measure targets. The applicant must propose in the application annual targets for the measures listed in paragraph (a). As directed under 34 CFR 75.110(b), applicants must include why each proposed performance target is ambitious yet achievable compared to the baseline for the performance measure.

    (c) As required under 34 CFR 75.110(c), the applicant must also describe:

    (1) The data collection and reporting methods the applicant would use and why those methods are likely to yield reliable, valid, and meaningful performance data; and

    (2) The applicant's capacity to collect and report reliable, valid, and meaningful performance data, as evidenced by high-quality data collection, analysis, and reporting in other projects or research.

    Note:

    If the applicant does not have experience with collection and reporting of performance data through other projects or research, the applicant should provide other evidence of capacity to successfully carry out data collection and reporting for its proposed project. The reviewers of each application will score related selection criteria on the basis of how well an applicant has considered the requirements in paragraphs (a), (b), and (c) in conceptualizing the approach and evaluation of the project.

    The grantee must submit an annual performance report and final performance report with information that is responsive to the performance measures. The Department will consider these data in making annual continuation awards.

    Consistent with 34 CFR 75.591, the grantee funded under this program shall comply with the requirements of any evaluation of the program conducted by the Department or an evaluator selected by the Department.

    6. Continuation Awards: In making a continuation award under 34 CFR 75.253, the Secretary considers, among other things: Whether a grantee has made substantial progress in achieving the goals and objectives of the project; whether the grantee has expended funds in a manner that is consistent with its approved application and budget; and, if the Secretary has established performance measurement requirements, the performance targets in the grantee's approved application.

    In making a continuation award, the Secretary also considers whether the grantee is operating in compliance with the assurances in its approved application, including those applicable to Federal civil rights laws that prohibit discrimination in programs or activities receiving Federal financial assistance from the Department (34 CFR 100.4, 104.5, 106.4, 108.8, and 110.23).

    VII. Other Information

    Accessible Format: Individuals with disabilities can obtain this document and a copy of the application package in an accessible format (e.g., braille, large print, audiotape, or compact disc) on request to the program contact person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT.

    Electronic Access to This Document: The official version of this document is the document published in the Federal Register. You may access the official edition of the Federal Register and the Code of Federal Regulations via the Federal Digital System at: www.thefederalregister.org/fdsys. At this site you can view this document, as well as all other documents of this Department published in the Federal Register, in text or Portable Document Format (PDF). To use PDF you must have Adobe Acrobat Reader, which is available free at the site.

    You may also access documents of the Department published in the Federal Register by using the article search feature at: www.federalregister.gov. Specifically, through the advanced search feature at this site, you can limit your search to documents published by the Department.

    Dated: May 11, 2018. Jason Botel, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, Delegated the Authority to Perform the Functions and Duties of the Assistant Secretary of Elementary and Secondary Education.
    [FR Doc. 2018-10474 Filed 5-15-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4000-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION Applications for New Awards; Fulbright-Hays Group Projects Abroad Program AGENCY:

    Office of Postsecondary Education, Department of Education.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The Department of Education is issuing a notice inviting applications for fiscal year (FY) 2018 for the Fulbright-Hays Group Projects Abroad (GPA) program, Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) number 84.021A.

    DATES:

    Applications Available: May 16, 2018.

    Deadline for Transmittal of Applications: July 5, 2018.

    ADDRESSES:

    For the addresses for obtaining and submitting an application, please refer to our Common Instructions for Applicants to Department of Education Discretionary Grant Programs, published in the Federal Register on February 12, 2018 (83 FR 6003) and available at www.thefederalregister.org/fdsys/pkg/FR-2018-02-12/pdf/2018-02558.pdf.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Carla White, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue SW, Room 258-22, Washington, DC 20202. Telephone: (202) 453-6304. Email: [email protected]

    If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) or a text telephone (TTY), call the Federal Relay Service (FRS), toll free, at 1-800-877-8339.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Full Text of Announcement I. Funding Opportunity Description

    Purpose of Program: The purpose of the Fulbright-Hays GPA program is to promote, improve, and develop modern foreign languages and area studies at varying levels of education. The program provides opportunities for faculty, teachers, and undergraduate and graduate students to conduct individual and group projects overseas to carry out research and study in the fields of modern foreign languages and area studies. This competition will support both Fulbright-Hays GPA short-term projects (GPA short-term projects) and Fulbright-Hays GPA long-term projects (GPA long-term projects).

    There are three types of GPA short-term projects: (1) Short-term seminar projects of four to six weeks in length designed to increase the linguistic or cultural competency of U.S. students and educators by focusing on a particular aspect of area study, such as the culture of an area or country of study (34 CFR 664.11); (2) curriculum development projects of four to eight weeks in length that provide participants an opportunity to acquire resource materials for curriculum development in modern foreign language and area studies for use and dissemination in the United States (34 CFR 664.12); and (3) group research or study projects of three to twelve months in duration designed to give participants the opportunity to undertake research or study in a foreign country (34 CFR 664.13).

    GPA long-term projects are advanced overseas intensive language projects that may be carried out during a full year, an academic year, a semester, a trimester, a quarter, or a summer. GPA long-term projects are designed to take advantage of the opportunities in the foreign country that are not present in the United States when providing intensive advanced foreign language training. Only participants who have successfully completed at least two academic years of training in the language to be studied are eligible for language training under this program. In addition, the language to be studied must be indigenous to the host country and maximum use must be made of local institutions and personnel (34 CFR 664.14).

    Applicants may submit only one GPA short-term or GPA long-term application under this notice and must identify whether they are applying for a GPA short-term project or a GPA long-term project grant.

    Priorities: This notice contains one absolute priority and four competitive preference priorities. In accordance with 34 CFR 75.105(b)(2)(ii), the absolute priority is from the regulations for this program (34 CFR 664.32). Competitive Preference Priorities 1 and 2 are from the notice of final priorities and definitions published in the Federal Register on June 16, 2016 (81 FR 39196). Competitive Preference Priority 3 is from the regulations for this program (34 CFR 664.32), and Competitive Preference Priority 4 is from the notice of final priorities published in the Federal Register on September 24, 2010 (75 FR 59050).

    Absolute Priority: For FY 2018 and any subsequent year in which we make awards from the list of unfunded applications from this competition, this priority is an absolute priority. Under 34 CFR 75.105(c)(3), we consider only applications that meet this priority.

    This priority is:

    Specific Geographic Regions of the World.

    A group project that focuses on one or more of the following geographic regions of the world: Africa, East Asia, South Asia, Southeast Asia and the Pacific, the Western Hemisphere (Central and South America, Mexico, and the Caribbean), Eastern and Central Europe and Eurasia, and the Near East.

    Competitive Preference Priorities: For FY 2018, these priorities are competitive preference priorities. Under 34 CFR 75.105(c)(2)(i), we award three additional points to an application that meets Competitive Preference Priority 1; two additional points to an application that meets Competitive Preference Priority 2; two additional points to an application that meets Competitive Preference Priority 3; and two points to an application that meets Competitive Preference Priority 4. Applicants for GPA short-term projects may address Competitive Preference Priorities 1, 3, and 4. Applicants for GPA long-term projects may address Competitive Preference Priorities 2 and 3. An applicant must identify the priority or priorities that it believes it meets and provide documentation supporting its claims.

    These priorities are:

    Competitive Preference Priority 1—Applications for GPA Short-Term Projects From Selected Institutions and Organizations (3 Points).

    Applications for GPA short-term projects from the following types of institutions and organizations:

    • Minority-Serving Institutions (MSIs) • Community colleges • New applicants • State educational agencies Competitive Preference Priority 2—Applications for GPA Long-Term Projects From MSIs (2 Points).

    Applications for GPA long-term advanced overseas intensive language training projects from MSIs.

    Competitive Preference Priority 3—Substantive Training and Thematic Focus on Less Commonly Taught Languages (2 Points).

    Applications that propose GPA short-term projects or GPA long-term projects that provide substantive training and thematic focus on any modern foreign language except French, German, or Spanish.

    Competitive Preference Priority 4—Inclusion of K-12 Educators (2 Points).

    Applications that propose short-term projects abroad that develop and improve foreign language studies, area studies, or both at elementary and secondary schools by including K-12 teachers or K-12 administrators as at least 50 percent of the project participants.

    Definitions: The following definitions are from the notice of final priorities and definitions published in the Federal Register on June 16, 2016 (81 FR 39196) and are designed to provide clarity for applicants addressing the competitive preference priorities.

    Community college means an institution that meets the definition in section 312(f) of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended (HEA) (20 U.S.C. 1058(f)); or an institution of higher education (IHE) (as defined in section 101 of the HEA (20 U.S.C. 1001)) that awards degrees and certificates, more than 50 percent of which are not bachelor's degrees (or an equivalent).

    Minority-serving institution (MSI) means an institution that is eligible to receive assistance under sections 316 through 320 of part A of title III, under part B of title III, or under title V of the HEA.

    New applicant means any applicant that has not received a discretionary grant from the Department of Education under the Fulbright-Hays Act prior to the deadline date for applications under this program.

    State educational agency means the State board of education or other agency or officer primarily responsible for the supervision of public elementary and secondary schools in a State. In the absence of this officer or agency, it is an officer or agency designated by the Governor or State law.

    Program Authority: 22 U.S.C. 2452(b)(6).

    Applicable Regulations: (a) The Education Department General Administrative Regulations in 34 CFR parts 75, 77, 81, 82, 84, 86, 97, 98, and 99. (b) The Office of Management and Budget Guidelines to Agencies on Governmentwide Debarment and Suspension (Nonprocurement) in 2 CFR part 180, as adopted and amended as regulations of the Department in 2 CFR part 3485. (c) The Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards in 2 CFR part 200, as adopted and amended as regulations of the Department in 2 CFR part 3474. (d) The regulations for this program in 34 CFR part 664. (e) The notice of final priorities and definitions published in the Federal Register on June 16, 2016 (81 FR 39196). (f) The notice of final priorities for this program published in the Federal Register on September 24, 2010 (75 FR 59050).

    Note:

    The regulations in 34 CFR part 86 apply to IHEs only.

    II. Award Information

    Type of Award: Discretionary grants.

    Estimated Available Funds: $2,792,440.

    Contingent upon the availability of funds and the quality of applications, we may make additional awards in FY 2018 from the list of unfunded applications from this competition.

    Estimated Range of Awards:

    GPA short-term projects: $50,000-$100,000.

    GPA long-term projects: $50,000-$250,000.

    Estimated Average Size of Awards:

    GPA short-term projects: $80,059.

    GPA long-term projects: $185,025.

    Maximum Award: We will not make a GPA short-term award exceeding $100,000 for a single project period of 18 months. We will not make a GPA long-term project award exceeding $250,000 for a single budget period of 24 months.

    Estimated Number of Awards: 25.

    GPA short-term projects: 10.

    GPA long-term projects: 15.

    Note:

    The Department is not bound by any estimates in this notice.

    Project Period:

    GPA short-term projects: Up to 18 months.

    GPA long-term projects: Up to 24 months.

    III. Eligibility Information

    1. Eligible Applicants: (1) IHEs, (2) State departments of education, (3) Private nonprofit educational organizations, and (4) Consortia of these entities.

    Eligible Participants: Citizens, nationals, or permanent residents of the United States, who are (1) faculty members who teach modern foreign languages or area studies in an IHE, (2) teachers in elementary or secondary schools, (3) experienced education administrators responsible for planning, conducting, or supervising programs in modern foreign language or area studies at the elementary, secondary, or postsecondary levels, or (4) graduate students, or juniors or seniors in an IHE, who plan teaching careers in modern foreign languages or area studies.

    2. Cost Sharing or Matching: This program does not require cost sharing or matching.

    3. Subgrantees: A grantee under this competition may not award subgrants to entities to directly carry out project activities described in its application.

    IV. Application and Submission Information

    1. Application Submission Instructions: For information on how to submit an application please refer to our Common Instructions for Applicants to Department of Education Discretionary Grant Programs, published in the Federal Register on February 12, 2018 (83 FR 6003) and available at www.thefederalregister.org/fdsys/pkg/FR-2018-02-12/pdf/2018-02558.pdf.

    2. Intergovernmental Review: This program is not subject to Executive Order 12372 and the regulations in 34 CFR part 79.

    3. Funding Restrictions: We specify unallowable costs in 34 CFR 664.33. We reference additional regulations outlining funding restrictions in the Applicable Regulations section of this notice.

    4. Recommended Page Limit: The application narrative (Part III) is where you, the applicant, address the selection criteria that reviewers use to evaluate your application. We recommend that you (1) limit the application narrative to no more than 40 pages and (2) use the following standards:

    • A “page” is 8.5″ x 11″, on one side only, with 1″ margins at the top, bottom, and both sides.

    • Double space (no more than three lines per vertical inch) all text in the application narrative, including titles, headings, footnotes, quotations, references, and captions, as well as all text in charts, tables, figures, and graphs.

    • Use a font that is either 12 point or larger, or no smaller than 10 pitch (characters per inch).

    • Use one of the following fonts: Times New Roman, Courier, Courier New, or Arial.

    The recommended 40-page limit does not apply to Part I, the Application for Federal Assistance face sheet (SF 424); the supplemental information form required by the Department of Education; Part II, Budget Information—Non-Construction Programs (ED 524); Part IV, assurances, certifications, and the response to section 427 of the General Education Provisions Act; the table of contents; the one-page project abstract; the appendices; or the line-item budget. However, the recommended page limit does apply to all of the application narrative.

    V. Application Review Information

    1. Selection Criteria: The selection criteria for this program are from 34 CFR 664.31 and are as follows:

    (a) Plan of operation. (20 points)

    (1) The Secretary reviews each application for information to determine the quality of the plan of operation for the project.

    (2) The Secretary looks for information that shows—

    (i) High quality in the design of the project;

    (ii) An effective plan of management that insures proper and efficient administration of the project;

    (iii) A clear description of how the objectives of the project relate to the purpose of the program;

    (iv) The way the applicant plans to use its resources and personnel to achieve each objective; and

    (v) A clear description of how the applicant will ensure that project participants who are otherwise eligible to participate are selected without regard to race, color, national origin, gender, age, or handicapping condition.

    (b) Quality of key personnel. (10 points)

    (1) The Secretary reviews each application for information to determine the quality of key personnel the applicant plans to use on the project.

    (2) The Secretary looks for information that shows—

    (i) The qualifications of the project director;

    (ii) The qualifications of each of the other key personnel to be used in the project;

    (iii) The time that each person referred to in paragraphs (b)(2)(i) and (ii) of this section will commit to the project; and

    (iv) The extent to which the applicant, as part of its nondiscriminatory employment practices, will ensure that its personnel are selected for employment without regard to race, color, national origin, gender, age, or handicapping condition.

    (3) To determine the qualifications of a person, the Secretary considers evidence of past experience and training in fields related to the objectives of the project as well as other information that the applicant provides.

    (c) Budget and cost effectiveness. (10 points)

    (1) The Secretary reviews each application for information that shows that the project has an adequate budget and is cost effective.

    (2) The Secretary looks for information that shows—

    (i) The budget for the project is adequate to support the project activities; and

    (ii) Costs are reasonable in relation to the objectives of the project.

    (d) Evaluation plan. (20 points)

    (1) The Secretary reviews each application for information that shows the quality of the evaluation plan for the project.

    (2) The Secretary looks for information that shows that the methods of evaluation are appropriate for the project and, to the extent possible, are objective and produce data that are quantifiable.

    (e) Adequacy of resources. (5 points)

    (1) The Secretary reviews each application for information that shows that the applicant plans to devote adequate resources to the project.

    (2) The Secretary looks for information that shows that the facilities, equipment, and supplies that the applicant plans to use are adequate.

    (f) Potential impact of the project on the development of the study of modern foreign languages and area studies in American education. (15 points)

    (g) The project's relevance to the applicant's educational goals and its relationship to its program development in modern foreign languages and area studies. (10 points)

    (h) The extent to which direct experience abroad is necessary to achieve the project's objectives and the effectiveness with which relevant host country resources will be utilized. (10 points)

    2. Review and Selection Process: We remind potential applicants that in reviewing applications in any discretionary grant competition, the Secretary may consider, under 34 CFR 75.217(d)(3), the past performance of the applicant in carrying out a previous award, such as the applicant's use of funds, achievement of project objectives, and compliance with grant conditions. The Secretary may also consider whether the applicant failed to submit a timely performance report or submitted a report of unacceptable quality.

    In addition, in making a competitive grant award, the Secretary requires various assurances including those applicable to Federal civil rights laws that prohibit discrimination in programs or activities receiving Federal financial assistance from the Department (34 CFR 100.4, 104.5, 106.4, 108.8, and 110.23).

    For FY 2018, GPA short-term project applications will be reviewed by separate panels according to world area. GPA long-term project applications will be reviewed by one panel. A rank order from the highest panel score to the lowest score will be developed for each of the two types of projects and will be used for funding purposes.

    3. Risk Assessment and Specific Conditions: Consistent with 2 CFR 200.205, before awarding grants under this competition the Department conducts a review of the risks posed by applicants. Under 2 CFR 3474.10, the Secretary may impose specific conditions and, in appropriate circumstances, high-risk conditions on a grant if the applicant or grantee is not financially stable; has a history of unsatisfactory performance; has a financial or other management system that does not meet the standards in 2 CFR part 200, subpart D; has not fulfilled the conditions of a prior grant; or is otherwise not responsible.

    4. Integrity and Performance System: If you are selected under this competition to receive an award that over the course of the project period may exceed the simplified acquisition threshold (currently $150,000), under 2 CFR 200.205(a)(2) we must make a judgment about your integrity, business ethics, and record of performance under Federal awards—that is, the risk posed by you as an applicant—before we make an award. In doing so, we must consider any information about you that is in the integrity and performance system (currently referred to as the Federal Awardee Performance and Integrity Information System (FAPIIS)), accessible through the System for Award Management. You may review and comment on any information about yourself that a Federal agency previously entered and that is currently in FAPIIS.

    Please note that, if the total value of your currently active grants, cooperative agreements, and procurement contracts from the Federal Government exceeds $10,000,000, the reporting requirements in 2 CFR part 200, Appendix XII, require you to report certain integrity information to FAPIIS semiannually. Please review the requirements in 2 CFR part 200, Appendix XII, if this grant plus all the other Federal funds you receive exceed $10,000,000.

    VI. Award Administration Information

    1. Award Notices: If your application is successful, we notify your U.S. Representative and U.S. Senators and send you a Grant Award Notification (GAN); or we may send you an email containing a link to access an electronic version of your GAN. We may notify you informally, also.

    If your application is not evaluated or not selected for funding, we notify you.

    2. Administrative and National Policy Requirements: We identify administrative and national policy requirements in the application package and reference these and other requirements in the Applicable Regulations section of this notice.

    We reference the regulations outlining the terms and conditions of an award in the Applicable Regulations section of this notice and include these and other specific conditions in the GAN. The GAN also incorporates your approved application as part of your binding commitments under the grant.

    3. Open Licensing Requirements: Unless an exception applies, if you are awarded a grant under this competition, you will be required to openly license to the public grant deliverables created in whole, or in part, with Department grant funds. When the deliverable consists of modifications to pre-existing works, the license extends only to those modifications that can be separately identified and only to the extent that open licensing is permitted under the terms of any licenses or other legal restrictions on the use of pre-existing works. Additionally, a grantee or subgrantee that is awarded competitive grant funds must have a plan to disseminate these public grant deliverables. This dissemination plan can be developed and submitted after your application has been reviewed and selected for funding. For additional information on the open licensing requirements please refer to 2 CFR 3474.20.

    4. Reporting: (a) If you apply for a grant under this competition, you must ensure that you have in place the necessary processes and systems to comply with the reporting requirements in 2 CFR part 170 should you receive funding under the competition. This does not apply if you have an exception under 2 CFR 170.110(b).

    (b) At the end of your project period, you must submit a final performance report, including financial information, as directed by the Secretary. If you receive a multiyear award, you must submit an annual performance report that provides the most current performance and financial expenditure information as directed by the Secretary under 34 CFR 75.118. The Secretary may also require more frequent performance reports under 34 CFR 75.720(c). For specific requirements on reporting, please go to www.ed.gov/fund/grant/apply/appforms/appforms.html.

    5. Performance Measures: Under the Government Performance and Results Act of 1993, the following measure will be used by the Department to evaluate the success of the GPA short-term program: The percentage of GPA short-term project participants who disseminated information about or materials from their group project abroad through more than one outreach activity within six months of returning to their home institution. The following measure will be used by the Department to evaluate the success of the GPA long-term program: The percentage of GPA long-term project participants who increased their reading, writing, and/or listening/speaking foreign language scores by one proficiency level. The efficiency of the GPA long-term program will be measured by considering the cost per GPA participant who increased his/her foreign language score in reading, writing, and/or listening/speaking by at least one proficiency level.

    The information provided by grantees in their performance reports submitted via the International Resource Information System (IRIS) will be the source of data for this measure. Reporting screens for institutions can be viewed at: http://iris.ed.gov/iris/pdfs/gpa_director.pdf and http://iris.ed.gov/iris/pdfs/gpa_participant.pdf.

    VII. Other Information

    Accessible Format: Individuals with disabilities can obtain this document and a copy of the application package in an accessible format (e.g., braille, large print, audiotape, or compact disc) on request to the program contact person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT.

    Electronic Access to This Document: The official version of this document is the document published in the Federal Register. You may access the official edition of the Federal Register and the Code of Federal Regulations via the Federal Digital System at: www.thefederalregister.org/fdsys. At this site you can view this document, as well as all other documents of this Department published in the Federal Register, in text or portable document format (PDF). To use PDF you must have Adobe Acrobat Reader, which is available free at the site.

    You may also access documents of the Department published in the Federal Register by using the article search feature at: www.federalregister.gov. Specifically, through the advanced search feature at this site, you can limit your search to documents published by the Department.

    Dated: May 11, 2018. Frank T. Brogan, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary and Delegated the duties of the Assistant Secretary, Office of Planning, Evaluation and Policy Development, Delegated the duties of the Assistant Secretary, Office of Postsecondary Education.
    [FR Doc. 2018-10475 Filed 5-15-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4000-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION Applications for New Awards; Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad Fellowship Program AGENCY:

    Office of Postsecondary Education, Department of Education.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The Department of Education is issuing a notice inviting applications for fiscal year (FY) 2018 for the Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad (DDRA) Fellowship program, Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) number 84.022A.

    DATES:

    Applications Available: May 16, 2018.

    Deadline for Transmittal of Applications: July 2, 2018.

    ADDRESSES:

    The addresses pertinent to this DDRA competition—including the addresses for obtaining and submitting an application—can be found under SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Dr. Pamela J. Maimer, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue SW, Room 258-24, Washington, DC 20202. Telephone: (202) 453-6891. Email: [email protected]

    If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) or a text telephone (TTY), call the Federal Relay Service (FRS), toll free, at 1-800-877-8339.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Full Text of Announcement I. Funding Opportunity Description

    Purpose of Program: The Fulbright-Hays DDRA Fellowship program provides opportunities to doctoral candidates to engage in full-time dissertation research abroad in modern foreign languages and area studies. The program is designed to contribute to the development and improvement of the study of modern foreign languages and area studies in the United States.

    Priorities: This notice contains one absolute priority, two competitive preference priorities, and one invitational priority. In accordance with 34 CFR 75.105(b)(2)(ii), the absolute and competitive preference priorities are from the regulations for this program (34 CFR 662.21(d)).

    Absolute Priority: For FY 2018, this priority is an absolute priority. Under 34 CFR 75.105(c)(3), we consider only applications that meet this priority.

    This priority is:

    Specific Geographic Regions of the World.

    A research project that focuses on one or more of the following geographic areas: Africa, East Asia, Southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands, South Asia, the Near East, Central and Eastern Europe and Eurasia, and the Western Hemisphere (excluding the United States and its territories).

    Competitive Preference Priorities: Within this absolute priority, we give competitive preference to applications that address one or both of the following priorities. Under 34 CFR 75.105(c)(2)(i), for FY 2018, we award an additional two points to an application that meets Competitive Preference Priority 1 and three points to an application that meets Competitive Preference Priority 2 (up to 5 additional points possible).

    These priorities are:

    Competitive Preference Priority 1—Focus on Less Commonly Taught Languages (2 points).

    A research project that focuses on any modern foreign language except French, German, or Spanish.

    Competitive Preference Priority 2—Thematic Focus on Academic Fields (3 points).

    A research project conducted in the field of science, technology, engineering, mathematics, computer science, education (comparative or international), international development, political science, public health, or economics.

    Note:

    Applicants that address Competitive Preference Priority 2 must intend to engage in full-time dissertation research abroad in modern foreign languages and area studies with a thematic focus on any one of the academic fields referenced above.

    Invitational Priority: For FY 2018, this priority is an invitational priority. Under 34 CFR 75.105(c)(1), we do not give an application that meets this invitational priority a competitive or absolute preference over other applications.

    This priority is:

    Applications from Minority-Serving Institutions.

    For purposes of this invitational priority, Minority-Serving Institution means an institution of higher education (IHE) that is eligible to receive assistance under part A of title III, under part B of title III, or under title V of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended.

    Program Authority: 22 U.S.C. 2452(b)(6).

    Applicable Regulations: (a) The Education Department General Administrative Regulations in 34 CFR parts 75, 77, 81, 82, 84, 86, 97, 98, and 99. (b) The Office of Management and Budget Guidelines to Agencies on Governmentwide Debarment and Suspension (Nonprocurement) in 2 CFR part 180, as adopted and amended as regulations of the Department in 2 CFR part 3485. (c) The Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards in 2 CFR part 200, as adopted and amended as regulations of the Department in 2 CFR part 3474. (d) The regulations for this program in 34 CFR part 662.

    Note:

    The open licensing requirement in 2 CFR 3474.20 does not apply for this program.

    II. Award Information

    Type of Award: Discretionary grants redistributed as fellowships to individual beneficiaries.

    Estimated Available Funds: $3,408,151.

    Estimated Range of Awards: $15,000-60,000.

    Estimated Average Size of Awards: $37,452.

    Estimated Number of Awards: 91.

    Note:

    The Department is not bound by any estimates in this notice.

    Project Period: The institutional project period is 18 months, beginning October 1, 2018. Students may request funding for a period of no less than six months and no more than 12 months.

    III. Eligibility Information

    1. Eligible Applicants: IHEs. As part of the application process, students submit individual applications to the IHE. The IHE then officially submits all eligible individual student applications with its grant application to the Department.

    2. Cost Sharing or Matching: This program does not require cost sharing or matching.

    3. Subgrantees: A grantee under this competition may not award subgrants to entities to directly carry out project activities described in its application.

    4. Other: Under 34 CFR 662.22(b), no student applicant may receive grants from the Fulbright U.S. Student Program (FUSP) and a grant from the Fulbright-Hays DDRA Fellowship Program concurrently. Once a candidate has accepted an award from FUSP and FUSP has expended funds on the student, the student is then ineligible for a grant under the Fulbright-Hays DDRA Fellowship Program. A student applying for a grant under the Fulbright-Hays DDRA Fellowship Program must indicate on the application if the student has currently applied for a FUSP grant. If, at any point, the candidate accepts a FUSP award prior to being notified of the candidate's status with the Fulbright-Hays DDRA Fellowship Program, the candidate should immediately notify the program contact person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT. If, after consultation with FUSP, we determine that FUSP has expended funds on the student (e.g., the candidate has attended the pre-departure orientation or was issued grant funds), the candidate will be considered ineligible for an award under the Fulbright-Hays DDRA Fellowship Program.

    IV. Application and Submission Information

    1. Address to Request Application Package: Both IHEs and student applicants can obtain an application package via the internet or from the Education Publications Center (ED PUBS). To obtain a copy via the internet, use the following address: www.G5.gov. To obtain a copy from ED Pubs, write, fax, or call the following: ED Pubs, U.S. Department of Education, P.O. Box 22207, Alexandria, VA 22304. Telephone, toll free: 1-877-433-7827. FAX: (703) 605-6794. If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) or a text telephone (TTY), call, toll free: 1-877-576-7734.

    You can contact ED Pubs at its website, also: www.EDPubs.gov or at its email address: [email protected]

    If you request an application package from ED Pubs, be sure to identify this program as follows: CFDA number 84.022A.

    2. Recommended Page Limits: The application narrative is where the student applicant addresses the selection criteria that reviewers use to evaluate the application. We recommend that the student applicant (1) limit the application narrative to no more than 10 pages and the bibliography to no more than two pages; and (2) use the following standards:

    • A “page” is 8.5″ x 11″, on one side only, with 1″ margins at the top, bottom, and both sides.

    • Double space (no more than three lines per vertical inch) all text in the application narrative and bibliography. However, student applicants may single space all text in charts, tables, figures, graphs, titles, headings, footnotes, endnotes, quotations, bibliography, and captions.

    • Use a font that is either 12 point or larger or no smaller than 10 pitch (characters per inch).

    • Use one of the following fonts: Times New Roman, Courier, Courier New, or Arial.

    The recommended page limit does not apply to the Application for Federal Assistance face sheet (SF 424), the supplemental information form required by the Department of Education, or the assurances and certification. However, student applicants must include their complete responses to the selection criteria in the application narrative. The recommended page limits only apply to the application narrative and bibliography.

    3. Submission Dates and Times:

    Submit applications for grants under the program electronically using G5.gov. For information (including dates and times) about how to submit your application electronically, please refer to 7. Other Submission Requirements.

    We do not consider an application that does not comply with the deadline requirements.

    4. Intergovernmental Review: This program is not subject to Executive Order 12372 and the regulations in 34 CFR part 79.

    5. Funding Restrictions: We reference regulations outlining funding restrictions in the Applicable Regulations section of this notice.

    6. Data Universal Numbering System Number, Taxpayer Identification Number, and System for Award Management:

    To do business with the Department of Education, you must—

    a. Have a Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number and a Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN);

    b. Register both your DUNS number and TIN with the System for Award Management (SAM), the Government's primary registrant database;

    c. Provide your DUNS number and TIN on your application; and

    d. Maintain an active SAM registration with current information while your application is under review by the Department and, if you are awarded a grant, during the project period.

    You can obtain a DUNS number from Dun and Bradstreet at the following website: http://fedgov.dnb.com/webform. A DUNS number can be created within one to two business days.

    If you are a corporate entity, agency, institution, or organization, you can obtain a TIN from the Internal Revenue Service. If you are an individual, you can obtain a TIN from the Internal Revenue Service or the Social Security Administration. If you need a new TIN, please allow two to five weeks for your TIN to become active.

    The SAM registration process can take approximately seven business days, but may take upwards of several weeks, depending on the completeness and accuracy of the data you enter into the SAM database. Thus, if you think you might want to apply for Federal financial assistance under a program administered by the Department, please allow sufficient time to obtain and register your DUNS number and TIN. We strongly recommend that you register early.

    Note:

    Once your SAM registration is active, it may be 24 to 48 hours before you can submit an application through G5.

    If you are currently registered with SAM, you may not need to make any changes. However, please make certain that the TIN associated with your DUNS number is correct. Also note that you will need to update your registration annually. This may take three or more business days.

    Information about SAM is available at www.SAM.gov. To further assist you with obtaining and registering your DUNS number and TIN in SAM or updating your existing SAM account, we have prepared a SAM.gov Tip Sheet, which you can find at: www2.ed.gov/fund/grant/apply/sam-faqs.html.

    7. Other Submission Requirements: Applications for grants under this program must be submitted electronically unless an IHE qualifies for an exception to this requirement in accordance with the instructions in this section.

    a. Electronic Submission of Applications.

    Submit applications for grants under the Fulbright-Hays DDRA Fellowship Program, CFDA number 84.022A, electronically using the G5 system, accessible through the Department's G5 site at: www.G5.gov. While completing the electronic application, both the IHE and the student applicant will be entering data online that will be saved into a database. Neither the IHE nor the student applicant may email an electronic copy of a grant application to us.

    Please note the following:

    • The process for submitting applications electronically under the Fulbright-Hays DDRA Fellowship Program has several parts. The following is a brief summary of the process; however, all applicants should review the detailed description of the application process in the application package. In summary, the major steps are:

    (1) IHEs must email the name of the institution and the full name and email address of potential project director to [email protected] We recommend that applicant IHEs submit this information as soon as possible to ensure that they obtain access to G5 well before the application deadline date. We suggest that IHEs submit this information no later than two weeks prior to the closing date to facilitate timely submission of their applications;

    (2) Students must complete their individual applications and submit them to their IHE's project director using G5;

    (3) Persons providing references for individual students must complete and submit reference forms for the students and submit them to the IHE's project director using G5; and

    (4) The IHE's project director must officially submit the IHE's application, including all eligible individual student applications, reference forms, and other required forms, using G5.

    • The IHE must complete the electronic submission of the grant application by 4:30:00 p.m., Eastern Time, on the application deadline date. G5 will not accept an application for this competition after 4:30:00 p.m., Eastern Time, on the application deadline date. Therefore, we strongly recommend that both the IHE and the student applicant not wait until the application deadline date to begin the application process.

    • The hours of operation of the G5 website are 6:00 a.m. Monday until 9:00 p.m., Wednesday; and 6:00 a.m. Thursday until 3:00 p.m., Sunday, Eastern Time. Please note that, because of maintenance, the system is unavailable between 3:00 p.m. on Sundays and 6:00 a.m. on Mondays, and between 9:00 p.m. on Wednesdays and 6:00 a.m. on Thursdays, Eastern Time. Any modifications to these hours are posted on the G5 website.

    • Student applicants will not receive additional point value because the student submits his or her application in electronic format, nor will we penalize the IHE or student applicant if the applicant qualifies for an exception to the electronic submission requirement, as described elsewhere in this section, and submits an application in paper format.

    • IHEs must submit all documents electronically, including all information typically provided on the following forms: the Application for Federal Assistance (SF 424), the Department of Education Supplemental Information for SF 424, Budget Information—Non-Construction Programs (ED 524), and all necessary assurances and certifications.

    • Both IHEs and student applicants must upload any narrative sections and all other attachments to their application as files in a read-only flattened Portable Document Format (PDF), meaning any fillable documents must be saved and submitted as non-fillable PDF files. Do not upload an interactive or fillable PDF file. If you upload a file type other than a read-only, non-modifiable PDF (e.g., Word, Excel, WordPerfect, etc.) or submit a password-protected file, we will be unable to review that material. Please note that this will likely result in your application not being considered for funding. The Department will not convert material from other formats to PDF.

    • Submit student transcripts electronically through the G5 system.

    • Prior to submitting your electronic application, you may wish to print a copy of it for your records.

    • After the individual student applicant electronically submits his or her application to the student's IHE, the student will receive an automatic acknowledgment. After a person submits a reference electronically, he or she will receive an online confirmation. After the applicant IHE submits its application, including all eligible individual student applications, to the Department, the applicant IHE will receive an automatic acknowledgment that will include a unique PR/Award number for the IHE's application.

    • Within three working days after submitting its electronic application the applicant IHE must—

    (1) Print SF 424 from G5;

    (2) The applicant IHE's Authorizing Representative must sign this form;

    (3) Place the PR/Award number in the upper right-hand corner of the hard-copy signature page of the SF 424; and

    (4) Fax the signed SF 424 to the Application Control Center at (202) 245-6272.

    • We may request that you provide us original signatures on other forms at a later date.

    Application Deadline Date Extension in Case of System Unavailability: If an IHE is prevented from electronically submitting its application on the application deadline date because the G5 system is unavailable, we will grant the IHE an extension until 4:30:00 p.m., Eastern Time, the following business day to enable the IHE to transmit its application electronically, by mail, or by hand delivery. We will grant this extension if—

    (1) The IHE is a registered user of the G5 system and the IHE has initiated an electronic application for this competition; and

    (2) (a) G5 is unavailable for 60 minutes or more between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m., Eastern Time, on the application deadline date; or

    (b) G5 is unavailable for any period of time between 3:30 p.m. and 4:30:00 p.m., Eastern Time, on the application deadline date.

    We must acknowledge and confirm these periods of unavailability before granting the IHE an extension. To request this extension or to confirm our acknowledgment of any system unavailability, an IHE may contact either (1) the person listed under For Further Information Contact in section I of this notice or (2) the e-Grants help desk at 1-888-336-8930. If G5 is unavailable due to technical problems with the system and, therefore, the application deadline is extended, an email will be sent to all registered users who have initiated a G5 application. Extensions referred to in this section apply only to the unavailability of the G5 system.

    b. Submission of Paper Applications.

    We discourage paper applications, but if electronic submission is not possible (e.g., you do not have access to the internet), you must provide a written statement that you intend to submit a paper application. Send this written statement no later than two weeks before the application deadline date (14 calendar days or, if the fourteenth calendar day before the application deadline date falls on a Federal holiday, the next business day following the Federal holiday) to Dr. Pamela J. Maimer, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Ave. SW, Room 258-24, Washington, DC 20202-4260. Telephone: (202) 453-6891. Email: [email protected]

    If you mail your written statement to the Department, it must be postmarked no later than two weeks before the application deadline date. Please send this statement to a person listed in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section of the competition NIA.

    If you submit a paper application, you must mail the original and two copies of your application, on or before the application deadline date, to the Department at the following address: U.S. Department of Education, Application Control Center, Attention: (CFDA Number 84.022A), LBJ Basement Level 1, 400 Maryland Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20202-4260.

    The IHE must show proof of mailing consisting of one of the following:

    (1) A legibly dated U.S. Postal Service postmark.

    (2) A legible mail receipt with the date of mailing stamped by the U.S. Postal Service.

    (3) A dated shipping label, invoice, or receipt from a commercial carrier.

    (4) Any other proof of mailing acceptable to the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Education.

    If the IHE mails its application through the U.S. Postal Service, we do not accept either of the following as proof of mailing:

    (1) A private metered postmark.

    (2) A mail receipt that is not dated by the U.S. Postal Service.

    Note:

    The U.S. Postal Service does not uniformly provide a dated postmark. Before relying on this method, the IHE should check with its local post office.

    We will not consider applications postmarked after the application deadline date.

    c. Note for Mail or Hand Delivery of Paper Applications: If an IHE mails or hand delivers its application to the Department—

    (1) The IHE must indicate on the envelope and—if not provided by the Department—in Item 11 of the SF 424 the CFDA number, including suffix letter, if any, of the competition under which the IHE is submitting its application; and

    (2) The Application Control Center will mail a notification of receipt of the IHE's grant application. If the IHE does not receive this grant notification within 15 business days from the application deadline date, the IHE should call the U.S. Department of Education Application Control Center at (202) 245-6288.

    V. Application Review Information

    1. Selection Criteria: The selection criteria for this competition are from the regulations for this program in 34 CFR 662.21 and are as follows:

    (a) Quality of proposed project. (60 points) The Secretary reviews each application to determine the quality of the research project proposed by the applicant. The Secretary considers—

    (1) The statement of the major hypotheses to be tested or questions to be examined, and the description and justification of the research methods to be used;

    (2) The relationship of the research to the literature on the topic and to major theoretical issues in the field, and the project's originality and importance in terms of the concerns of the discipline;

    (3) The preliminary research already completed in the United States and overseas or plans for such research prior to going overseas, and the kinds, quality and availability of data for the research in the host country or countries;

    (4) The justification for overseas field research and preparations to establish appropriate and sufficient research contacts and affiliations abroad;

    (5) The applicant's plans to share the results of the research in progress and a copy of the dissertation with scholars and officials of the host country or countries; and

    (6) The guidance and supervision of the dissertation advisor or committee at all stages of the project, including guidance in developing the project, understanding research conditions abroad, and acquainting the applicant with research in the field.

    (b) Qualifications of the applicant. (40 points) The Secretary reviews each application to determine the qualifications of the applicant. The Secretary considers—

    (1) The overall strength of the applicant's graduate academic record;

    (2) The extent to which the applicant's academic record demonstrates strength in area studies relevant to the proposed project;

    (3) The applicant's proficiency in one or more of the languages (other than English and the applicant's native language) of the country or countries of research, and the specific measures to be taken to overcome any anticipated language barriers; and

    (4) The applicant's ability to conduct research in a foreign cultural context, as evidenced by the applicant's references or previous overseas experience, or both.

    2. Review and Selection Process: We remind potential applicants that in reviewing applications in any discretionary grant competition, the Secretary may consider, under 34 CFR 75.217(d)(3), the past performance of the applicant in carrying out a previous award, such as the applicant's use of funds, achievement of project objectives, and compliance with grant conditions. The Secretary may also consider whether the applicant failed to submit a timely performance report or submitted a report of unacceptable quality.

    In addition, in making a competitive grant award, the Secretary requires various assurances including those applicable to Federal civil rights laws that prohibit discrimination in programs or activities receiving Federal financial assistance from the Department of Education (34 CFR 100.4, 104.5, 106.4, 108.8, and 110.23).

    For FY 2018, student applications will be divided into seven categories based on the world area focus of their research projects, as described in the absolute priority. Language and area studies experts in discrete world area-based panels will review the student applications. Each panel will review, score, and rank its applications separately from the applications assigned to the other world area panels. However, all fellowship applications will be ranked together from the highest to lowest score for funding purposes.

    3. Risk Assessment and Specific Conditions: Consistent with 2 CFR 200.205, before awarding grants under this program the Department conducts a review of the risks posed by applicants. Under 2 CFR 3474.10, the Secretary may impose specific conditions and, in appropriate circumstances, high-risk conditions on a grant if the applicant or grantee is not financially stable; has a history of unsatisfactory performance; has a financial or other management system that does not meet the standards in 2 CFR part 200, subpart D; has not fulfilled the conditions of a prior grant; or is otherwise not responsible.

    4. Integrity and Performance System: If you are selected under this competition to receive an award that over the course of the project period may exceed the simplified acquisition threshold (currently $150,000), under 2 CFR 200.205(a)(2) we must make a judgment about your integrity, business ethics, and record of performance under Federal awards—that is, the risk posed by you as an applicant—before we make an award. In doing so, we must consider any information about you that is in the integrity and performance system (currently referred to as the Federal Awardee Performance and Integrity Information System (FAPIIS)), accessible through the System for Award Management. You may review and comment on any information about yourself that a Federal agency previously entered and that is currently in FAPIIS.

    Please note that, if the total value of your currently active grants, cooperative agreements, and procurement contracts from the Federal Government exceeds $10,000,000, the reporting requirements in 2 CFR part 200, Appendix XII, require you to report certain integrity information to FAPIIS semiannually. Please review the requirements in 2 CFR part 200, Appendix XII, if this grant plus all the other Federal funds you receive exceed $10,000,000.

    VI. Award Administration Information

    1. Award Notices: If a student application is successful, we notify the IHE's U.S. Representative and U.S. Senators and send the IHE a Grant Award Notification (GAN); or we may send the IHE an email containing a link to access an electronic version of the GAN. We may notify the IHE informally, also.

    If a student application is not evaluated or not selected for funding, we notify the IHE.

    2. Administrative and National Policy Requirements: We identify administrative and national policy requirements in the application package and reference these and other requirements in the Applicable Regulations section of this notice.

    We reference the regulations outlining the terms and conditions of an award in the Applicable Regulations section of this notice and include these and other specific conditions in the GAN. The GAN also incorporates the approved application as part of the binding commitments under the grant.

    3. Reporting: (a) If you apply for a grant under this competition, you must ensure that you have in place the necessary processes and systems to comply with the reporting requirements in 2 CFR part 170 should you receive funding under the competition. This does not apply if you have an exception under 2 CFR 170.110(b).

    (b) At the end of your project period, you must submit a final performance report, including financial information, as directed by the Secretary. If you receive a multiyear award, you must submit an annual performance report that provides the most current performance and financial expenditure information as directed by the Secretary under 34 CFR 75.118. Grantees are required to use the electronic data instrument International Resource Information System (IRIS) to complete the final report. The Secretary may also require more frequent performance reports under 34 CFR 75.720(c). For specific requirements on reporting, please go to www.ed.gov/fund/grant/apply/appforms/appforms.html.

    4. Performance Measures: Under the Government Performance and Results Act of 1993 (GPRA), the objective for the Fulbright-Hays DDRA Fellowship Program is to provide grants to colleges and universities to fund individual doctoral students to conduct research in other countries in modern foreign languages and area studies for periods of 6 to 12 months.

    The Department will use the following measures to evaluate its success in meeting this objective:

    DDRA GPRA Measure 1: The percentage of DDRA fellows who increased their foreign language scores in speaking, reading, or writing by at least one proficiency level.

    DDRA GPRA Measure 2: The percentage of DDRA fellows who complete their degree in their program of study within four years of receipt of the fellowship.

    DDRA GPRA Measure 3: The percentage of DDRA fellows who found employment that utilized their language and area studies skills within eight years of receiving their award.

    DDRA GPRA Measure 4: Efficiency Measure—The cost per DDRA fellow who found employment that utilized their language and area studies skills within eight years.

    The information provided by grantees in their performance report submitted via IRIS will be the source of data for this measure. Reporting screens for institutions and fellows may be viewed at: http://iris.ed.gov/iris/pdfs/DDRA_director.pdf. http://iris.ed.gov/iris/pdfs/DDRA_fellow.pdf.

    VII. Other Information

    Accessible Format: Individuals with disabilities can obtain this document and a copy of the application package in an accessible format (e.g., braille, large print, audiotape, or compact disc) on request to the program contact person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT.

    Electronic Access to This Document: The official version of this document is the document published in the Federal Register. You may access the official edition of the Federal Register and the Code of Federal Regulations via the Federal Digital System at: www.thefederalregister.org/fdsys. At this site you can view this document, as well as all other documents of this Department published in the Federal Register, in text or Portable Document Format (PDF). To use PDF you must have Adobe Acrobat Reader, which is available free at the site.

    You may also access documents of the Department published in the Federal Register by using the article search feature at: www.federalregister.gov. Specifically, through the advanced search feature at this site, you can limit your search to documents published by the Department.

    Dated: May 11, 2018. Frank T. Brogan, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary and Delegated the duties of the Assistant Secretary, Office of Planning, Evaluation and Policy Development, Delegated the duties of the Assistant Secretary, Office of Postsecondary Education.
    [FR Doc. 2018-10476 Filed 5-15-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4000-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Agency Information Collection Extension AGENCY:

    U.S. Department of Energy.

    ACTION:

    Notice and request for OMB review and comment.

    SUMMARY:

    The Department of Energy (DOE) has submitted an information collection request to OMB for extension under the provisions of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995. The information collection requests a three-year extension of its Labor Relations Report collection. The collection requests information from the Department of Energy Management and Operation (M&O) and Facilities Management Contractors for contract administration, management oversight, and cost control. The information collection will assist the Department in evaluating the implementation of the contractors' work force collective bargaining agreements, and apprise the Department of significant labor-management developments at DOE contractor sites. This information is used to ensure that Department contractors maintain good labor relations and retain a workforce in accordance with the terms of their contract and in compliance with statutory and regulatory requirements as identified by contract.

    DATES:

    Comments regarding this collection must be received on or before July 16, 2018. If you anticipate that you will be submitting comments, but find it difficult to do so within the period of time allowed by this notice, please advise the OMB Desk Officer of your intention to make a submission as soon as possible. The Desk Officer may be telephoned at (202) 395-4650.

    ADDRESSES:

    Written comments should be sent to: DOE Desk Officer, Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Office of Management and Budget, New Executive Office Building, Room 10102, 735 17th Street NW, Washington, DC 20503. And to: John M. Sullivan, GC-63, U.S. Department of Energy, 1000 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20585, or by fax at (202) 586-0971; or by email to [email protected]

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Requests for additional information or copies of the information collection instrument and instructions should be directed to: John M. Sullivan, Attorney-Advisor (Labor), GC-63, U.S. Department of Energy, 1000 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20585, or by fax at (202) 586-0971 or by email to [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    This information collection request contains: (1) OMB No.: 1910-5143; (2) Information Collection Request Title: Labor Relations Report; (3) Type of Request: Renewal; (4) Purpose: The proposed collection will request information from the Department of Energy M&O and Facilities Management Contractors for contract administration, management oversight, and cost control. This information is used to ensure that Department contractors maintain good labor relations and retain a workforce in accordance with the terms of their contract and in compliance with statutory and regulatory requirements as identified by contract. The respondents are Department M&O and Facility Management Contractors; (5) Annual Estimated Number of Respondents: 35; (6) Annual Estimated Number of Total Responses: 35; (7) Annual Estimated Number of Burden Hours: 1.84 per respondent for total of 64.4 per year; (8) Annual Estimated Reporting and Recordkeeping Cost Burden: $2,447.20.

    Statutory Authority:

    42 U.S.C. 7254, 7256.

    Issued in Washington, DC, on: March 9, 2018. Jean S. Stucky, Assistant General Counsel for Contractor Human Resources, Office of the General Counsel.
    [FR Doc. 2018-10445 Filed 5-15-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6450-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY National Nuclear Security Administration Meeting of the Defense Programs Advisory Committee AGENCY:

    Office of Defense Programs, National Nuclear Security Administration, Department of Energy.

    ACTION:

    Notice of closed meeting.

    SUMMARY:

    This notice announces a closed meeting of the Defense Programs Advisory Committee (DPAC). The Federal Advisory Committee Act requires that public notice of meetings be announced in the Federal Register. Due to national security considerations, under section 10(d) of the Act and 5 U.S.C. 552b(c), the meeting will be closed to the public and matters to be discussed are exempt from public disclosure under Executive Order 13526 and the Atomic Energy Act of 1954, 42 U.S.C. 2161 and 2162, as amended.

    DATES:

    June 14-15, 2018 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

    ADDRESSES:

    U.S. Department of Energy, 1000 Independence Ave. SW, Washington, DC 20585.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Dana Hunter, Office of RDT&E (NA-11), National Nuclear Security Administration, U.S. Department of Energy, 1000 Independence Ave. SW, Washington, DC 20585, (202) 287-6287.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Background: The DPAC provides advice and recommendations to the Deputy Administrator for Defense Programs on the stewardship and maintenance of the Nation's nuclear deterrent.

    Purpose of the Meeting: The purpose of this meeting of the DPAC is to finalize the report on Plutonium and discuss the path ahead on new topics.

    Type of Meeting: In the interest of national security, the meeting will be closed to the public. The Federal Advisory Committee Act, 5 U.S.C. App. 2, section 10(d), and the Federal Advisory Committee Management Regulation, 41 CFR 102-3.155, incorporate by reference the Government in the Sunshine Act, 5 U.S.C. 552b, which, at 552b(c)(1) and (c)(3) permits closure of meetings where restricted data or other classified matters will be discussed. Such data and matters will be discussed at this meeting.

    Tentative Agenda: Welcome; reading of final draft of report; discussion of report, as necessary; (tentative) acceptance of report; discussion of next charges; conclusion.

    Public Participation: There will be no public participation in this closed meeting. Those wishing to provide written comments or statements to the Committee are invited to send them to Dana Hunter at the address listed above.

    Minutes: The minutes of the meeting will not be available.

    Issued at Washington, DC, on May 10, 2018. Latanya. Butler, Deputy Committee Management Officer.
    [FR Doc. 2018-10411 Filed 5-15-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6450-01-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: RP95-408-085.

    Applicants: Columbia Gas Transmission, LLC.

    Description: Annual Report on Sharing Profits from Base Gas Sales with Customers of Columbia Gas Transmission, LLC.

    Filed Date: 5/1/18.

    Accession Number: 20180501-5441.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/14/18.

    Docket Numbers: RP18-784-001.

    Applicants: Columbia Gas Transmission, LLC.

    Description: Tariff Amendment: Virginia Power Amended Filing to be effective 5/1/2018.

    Filed Date: 5/9/18.

    Accession Number: 20180509-5104.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/21/18.

    Docket Numbers: RP18-809-000.

    Applicants: Trailblazer Pipeline Company LLC.

    Description: § 4(d) Rate Filing: Neg Rate 2018-05-09 Citadel A1 to be effective 5/9/2018.

    Filed Date: 5/9/18.

    Accession Number: 20180509-5103.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/21/18.

    Docket Numbers: RP18-762-001.

    Applicants: El Paso Natural Gas Company, L.L.C.

    Description: Tariff Amendment: Supplement to Clarifications to Request for Services and Pro Forma Filing to be effective 6/1/2018.

    Filed Date: 5/10/18.

    Accession Number: 20180510-5001.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/22/18.

    Docket Numbers: RP18-810-000.

    Applicants: Natural Gas Pipeline Company of America.

    Description: § 4(d) Rate Filing: Update Filing—Removal of Expired Agreements May 2018 to be effective 6/11/2018.

    Filed Date: 5/10/18.

    Accession Number: 20180510-5000.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/22/18.

    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 10, 2018. Nathaniel J. Davis, Sr., Deputy Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2018-10398 Filed 5-15-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission [Project No. 2195-161] Portland General Electric Company; Notice of Application Accepted for Filing, Soliciting Comments, Motions To Intervene, and Protests

    Take notice that the following hydroelectric application has been filed with the Commission and is available for public inspection:

    a. Type of Application: Amendment Application.

    b. Project No.: 2195-161.

    c. Date Filed: March 16 and 19, 2018, and supplemented April 4, 18 and May 2, 2018.

    d. Applicant: Portland General Electric Company.

    e. Name of Project: Clackamas River Hydroelectric Project.

    f. Location: Clackamas River in Clackamas County, Oregon.

    g. Filed Pursuant to: Federal Power Act, 16 U.S.C. 791a-825r.

    h. Applicant Contact: John Esler, Project Manager, Portland General Electric Company, 121 SW Salmon St., Portland, Oregon 97204. Telephone: (503) 464-8563, or email address: [email protected]

    i. FERC Contact: Mark Pawlowski, telephone: (202) 502-6052, or email address: [email protected].

    j. Deadline for filing comments, motions to intervene, and protests, is 30 days from the issuance date of this notice by the Commission. The Commission strongly encourages electronic filing. Please file comments, motions to intervene, and protests using the Commission's eFiling system at http://www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/efiling.asp. Commenters can submit brief comments up to 6,000 characters, without prior registration, using the eComment system at http://www.ferc.gov/doc-sfiling/ecomment.asp. You must include your name and contact information at the end of your comments. For assistance, please contact FERC Online Support at [email protected], (866) 208-3676 (toll free), or (202) 502-8659 (TTY). In lieu of electronic filing, please send a paper copy to: Secretary, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street NE, Washington, DC 20426. The first page of any filing should include docket number P-2195-161.

    k. Description of Request: Portland General Electric Company (licensee) proposes to: Rebuild the Faraday development powerhouse to improve its seismic stability; remove existing turbine units 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 and replace them with two more efficient Kaplan turbine units; install features to prevent the powerhouse from flooding during high flow events. The licensee would replace the 8-foot diameter penstocks for units 1 through 4 and the 9-foot diameter penstock for unit 5 with two 9-foot diameter penstocks. The licensee would continue to use the 8-foot diameter intakes for units 2 through 5 and cap intake 1 because it will no longer be used. The licensee proposes to replace trashracks for intakes 4 and 5 and automate the existing manual trashrack rakes.

    l. Locations of the Application: A copy of the application is available for inspection and reproduction at the Commission's Public Reference Room, located at 888 First Street NE, Room 2A, Washington, DC 20426, or by calling (202) 502-8371. This filing may also be viewed on the Commission's website at http://www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/elibrary.asp. Enter the docket number excluding the last three digits in the docket number field to access the document. You may also register online at http://www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/esubscription.asp to be notified via email of new filings and issuances related to this or other pending projects. For assistance, call 1-866-208- 3676 or email [email protected], for TTY, call (202) 502-8659. A copy is also available for inspection and reproduction at the address in item (h) above.

    m. Individuals desiring to be included on the Commission's mailing list should so indicate by writing to the Secretary of the Commission.

    n. Comments, Motions to Intervene, or Protests: Anyone may submit comments, a motion to intervene, or a protest in accordance with the requirements of Rules of Practice and Procedure, 18 CFR 385.210, .211, .214. In determining the appropriate action to take, the Commission will consider all protests or other comments filed, but only those who file a motion to intervene in accordance with the Commission's Rules may become a party to the proceeding. Any comments, motions to intervene, or protests must be received on or before the specified comment date for the particular application.

    o. Filing and Service of Responsive Documents: Any filing must (1) bear in all capital letters the title “COMMENTS”, “MOTION TO INTERVENE”, or “PROTEST” as applicable; (2) set forth in the heading the name of the applicant and the project number(s) of the application to which the filing responds; (3) furnish the name, address, and telephone number of the person intervening or protesting; and (4) otherwise comply with the requirements of 18 CFR 385.2001 through 385.2005. All comments, motions to intervene, or protests must set forth their evidentiary basis and otherwise comply with the requirements of 18 CFR 4.34(b). All comments, motions to intervene, or protests should relate to project works which are the subject of the application. Agencies may obtain copies of the application directly from the applicant. A copy of any motion to intervene or protest must be served upon each representative of the applicant specified in the particular application. If an intervener files comments or documents with the Commission relating to the merits of an issue that may affect the responsibilities of a particular resource agency, they must also serve a copy of the document on that resource agency. A copy of all other filings in reference to this application must be accompanied by proof of service on all persons listed in the service list prepared by the Commission in this proceeding, in accordance with 18 CFR 4.34(b) and 385.2010.

    Dated: May 9, 2018. Kimberly D. Bose, Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2018-10442 Filed 5-15-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission [Docket Nos. ER12-1338-003; ER12-1347-004] Order Establishing Briefing Schedule: Duke Energy Corporation Progress Energy, Inc.; Carolina Power & Light Company Before Commissioners: Kevin J. McIntyre, Chairman; Cheryl A. LaFleur, Neil Chatterjee, Robert F. Powelson, and Richard Glick.

    1. On July 14, 2017, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia (D.C. Circuit) issued a decision,1 vacating in part the Commission's acceptance of a Joint Dispatch Agreement (JDA) between Duke Energy Carolinas, LLC (Duke Energy Carolinas) and Carolina Power & Light Company (CP&L) 2 and remanding the matter to the Commission for further consideration. The court found that certain provisions in the JDA result in disparate rate treatment between native-load and non-native-load wholesale customers and that the Commission had not offered a valid reason for such a disparity.3 Also, the court found that the Commission failed to sufficiently respond to several arguments raised by the City of Orangeburg, South Carolina (Orangeburg) regarding certain regulatory conditions in the JDA that Duke Energy Carolinas and CP&L agreed to include pursuant to proceedings before the North Carolina Public Utilities Commission (North Carolina Commission). As discussed below, we establish a briefing schedule to develop a better record on which to make a determination on these two issues.

    1Orangeburg, South Carolina v. FERC, 862 F.3d 1071 (D.C. Cir. 2017) (Orangeburg v. FERC).

    2Duke Energy Corp., 139 FERC 61,193 (2012) (JDA Order), order denying reh'g, 151 FERC 61,242 (2015) (JDA Rehearing Order) (together, JDA Orders).

    3Orangeburg v. FERC, 862 F.3d at 1084 (citing Black Oak Energy, LLC v. FERC, 725 F.3d 230, 239 (D.C. Cir. 2013) (Black Oak)).

    I. Background A. Case History

    2. The history of this case is recounted at length in earlier Commission orders.4

    4City of Orangeburg, South Carolina, 151 FERC 61,241, PP 3-10 (2015) (dismissing Orangeburg's petition for declaratory order); JDA Order, 139 FERC 61,193 at PP 2-4; JDA Rehearing Order, 151 FERC 61,242 at 2-4.

    3. As relevant here, in 2012, Duke Energy Corporation (Duke) and Progress Energy, Inc. (Progress) filed on behalf of Duke Energy Carolinas and CP&L a JDA that provided for the joint dispatch of Duke Energy Carolinas' and CP&L's respective generation facilities to serve their loads.5 In accepting the JDA, the Commission found that the allocation of the lowest energy cost under the JDA to the native-load customers of Duke Energy Carolinas and CP&L is not unduly discriminatory.6 The Commission stated that this finding was consistent with Order No. 2000, wherein it acknowledged that “in areas without retail choice, state commissions have the authority to `require a utility to sell its lowest cost power to native load, as [they] always [have].' ” 7 Also, the Commission found that sections 3.2 (c)(ii)-(iv) of the JDA,8 which listed certain regulatory conditions that the parties agreed to include in the JDA pursuant to proceedings before North Carolina Commission, pertain to retail ratemaking and, therefore, should be removed from the agreement.9

    5 The JDA provides that the savings from the joint dispatch—in fuel, purchased power, and related savings—will go directly to retail and wholesale customers in North Carolina and South Carolina. JDA Order, 139 FERC 61,193 at P 6.

    6Id. P 45.

    7Id. P 45 (quoting from Regional Transmission Organizations, Order No. 2000, FERC Stats. & Regs. 31,089 (1999) (Order No. 2000), order on reh'g, Order No. 2000-A, FERC Stats. & Regs. 31,092 (2000), aff'd sub nom. Pub. Util. Dist. No. 1 of Snohomish County, Washington v. FERC, 272 F.3d 607 (D.C. Cir. 2001)).

    8 Section 3.2 (c)(ii)-(iv) of the JDA states:

    (ii) Neither [Duke Energy Carolinas] nor [CP&L] may make or incur a charge under this Agreement except in accordance with North Carolina law and the rules, regulations and orders of the [North Carolina Commission] promulgated thereunder;

    (iii) Neither [Duke Energy Carolinas] nor [CP&L] may seek to reflect in its North Carolina retail rates (i) any costs incurred under this Agreement exceeding the amount allowed by the [North Carolina Commission] or (ii) any revenue level earned under the Agreement other than the amount imputed by the [North Carolina Commission]; and

    (iv) Neither [Duke Energy Carolinas] nor [CP&L] will assert in any forum that the [North Carolina Commission's] authority to assign, allocate, make pro forma adjustments to or disallow revenues or costs for retail ratemaking and regulatory accounting and reporting purposes is preempted and [Duke Energy Carolinas] and [CP&L] will bear the full risk of any preemptive effects of federal law with respect to this Agreement.

    JDA Order, 139 FERC 61,193 at P 23.

    9Id. P 37. Also, the Commission noted that “beyond requiring the removal of these provisions from the JDA, we offer no view on the North Carolina Commission's authority to impose or apply such requirements in its proceeding.” Id.

    4. Orangeburg requested rehearing, which the Commission denied in the JDA Rehearing Order.10 In that order, the Commission affirmed its finding that the JDA's pricing methodology (i.e., allocating the lowest cost resources to serve the parties' native loads, while allocating the higher cost resources to off-system sales (non-native load customers)) is just and reasonable.11 In addition, the Commission held that this methodology does not unduly discriminate against Orangeburg, which is neither a native-load customer of Duke Energy Carolinas nor CP&L.12 With that determination, the Commission declined to make a finding with respect to Orangeburg's other arguments, such as the lawfulness of the North Carolina Commission's regulatory conditions.13

    10 JDA Rehearing Order, 151 FERC 61,242 at P 1.

    11Id. PP 12-13.

    12Id. at P 13.

    13Id.

    B. D.C. Circuit Remand

    5. In Orangeburg v. FERC, the court stated that, in accepting the JDA, the Commission approved certain provisions that established disparate treatment between native-load and non-native-load wholesale customers.14 The court stated that, “according to Orangeburg, these JDA provisions operate against the backdrop of [the North Carolina Commission's] functional veto over which wholesale customers fit into the former category. The court stated that, for the orders to survive review, the Commission must have offer[ed] a valid reason for the disparity between native load and non-native load wholesale customers “under these circumstances.15 The court found that the Commission's exclusive reliance on Order No. 2000 for approving the JDA's disparate treatment and responding to Orangeburg's overlapping Federal Power Act, preemption, and Commerce Clause arguments was untenable for a number of reasons.16 The court concluded that because the Commission [has not] offer[ed] a valid reason for the disparity, the court could not affirm [the Commission's] approval of the JDA provisions that establish disparate treatment of native-load and non-native-load wholesale customers, and incorporates [the North Carolina Commission's] potentially unlawful regulatory regime.17 Accordingly, the court vacated in part the JDA Orders and remanded the matter to the Commission for further explanation regarding its approval of the JDA.18

    14Orangeburg v. FERC, 862 F.3d at 1074, 1081 (wholesale customers are treated differently based on their native-load status. . . . The JDA divides the world into two categories of customers: Native load and non-native load. Only native-load customers—including wholesale customers—enjoy access to the most reliable and lowest cost power.”).

    15Id. at 1084 (citing Black Oak Energy, 725 F.3d at 239) (internal quotation marks omitted).

    16Id. at 1085-1087.

    17Id. at 1087.

    18Id.

    II. Discussion

    6. We establish a briefing schedule to allow the parties and other interested persons to address the two issues noted below that the D.C. Circuit raised in its decision. Further briefing on these issues will help develop a better record for the Commission to respond to the court's directive to reconsider these issues.

    7. We request briefing on the following issues, in particular:

    (a) Is the JDA's disparate treatment of native and non-native load wholesale customers unduly discriminatory or preferential? In answering this question, please address the following:

    (i) Explain why the JDA treats native and non-native load wholesale customers disparately and whether the differences between these customers justify the disparate treatment.

    (ii) Specify in detail the contractual provisions in current or future wholesale contracts that would qualify a wholesale customer for native load treatment under the JDA,19 as well as any contractual provisions that would disqualify a wholesale customer for native load treatment under the JDA.

    19 The JDA provides that Native Load Customers include wholesale customers that have native load served by Duke Energy Carolinas or CP&L, for which Duke Energy Carolinas or CP&L has an obligation pursuant to current or future wholesale contracts, for the length of such contracts, to engage in planning and to sell and deliver electric capacity and energy in a manner comparable to the [utilities'] service to its Retail Native Load Customers. Duke Energy Carolinas, FERC Electric Tariff, Rate Schedule No. 341 at Article I, Definitions.

    (iii) Explain why wholesale sales between Duke Energy Carolinas and CP&L are excluded from the definition of non-native load sales and how the JDA would treat such a sale between the utilities.

    (b) Do the North Carolina Commission's regulatory conditions 20 impermissibly interfere with this Commission's jurisdiction over wholesale ratemaking, in violation of the Federal Power Act 21 or the Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution? 22

    20 Here, we are referring to the regulatory conditions that were in section 3.2 (c)(ii)-(iv) of the JDA, which the JDA Order required be removed.

    21 16 U.S.C. 824e(a) (2012); see, e.g., Nantahala Power and Light Company v. Thornburg, 476 U.S. 953 (1986); Mississippi Power & Light Company v. Mississippi ex rel. Moore, 487 US 354 (1988).

    22 U.S. Const. art. 1, 8, cl. 3; see, e.g., New England Power Company, 455 U.S. 331 (1982).

    8. We require Duke Energy Carolinas and CP&L to submit—and others may submit—initial briefs on or before 45 days from the date of this order. Reply briefs must be submitted on or before 30 days following the due date of the initial briefs. Any person who is not currently a party to the proceeding and who wishes to submit a brief must file a notice of intervention or motion to intervene, as appropriate.

    The Commission Orders

    (A) Duke Energy Carolinas and CP&L are required to submit, and other parties are hereby permitted to submit initial briefs on or before forty-five (45) days of the date of this order, as discussed in the body of this order.

    (B) Parties are hereby permitted to file reply briefs on or before thirty (30) days of the date of filing of initial briefs.

    (C) All interested persons who wish to submit briefs but that are not currently parties to Docket Nos. ER12-1338-003 or ER12-1347-004 may submit notices of intervention or motions to intervene, as appropriate, within 21 days of the date of this order. The briefing schedule described in Ordering Paragraphs (A) and (B) will apply to such persons.

    (D) The Secretary is hereby directed to publish this order in the Federal Register.

    By the Commission.

    Issued: May 10, 2018. Nathaniel J. Davis, Sr., Deputy Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2018-10402 Filed 5-15-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission [Docket No. RD18-4-000] Commission Information Collection Activities (FERC-725G); Comment Request; Revision AGENCY:

    Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Department of Energy.

    ACTION:

    Notice of revised information collection and request for comments.

    SUMMARY:

    In compliance with the requirements of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (Commission or FERC) is soliciting public comments on revisions to the information collection, FERC-725G (Reliability Standards for the Bulk Power System: PRC Reliability Standards) in Docket No. RD18-4-000 and will be submitting FERC-725G to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review of the information collection requirements.

    DATES:

    Comments on the collection of information are due July 16, 2018.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments identified by Docket No. RD18-4-000 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], telephone at (202) 502-8663, and fax at (202) 273-0873.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Title: FERC-725G, Reliability Standards for the Bulk Power System: PRC Reliability Standards.

    OMB Control No.: 1902-0252.

    Type of Request: Revision of FERC-725G information collection requirements.

    Abstract: The information collected by the FERC-725G is required to implement the statutory provisions of section 215 of the Federal Power Act (FPA) (16 U.S.C. 824o). Section 215 of the FPA buttresses the Commission's efforts to strengthen the reliability of the interstate grid.

    On March 16, 2018, the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC, the Commission-approved ERO) submitted for Commission approval proposed Reliability Standard PRC-025-2, Generator Relay Loadability. The PRC-025-2 Reliability Standard addresses setting load-responsive protective relays associated with generation facilities at a level to prevent unnecessary tripping of generators during a system disturbance for conditions that do not pose a risk of damage to the associated equipment. Proposed Reliability Standard PRC-025-2 improves upon currently-effective Reliability Standard PRC-025-1 by addressing certain relay setting application issues and by clarifying certain terminology and references. NERC requested that the Commission approve the proposed Reliability Standard and find that the proposed standard is just, reasonable, not unduly discriminatory or preferential, and in the public interest. NERC also requested that the Commission approve: (i) The associated Implementation Plan; (ii) the associated Violation Risk Factors (VRFs) and Violation Severity Levels (VSLs), which remain unchanged from PRC-025-1; and (iii) the retirement of currently-effective Reliability Standard PRC-025-1.

    NERC proposed that PRC-025-2 shall become effective on the first day of the first calendar quarter after the effective date of the applicable governmental authority's order approving the standard. NERC's Implementation Plan proposed phased-in compliance dates after the effective date of Reliability Standard PRC-025-2.1

    1 See NERC's Implementation Plan at https://www.nerc.com/pa/Stand/Project%20201604%20Modifications%20to%20PRC0251%20DL/Project_2016_04_Implementation_Plan_Clean_01092018.pdf.

    On May 2, 2018, the Commission approved Reliability Standard PRC-025-2 and the retirement of PRC-025-1.

    Type of Respondents: Generator Owner (GO), Transmission Owner (TO), and Distribution Provider (DP).

    Estimate of Annual Burden2 : Details follow on the changes in Docket No. RD18-4-000 to FERC-725G.

    2 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.

    3 According to the NERC compliance registry as of March 9, 2018, NERC has registered 415 distribution providers (DP), 985 generator owners (GO) and 336 transmission owners (TO). However, under NERC's compliance registration program, entities may be registered for multiple functions, so these numbers incorporate some double counting. The number of unique entities responding will be approximately 994 entities registered as a transmission owner, a distribution provider, or a generator owner that is also a transmission owner and/or a distribution owner. This estimate assumes all of the unique entities apply load-responsive protective relays.

    4 The hourly cost (for salary plus benefits) uses the figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2017, for two positions involved in the reporting and recordkeeping requirements. These figures include salary (https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/naics2_22.htm) benefits http://www.bls.gov/news.release/ecec.nr0.htm) and are: Engineer: $64.91/hour, and File Clerk: $31.16/hour. Hourly cost for the engineer are used for the one-time costs, and hourly cost for the file clerk are used for the ongoing record retention.

    5 GO = Generator Owner, DP = Distribution Provider, TO = Transmission Owner, each of which applies load-responsive protective relays at the terminals of the Elements listed in the proposed standard at section 3.2 (Facilities).

    6 The estimated hourly costs (salary plus benefits) are based on Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) information May 2014, (at http://bls.gov/oes/current/naics3_221000.htm#17-0000) for an electrical engineer ($59.62/hour for review and documentation), and for a file clerk ($28.95/hour for record retention). Those figures (and the number of respondents) were used when the standard was approved and added to the OMB inventory. Hourly cost for the engineer are used for the one-time costs, and hourly cost for the file clerk are used for the ongoing record retention.

    FERC-725G, Mandatory Reliability Standard PRC-025-2, in Docket No. RD18-4-000 Entity Number of
  • respondents 3
  • Annual
  • number of
  • responses per
  • respondent
  • Annual
  • number of
  • responses
  • Average
  • burden hours
  • and cost
  • per response 4
  • ($)
  • Total annual
  • burden hours and total annual cost
  • ($)
  • Cost per
  • respondent
  • ($)
  • (1) (2) (1) * (2) = (3) (4) (3) * (4) = (5) (5) ÷ (1) = (6) (One-time) Review & documentation of relay settings to ensure compliance 994 GO/TO/DP 1 994 20 hrs.; $1,298.20 19,880 hours; $1,290,410.80 $1,298.20 (On-going) Record Retention (of compliance records for R1 and M1, for 3 years or until mitigation complete) 994 GO/TO/DP 1 994 2 hrs.; $62.32 1,988 hours; $61,946.08 $62.32
    FERC-725G, Mandatory Reliability Standard PRC-025-1, Retirement in Docket No. RD18-4-000 Entity Number of
  • respondents
  • Annual
  • number of
  • responses per
  • respondent
  • Annual
  • number of
  • responses
  • Average
  • burden hours and cost 5
  • ($)
  • Total annual burden hours and total annual cost
  • ($)
  • Cost per
  • respondent 6
  • ($)
  • (1) (2) (1) * (2) = (3) (4) (3) * (4) = (5) (5) ÷ (1) = (6) (One-time) Review & documentation of relay settings to ensure compliance, (reduction) 1,019 GO/DP/TO 1 1,019 20 hrs.; $1,192.40 (reduction) 20,380 hours; $1,215,055.60 (reduction) $1,192.40 (reduction). (On-going) Record Retention (of compliance records for R1 and M1, for 3 years or until mitigation complete) (reduction) 1,019 GO/DP/TO 1 1,019 2 hrs.; $57.90 (reduction) 2,038 hours; $59,000.10 (reduction) $57.90 (reduction).

    Net Effect to Burden for FERC-725G: Due to the retirement of PRC-025-1 and implementation of PRC-025-2, the number of respondents is reduced by 25, and the number of annual burden hours is reduced by 550 hours. (The net changes are due to a change in the number of affected entities on the NERC Registry.) The burden per respondent for PRC-025-2 remains 22 hours (total for both one-time and ongoing burden, similar to the now-retired PRC-025-1).

    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 9, 2018. Kimberly D. Bose, Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2018-10443 Filed 5-15-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission [Docket No. CP18-477-000] Notice of Application: UGI Central Penn Gas, Inc. and UGI Utilities, Inc.

    Take notice that on May 2, 2018, UGI Central Penn Gas, Inc. (CPG), and UGI Utilities, Inc. (UGIU) (collectively, Applicants), both wholly-owned direct subsidiaries of UGI Corporation and both currently located at 2525 N. 12th Street, Reading, Pennsylvania 19605, filed in Docket No. CP18-477-000 an application pursuant to sections 7(b) and 7(f) of the Natural Gas Act (NGA), and Part 157 of the Commission's regulations. Specifically, the Applicants request: (i) Authority to abandon certain limited jurisdiction certificates for transportation services held by CPG pertaining to its Maryland local gas distribution system located in Maryland and Pennsylvania; and (ii) for transfer of CPG's service area determination to UGIU. The Applicants state that the requested authorizations are required to implement aspects of the pending transfer of the local natural gas distribution assets from CPG into UGIU pursuant to a corporate merger, all as more fully set forth in the application which is on file with the Commission and open to public inspection. The filing may also be viewed on the web at http://www.ferc.gov using the eLibrary link. Enter the docket number excluding the last three digits in the docket number field to access the document. For assistance, contact FERC at [email protected] or call toll-free, (866) 208-3676 or TYY, (202) 502-8659.

    Any questions regarding this application should be directed to Frank Merkle, Senior Counsel, UGI Corporation, Box 858, Valley Forge, Pennsylvania 19482; or by email at [email protected]

    Pursuant to section 157.9 of the Commission's rules (18 CFR 157.9), within 90 days of this Notice, the Commission staff will either: Complete its environmental assessment (EA) and place it into the Commission's public record (eLibrary) for this proceeding; or issue a Notice of Schedule for Environmental Review. If a Notice of Schedule for Environmental Review is issued, it will indicate, among other milestones, the anticipated date for the Commission staff's issuance of the EA for this proposal. The filing of the EA in the Commission's public record for this proceeding or the issuance of a Notice of Schedule for Environmental Review will serve to notify federal and state agencies of the timing for the completion of all necessary reviews, and the subsequent need to complete all federal authorizations within 90 days of the date of issuance of the Commission staff's EA.

    There are two ways to become involved in the Commission's review of this project. First, any person wishing to obtain legal status by becoming a party to the proceedings for this project should, on or before the comment date stated below, file with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street NE, Washington, DC 20426, a motion to intervene in accordance with the requirements of the Commission's Rules of Practice and Procedure (18 CFR 385.214 or 385.211) and the Regulations under the NGA (18 CFR 157.10). A person obtaining party status will be placed on the service list maintained by the Secretary of the Commission and will receive copies of all documents filed by the applicant and by all other parties. A party must submit five copies of filings made with the Commission and must mail a copy to the applicant and to every other party in the proceeding. Only parties to the proceeding can ask for court review of Commission orders in the proceeding.

    However, a person does not have to intervene in order to have comments considered. The second way to participate is by filing with the Secretary of the Commission, as soon as possible, an original and two copies of comments in support of or in opposition to this project. The Commission will consider these comments in determining the appropriate action to be taken, but the filing of a comment alone will not serve to make the filer a party to the proceeding. The Commission's rules require that persons filing comments in opposition to the project provide copies of their protests only to the party or parties directly involved in the protest.

    Persons who wish to comment only on the environmental review of this project should submit an original and two copies of their comments to the Secretary of the Commission. Environmental commentors will be placed on the Commission's environmental mailing list, will receive copies of the environmental documents, and will be notified of meetings associated with the Commission's environmental review process. Environmental commentors will not be required to serve copies of filed documents on all other parties. However, the non-party commentors will not receive copies of all documents filed by other parties or issued by the Commission (except for the mailing of environmental documents issued by the Commission) and will not have the right to seek court review of the Commission's final order.

    The Commission strongly encourages electronic filings of comments, 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 five copies of the protest or intervention to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street NE, Washington, DC 20426.

    Comment Date: 5:00 p.m. Eastern time on May 31, 2018.

    Dated: May 10, 2018. Nathaniel J. Davis, Sr., Deputy Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2018-10400 Filed 5-15-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission [Docket No. IC18-6-000] Commission Information Collection Activities: (FERC-65, FERC-65a, FERC-65b, FERC-725v) Consolidated Comment Request; Extension AGENCY:

    Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, DOE.

    ACTION:

    Notice of information collection and request for comments.

    SUMMARY:

    In compliance with the requirements of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (Commission or FERC) is soliciting public comment on the information collections, FERC-65 (Notice of Holding Company Status), FERC-65A (Exemption Notification of holding Company Status), and FERC-65B (Waiver Notification of Holding Company Status), and FERC-725V (Mandatory Reliability Standards: COM Reliability Standards) which will be submitted to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for a review of the information collection requirements.

    DATES:

    Comments on the collection of information are due June 15, 2018.

    ADDRESSES:

    Comments filed with OMB, identified by OMB Control No. 1902-0218 and OMB Control No. 1902-0277, 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. IC18-6-000 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], telephone at (202) 502-8663, and fax at (202) 273-0873.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Title: FERC-65 (Notice of Holding Company Status), FERC-65A (Exemption Notification of Holding Company Status), and FERC-65B (Waiver Notification of Holding Company Status).

    OMB Control No.: 1902-0218.

    Type of Request: Three-year extension of the FERC-65, FERC-65A and FERC-65B information collection requirements with no changes to the current reporting requirements.

    Abstract: The Pursuant to section 366.4 of the Commission's rules and regulations, persons who meet the definition of a holding company shall provide the Commission notification of holding company status.

    The FERC-65 is a one-time informational filing outlined in the Commission's regulations at 18 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) 366.4. The FERC-65 must be submitted within 30 days of becoming a holding company.1 While the Commission does not require the information to be reported in a specific format, the filing needs to consist of the name of the holding company, the name of public utilities, the name of natural gas companies in the holding company system, and the names of service companies. In addition, the Commission requires the filing to include the names of special-purpose subsidiaries (which provide non-power goods and services) and the names of all affiliates and subsidiaries (and their corporate interrelationship) to each other. Filings may be submitted in hardcopy or electronically through the Commission's eFiling system.

    1 Persons that meet the definition of a holding company as provided by § 366.1 as of February 8, 2006 shall notify the Commission of their status as a holding company no later than June 15, 2006. Holding companies formed after February 8, 2006 shall notify the Commission of their status as a holding company, no later than the latter of June 15, 2006 or 30 days after they become holding companies.

    FERC-65A (Exemption Notification of Holding Company Status)

    While noting the previously outlined requirements of the FERC-65, the Commission has allowed for an exemption from the requirement of providing the Commission with a FERC-65 if the books, accounts, memoranda, and other records of any person are not relevant to the jurisdictional rates of a public utility or natural gas company; or if any class of transactions is not relevant to the jurisdictional rates of a public utility or natural gas company. Persons seeking this exemption file the FERC-65A, which must include a form of notice suitable for publication in the Federal Register. Those who file a FERC-65A in good faith will have a temporary exemption upon filing, after 60 days if the Commission has taken no action, the exemption will be deemed granted. Commission regulations within 18 CFR 366.3 describe the criteria in more specificity.

    1. FERC-65B (Waiver Notification of Holding Company Status)

    If an entity meets the requirements in 18 CFR 366.3(c), they may file a FERC-65B waiver notification pursuant to the procedures outlined in 18 CFR 366.4. Specifically, the Commission waives the requirement of providing it with a FERC-65 for any holding company with respect to one or more of the following: (1) Single-state holding company systems; (2) holding companies that own generating facilities that total 100 MW or less in size and are used fundamentally for their own load or for sales to affiliated end-users; or (3) investors in independent transmission-only companies. Filings may be made in hardcopy or electronically through the Commission's website.

    Type of Respondent: Public utility companies, natural gas companies, electric wholesale generators, foreign utility holding companies.

    Estimate of Annual Burden:2 The Commission estimates the annual public reporting burden for the information collection as:

    2 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. Refer to 5 CFR 1320.3 for additional information.

    FERC-65 (Notification of Holding Company Status), FERC-65A (Exemption Notification of Holding Company Status), and FERC-65B (Waiver Notification of Holding Company Status) Number of
  • respondents
  • Annual
  • number of
  • responses per respondent
  • Total number of responses Average
  • burden and
  • cost per
  • response 3
  • Total annual burden hours and total
  • annual cost
  • Cost per
  • respondent
  • (1) (2) (1) * (2) = (3) (4) (3) * (4) = (5) ($) (5) ÷ (1) FERC-65 12 1 12 3; $229.50 36; $2,754 $229.50 FERC-65A 4 1.25 5 1; $76.50 5; $382.50 $95.63 FERC-65B 4 1.75 7 1; $76.50 7; $535.50 $133.88 Total 24 48; $3,672

    Title: FERC-725V, Mandatory Reliability Standards: COM Reliability Standards.

    3 The estimates for cost per response are derived using the following formula: 2017 Average Burden Hours per Response * $76.50 per Hour = Average Cost per Response. The hourly cost figure of $76.50 is the average FERC employee wage plus benefits. We assume for FERC-65, FERC-65A and FERC-65B that respondents earn at a similar rate.

    OMB Control No.: 1902-0277.

    Type of Request: Three-year extension of the FERC-725V information collection requirements with no changes to the current reporting requirements.

    Abstract: On August 15, 2016, the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) filed a petition for Commission approval, pursuant to section 215(d)(1) of the Federal Power Act (“FPA”) 4 and Section 39.5 5 of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's regulations, for Reliability Standard COM-001-3 (Communications), the associated Implementation Plan, retirement of currently-effective Reliability Standard COM-001-2.1, and Violation Risk Factors (“VRFs”) and Violation Severity Levels (“VSLs”) associated with new Requirements R12 and R13 in Reliability Standard COM-001-3. Reliability Standard COM-001-3 reflects revisions developed under Project 2015-07 Internal Communications Capabilities, in compliance with the Commission's directive in Order No. 888 that NERC “develop modifications to COM-001-2, or develop a new standard, to address the Commission's concerns regarding ensuring the adequacy of internal communications capability whenever internal communications could directly affect the reliability opera.

    4 16 U.S.C. 824o (2012).

    5 18 CFR 39.5 (2015).

    Reliability Standards COM-001-2 and COM-002-4 do not require responsible entities to file information with the Commission. COM-001-2 requires that transmission operators, balancing authorities, reliability coordinators, distribution providers, and generator operators must maintain documentation of Interpersonal Communication capability and designation of Alternate Interpersonal Communication, as well as evidence of testing of the Alternate Interpersonal Communication facilities. COM-002-4 requires balancing authorities, distribution providers, reliability coordinators, transmission operators, and generator operators to develop and maintain documented communication protocols, and to be able to provide evidence of training on the protocols and of their annual assessment of the protocols. Additionally, all applicable entities (balancing authorities, reliability coordinators, transmission operators, generator operators, and distribution providers) must be able to provide evidence of three-part communication when issuing or receiving an Operating Instruction during an Emergency.

    Type of Respondents: Public utilities.

    Estimate of Annual Burden:6 The Commission estimates the annual public reporting burden for the information collection as:

    6 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.

    FERC-725V, Mandatory Reliability Standards: COM Reliability Standards Number of
  • respondents
  • Annual
  • number of
  • responses per
  • respondent
  • Total number of responses Average burden and cost per response 7 Total annual burden hours & total annual cost Cost per
  • respondent
  • (1) (2) (1) * (2) = (3) (4) (3) * (4) = (5) ($) (5) ÷ (1) (One-time) 8 Development of Communication Protocols [COM-002-4 R1] 201 (BA, RC & TOP) 1 201 8 hrs. & $288 1,608 hrs. & $57,888 288 (On-going) 9 Maintain evidence of Interpersonal Communication capability [COM-001-2 R7 and R8] 1,180 (DP & GOP) 1 1,180 4 hrs. & $144 4,720 hrs. & $169,920 144 (On-going) Maintain evidence of training and assessments [COM-002-4 R2, R4, R5 and R6] 201 (BA, RC & TOP) 1 201 8 hrs. & $288 1,608 hrs. & $57,888 288 (On-going) Maintain evidence of training [COM-002-4 R3 and R6] 1,880 (DP & GOP) 1 1,180 8 hrs. & $288 15,040 hrs. & $541,440 288 Total 2,762 22,976 hrs. & $827,136

    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.

    7 The loaded hourly wage figure (includes benefits) is based on the occupational categories for 2016 found on the Bureau of Labor Statistics website (http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/naics2_22.htm):

    Electrical Engineer (Occupation Code: 17-2071): $68.12 (review and documentation).

    Office and Administrative Support (Occupation Code: 43-0000): $40.89 ($68.12 + 40.89 = 109.01 ÷ 3 = $36.34. This figure is rounded to $36.00 for use in collection FERC-725V for calculating wage figures in this renewal calculation.

    Dated: May 10, 2018. Nathaniel J. Davis, Sr., Deputy Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2018-10401 Filed 5-15-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission [Docket No. CP18-384-000] Notice of Request Under Blanket Authorization: Southern Star Central Gas Pipeline, Inc.

    Take notice that on April 30, 2018, Southern Star Central Gas Pipeline, Inc. (Southern Star), 4700 Highway 56, Owensboro, Kentucky 42301, filed in the above referenced docket, a prior notice request pursuant to sections 157.205, 157.208, 157.210, 157.211, and 157.216 of the Commission's regulations under the Natural Gas Act (NGA) and Southern Star's blanket certificate issued in Docket No. CP82-479-000, for authorization to construct, own, and operate a total of approximately 14.27 miles in seven non-contiguous 20- and 24-inch-diameter pipeline segments, and subsequently to abandon the equivalent existing segments of Line V in Oklahoma and Logan Counties, Oklahoma (Line V Replacement Project). The replacement is required due to the age and condition of the acetylene-welded pipe and to enable in-line assessments of the Line V pipeline, all as more fully set forth in the application which is on file with the Commission and open to public inspection.

    The filing may also be viewed on the web at http://www.ferc.gov using the eLibrary link. Enter the docket number excluding the last three digits in the docket number field to access the document. For assistance, please contact FERC Online Support at [email protected] or toll free at (866) 208-3676, or TTY, contact (202) 502-8659.

    Any questions concerning this prior notice request should be directed to Cindy Thompson, Manager, Regulatory, Southern Star Central Gas Pipeline, Inc., 4700 Highway 56, Owensboro, Kentucky 42301, by phone (270) 852-4655, or by email [email protected]

    Pursuant to section 157.9 of the Commission's rules, 18 CFR 157.9, within 90 days of this Notice the Commission staff will either: Complete its environmental assessment (EA) and place it into the Commission's public record (eLibrary) for this proceeding; or issue a Notice of Schedule for Environmental Review. If a Notice of Schedule for Environmental Review is issued, it will indicate, among other milestones, the anticipated date for the Commission staff's issuance of the EA for this proposal. The filing of the EA in the Commission's public record for this proceeding or the issuance of a Notice of Schedule for Environmental Review will serve to notify federal and state agencies of the timing for the completion of all necessary reviews, and the subsequent need to complete all federal authorizations within 90 days of the date of issuance of the Commission staff's EA.

    Any person may, within 60 days after the issuance of the instant notice by the Commission, file pursuant to Rule 214 of the Commission's Procedural Rules (18 CFR 385.214) a motion to intervene or notice of intervention. Any person filing to intervene or the Commission's staff may, pursuant to section 157.205 of the Commission's Regulations under the NGA (18 CFR 157.205) file a protest to the request. If no protest is filed within the time allowed therefore, the proposed activity shall be deemed to be authorized effective the day after the time allowed for protest. If a protest is filed and not withdrawn within 30 days after the time allowed for filing a protest, the instant request shall be treated as an application for authorization pursuant to section 7 of the NGA.

    The Commission strongly encourages electronic filings of comments, protests, and interventions via the internet in lieu of paper. See 18 CFR 385.2001(a)(1)(iii) and the instructions on the Commission's website (www.ferc.gov) under the “e-Filing” link.

    Dated: May 10, 2018. Nathaniel J. Davis, Sr., Deputy Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2018-10399 Filed 5-15-18; 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 exempt wholesale generator filings:

    Docket Numbers: EG18-84-000.

    Applicants: Antelope Expansion 2, LLC.

    Description: Self-Certification of EWG Antelope Expansion 2, LLC.

    Filed Date: 5/10/18.

    Accession Number: 20180510-5119.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/31/18.

    Take notice that the Commission received the following electric rate filings:

    Docket Numbers: ER17-157-003.

    Applicants: Moapa Southern Paiute Solar, LLC.

    Description: Compliance filing: Supplement to Notice of Non-Material Change in Status to be effective5/11/2018.

    Filed Date: 5/10/18.

    Accession Number: 20180510-5084.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/31/18.

    Docket Numbers: ER18-995-001.

    Applicants: Southwest Power Pool, Inc.

    Description: Tariff Amendment: Amended Filing—Attachment AE Revisions to Clarify Registration of Load to be effective 5/11/2018.

    Filed Date: 5/10/18.

    Accession Number: 20180510-5116.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/31/18.

    Docket Numbers: ER18-1172-001

    Applicants: Southern California Edison Company.

    Description: Tariff Amendment: Amended GIA Santa Ana Storage Project SA No. 1006 to be effective3/14/2018.

    Filed Date: 5/10/18.

    Accession Number: 20180510-5111.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/31/18.

    Docket Numbers: ER18-1219-001.

    Applicants: Midcontinent Independent System Operator, Inc.

    Description: Tariff Amendment: 2018-05-08_SA 3105 EMI-EMI Substitute GIA (J477) to be effective3/15/2018.

    Filed Date: 5/8/18.

    Accession Number: 20180508-5195.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/15/18.

    Docket Numbers: ER18-1292-001.

    Applicants: Southern California Edison Company.

    Description: Tariff Amendment: Amended LGIA Desert Quartzite, LLC—Quartz 3 Solar Project—Revised ITCC to be effective 4/4/2018.

    Filed Date: 5/10/18.

    Accession Number: 20180510-5095.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/31/18.

    Docket Numbers: ER18-1297-001.

    Applicants: Southern California Edison Company.

    Description: Tariff Amendment: Amended LGIA—Revised ITCC Palmdale Energy, LLC to be effective6/4/2018.

    Filed Date: 5/10/18.

    Accession Number: 20180510-5097.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/31/18.

    Docket Numbers: ER18-1562-000.

    Applicants: Southwest Power Pool, Inc.

    Description: Compliance filing: Order No. 842 Compliance Filing to be effective 5/15/2018.

    Filed Date: 5/9/18.

    Accession Number: 20180509-5216.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/30/18.

    Docket Numbers: ER18-1563-000.

    Applicants: NorthWestern Corporation.

    Description: § 205(d) Rate Filing: Revisions to Attachment L—Creditworthiness Procedures to be effective 7/10/2018.

    Filed Date: 5/10/18.

    Accession Number: 20180510-5033.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/31/18.

    Docket Numbers: ER18-1564-000.

    Applicants: Niagara Mohawk Power Corporation, New York Independent System Operator, Inc.

    Description: Tariff Cancellation: NMPC Cancellation of CRA 2264 with Oneida Indian Nation to be effective3/30/2017.

    Filed Date: 5/10/18.

    Accession Number: 20180510-5055.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/31/18.

    Docket Numbers: ER18-1565-000.

    Applicants: PJM Interconnection, L.L.C.

    Description: Tariff Cancellation: Notice of Cancellation of Service Agreement No. 3764; Queue No. Y3-029 to be effective 6/4/2014.

    Filed Date: 5/10/18.

    Accession Number: 20180510-5067.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/31/18.

    Docket Numbers: ER18-1566-000.

    Applicants: Essential Power Rock Springs, LLC, PJM Interconnection, L.L.C.

    Description: eTariff filing per 1450: Essential Power submits revisions to OATT Att H-23 re Tax Reform EL18-97 to be effective 6/1/2018.

    Filed Date: 5/10/18.

    Accession Number: 20180510-5068.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/31/18.

    Docket Numbers: ER18-1567-000.

    Applicants: South Carolina Electric & Gas Company.

    Description: Compliance filing: Order 842 Attch M and N to be effective 5/15/2018.

    Filed Date: 5/10/18.

    Accession Number: 20180510-5104.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/31/18.

    Docket Numbers: ER18-1568-000.

    Applicants: Southwest Power Pool, Inc.

    Description: § 205(d) Rate Filing: Market Import Service Tariff Revisions to be effective 7/10/2018.

    Filed Date: 5/10/18.

    Accession Number: 20180510-5163.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/31/18.

    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 10, 2018. Nathaniel J. Davis, Sr., Deputy Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2018-10397 Filed 5-15-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY [FRL-9977-73-OECA] Applicability Determination Index (ADI) Data System Recent Posting: Agency Applicability Determinations, Alternative Monitoring Decisions, and Regulatory Interpretations Pertaining to Standards of Performance for New Stationary Sources, Emission Guidelines and Federal Plan Requirements for Existing Sources, National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants, and the Stratospheric Ozone Protection Program AGENCY:

    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

    ACTION:

    Notice of availability.

    SUMMARY:

    This notice announces applicability determinations, alternative monitoring decisions, and regulatory interpretations that EPA has made with regard to the New Source Performance Standards (NSPS); the National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP); the Emission Guidelines and Federal Plan Requirements for existing sources; and/or the Stratospheric Ozone Protection Program.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    An electronic copy of each complete document posted on the Applicability Determination Index (ADI) data system is available on the internet through the Resources and Guidance Documents for Compliance Assistance page of the Clean Air Act Compliance Monitoring website under “Air” at: https://www2.epa.gov/compliance/resources-and-guidance-documents-compliance-assistance. The letters and memoranda on the ADI may be located by author, date, office of issuance, subpart, citation, control number, or by string word searches. For questions about the ADI or this notice, contact Maria Malave at EPA by phone at: (202) 564-7027, or by email at: [email protected] For technical questions about individual applicability determinations or monitoring decisions, refer to the contact person identified in the individual documents, or in the absence of a contact person, refer to the author of the document.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background

    The General Provisions of the NSPS in 40 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) part 60 and the General Provisions of the NESHAP in 40 CFR part 61 provide that a source owner or operator may request a determination of whether certain intended actions constitute the commencement of construction, reconstruction, or modification. 40 CFR 60.5 and 61.06. The General Provisions in part 60 also apply to Federal and EPA-approved state plans for existing sources in 40 CFR part 62. See 40 CFR 62.02(b)(2). The EPA's written responses to inquiries on provisions in parts 60, 61 and 62 are commonly referred to as applicability determinations. Although the NESHAP part 63 regulations [which include Maximum Achievable Control Technology (MACT) standards and/or Generally Available Control Technology (GACT) standards] contain no specific regulatory provision providing that sources may request applicability determinations, the EPA also responds to written inquiries regarding applicability for the part 63 regulations. In addition, the General Provisions in part 60 and 63 allow sources to seek permission to use monitoring or recordkeeping that is different from the promulgated requirements. See 40 CFR 60.13(i), 61.14(g), 63.8(b)(1), 63.8(f), and 63.10(f). The EPA's written responses to these inquiries are commonly referred to as alternative monitoring decisions. Furthermore, the EPA responds to written inquiries about the broad range of regulatory requirements in 40 CFR parts 60 through 63 as they pertain to a whole source category. These inquiries may pertain, for example, to the type of sources to which the regulation applies, or to the testing, monitoring, recordkeeping, or reporting requirements contained in the regulation. The EPA's written responses to these inquiries are commonly referred to as regulatory interpretations.

    The EPA currently compiles EPA-issued NSPS and NESHAP applicability determinations, alternative monitoring decisions, and regulatory interpretations, and posts them to the ADI on a regular basis. In addition, the ADI contains EPA-issued responses to requests pursuant to the stratospheric ozone regulations, contained in 40 CFR part 82. The ADI is a data system on the internet with over three thousand EPA letters and memoranda pertaining to the applicability, monitoring, recordkeeping, and reporting requirements of the NSPS, NESHAP, emission guidelines and Federal Plans for existing sources, and stratospheric ozone regulations. Users can search for letters and memoranda by date, office of issuance, subpart, citation, control number, or by string word searches.

    Today's notice comprises a summary of 54 such documents added to the ADI on April 24, 2018. This notice lists the subject and header of each letter and memorandum, as well as a brief abstract of the letter or memorandum. Complete copies of these documents may be obtained from the ADI on the internet through the Resources and Guidance Documents for Compliance Assistance page of the Clean Air Act Compliance Monitoring website under “Air” at: https://www2.epa.gov/compliance/resources-and-guidance-documents-compliance-assistance.

    Summary of Headers and Abstracts

    The following table identifies the database control number for each document posted on the ADI data system on April 24, 2018; the applicable category; the section(s) and/or subpart(s) of 40 CFR part 60, 61, 62, or 63 (as applicable) addressed in the document; and the title of the document, which provides a brief description of the subject matter.

    Also included is an abstract of each document identified with its control number after the table. These abstracts are provided solely to alert the public to possible items of interest and are not intended as substitutes for the contents of the documents. This notice does not change the status of any document with respect to whether it is “of nationwide scope or effect” for purposes of CAA section 307(b)(1). For example, this notice does not convert an applicability determination for a particular source into a nationwide rule. Neither does it purport to make a previously non-binding document binding.

    ADI Determinations Uploaded on April 24, 2018 Control No. Categories Subparts Title 1600019 NSPS A, TTTT Applicability Determination for Stationary Combustion Turbine. FP00003 Federal Plan LLL, EEE Alternative Monitoring Plan at Sewage Sludge Incinerator. 1700003 NSPS WWW Alternative Tier 2 Testing Methodology for MSW Landfill. 1700004 NSPS, MACT, NESHAP Kb, UUUU Applicability Determination for Two Carbon Disulfide Storage Tanks. 1700005 NSPS, MACT Ja, CC Applicability Determination to Determine if Compliance with 40 CFR 63.670 Triggers 40 CFR 60 NSPS Subpart Ja for Flares. FP00004 Federal Plan LLL Applicability Determination for Sewage Sludge Gasifier. 1700008 NSPS A, Appen Relative Accuracy Test Audit Frequency for Carbon Monoxide CEMS. 1700010 NSPS CCCC, EEEE Applicability Determination for Gasification Unit. 1700011 Federal Plan, NSPS GGG, WWW Request for Removal of Landfill Gas Collection and Control System. 1700012 NSPS A, J Applicability Determination for Flare at Hydrogen Reformer Facility. 1700014 NSPS OOOOa Applicability Determination for Well Completion Operations. 1700015 NSPS KKKK Regulatory Interpretation for Emissions Reporting at Combustion Turbine. 1700016 NSPS J, Ja Alternative Monitoring Plan for Hydrogen Sulfide in Temporary Tank Degassing Events at a Refinery. 1700017 NSPS OOO Applicability Determination of Nonmetallic Mineral. 1700018 NSPS J, Ja Alternative Monitoring Plan for Hydrogen Sulfide and Sulfur Dioxide in Flares and Fuel Gas Combustion Devices at Petroleum Refinery. 1700019 NSPS Ja Alternative Monitoring Request for Sulfur Dioxide at Sulfur Recovery Plant. 1700020 NSPS A, Ja Alternative Monitoring Plan for CEMS Calibration Gas at a Refinery. 1700021 NSPS J, Ja Alternative Monitoring Plan for Hydrogen Sulfide Vapors Combusted in Portable Thermal Oxidizers at Refineries. 1700022 NSPS J, Ja Alternative Monitoring Plan and Performance Test Waiver for Hydrogen Sulfide Vapors Combusted in Portable Thermal Oxidizers and Fuel Gas Combustion Devices at Refineries. 1700023 NSPS Ja Alternative Monitoring Plan for Hydrogen Sulfide in Vapor Combustion Units at a Refinery. 1700024 NSPS J, Ja Alternative Monitoring Plan for Hydrogen Sulfide and Sulfur Dioxide in Flares and Fuel Gas Combustion Devices at a Refinery. 1700025 NSPS J, Ja Alternative Monitoring Plan for Hydrogen Sulfide in Mobile Combustion Devices at Refineries. 1700026 NSPS Ja Alternative Monitoring Plan for NOx CEMS Span for Heaters at a Refinery. 1700027 NSPS A, Ja Alternative Monitoring Plan for Total Reduced Sulfur in Flare System at a Refinery. 1700028 NSPS NNN, RRR Alternative Monitoring Plan and Test Waiver for the Olefins Manufacturing Unit and Demethanizer Distillation Column Vents at a Chemical Manufacturing Plant. 1700029 NSPS, NESHAP, MACT J, UUU Alternative Monitoring Plan for Wet Gas Scrubber at a Refinery. 1700030 NSPS Ja Flare Flow Monitoring Accuracy Requirement for a Refinery. 1700031 NSPS Ja Flare Flow Monitoring Accuracy Requirement for a Refinery. 1700032 NSPS Ja Flare Flow Monitoring Accuracy Requirement for a Refinery. 1700033 NSPS Ja Flare Flow Monitoring Accuracy Requirement for a Refinery. 1700034 NSPS, NESHAP, MACT Ja, UUU Alternative Monitoring Plan for Sulfur Dioxide and Oxygen Concentrations at Sulfur Recovery Unit Incinerator at a Refinery. 1700035 NSPS J, Ja Alternative Monitoring Plan for Portable Flares and Fuel Gas Combustion Devices During Degassing Operations at a Refinery. 1700036 NSPS FFF Performance Test Waiver for Flexible Vinyl and Urethane Coating and Printing Lines. A170001 Asbestos, NESHAP M Applicability Determination for Vermiculite Material in Building Demolition. M170001 MACT PPPP Applicability Determination for Surface Coating Facility. M170002 MACT CC Applicability Determination for Vapor Combustor at a Petroleum Refinery. M170004 MACT, NESHAP DDDDD, HHH Applicability Determination for Glycol Reboiler Heater at Natural Gas Facility. M170005 MACT EEE Alternative Relative Accuracy Procedure for Three Hazardous Waste Liquid Fuel Boilers. M170006 MACT PPPP Alternative Control Device and Monitoring for Plastic Parts and Products Coating Facility. M170007 MACT PPPPP Reconstruction for Test Cells/Stands. M170008 MACT CC Determination for Flare Vent Gas Chromatography Calibration and Configuration at Refinery. M170009 MACT UUUUU Eligibility to Pursue Low Emitting Electric Generating Unit Status under the Mercury Air Toxics Rule. M170010 MACT, NSPS ZZZZ, IIII Applicability Determination for Engines at Pump Station. M170011 MACT FFFF, G Waiver Request for Flow Measurement at a Flare Performance Test. M170012 MACT DDDDD Mercury Site-Specific Fuel Analysis Plans for Boilers and Process Heaters. M170013 MACT DDDDD Alternative Mercury Analysis Breakthrough Request. M170014 MACT, NESHAP UUU Alternative Monitoring for Oxygen Concentration at a Refinery. M170017 MACT FFFF, HHHHH Applicability of MON & MCM rules to Adhesive Processes at 3M. WDS-146 Woodstoves NSPS AAA Regulatory Interpretation for Catalyst Suitable Replacement Procedures. WDS-147 Woodstoves, NSPS AAA, QQQQ Regulatory Interpretation on the Wood Heater Sealing and Certification Requirements. WDS-148 Woodstoves NSPS AAA Applicability Determination for Wood-Burning Sauna Heaters. Z170001 NESHAP, MACT X Applicability Determination for Secondary Lead Smelting Facility. Z170002 NESHAP UUUU Alternative Test and Monitoring Methods for Sulfur Compound Emissions in Process Vents at a Cellulose Manufacturing Facility. Z170003 NESHAP UUU Alternative Monitoring for Oxygen Concentration in Catalyst Regenerator at a Refinery. Abstracts Abstract for [1600019]

    Q: Did construction commence on the Portland General Electric (PGE) Carty Generating Facility electric generating unit (EGU) located in Boardman, Oregon when the turn-key contract for construction of the Facility was signed, or later when the contractor began actual onsite construction activities?

    A: Pursuant to 40 CFR 60.5(a) and 40 CFR 60.2 definition of “commence”, EPA determines that PGE's construction commenced on June 3, 2013, when PGE entered into a contractual obligation construction of the Carty Generating Facility.

    Abstract for [FP00003]

    Q1: Does the EPA approve Lynn Water and Sewer Commission's (Lynn's) request to use site-specific control technology and monitoring parameters for the granular activated carbon adsorption system used to control mercury emissions from the sewage sludge incinerator (SSI), subject to the 40 CFR part, subpart MMMM, Emissions Guidelines and Compliance Timelines for Existing Sewage Sludge Incineration (SSI) Units, and located in Lynn, Massachusetts? The SSI is expected to be subject to the federal standards to be promulgated under 40 CFR part 62 subpart LLL, Federal Plan Requirements for Sewage Sludge Incineration Units Constructed on or Before October 14, 2010.

    A1: Yes. The EPA approves Lynn's site-specific mercury emission control and monitoring plan for the carbon adsorber. SSIs located in states that did not develop plans by March 21, 2016, as required by subpart MMMM, will be subject to the Federal plan requirements of Subpart LLL, until such time as the state develops a plan that is approved by EPA. Moreover, the Clean Air Act at 42 U.S.C. 7429(f)(2) states that performance standards for existing SSIs shall be in effect no later than five years after the date the emission guidelines were promulgated, that is by March 21, 2016.

    Q2: Does the EPA approve Lynn's request for an Alternative Monitoring Plan (AMP) for the wet electrostatic precipitator (WESP) used to control particulate from the incinerator?

    A2: Yes. The EPA approves Lynn's request for an AMP for the WESP.

    Abstract for [1700003]

    Q: Does the EPA approve the alternative testing under 40 CFR part 60, subpart WWW (the Landfill NSPS) to allow use of landfill gas flow rate measurements at the header of the voluntary gas collection and control system (GCCS) to calculate annual non-methane organic compound (NMOC) emissions for a Tier 2 test at the Central Sanitary Landfill (CSL) in Pierson, Michigan?

    A: No. The EPA does not approve the alternative testing to use the flow rate measurements from the header of the GCCS, unless CSL can verify that the flow rate measured in the header of the GCCS accounts for the total quantity of landfill gas generated by the landfill.

    Abstract for [1700004]

    Q: Does the EPA determine that the two carbon disulfide (CS2) storage tanks located at the 3M Company (3M) Elyria, Ohio manufacturing plant are regulated under 40 CFR part 60 subpart Kb, Standards of Performance in Volatile Organic Liquid for Storage Vessels (NSPS Kb)? The CS2 storage tanks in question are part of an unloading and storage operation regulated under 40 CFR part 63 subpart UUUU (MACT UUUU), NESHAP for Cellulose Products Manufacturing, and the tanks do not have gaseous emissions.

    A: No. The EPA determines that the storage tanks in question that store CS2, a volatile organic liquid, are not regulated under NSPS Kb based on the language in Section VI.G.2 of the EPA memorandum from William Schrock, OAQPS/ESD/OCG to Docket No. A-99-39, Summary of Public Comments and Responses on the Proposed NESHAP for Cellulosic Products Manufacturing, dated February 15, 2002. The two CS2 storage tanks are not the type of storage vessels in terms of their physical siting and operational design that were intended to be regulated under NSPS Subpart Kb, even when these tanks meet the vapor pressure and designed capacity under the NSPS rule. The tanks in question are completely submerged in a common water bath and have no air space within the tanks due to having a water layer above the CS2 layer at all times. Therefore, the tanks do not have direct CS2 gaseous emissions.

    Abstract for [1700005]

    Q: Does the EPA determine that changes made to the OMD-1 Rail rack flare, located at the Suncor Energy, Inc. petroleum refinery in Commerce City, Colorado, to ensure compliance with 40 CFR part 63 subpart CC, NESHAP from Petroleum Refineries, are considered a modification under 40 CFR part 60 subpart Ja?

    A: No. Based on the information provided, the addition of utility supplied natural gas to the OMD-1 Rail rack flare would not be considered a modification for subpart Ja purposes because this flare is not physically connecting any new piping from a “refinery process unit”, including “ancillary equipment,” or a “fuel gas system” as those terms are defined in Subpart Ja. Rather, the new piping is adding utility supplied natural gas to vapors from loading racks, Also, the addition of utility supplied natural gas to the OMD-1 Rail rack flare is not increasing the flow capacity of the flare.

    Abstract for [FP00004]

    Q: Does the EPA determine that 40 CFR part 60 subpart MMMM—Emissions Guidelines and Compliance Timelines for Existing Sewage Sludge Incineration (SSI) Units (SSI EG Rule) applies to a sewage sludge gasifier owned by MaxWest Environmental Systems Inc. (MaxWest) and located in Sanford, Florida?

    A: No. EPA determines that the SSI EG Rule, does not apply to the Maxwest sewage sludge gasifier and thermal oxidizer process heater. According to the SSI EG Rule, an SSI unit is an “enclosed device or devices using controlled flame combustion that burns sewage sludge for the purpose of reducing the volume of sewage sludge by removing combustible matter.” The MaxWest system has no flame and it is not a sewage sludge incinerator. Next, while the syngas which results from the gasifier is combusted, the SSI EG rule defines sewage sludge as “solid, semisolid, or liquid residue generated during the treatment of domestic sludge in treatment works.” Since the syngas is a gas and not a solid, semisolid, or liquid, it does not meet the definition of sewage sludge in the SSI EG rule (even though it is derived from sewage sludge).

    Abstract for [1700008]

    Q: Does the EPA approve an alternate Relative Accuracy Test Audit (RATA) frequency for two carbon monoxide (CO) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) Continuous Emissions Monitoring Systems (CEMS) on two turbines located at the Associated Electric Cooperative, Inc. (AECI) Dell Power Plant in Dell, Arkansas?

    A: Yes. The EPA approves AECI's request to follow the part 75 RATA frequency requirements for both NOx and CO CEMS, in accordance with similar prior approvals allowing a reduction in RATA frequency requirements for NOx and CO CEMS under part 60 Appendix F. The AECI turbines operate infrequently, and part 60 RATA frequency requirements do not take into account the frequency of the unit operations.

    Abstract for [1700010]

    Q: Is the proposed pilot gasification unit at the Carbon Black Global LLC (CBG) facility in Dunlap, Tennessee subject to 40 CFR part 60 subpart CCCC (Standards of Performance for Commercial and Industrial Solid Waste Incineration (CISWI NSPS)? The pilot “scaled-down” unit will be used to optimize and research the gasification of a variety of carbon-based waste feedstocks for clients. The resultant syngas will be flared.

    A: No. The proposed CBG's operation of the pilot unit is not a CISWI unit as defined in § 60.2265 and is therefore not subject to the CISWI NSPS because the resultant syngas will not be in a container when combusted in the flare. While operation of the pilot unit by CBG is not subject to the CISWI NSPS, combustion of syngas produced by the gasification of other wastes, by CBG clients, should be evaluated by the appropriate delegated permitting agency for potential applicability under section 129 or section 112 (in the case of hazardous waste rules).

    Abstract for [1700011]

    Q1: Does the EPA give permission to remove the Site No. 1, Site No. 2, Fons and Old Wayne landfills' (the Landfills) landfill gas (LFG) gas collection and control system (GCCS) at a Wayne Disposal Inc. (WDI) site in Belleville, Michigan that is subject to the Municipal Solid Waste Landfill Federal Plan at 40 CFR part 62 subpart GGG (Landfill Federal Plan)?

    A1: Yes. The EPA grants permission for WDI to cap or remove its LFG GCCS from a specific cell to allow a new hazardous waste landfill cell to overlay it since it has met the approval criteria established at 40 CFR 60.752(b)(2)(v), including: (1) The Landfills are “a closed landfill[s]; (2) demonstrated that the NMOC gas production rate is less than 50 Mg/yr; and (3) demonstrated that the GCCS has been in operation for at least 15 years, as well as the required removal report is described in 40 CFR 60.757(e). Details behind this decision are included in the EPA determination letter.

    Q2: Can a landfill cap and remove its GCCS prior to the 15-year control period if a GCCS was operational prior to the start of the 15-year control period, but not in compliance with the Landfill NSPS and the Landfill Federal Plan design criteria?

    A2: No. WDI may cap or remove its GCCS at the remaining Landfills after October 6, 2017, since all conditions per 40 CFR 60.752(b)(2)(v) for landfill closure will be met on that date. A landfill is required to do a performance test when a GCCS is installed to ensure that it is in compliance with the Landfill Federal Plan or Landfill NSPS, whichever is applicable, which is one of the criteria. Once the GCCS is determined to be in compliance with design criteria in the Landfill NSPS and the Federal plan, the 15-year control period begins. Based on the information provided, WDI has not yet satisfied the 15-year requirement and must maintain operation of the GCCS until October 6, 2017.

    Abstract for [1700012]

    Q1: Does the EPA determine that the purchase order for a flare at the Linde Gas North America hydrogen reformer facility, located in Romeoville, Illinois, signed prior to the applicability deadline for 40 CFR part 60 subpart J, establish that the facility “commenced construction” of the flare?

    A1: Yes. The signed purchase order established a contractual obligation to construct the flare and therefore the facility had commenced construction prior to the subpart J applicability deadline.

    Q2: Does the EPA determine that gas streams routed to the flare for combustion are exempt from the hydrogen sulfide (H2S) emission limit at 40 CFR 60.104(a)(1) if the streams result from startup, shutdown, upset or malfunction of the plant or are due to relief valve leakage or other emergency malfunctions?

    A2: Yes. Process upset gases and gases released as a result of relief valve leakage or other emergency malfunctions are exempt from this H2S emission limit.

    Q3: Does the EPA determine that the flare is exempt from the sulfur dioxide (SO2) monitoring requirements at 40 CFR 60.105(a) if the fuel gas streams are “inherently low in sulfur”?

    A3: Yes. Based on the information provided to the EPA about the gas streams directed to the flare, they are inherently low in sulfur and therefore the facility is exempt from the SO2 monitoring requirements at 40 CFR 60.105(a).

    Abstract for [1700014]

    Q: Does the EPA determine that well completions performed by CountryMark Energy Resources, LLC (CountryMark) meet the definition of hydraulic fracturing at 40 CFR 60.5430a and are subject to subpart OOOOa?

    A: Yes. The EPA determines that CountryMark's operations meet the definition of hydraulic fracturing at 40 CFR 60.5430a, and are therefore subject to applicable requirements of subpart OOOOa, including but not limited to the standards for well affected facilities at 40 CFR 60.5375a. EPA concludes that the formations within the Illinois Basin that CountryMark has identified are considered “tight formations” because it is necessary to inject pressurized fluids into the formations to “increase the flow of hydrocarbons to the wellhead”.

    Abstract for [1700015]

    Q: Does EPA determine that water and fuel injection data associated with the startup and shutdown of a combustion turbine at the Marshfield Utilities electric power generation facility be included in the 4-hour rolling average calculation used to determine compliance with the nitrogen oxide (NOx) emission limitations for stationary combustion turbines and for reporting excess emissions under 40 CFR part 60 subpart KKKK?

    A: Yes. Subpart KKKK requires that all unit operating hours, including periods of startup, shutdown and malfunction be included in the 4-hour rolling average steam or water to fuel ratio calculation in accordance with 40 CFR 60.4335(a) and 40 CFR 60.4375(a), and any excess emissions must be reported under 40 CFR 60.4380(a)(l). However, such excess emissions would not constitute a violation of subpart KKKK if they occurred as a result of startup, shutdown, or malfunction.

    Abstract for [1700016]

    Q: Does the EPA approve an Alternative Monitoring Plan (AMP) to monitor hydrogen sulfide (H2S) in refinery fuel gas during TRiSTAR/Global Vapor Control, Inc.'s (TRiSTAR) temporary vapor control events, such as tank degassing and cleaning operations subject to 40 CFR part 60 subparts J at refineries in Region 5?

    A: Yes. The EPA approves TRiSTAR's AMP at refineries in Region 5 since installing and operating an H2S CMS would be technically impractical due to the short term nature of tank degassing and similar operations.

    Abstract for [1700017]

    Q: Does the EPA determine that sodium gluconate produced at the PMP Fermentation Products, Inc. facility in Peoria, Illinois is classified as a nonmetallic mineral under NSPS Subpart OOO?

    A. Yes. The EPA determines that sodium gluconate meets the definition of nonmetallic mineral established in NSPS subpart OOO.

    Abstract for [1700018]

    Q: Does the EPA approve an expansion of the previously approved Alternative Monitoring Plan (AMP) for the Flint Hills Resources refinery to monitor hydrogen sulfide (H2S) and sulfur dioxide (SO2) when using portable flares and fuel gas combustion devices to reduce volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions from vessels and pipes subject to 40 CFR part 60 subpart J or Ja?

    A: Yes. The EPA approves that the previously-approved AMP, to monitor H2S and SO2 in flares and fuel gas combustion devices used to treat VOC emissions from petroleum refinery storage tank degassing and cleaning operations subject to NSPS subparts J and Ja.

    Abstract for [1700019]

    Q: Does the EPA approve Calumet Superior's alternative monitoring proposal to use a static default moisture correction to correct the sulfur dioxide CEMS data to a dry basis, for a sulfur recovery plant located in Superior, Wisconsin, subject to 40 CFR part 60 subpart Ja?

    A: No. NSPS subpart Ja at 40 CFR 60.l06a(a)(l) and the Performance Specification 2 of Appendix B to part 60 allow for the data to be monitored either on a dry basis, or to be corrected to a dry basis using continuously monitored moisture data.

    Abstract for [1700020]

    Q: Does the EPA approve a request to reduce the concentrations of the calibration gas and validation standards on the continuous emission monitoring system (CEMS) for several flares subject to 40 CFR part 60 subpart Ja at the Alon USA (Alon) Big Spring refinery located in Big Spring, Texas?

    A: Yes. The EPA conditionally approves the request provided that all other requirements of the monitoring procedures of NSPS subpart Ja for total reduced sulfur (TRS) and hydrogen sulfide (H2S) are followed. The alternative span gases will address safety concerns involving storage, handling, and engineering controls. The EPA conditionally approves a calibration gas concentration range of 0-85 percent for conducting daily drift checks, relative accuracy test audits, and cylinder gas audits, using a mass spectrometer to continuously analyze and monitor H2S and TRS, provided that Alon conducts linearity analysis on the mass spectrometer once every three years to determine linearity across the entire range of expected concentrations of acid gas vent streams.

    Abstract for [1700021]

    Q: Does the EPA approve an Alternative Monitoring Plan (AMP) for various refineries located in EPA Region 6 and operated by Debusk Service Group to conduct monitoring of hydrogen sulfide (H2S) emissions, in lieu of installing a continuous emission monitoring system (CEMS), when performing tank degassing and other similar operations controlled by portable, temporary thermal oxidizers, that are subject to 40 CFR part 60 subparts J or Ja?

    A: Yes. Based on the description of the process, the vent gas streams, the design of the vent gas controls, and the H2S monitoring data furnished, the EPA conditionally approves the AMP. The EPA included proposed operating parameter limits (OPLs) and data which the refineries must furnish as part of the conditional approval. The AMP is only for degassing operations conducted at refineries in EPA Region 6. Separate, similar AMP requests for the same company to conduct degassing operations at refineries in states in other EPA regions must be approved by those EPA regions.

    Abstract for [1700022]

    Q: Does EPA approve an Alternative Monitoring Plan (AMP) for the two Flint Hills Resources Corpus Christi refineries (Flint Hills Refineries) to conduct monitoring of hydrogen sulfide (H2S) emissions, in lieu of installing a continuous emission monitoring system (CEMS), when performing tank degassing and other similar operations controlled by portable, temporary thermal oxidizers and other fuel combustion devices that are subject to 40 CFR part 60 subparts J or Ja?

    A: Yes. Based on the description of the process, the vent gas streams, the design of the vent gas controls, and the H2S monitoring data furnished, EPA conditionally approves a combined AMP for the portable fuel combustion devices used at both refineries. EPA included proposed operating parameter limits (OPLs), and data which the refineries must retain and obtain from contractors, as part of the conditional approval. The AMP is only for the portable fuel combustion devices at the aforementioned Flint Hills Refineries. Separate, similar AMP requests for the same company must be approved by the EPA region.

    Abstract for [1700023]

    Q: Does EPA approve an Alternative Monitoring Plan (AMP) for monitoring hydrogen sulfide (H2S) in refinery fuel gas streams at the Magellan Midstream Partners, L.P.'s (Magellan) facility in Corpus Christi, Texas which are subject to 40 CFR part 60 subparts J or Ja?

    A: Yes. Based on the information provided by Magellan, the facility uses a vapor combustion unit (VCU) to control emissions from degassing, cleaning, and maintenance activities associated with tanks, vessels, pipes, and LPG trucks. Because the VCU will be used infrequently, and for short periods, installation of an H2S continuous emission monitoring system (CEMS) as required under NSPS Subpart Ja is not economically feasible. The EPA approves use of colorimetric stain tubes to determine the concentration of H2S in three fuel gas grab samples prior to entering the VCU. Magellan must record the results of each grab sample, the key activities completed with each operation, and any other relevant information associated with degassing, cleaning, and maintenance activities.

    Abstract for [1700024]

    Q: Does the EPA approve an Alternative Monitoring Plan (AMP) for Flint Hill Resources in Rosemount, Minnesota, to monitor hydrogen sulfide (H2S) and sulfur dioxide (SO2) in flares for flares and fuel gas combustion devices used to treat volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions from petroleum refinery storage tank degassing and cleaning operations subject to the New Source Performance Standards for Petroleum Refineries, 40 CFR part 60 subparts J and Ja (NSPS subparts J and Ja)?

    A: Yes. The EPA approves an AMP to monitor H2S and SO2 in flares for flares and fuel gas combustion devices used to treat VOC emissions from petroleum refinery storage tank degassing and cleaning operations subject to NSPS subparts J and Ja.

    Abstract for [1700025]

    Q: Does the EPA approve an Alternative Monitoring Plan (AMP) for GEM Mobile Treatment Services to monitor hydrogen sulfide (H2S) in refinery fuel gas during temporary vapor control events subject NSPS Subparts J and Ja, such as tank degassing, at refineries in EPA Region 5?

    A: Yes. The EPA approves an AMP to monitor H2S in refinery fuel gas for mobile combustion devices flares and fuel gas combustion devices used to treat emissions from temporary vapor control events, such as tank degassing. Separate, similar AMP requests for facilities located in other EPA regions must be approved by the appropriate EPA region.

    Abstract for [1700026]

    Q: Does the EPA approve Flint Hills Resources (FHR) to use a span of 0-50 ppmvd for the nitrogen oxides (NOX) continuous emission monitoring system (CEMS) at two heaters located at the Pine Ben Refinery located in Saint Paul Minnesota, subject to 40 CFR part 60 subpart Ja?

    A: No. EPA disapproves the Alternative Monitoring Proposal to allow the analyzers spans of 0-50 ppmvd as this range does not cover the applicable emission limit of 60 ppmvd. However, the EPA conditionally approves a span of 0-60 ppmvd rather than the 120-180 ppmdv required by 40 CFR 60.107a(c)(1) for the NOX CEMS. The specific conditions are specified in the EPA response letter.

    Abstract for [1700027]

    Q: Does the EPA approve an Alternative Monitoring Plan (AMP) to reduce the concentration of calibration gas used to perform daily validations and quarterly cylinder gas audits (CGA) of the Total Reduced Sulfur monitor for the flare gas system at the HollyFrontier El Dorado Refining LLC refinery (HFEDR) in El Dorado, Kansas, as required pursuant to 40 CFR 60.13(d) and 40 CFR 60, Appendix F, respectively?

    A: Yes. The EPA conditionally approves the HFEDR AMP due to the safety concerns associated with handling gases with high concentrations of hydrogen disulfide (H2S). The conditions are listed in the EPA determination letter.

    Abstract for [1700028]

    Q1: Does the EPA approve a waiver of the initial performance test for the Olefins Manufacturing Unit and Demethanizer Distillation Column Vents, at the Eastman Chemical Company, Longview, Texas facility, subject to 40 CFR part 60, Standards of Performance for Volatile Organic Compound Emissions from Synthetic Organic Chemical Manufacturing Industry Distillation Operations (subpart NNN) and Reactor Processes (subpart RRR)?

    A1: Yes. EPA waives the initial performance test for the specific vents associated with the two units, both subject to NSPS Subparts RRR and NNN, as these are being introduced with the primary fuel into a boiler or process heater in accordance with 40 CFR 60.8(b) and as provided for in § 60.704(b)(5) of subpart RRR. To ensure that affected vent streams are routed to appropriate control devices, subpart RRR requires that the facility maintain a schematic diagram of the affected vent streams, collection system(s), fuel systems, control devices, and bypass systems, and include the diagram in the initial report submitted in accordance with 40 CFR 60.705(b).

    Q2: Does EPA approve a substitution of NSPS subpart NNN for NSPS subpart RRR as an alternative flow and temperature monitoring for the vent streams associated with two new demethanizer distillation columns?

    A2: Yes. The EPA approves the alternative request for meeting subpart RRR in lieu of subpart NNN requirements for testing, monitoring, and recordkeeping for boilers and process heaters, part of the fuel gas system, to comply with the standards of both subparts.

    Abstract for [1700029]

    Q: Does the EPA re-approve the May 2011 AMP to comply with new opacity requirements for a wet gas scrubbers (WGS) on the Fluid Catalytic Cracking Unit (FCCU) at Motiva's Convent, Louisiana refinery, subject to NSPS subpart J and NESHAP subpart UUU, for continued parametric monitoring of opacity at the WGS in lieu of a Continuous Opacity Monitoring System?

    A: Yes. Based on the previously established operating parameter limits for the scrubbers, the EPA agrees that the monitoring provisions of the previously approved AMP were at least as stringent as the new FCCUs requirements in both rules amended December 1, 2015, and therefore re-approves the AMP under the new rules.

    Abstract for [1700030]

    Q1: Does the EPA find that the Alternative Monitoring Plan (AMP) to modify a flare's flow sensor measurement accuracy during extremely low flow conditions at the Valero Refining Company's Ardmore Refinery in Ardmore, Oklahoma, is still necessary if the flare is a control device subject to 40 CFR 60.107a(f)(1)(ii)?

    A1: No. The EPA finds that the AMP is no longer necessary. The Final Rule for the Petroleum Refinery Sector Risk and Technology Review, issued December 1, 2015, amended 40 CFR part 60 subpart Ja to address such conditions for flares equipped with water seals.

    Q2: What does the revised rule now require?

    A2: 40 CFR 60.107a(g) allows alternative monitoring with pressure sensors for flares that have flow meters which do not have measurement accuracies within ±20 percent over a velocity range of 0.1-1 feet per second (fps) flow rate, or ±5 percent for flow velocities exceeding 1 fps.

    Abstract for [1700031]

    Q1: Does the EPA find that the Alternative Monitoring Plans (AMPs) to modify the flow sensor measurement accuracy of flares during extremely low flow conditions at the Valero Refining, Texas L.P.'s Corpus Christi West Plant and Corpus Christi East Plant Refineries in Corpus Christi, Texas, are still necessary if the flares are control devices subject to 40 CFR 60.107a(f)(1)(ii)?

    A1: No. The EPA finds that the AMPs are no longer necessary. The Final Rule for the Petroleum Refinery Sector Risk and Technology Review, issued December 1, 2015, amended 40 CFR part 60 subpart Ja to address such conditions for flares equipped with water seals.

    Q2: What does the revised rule now require?

    A2: 40 CFR 60.107a(g) allows alternative monitoring with pressure sensors for flares that have flow meters which do not have measurement accuracies within ±20 percent over a velocity range of 0.1-1 feet per second (fps) flow rate, or ±5 percent for flow velocities exceeding 1 fps.

    Abstract for [1700032]

    Q1: Does the EPA find that the Alternative Monitoring Plan (AMP) to modify flow sensor measurement accuracy for multiple flares during extremely low flow conditions at the Valero Refining Company's Texas City Refinery in Texas City, Texas, is still necessary, if the flares are control devices subject to 40 CFR 60.107a(f)(1)(ii)?

    A1: No. The EPA finds that the AMP is no longer necessary. The Final Rule for the Petroleum Refinery Sector Risk and Technology Review, issued December 1, 2015, amended 40 CFR part 60 subpart Ja to address such conditions for flares equipped with water seals.

    Q2: What does the revised rule now require?

    A2: 40 CFR 60.107a(g) allows alternative monitoring with pressure sensors for flares that have flow meters which do not have measurement accuracies within ±20 percent over a velocity range of 0.1-1 feet per second (fps) flow rate, or ±5 percent for flow velocities exceeding 1 fps.

    Abstract for [1700033]

    Q1: Does the EPA find that an Alternative Monitoring Plan (AMP) to modify flow sensor measurement accuracy for multiple flares during extremely low flow conditions at Valero Refining Company's Three Rivers Refinery in Three Rivers, Texas, is still necessary if the flares are control devices subject to 40 CFR 60.107a(f)(1)(ii)?

    A1: No. The EPA finds that the AMP is no longer necessary. The Final Rule for the Petroleum Refinery Sector Risk and Technology Review, issued December 1, 2015, amended 40 CFR part 60 subpart Ja to address such conditions for flares equipped with water seals.

    Q2: What does the revised rule now require?

    A2: 40 CFR 60.107a(g) allows alternative monitoring with pressure sensors for flares that have flow meters which do not have measurement accuracies within ±20 percent over a velocity range of 0.1-1 feet per second (fps) flow rate, or ±5 percent for flow velocities exceeding 1 fps.

    Abstract for [1700034]

    Q: Does the EPA approve an Alternative Monitoring Plan (AMP) for determining sulfur dioxide (SO2) and oxygen (O2) concentrations on a dry basis, using wet basis concentration data from continuous emission monitoring systems (CEMS) at a sulfur recovery unit (SRU) incinerator at the Valero Refining-Meraux LLC (Valero) petroleum refinery, located in Meraux, Louisiana, subject to 40 CFR part 60 subpart Ja and 40 CFR part 63 subpart UUU?

    A: Yes. The EPA conditionally approves Valero's AMP on the No. 3 SRU incinerator while the new dry basis SO2 and O2 CEMS are installed and commissioned before the AMP expiration date of August 1, 2017. Valero proposed programming the refinery's process control and data acquisition system to perform real time moisture corrections of the vent stream concentrations at the SRU incinerator. The EPA approves Valero's request to use a methodology to mathematically correct the measured wet basis concentrations to dry basis using Equation 2-1, from 40 CFR part 60, Appendix B, Performance Specification 2, and the moisture fraction value from the most recent stack test.

    Abstract for [1700035]

    Q: Does the EPA approve WRB Refining LP's (WRB) Alternative Monitoring Plan (AMP) for monitoring hydrogen sulfide (H2S) and sulfur dioxide (SO2) emissions from portable flares and fuel gas combustion devices used to control emissions from storage tank, process unit vessel and piping degassing for maintenance and cleaning events at the Wood River Refinery in Roxana, Illinois refinery subject to 40 CFR part 60 subparts J and Ja?

    A: Yes. The EPA conditionally approves WRB's AMP request since it agrees that it is impractical to continuously monitor the H2S in and SO2 emissions from gases going to portable flares and fuel gas combustion devices during the infrequent and temporary events when storage tanks, process unit vessels and piping are degassed for maintenance and cleaning operations, and approves the AMP. The conditions are specified in the EPA determination letter.

    Abstract for [1700036]

    Q: Does the EPA grant 3M's request to waive the initial performance testing requirements of 40 CFR part 60 subpart FFF, Standards of Performance for Flexible Vinyl and Urethane Coating and Printing (NSPS subpart FFF) for 3M's 3L and 6L lines at its Hutchinson, Minnesota facility, which are controlled by separate thermal oxidizers?

    A: No. The EPA does not waive the initial performance testing requirements for 3M's 3L and 6L lines under NSPS subpart FFF for two reasons. First, the capture and destruction efficiency testing on which 3M wants the waiver to rely were not conducted at the same time. NSPS subpart FFF requires “a performance test to determine overall VOC control efficiency” which implies simultaneous testing of both capture efficiency and destruction efficiency at the same time to demonstrate compliance. Second, even if separate testing of capture and destruction efficiency was allowed by NSPS subpart FFF, the tests identified by 3M for demonstrating compliance were conducted years apart (3 and 10 years for the 3L and 6L lines, respectively). Such long time periods between testing cannot provide assurance that compliance was achieved, and cannot provide assurance that operational conditions during each test were identical.

    Abstract for [A170001]

    Q: Is there a requirement that Wayne County treat vermiculite material containing less than one percent asbestos by Polarized Light Microscopy (PLM) and/or Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM) as regulated asbestos-containing material (RACM) under 40 CFR part 61 subpart M (Asbestos NESHAP)? The Wayne County Airport demolition of Building 715 involves suspect asbestos-containing material (ACM) consisting of spray-applied fireproofing on the primary roof structure that contains vermiculite.

    A: The EPA recommends, but does not require, that the regulated community assume vermiculite material is asbestos-containing material (ACM) and treat it accordingly. However, if vermiculite material is present in building materials at a facility (as either friable or Category I or II nonfriable material that could become regulated), then the facility must be thoroughly inspected and any suspect vermiculite material must be sampled and analyzed like any other suspect asbestos-containing friable or nonfriable material unless it is assumed to be ACM and treated accordingly. Based on the site-specific test results provided by the Wayne County Airport, the spray-applied fire proofing tested at Building 715 is not ACM, and is not subject to the federal Asbestos NESHAP.

    Abstract for [M170001]

    Q: Does the EPA determine that the Magna DexSys facility in Lansing, Michigan (Lansing facility) is a major source of hazardous air pollutants (HAPs) for purposes of applicability of the NESHAP for Surface Coating of Plastic Parts and Products, at 40 CFR part 63 subpart PPPP?

    A: Yes. Based upon the information provided, the EPA determines that Magna DexSys is a major source as defined under Section 112 of the Clean Air Act and is, therefore, subject to the requirements of subpart PPPP. The Lansing facility's permitted xylene emission limits have always been, and are still, above the major source threshold. Furthermore, Magna DexSys lacks the data necessary to calculate uncontrolled HAP emissions at the facility, and there are no federally enforceable physical or operational limitations in place to limit emissions from the facility to less than 10 tons per year for a single HAP or 25 tons per year for any combination of HAP.

    Abstract for [M170002]

    Q: Does the EPA determine that the vapor combustor in the Plant 2 loading area at the Suncor Energy Inc. petroleum refinery in Commerce City, Colorado is considered a flare under 40 CFR part 63 subpart CC, NESHAP from Petroleum Refineries, and, therefore, subject to the flare requirements of 40 CFR 63.670 and 63.671?

    A: No. The EPA determines that the vapor combustor described in the March 10, 2017 letter does not meet the definition of a flare at 40 CFR 63.641 of subpart CC. Therefore, the vapor combustor is not subject to the requirements in 40 CFR 63.670 and 63.671. However, the combustor needs to be tested, and operating parameters established and monitored, to assure compliance with the subpart CC emission limits.

    Abstract for [M170004]

    Q: Does the EPA determine that the glycol dehydration unit reboiler at El Paso Natural Gas' southern New Mexico facility, which is subject to the National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants for Natural Gas Transmission and Storage Facilities (NESHAP subpart HHH), is also subject to the NESHAP for Industrial, Commercial, and Institutional Boilers and Process Heaters (NESHAP subpart DDDDD)?

    A: Yes. The EPA determines that although the glycol dehydration reboiler is subject to NESHAP subpart HHH, the reboiler is also subject to NESHAP subpart DDDDD. The reboiler is considered a process heater subject to NESHAP subpart DDDDD because the gaseous fuel fired to the unit is not regulated under another subpart, and the exhaust gas from the reboiler combustion chamber is uncontrolled (i.e. the emissions vent directly to atmosphere). The EPA noted that process vent standards under NESHAP subpart HHH only apply to the dehydrator reboiler still vent and flash tank emissions. A flare is the control device for these emissions under NESHAP subpart HHH. However, NESHAP subpart HHH does not apply to the reboiler combustion chamber emissions because the reboiler itself is not a control device being used to comply with another NESHAP (in this case, subpart HHH).

    Abstract for [M170005]

    Q: Does EPA approve a request for an alternative relative accuracy (RA) procedure for three hazardous waste liquid fuel boilers at Vertellus Agriculture & Nutrition Specialties, LLC (Vertellus), in Indianapolis, Indiana, subject to 40 CFR part 266 subpart H (the Boilers and Industrial Furnaces Rule or BIF rule) and 40 CFR part 63 subpart EEE, the National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants from Hazardous Waste Combustors (HWC MACT)?

    A: Yes. EPA concludes that Vertellus may use the alternative RA procedure in the context of either the BIF Rule or the HWC MACT. The EPA previously approved the use of the alternative RA procedure in Appendix IX of 40 CFR part 266 for the hazardous waste liquid fuel boilers under the BIF rule at Vertellus. The EPA believes that the alternative RA procedures in Appendix A of the HWC MACT are acceptable procedures for a hazardous waste burning liquid fuel boiler.

    Abstract for [M170006]

    Q: Does EPA approve the use of the `R Boiler' as an alternative control device to comply with the “emission rate with add-on controls” compliance option under 40 CFR part 63 subpart PPPP (the NESHAP for Surface Coating of Plastic Parts and Products) for two plastic parts and products coating production lines at the SABIC Innovative Plastics Mt. Vernon, LLC (SABIC) facility in Mt. Vernon, Indiana?

    A: Yes. Based on the information provided by SABIC, and the fact that SABIC intends to conduct a performance test to determine the organic HAP destruction efficiency of the `R Boiler', the EPA approves SABIC's request for this boiler to serve as an add-on control device under the NESHAP for Surface Coating of Plastic Parts and Products since it is consistent with the subpart PPPP MACT requirements for demonstrating continuous compliance thermal oxidizer as a control device.

    Abstract for [M170007]

    Q1: Does the EPA determine that Caterpillar Inc.'s (Caterpillar's) existing test cells/stands at its Lafayette facility are a reconstructed affected source under 40 CFR part 63 subpart PPPPP?

    A1: No. EPA determines that many of the test cells/stands components that were added or replaced were not linked together by a single planning decision, and therefore cannot be aggregated together as a single project. The cost of Caterpillar's component replacements or component additions to the affected source that could conceivably be aggregated together are well below the 50% of the cost of constructing a new comparable facility.

    Q2: Has the EPA further defined the terms “passive measurement and control limitations” as used in subpart PPPPP?

    A2: The EPA has not provided further definition of these terms since promulgating the subpart PPPPP rule in 2003. However, the cost of passive measurement and control instrumentation and electronics is excluded from affected source reconstruction calculations as explained in 40 CFR 63.9290.

    Abstract for [M170008]

    Q1: Does the EPA approve the use of either of the calibration options provided at 40 CFR 63.671(e)(2)(i) or (ii) under the National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants from Petroleum Refineries at 40 CFR part 63, subpart CC (NESHAP subpart CC) for its gas chromatograph (GC), if the current configuration of the GC does not allow it to identify 1,3 butadiene? The Calumet Superior, LLC. refinery plant in Superior, Wisconsin (Calumet) uses a gas chromatograph (GC) to monitor the flare vent gas composition to assess compliance with the operating limits in 40 CFR 63.670(e).

    A1: No. 40 CFR 63.671(e)(2)(i) of NESHAP subpart CC is not an option because the current flare vent gas GC configuration does not allow it to identify 1,3 butadiene. Therefore, Calumet can only use the calibration option provided at 40 CFR 63.671(e)(2)(ii) since it allows the use of a surrogate calibration gas to cover all compounds in the flare vent gas stream.

    Q2: Does the EPA determine that the current configuration of the flare vent GC that does not allow it to identify 1,3 butadiene meets the requirements of the NESHAP subpart CC to assess compliance with the operating limits in 40 CFR 63.670(e)? Calumet has collected and analyzed flare vent gas samples for 1,3 butadiene. The results of this sampling detected 1, 3 butadiene at concentrations levels below the threshold expected to have an impact on the net heating value of the flare vent gas in the combustion zone.

    A2: Yes. Based on the information Calumet provided and pursuant to 40 CFR 63.670(j)(1) and 63.67l(e), the EPA determines that the current configuration of the flare vent gas GC meets the requirements of the NESHAP subpart CC.

    Abstract for [M170009]

    Q: The Michigan South Central Power Agency's Endicott Generating Station (Endicott) has a source with an emergency scrubber bypass duct subject to the Mercury Air Toxics Standards (MATS) at 40 CFR part 63 subpart UUUUU. Is this source eligible to pursue Low Emitting electric utility steam generating unit (LEE) status for sulfur dioxide (S02) emissions in accordance with 40 CFR 63.10000?

    A: Yes. In accordance with the technical corrections to MATS promulgated in April 2016, Endicott may pursue LEE status for its source. Pursuant to 40 CFR 63.10000(c)(1)(i)(C)(1), if a source's control device bypass emissions are measured in the bypass stack or duct or the source's control device bypass exhaust is routed through the electric utility steam generating unit main stack so that emissions are measured during the bypass event, then the source may pursue LEE status.

    Abstract for [M170010]

    Q: Does the EPA determine that the replacement pump engines at the Lake Borgne Basin Levee District in St. Bernard Parish, Louisiana are existing emergency stationary Reciprocating Internal Combustion Engines (RICE) that are not subject to 40 CFR part 63 subpart ZZZZ?

    A: No. Based upon the information provided and the description of the engine use, the EPA determines that the engines at the Lake Borgne Pump Station do not meet the definition of existing emergency stationary RICE at 40 CFR 63.6675. Since construction or reconstruction of the stationary engines began after June 12, 2006, and the engines are located in an area source of emissions, the engines are subject to 40 CFR part 60 subpart IIII (Compression Ignition NSPS).

    Abstract for [M170011]

    Q: Does the EPA approve a waiver of the volumetric flow rate determination required as part of the performance test for a flare under 40 CFR part 63 subparts G and FFFF at the Lyondell Chemical (Lyondell) Bayport Choate Plant (Plant) in Pasadena, Texas?

    A: Yes. The EPA conditionally approves a waiver of the requirement to determine the volumetric flow rate using EPA Method 2 during initial performance testing of a flare at the Plant. The volumetric flow rate can be calculated using existing flow measurement devices upstream of the flare and estimated flows based on process knowledge from all minor streams that may be routed to the flare on an interim basis. Lyondell must install flow meters for the flare and must demonstrate compliance with flare exit velocity requirements using the approved process-based engineering calculation protocol for volumetric flow rate.

    Abstract for [M170012]

    Q: Does EPA approve site specific fuel analysis plans to be conducted in accordance with approved EPA Method 30 at Union Carbide Corporation's Hahnville, Louisiana facility, for the purpose of determining mercury levels to classify boiler and heater fuel sources as Other Gas 1 or 2 under 40 CFR part 63 subpart DDDDD?

    A: Yes. Based on the information submitted, the EPA approves the fuel analysis plans.

    Abstract for [M170013]

    Q: Does the EPA approve SABIC Innovative Plastics' (SABIC's) request to replace EPA Method 30B mercury analysis breakthrough Quality Assurance/Quality Control (QA/QC) requirements with Relative Accuracy Test Audit (RATA) criteria and/or waive the breakthrough QA/QC for a test conducted in April 2016, for the purposes of complying with 40 CFR part 60 subpart DDDDD?

    A: No. The EPA does not approve SABIC's request. There are substantive reasons why the criteria are different for compliance testing versus RATA testing. The EPA does find however, that while the breakthrough criterion was not met in several instances during the tests, it appears that the remaining data quality objectives were met and there is no reason to reject the QA/QC data.

    Abstract for [M170014]

    Q: Does the EPA approve Calumet Superior, LLC's (Calumet's) alternative monitoring request to maintain the hourly oxygen concentration in the exhaust gas from the catalyst regenerator at or above one percent by volume on a wet basis, as opposed to a dry basis as required by 40 CFR 63 subpart UUU at the Superior, Wisconsin refinery?

    A: Yes. The EPA approves Calumets' alternative monitoring request for use of wet basis analyzer readings to demonstrate compliance with the one percent by volume oxygen concentration limit in 40 CFR 63.1565(a)(5)(ii) for periods of startup, shutdown, and hot standby. Calumet provided information that indicates catalyst fines can plug an analyzer that measures on a dry basis. In addition, the oxygen concentration on a wet basis will always yield a lower reading versus a dry basis oxygen reading.

    Abstract for [M170017]

    Q1: Are Processes 1, referred to as “adhesive compounding”, located at the 3M's Hutchinson, Minnesota (“Hutchinson”) and Knoxville, Iowa (“Knoxville”) facilities subject to the 40 CFR part 63, subpart FFFF, the Miscellaneous Organic Chemical Manufacturing (MON rule) or 40 CFR part 63, subpart HHHHH, the Miscellaneous Coating Manufacturing (MCM rule) at MCM when the adhesive compound is shipped off-site?

    A1: The MON rule applies to Processes 1 when the adhesive compound is shipped off-site. The MCM does not apply to Process 1 when the adhesive compound is shipped off-site. Process 1 is a miscellaneous organic chemical manufacturing process that produces an adhesive product classified by NAICS 325, and process or uses organic HAP, and is therefore a process that is contemplated by 63.2435(b).

    Q2: Are Processes 2, referred to as “mogul based adhesive compounding”, located at the 3M's Hutchinson and Knoxville facilities subject to the MON or the MCM when the mogul based adhesive compound is shipped off-site?

    A2: The MON applies to Processes 2 when the mogul based adhesive compound is shipped off-site. The MCM does not apply to Processes 2 when the mogul based adhesive compound is shipped off-site. 3M described the first step which involves a chemical reaction of non-HAP containing raw materials. The first step is completed by quenching the reaction, without storage after the first step. The second step, HAP containing raw materials were added to the same vessel with the material from the first step. Because there is no storage after step 1, we believe that both steps of Process 2 are part of one miscellaneous organic chemical manufacturing process to produce a product described by NAICS 325.

    Q3: Are Processes 1 and 2 located at the 3M's Hutchinson and Knoxville facilities exempt from the MON as “affiliated operations” when making the adhesive compound and mogul based adhesive compound, respectively, at the same facility that is subject to Subpart JJJJ (POWC)?

    A3: Yes. Processes 1 and 2 meet the exemption for affiliated operations under the MON when making the adhesive and mogul based adhesive, respectively, at the same facility where they are used in a POWC affected facility. The definitions of affiliated operations in both the MON and the preamble to the POWC contain the broad language to define the exemption. Therefore, we interpret these broad terms to include the actual production of the product that meets the definition of “coating” under the rule.

    Abstract for [WDS-146]

    Q: Blaze King Industries Incorporated is seeking EPA clarification on the steps for adequately demonstrating replacement catalyst equivalency for catalyst-equipped wood heaters subject to the 2015 Standards of Performance for New Residential Wood Heaters, New Residential Hydronic Heaters, and Forced-Air Furnaces, (40 CFR part 60 subpart AAA) (2015 NSPS Standards).

    A: The 2015 NSPS standards requires that, to have a catalyst deemed suitable for replacement, equivalency testing be conducted by an EPA-approved test laboratory. Consistent with the 2015 Standards, the manufacturer must notify the EPA of the date that certification testing (catalyst equivalency testing) is scheduled to begin as stated in 40 CFR 60.534(g). This notice must be received by the EPA at least 30 days before the start of testing.

    Abstract for [WDS-147]

    This letter is in response to the three November 20, 2015 letters (which the EPA is consolidating into one response) from OMNI-Test Laboratories, Inc. (OMNI) requesting clarification of several issues under 2015 Standards of Performance for New Residential Wood Heaters (subpart AAA) and New Residential Hydronic Heaters and Forced-Air Furnaces (subpart QQQQ) (collectively referred to as the “2015 NSPS Standards”)

    Q1: Do the 2015 NSPS Standards allow unsealing of a wood heater, for which a full certification test series has not been completed, for further testing?

    A1: The 2015 NSPS Standards do not specifically allow for unsealing of a wood heater for which a test laboratory has suspended a compliance test. However, EPA interprets some sections of the 2015 NSPS Standards to allow the unsealing of a wood heater for the purpose of further testing in specific circumstances.

    Q2: Can the manufacturer provide new parts or make simple modifications to the sealed wood heater in lieu of making and shipping a new prototype?

    A2: Yes. However, the wood heater must remain sealed until the operation and test data obtained from the suspended test is submitted and reviewed by the EPA.

    Q3: Does a wood heater that has undergone an incomplete test certification have to be sealed and archived in perpetuity?

    A3: No. However, when the wood heater is sealed per 40 CFR 60.535(a)(2)(vii) and 60.5477(a)(2)(vii), the wood heater must remain sealed until the operation and test data obtained from the suspended test is submitted and reviewed by the EPA.

    Q4: What are the certification requirements under 40 CFR 60.533(e)?

    A4: As provided in 40 CFR 60.533(e), the EPA may issue a conditional, temporary certificate of compliance to a manufacturer if they submit a full test report and a complete application.

    Q5: Are the certifications of conformity that an EPA-accredited test laboratory submits to the EPA “de facto temporary certificates of compliance” because they are not required for the EPA to issue a temporary certificate of compliance to a manufacturer?

    A5: No. As provided in 40 CFR 60.533(e), a conditional, temporary certificate of compliance may only be granted by the EPA provided that the manufacturer submits a complete certification application that meets all the requirements in 40 CFR 60.533(b).

    Q6: Does submission of a certificate of conformity with a complete certification package (i.e., application and full test report), prior to May 16, 2016, make a manufacturer requesting certification ineligible to receive a temporary certificate of compliance?

    A6: No. The manufacturer may receive a conditional, temporary certificate of compliance under 40 CFR 60.533(e) until the EPA's review of the application is complete.

    Q7: What are the requirements for quality assurance audits for model lines that are deemed certified under 40 CFR 60.533(h)(1)?

    A7: As provided in 40 CFR 60.533(m), “the manufacturer of a model line with a compliance certification under paragraph (h)(1) of this section must conduct a quality assurance program that satisfies the requirements of this paragraph (m) by May 16, 2016.”

    Q8: Are manufacturers required to contract the services of a third-party certifier to conduct quality assurance audits?

    A8: Yes. Manufacturers are required by 40 CFR 60.533(m) to contract the services of a third-party certifier to conduct quality assurance audits.

    Q9: What are the requirements for deemed certified wood heaters under 40 CFR 60.533(m)?

    A9: As provided in 40 CFR 60.533(m), by May 16, 2016, manufacturers must have in place a quality assurance program that satisfies the requirements under 40 CFR 60.533(m)(1) through (5).

    Q10: Does a certificate of compliance issued prior to May 15, 2015, at an emission level less than or equal to the 2015 emission standard need to be renewed before May 15, 2020?

    A10: No. Manufacturers of model lines that are deemed certified per 40 CFR 60.533(h)(1) and for which a certificate of compliance has been issued prior to May 15, 2015, showing an emission level less than or equal to the 2015 emission standards, do not need to renew their certificates until May 15, 2020.

    Abstract for [WDS-148]

    Q: Does EPA determine that the wood heater regulations at 40 CFR part 60 subparts AAA apply to the wood-burning sauna heaters manufactured by Harvia Oy?

    A: No. Based upon the information provided and the specific circumstances described in Harvia Oy's letters to the EPA, the EPA determines that the wood heater subpart AAA standards do not apply to Harvia Oy's wood-burning sauna heaters since these do not meet the definition of wood heaters. The sauna heaters are intended to heat the sauna room only and not to be used for residential heating.

    Abstract for [Z170001]

    Q: Does the EPA determine that the Exide Technologies secondary lead smelting facility in Vernon, CA, which has been permanently shut down and is being dismantled, is subject to 40 CFR part 63 subpart X?

    A: No. The EPA determines that the facility is no longer a “secondary lead smelter” for purposes of subpart X because it can no longer physically or legally operate as a secondary lead smelter. In addition, the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) approved Exide's Final Closure Plan on December 8, 2016.

    Abstract for [Z170002]

    Q: Does the EPA approve Futamura USA, Incorporated's (Futamura's) request to use an alternative test method using a mass spectrometer (MS) continuous emissions monitoring system (CEMS) to measure specific sulfur compound emissions from process vents on the cellulose manufacturing process and alternative monitoring method that would eliminate the need to collect and report carbon disulfide (CS2) Recovery Plan operating data based on the availability of the emissions data from the proposed MS CEMS to demonstrate compliance with the National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants for Cellulose Products Manufacturing (NESHAP subpart UUUU), at its Tecumseh, Kansas facility?

    A: Yes. Based on the information provided, the EPA conditionally grants temporary approval for the alternative test method and monitoring method to allow Futamura to demonstrate the ability to document compliance with NESHAP UUUU by using a MS CEMS. This temporary approval expires one year from June 16, 2017. At least 60 days prior to this expiration date, Futamura is required to make a request to EPA for continue and permanent use of the CS. In addition, the CS CEMS needs to successfully pass the required relative accuracy test audit (RATA) and meet additional conditions outline in the determination letter for EPA approval.

    Abstract for [Z170003]

    Q: Does the EPA approve BP Product North America's (BP) alternative monitoring request to maintain the hourly oxygen concentration in the exhaust gas from the catalyst regenerator at or above one percent by volume on a wet basis, as opposed to a dry basis as required by 40 CFR 63 subpart UUU at the Whiting, Indiana refinery?

    A: Yes. The EPA approves the request to maintain the hourly oxygen concentration in the exhaust gas from the catalyst regenerator at or above one percent by volume on a wet basis during periods of startup, shutdown, and hot standby. BP provided information that indicates catalyst fines can plug an analyzer that measures on a dry basis. In addition, the oxygen concentration on a wet basis will always yield a lower reading versus a dry basis oxygen reading.

    Dated: May 7, 2018. David A. Hindin, Director, Office of Compliance, Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance.
    [FR Doc. 2018-10463 Filed 5-15-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
    ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY [FRL-9977-09-OECA] National Environmental Justice Advisory Council; Notification of Public Teleconference and Public Comment AGENCY:

    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

    ACTION:

    Notification of public meeting.

    SUMMARY:

    Pursuant to the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) hereby provides notice that the National Environmental Justice Advisory Council (NEJAC) will meet on the dates and times described below. All meetings are open to the public. Members of the public are encouraged to provide comments relevant to the specific issues being considered by the NEJAC. For additional information about registering to attend the meeting or to provide public comment, please see Registration under SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION. Due to a limited number of telephone lines, attendance will be on a first-come, first served basis. Pre-registration is required.

    DATES:

    The NEJAC will convene a Thursday, May 31, 2018, starting at 3:30 p.m., Eastern Time. The meeting discussion will focus on several topics including, but not limited to, the discussion and deliberation of the final report from the NEJAC Youth Perspectives on Climate Change Work Group. One public comment period relevant to the specific issues being considered by the NEJAC (see SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION) is scheduled for Thursday, May 31, 2018, starting at 5:00 p.m., Eastern Time. Members of the public who wish to participate during the public comment period are highly encouraged to pre-register by 11:59 p.m., Eastern Time on Monday, May 28, 2018.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Questions or correspondence concerning the public meeting should be directed to Karen L. Martin, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, by mail at 1200 Pennsylvania Avenue NW (MC2201A), Washington, DC 20460; by telephone at 202-564-0203; via email at [email protected]; or by fax at 202-564-1624. Additional information about the NEJAC is available at https://www.epa.gov/environmentaljustice/national-environmental-justice-advisory-council.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The Charter of the NEJAC states that the advisory committee “will provide independent advice and recommendations to the Administrator about broad, crosscutting issues related to environmental justice. The NEJAC's efforts will include evaluation of a broad range of strategic, scientific, technological, regulatory, community engagement and economic issues related to environmental justice.”

    Registration

    Registration for the May 31, 2018, public teleconference will be processed at https://nejac-may-31-2018-public-teleconference.eventbrite.com. Pre-registration is required. Registration for the May 31, 2018, meeting closes at 11:59 p.m., Eastern Time on Monday, May 28, 2018. The deadline to sign up to speak during the public comment period, or to submit written public comments, is 11:59 p.m., Eastern Time on Monday, May 28, 2018. When registering, please provide your name, organization, city and state, email address, and telephone number for follow up. Please also indicate whether you would like to provide public comment during the meeting, and whether you are submitting written comments before the Monday, May 28, 2018, deadline.

    A. Public Comment

    Individuals or groups making remarks during the public comment period will be limited to seven (7) minutes. To accommodate the number of people who want to address the NEJAC, only one representative of a particular community, organization, or group will be allowed to speak. Written comments can also be submitted for the record. The suggested format for individuals providing public comments is as follows: Name of speaker; name of organization/community; city and state; and email address; brief description of the concern, and what you want the NEJAC to advise EPA to do. Written comments received by registration deadline, will be included in the materials distributed to the NEJAC prior to the teleconference. Written comments received after that time will be provided to the NEJAC as time allows. All written comments should be sent to Karen L. Martin, EPA, via email at [email protected]

    B. Information About Services for Individuals With Disabilities or Requiring English Language Translation Assistance

    For information about access or services for individuals requiring assistance, please contact Karen L. Martin, at (202) 564-0203 or via email at [email protected] To request special accommodations for a disability or other assistance, please submit your request at least fourteen (14) working days prior to the meeting, to give EPA sufficient time to process your request. All requests should be sent to the address, email, or phone/fax number listed in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section.

    Dated: April 25, 2018. Matthew Tejada, Designated Federal Officer, National Environmental Justice Advisory Council.
    [FR Doc. 2018-09556 Filed 5-15-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
    ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY [CWA-05-2016-0014; FRL-9977-83-OARM] Notice of Order Denying Petition To Set Aside Consent Agreement and Proposed Final Order AGENCY:

    Office of Administrative Law Judges, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

    ACTION:

    Notice of order denying petition to set aside consent agreement and proposed final order.

    SUMMARY:

    In accordance with section 309(g)(4)(C) of the Clean Water Act (CWA or Act), notice is hereby given that an Order Denying Petition to Set Aside Consent Agreement and Proposed Final Order has been issued in the matter styled as In the Matter of BP Products North America Inc., Docket No. CWA-05-2016-0014. This document serves to notify the public of the denial of the Petition to Set Aside Consent Agreement and Proposed Final Order filed in the matter and explain the reasons for such denial.

    ADDRESSES:

    To access and review documents filed in the matter that is the subject of this document, please visit https://yosemite.epa.gov/oarm/alj/alj_web_docket.nsf/Dockets/CWA-05-2016-0014.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Jennifer Almase, Attorney-Advisor, Office of Administrative Law Judges (1900R), Environmental Protection Agency, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave. NW; telephone number: (202) 564-6255 (main) or (202) 564-1170 (direct); fax number: (202) 565-0044; email address: [email protected].

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. Legal Authority

    Section 309(g)(1)(A) of the CWA empowers EPA to assess an administrative civil penalty whenever on the basis of any information available EPA finds that a person has violated certain sections of the Act or any permit condition or limitation implementing any such section in a permit issued under section 402 or 404 of the Act (33 U.S.C. 1319(g)(1)(A)). However, before issuing an order assessing an administrative civil penalty under section 309(g), EPA is required by the CWA and the Consolidated Rules of Practice Governing the Administrative Assessment of Civil Penalties and the Revocation/Termination or Suspension of Permits (Rules of Practice) to provide public notice of and reasonable opportunity to comment on the proposed issuance of such order (33 U.S.C. 1319(g)(4); 40 CFR 22.45(b)(1)).

    Any person who comments on the proposed assessment of a penalty is then entitled to receive notice of any hearing held under section 309(g) of the CWA and at such hearing is entitled to a reasonable opportunity to be heard and to present evidence (33 U.S.C. 1319(g)(4)(B); 40 CFR 22.45(c)(1)). If no hearing is held before issuance of an order assessing a penalty under section 309(g) of the CWA, such as where the administrative penalty action in question is settled pursuant to a consent agreement and final order, any person who commented on the proposed assessment may petition to set aside the order on the basis that material evidence was not considered and to hold a hearing on the penalty (33 U.S.C. 1319(g)(4)(C); 40 CFR 22.45(c)(4)(ii)).

    The CWA requires that if the evidence presented by the petitioner in support of the petition is material and was not considered in the issuance of the order, the Administrator shall immediately set aside such order and provide a hearing in accordance with section 309(g)(33 U.S.C. 1319(g)(4)(C)). Conversely, if the Administrator denies a hearing, the Administrator shall provide to the petitioner, and publish in the Federal Register, notice of and reasons for such denial. Id.

    Pursuant to section 309(g) of the CWA, the authority to decide petitions by commenters to set aside final orders entered without a hearing and provide copies and/or notice of the decision has been delegated to Regional Administrators in administrative penalty actions brought by regional offices of EPA. Administrator's Delegation of Authority 2-52A (accessible at: http://intranet.epa.gov/ohr/rmpolicy/ads/dm/2-52A.pdf). The Rules of Practice require that where a commenter petitions to set aside a consent agreement and final order in an administrative penalty action brought by a regional office of EPA, the Regional Administrator shall assign a Petition Officer to consider and rule on the petition (40 CFR 22.45(c)(4)(iii)). Upon review of the petition and any response filed by the complainant, the Petition Officer shall then make written findings as to (A) the extent to which the petition states an issue relevant and material to the issuance of the consent agreement and proposed final order; (B) whether the complainant adequately considered and responded to the petition; and (C) whether resolution of the proceeding by the parties is appropriate without a hearing (40 CFR 22.45(c)(4)(v)).

    If the Petition Officer finds that a hearing is appropriate, the Presiding Officer shall order that the consent agreement and proposed final order be set aside and establish a schedule for a hearing (40 CFR 22.45(c)(4)(vi)). Conversely, if the Petition Officer finds that resolution of the proceeding without a hearing is appropriate, the Petition Officer shall issue an order denying the petition and stating reasons for the denial (40 CFR 22.45(c)(4)(vii)). The Petition Officer shall then file the order with the Regional Hearing Clerk, serve copies of the on the parties and the commenter, and provide public notice of the order. Id.

    II. Procedural Background

    In May of 2016, the Director of the Water Division of EPA's Region 5 (Complainant) and BP Products North America Inc. (Respondent) executed a Consent Agreement and Final Order (CAFO) in the matter styled as In the Matter of BP Products North America Inc., Docket No. CWA-05-2016-0014.1 The CAFO sought to simultaneously commence and conclude an administrative penalty action under section 309(g) of the CWA against Respondent for alleged violations found by EPA during an inspection of Respondent's petroleum refinery located at 2815 Indianapolis Boulevard in Whiting, Indiana (Facility), conducted from May 5 through May 9, 2014. Under the terms of the CAFO, Respondent admitted the jurisdictional allegations set forth in the CAFO but neither admitted nor denied the factual allegations and alleged violations. Nevertheless, Respondent waived its right to a hearing or to otherwise contest the CAFO, and agreed to pay a civil penalty in the amount of $74,212. On May 31, 2016, Complainant and Respondent also entered into an Administrative Consent Order that incorporated a Compliance Plan setting forth the measures Respondent had already taken, as well as those it agreed it would take in the future, in response to the alleged violations.

    1 While titled jointly, the Final Order is actually a separate document, drafted to be signed solely by Region 5's Acting Regional Administrator. It is the execution of the Final Order and its subsequent filing with the Regional Hearing Clerk at Region 5 that will effectuate the parties' Consent Agreement and conclude the proceeding.

    On or about June 1, 2016, EPA provided public notice of its intent to file the proposed CAFO and accept public comments thereon. Carlotta Blake-King, Carolyn A. Marsh, Debra Michaud, and Patricia Walter (Petitioners) timely filed comments on the proposed CAFO (Comments). Complainant subsequently prepared a Response to Comments Regarding Proposed CAFO (Response to Comments), which indicated that EPA would not be altering the proposed CAFO. The Response to Comments was mailed to Petitioners, together with a copy of the proposed CAFO, on or about January 13, 2017, and each Petitioner received the materials by January 30, 2017. On or about February 24, 2017, Petitioners timely filed a joint petition seeking to set aside the proposed CAFO and have a public hearing held thereon (Petition).

    A Request to Assign Petition Officer (Request) was issued by Region 5's Acting Regional Administrator on May 17, 2017, and served on Petitioners on May 30, 2017. In the Request, the Acting Regional Administrator stated that after considering the issues raised in the Petition, Complainant had decided not to withdraw the CAFO. Accordingly, the Acting Regional Administrator requested assignment of an Administrative Law Judge to consider and rule on the Petition pursuant to § 22.45(c)(4)(iii) of the Rules of Practice, 40 CFR 22.45(c)(4)(iii). By Order dated June 16, 2017, the undersigned was designated to preside over this matter, and Complainant was directed to file a response to the Petition. Complainant filed its Response to Petition to Set Aside Consent Agreement and Proposed Final Order (Response to Petition) on July 13, 2017.

    III. Denial of Petitioners' Petition

    On May 8, 2018, the undersigned issued an Order Denying Petition to Set Aside Consent Agreement and Proposed Final Order (Order). Therein, the undersigned denied the Petition without the need for a hearing on the basis that Petitioners had failed to present any relevant and material evidence that had not been adequately considered and responded to by Complainant.

    Specifically, Petitioners raised four issues.2 First, Petitioners argued that the alleged violations warranted a higher civil penalty than that assessed in the proposed CAFO and that the occurrence of the alleged violations in a region designated as an Area of Concern warranted an additional penalty of five million dollars. The undersigned determined that while Complainant did not provide a detailed explanation of how the civil penalty assessed in the proposed CAFO had been calculated, it had considered and responded to Petitioners' arguments in its Response to Comments and Response to Petition. The undersigned further found that Petitioners had produced no evidence to support their position or rebut Complainant's position that it had properly implemented the applicable policy governing its calculation and negotiation of the penalty assessed in the proposed CAFO. The undersigned concluded that Petitioners had not met the burden of demonstrating that the matters they raised with respect to the assessment of a higher penalty constituted material and relevant evidence that Complainant failed to consider in agreeing to the proposed CAFO. Thus, Petitioners' claim in this regard was denied.

    2 Petitioners described the arguments set forth in the Petition as additions to the Comments they had previously submitted to EPA in response to the public notice of EPA's intent to file the proposed CAFO. Accordingly, the undersigned considered the arguments raised by Petitioners in both the Petition and the Comments.

    Second, Petitioners urged that a Supplemental Environmental Project (SEP) be incorporated into the proposed CAFO and that local residents be included in the distribution of funds for SEP projects. The undersigned found that as Complainant had stated in its Response to Comments and Response to Petition, EPA lacks the legal authority to demand a SEP or control the distribution of civil penalty funds. The undersigned concluded that given this lack of authority, the issues raised by Petitioners with regard to a SEP were immaterial to the issuance of the proposed CAFO. Thus, this claim was denied.

    Third, Petitioners urged that an independent advisory committee and environmental monitoring program for Respondent's wastewater treatment plant be created. Petitioners then questioned Respondent's community outreach activities, which Complainant had referenced in its Response to Comments. The undersigned found that as argued by Complainant in its Response to Petition, EPA lacks the legal authority under section 309(g) of the CWA to establish advisory committees or environmental monitoring programs or compel Respondent to engage in outreach activities. The undersigned concluded that given the absence of any material and relevant issue not considered by Complainant with respect to the course of action requested by Petitioners, their claim in this regard was also denied.

    Finally, Petitioners referred in their Comments and Petition to Respondent having a history of violations. While a violator's history of prior violations is a statutory penalty factor to be considered under section 309(g)(3) of the CWA, the undersigned found that Petitioners had presented no specific claims of violations that were related to those set forth in the proposed CAFO, and presented no argument supporting the notion that any prior, unspecified infraction, had it been considered, should have led to a penalty different than that agreed upon by the parties. The undersigned also noted that Complainant had addressed claims concerning Respondent's history of violations in its Response to Comments, which suggested that to the extent any prior violations would be relevant to the proposed CAFO, Complainant had adequately considered them. Accordingly, any claim in this regard was denied.

    Having found that Petitioners failed to present any relevant and material evidence that had not been adequately considered and responded to by Complainant in agreeing to the proposed CAFO, the undersigned then addressed Petitioners' requests for a public hearing in their Comments and Petition. Noting that Petitioners appeared to seek a public forum, at least in part, for the parties to explain the meaning of the proposed CAFO to the public, the undersigned observed that section 309(g) of the CWA and the Rules of Practice provide, not for a meeting of that nature, but rather a hearing at which evidence is presented for the purpose of determining whether Complainant met its burden of proving that Respondent committed the violations as alleged and that the proposed penalty is appropriate based on applicable law and policy. The undersigned noted that Petitioners did not specifically identify any testimonial or documentary evidence that they would present at any such hearing. The undersigned further noted that Petitioners did not offer in either their Comments or the Petition any relevant and material evidence or arguments that had not already been adequately addressed by Complainant. For these reasons, the undersigned found that resolution of the proceeding by the parties would be appropriate without a hearing.

    The undersigned thus issued the Order Denying Petition to Set Aside Consent Agreement and Proposed Final Order.

    Dated: May 8, 2018. Susan L. Biro, Chief Administrative Law Judge.
    [FR Doc. 2018-10460 Filed 5-15-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
    FEDERAL ELECTION COMMISSION [Notice 2018-09] Filing Dates for the Texas Special Election in the 27th Congressional District AGENCY:

    Federal Election Commission.

    ACTION:

    Notice of filing dates for special election.

    SUMMARY:

    Texas has scheduled a special general election on June 30, 2018, to fill the U.S. House of Representatives seat in the 27th Congressional District vacated by Representative Blake Farenthold. There are two possible elections, but only one may be necessary. Under Texas law, all qualified candidates, regardless of party affiliation, will appear on the ballot. The majority winner of the special election is declared elected. Should no candidate achieve a majority vote, the Governor will then set the date for a Special Runoff Election that will include only the top two vote-getters.

    Committees participating in the Texas special election are required to file pre- and post-election reports.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Ms. Elizabeth S. Kurland, Information Division, 1050 First Street NE, Washington, DC 20463; Telephone: (202) 694-1100; Toll Free (800) 424-9530.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Principal Campaign Committees

    All principal campaign committees of candidates who participate in the Texas Special General Election shall file a 12-day Pre-General Report on June 18, 2018. If there is a majority winner, committees must also file a Post-General Report on July 30, 2018. (See chart below for the closing date for each report.)

    Note that these reports are in addition to the campaign committee's regular quarterly filings. (See chart below for the closing date for each report).

    Unauthorized Committees (PACs and Party Committees)

    Political committees filing on a quarterly basis in 2018 are subject to special election reporting if they make previously undisclosed contributions or expenditures in connection with the Texas Special General Election by the close of books for the applicable report(s). (See chart below for the closing date for each report.)

    Committees filing monthly that make contributions or expenditures in connection with the Texas Special General Election will continue to file according to the monthly reporting schedule.

    Additional disclosure information in connection with the Texas Special General Election may be found on the FEC website at https://www.fec.gov/help-candidates-and-committees/dates-and-deadlines/.

    Possible Special Runoff Election

    In the event that no candidate receives a majority of the votes in the Special General Election, a Special Runoff Election will be held. The Commission will publish a future notice giving the filing dates for that election if it becomes necessary.

    Disclosure of Lobbyist Bundling Activity

    Principal campaign committees, party committees and Leadership PACs that are otherwise required to file reports in connection with the special elections must simultaneously file FEC Form 3L if they receive two or more bundled contributions from lobbyists/registrants or lobbyist/registrant PACs that aggregate in excess of $18,200 during the special election reporting periods. (See charts below for closing date of each period.) 11 CFR 104.22(a)(5)(v), (b).

    Calendar of Reporting Dates for Texas Special General Election Report Close of
  • books 1
  • Reg./cert.
  • and
  • overnight
  • mailing
  • deadline
  • Filing
  • deadline
  • If Only the Special General is Held (06/30/18), Political Committees Involved Must File Pre-General 06/10/18 06/15/18 06/18/18 July Quarterly 06/30/18 07/15/18 2 07/15/18 Post-General 07/20/18 07/30/18 07/30/18 October Quarterly 09/30/18 10/15/18 2 10/15/18 If Two Elections Are Held, Political Committees Involved Only in the Special General(06/30/18) Must File Pre-General 06/10/18 06/15/18 06/18/18 July Quarterly 06/30/18 07/15/18 2 07/15/18 1 The reporting period always begins the day after the closing date of the last report filed. If the committee is new and has not previously filed a report, the first report must cover all activity that occurred before the committee registered as a political committee up through the close of books for the first report due. 2 Notice that this filing deadline falls on a weekend or federal holiday. Filing deadlines are not extended when they fall on nonworking days. Accordingly, reports filed by methods other than registered, certified or overnight mail must be received by close of business on the last business day before the deadline.
    Dated: May 1, 2018.

    On behalf of the Commission.

    Caroline C. Hunter, Chair, Federal Election Commission.
    [FR Doc. 2018-10386 Filed 5-15-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6715-01-P
    FEDERAL HOUSING FINANCE AGENCY [No. 2018-N-05] Proposed Collection; Comment Request AGENCY:

    Federal Housing Finance Agency.

    ACTION:

    60-Day notice of submission of information collection for approval from Office of Management and Budget.

    SUMMARY:

    In accordance with the requirements of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA), the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA or the Agency) is seeking public comments concerning an information collection known as “Minimum Requirements for Appraisal Management Companies,” which has been assigned control number 2590-0013 by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). FHFA intends to submit the information collection to OMB for review and approval of a three-year extension of the control number, which is due to expire on July 31, 2018.

    DATES:

    Interested persons may submit comments on or before July 16, 2018.

    ADDRESSES:

    Submit comments to FHFA, identified by “Proposed Collection; Comment Request: `Minimum Requirements for Appraisal Management Companies, (No. 2018-N-05)' ” by any of the following methods:

    Agency Website: www.fhfa.gov/open-for-comment-or-input.

    Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments. If you submit your comment to the Federal eRulemaking Portal, please also send it by email to FHFA at [email protected] to ensure timely receipt by the agency.

    Mail/Hand Delivery: Federal Housing Finance Agency, Eighth Floor, 400 Seventh Street SW, Washington, DC 20219, ATTENTION: Proposed Collection; Comment Request: “Minimum Requirements for Appraisal Management Companies, (No. 2018-N-05)”.

    We will post all public comments we receive without change, including any personal information you provide, such as your name and address, email address, and telephone number, on the FHFA website at http://www.fhfa.gov. In addition, copies of all comments received will be available for examination by the public on business days between the hours of 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., at the Federal Housing Finance Agency, Eighth Floor, 400 Seventh Street SW, Washington, DC 20219. To make an appointment to inspect comments, please call the Office of General Counsel at (202) 649-3804.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Robert Witt, Senior Policy Analyst, Office of Housing and Regulatory Policy, by email at [email protected] or by telephone at (202) 649-3128; or Eric Raudenbush, Associate General Counsel, [email protected], (202) 649-3084 (these are not toll-free numbers); Federal Housing Finance Agency, 400 Seventh Street SW, Washington, DC 20219. The Telecommunications Device for the Hearing Impaired is (800) 877-8339.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    FHFA is seeking comments on its upcoming request to OMB to renew the PRA clearance for the following collection of information:

    Title: Minimum requirements for appraisal management companies.

    OMB Number: 2590-0013.

    Affected Public: Participating States and State-registered Appraisal Management Companies.

    A. Need for and Use of the Information Collection

    In 2015, FHFA, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), and the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (Board) (collectively, the Agencies) jointly issued regulations 1 to implement minimum statutory requirements to be applied by States in the registration and supervision of appraisal management companies (AMCs).2 These minimum requirements apply to States that have elected to establish an appraiser certifying and licensing agency with authority to register and supervise AMCs (participating States).3

    1 The National Credit Union Administration and the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection also participated in the joint rulemaking but, by agreement, the responsibility for clearance under the PRA of information collections contained in the joint regulations is shared only by the FDIC, OCC, Board, and FHFA.

    2See 12 U.S.C. 3353(a). An AMC is an entity that serves as an intermediary for, and provides certain services to, appraisers and lenders.

    3 12 U.S.C. 3346.

    The regulations also implement the statutory requirement that States report to the Appraisal Subcommittee (ASC) of the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC) the information required by the ASC to administer the national registry of AMCs (AMC National Registry or Registry).4 When fully established, the AMC National Registry will include AMCs that are either: (1) Subsidiaries owned and controlled by an insured depository institution (as defined in 12 U.S.C. 1813) and regulated by either the FDIC, OCC, or Board (federally regulated AMCs); 5 or (2) registered with, and subject to supervision of, a State appraiser certifying and licensing agency.

    4See 12 U.S.C. 3353(e).

    5See 12 CFR 1222.21(k) (defining “Federally regulated AMC”).

    FHFA's AMC regulation, located at Subpart B of 12 CFR part 1222, is substantively identical to the AMC regulations of the FDIC, OCC, and Board and contains the recordkeeping and reporting requirements described below.

    1. State Reporting Requirements (IC #1)

    The regulation requires that each State electing to register AMCs for purposes of permitting AMCs to provide appraisal management services relating to covered transactions in the State submit to the ASC the information regarding such AMCs required to be submitted by ASC regulations or guidance concerning AMCs that operate in the State.6

    6See 12 CFR 1222.26.

    2. State Recordkeeping Requirements (IC #2)

    States seeking to register AMCs must have an AMC registration and supervision program. The regulation requires each participating State to establish and maintain within its appraiser certifying and licensing agency a registration and supervision program with the legal authority and mechanisms to: (i) Review and approve or deny an application for initial registration; (ii) periodically review and renew, or deny renewal of, an AMC's registration; (iii) examine an AMC's books and records and require the submission of reports, information, and documents; (iv) verify an AMC's panel members' certifications or licenses; (v) investigate and assess potential violations of laws, regulations, or orders; (vi) discipline, suspend, terminate, or deny registration renewals of, AMCs that violate laws, regulations, or orders; and (vii) report violations of appraisal-related laws, regulations, or orders, and disciplinary and enforcement actions to the ASC.7

    7See 12 CFR 1222.23(a).

    The regulation requires each participating state to impose requirements on AMCs that are not federally regulated (non-federally regulated AMCs) to: (i) Register with and be subject to supervision by a state appraiser certifying and licensing agency in each state in which the AMC operates; (ii) use only state-certified or state-licensed appraisers for federally regulated transactions in conformity with any federally regulated transaction regulations; (iii) establish and comply with processes and controls reasonably designed to ensure that the AMC, in engaging an appraiser, selects an appraiser who is independent of the transaction and who has the requisite education, expertise, and experience necessary to competently complete the appraisal assignment for the particular market and property type; (iv) direct the appraiser to perform the assignment in accordance with the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice; and (v) establish and comply with processes and controls reasonably designed to ensure that the AMC conducts its appraisal management services in accordance with sections 129E(a) through (i) of the Truth-in-Lending Act.8

    8See 12 CFR 1222.23(b). Sections 129E(a) through (i) of the Truth-in-Lending Act are located at 15 U.S.C. 1639e(a)-(i).

    3. AMC Reporting Requirements (IC #3)

    The regulation provides that an AMC may not be registered by a state or included on the AMC National Registry if the company is owned, directly or indirectly, by any person who has had an appraiser license or certificate refused, denied, cancelled, surrendered in lieu of revocation, or revoked in any state for a substantive cause.9 The regulation also provides that an AMC may not be registered by a state if any person that owns 10 percent or more of the AMC fails to submit to a background investigation carried out by the state appraiser certifying and licensing agency.10 Thus, each AMC registering with a state must provide information to the state on compliance with those ownership restrictions. Further, the regulation requires that a federally regulated AMC report to the state or states in which it operates the information required to be submitted by the state pursuant to the ASC's policies, including policies regarding the determination of the AMC National Registry fee, and information regarding compliance with the ownership restrictions described above.11

    9See 12 CFR 1222.24(a), .25(b).

    10See 12 CFR 1222.24(b).

    11See 12 CFR 1222.25(c).

    4. AMC Recordkeeping Requirements (IC #4)

    An entity meets the definition of an AMC that is subject to the requirements of the AMC regulation if, among other things, it oversees an appraiser panel of more than 15 state-certified or state-licensed appraisers in a state, or 25 or more state-certified or state-licensed appraisers in two or more states, within a given 12-month period.12 For purposes of determining whether a company qualifies as an AMC under that definition, the regulation provides that an appraiser in an AMC's network or panel is deemed to remain on the network or panel until: (i) The AMC sends a written notice to the appraiser removing the appraiser with an explanation; or (ii) receives a written notice from the appraiser asking to be removed or a notice of the death or incapacity of the appraiser.13 The AMC would retain these notices in its files.

    12See 12 CFR 1222.21(c)(iii).

    13See 12 CFR 1222.22(b).

    B. Burden Estimate

    There is no change in the methodology or substance of this information collection. For the information collections described above, the general methodology is to compute the industry wide burden hours for participating states and AMCs and then assign a share of the burden hours to each of the Agencies for each information collection.

    As noted above, each of the Agencies' AMC regulations contains reporting and recordkeeping requirements applying to participating states and to both federally regulated and non-federally regulated AMCs. The Agencies have estimated that approximately 200 entities meet the regulatory definition of an “appraisal management company” 14 and that, of those 200 AMCs, approximately 120 are federally regulated and approximately 80 non-federally regulated.15 Unlike the insured depository institutions regulated by the OCC, FDIC, and Board, none of FHFA's regulated entities owns or controls an AMC or, by law, could ever own or control an AMC. Accordingly, the Agencies have agreed that responsibility for the burdens arising from reporting and recordkeeping requirements imposed upon federally regulated AMCs are to be split evenly among the OCC, FDIC, and Board (i.e., the equivalent of 40 federally regulated AMCs for each agency) and that FHFA will not include those burdens in its totals. The four Agencies have agreed to split the total burdens imposed upon participating states and upon non-federally regulated AMCs evenly between them (i.e., by taking responsibility for 25 percent of the burden per agency or, in the case of non-federally regulated AMCs, the equivalent of 20 such AMCs for each agency).

    14 In FHFA's regulations, this definition is set forth at 12 CFR 1222.21(c).

    15 FHFA anticipates that more definitive information on the total number of AMCs and on the relative number of federally regulated and non-federally regulated AMCs will become available after the joint regulations' AMC registration requirements become effective on August 10, 2018.

    Thus, for ICs #1 and #2, which relate to reporting and recordkeeping requirements imposed upon participating states, each agency is responsible for 25 percent of the total estimated burden. For ICs #3 and #4, which relate to reporting and recordkeeping requirements imposed upon both federally regulated AMCs and non-federally regulated AMCs, the OCC, FDIC, and Board are each responsible for the burden imposed upon a total of 60 AMCs (40 federally regulated plus 20 non-federally regulated), or 30 percent of the total burden, while FHFA is responsible only for the burden imposed upon 20 non-federally regulated AMCs, or 10 percent of the total burden.

    The Agencies estimate the total annualized hour burden placed on respondents by the information collection in the joint AMC regulations to be 1,445 hours. FHFA estimates its share of the hour burden to be 183 hours. The calculations on which those estimated are based are described below.

    1. State Reporting Requirements (IC #1)

    The total estimated burden hours for state reporting to the ASC are calculated by multiplying the number of states by the hour burden per state. The burden hours are then divided equally among the FDIC, OCC, Board, and FHFA, with each agency responsible for 25 percent of the total. For purposes of this calculation, the number of states is set at 55 which, in conformity with the regulatory definition of “state,” includes all 50 U.S. states as well as the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.16 The burden estimate of 1 hour per report is unchanged from the estimate provided for the currently-approved ICR. Therefore, the estimated total state reporting burden attributable to all of the Agencies is: 55 states × 1 hour/state = 55 hours. The estimated burden hours attributable to FHFA are 55 hours × 25 percent = 14 hours (rounded to the nearest whole number).

    16See 12 CFR 1222.21(o).

    2. State Recordkeeping Requirements (IC #2)

    The estimated burden hours on participating states for developing and maintaining an AMC licensing program is calculated by multiplying the number of states without a registration and licensing program by the hour burden to develop the system. The total burden hours are then equally divided among the FDIC, OCC, Board, and FHFA. According to the Appraisal Institute, as of July 26, 2017, there were 5 states that had not developed a system to register and oversee AMCs.17 The burden estimate of 40 hours per state without a registration system is unchanged from the estimate provided for the currently-approved ICR. Therefore, the total estimated burden attributable to all of the Agencies is: 5 States × 40 hours/state = 200 hours. The estimated burden hours attributable to FHFA are 200 hours × 25 percent = 50 hours.

    17 Appraisal Institute “Enacted State AMC Laws”. https://www.appraisalinstitute.org/advocacy/enacted-state-amc-laws1/.

    3. AMC Reporting Requirements (IC #3)

    The burden for AMC reporting requirements for information needed to determine the AMC National Registry fee and information regarding compliance with the AMC ownership restrictions is calculated by multiplying the number of AMCs by the frequency of response and then by the burden per response. As described above, 30 percent of the burden hours are then assigned to each of the FDIC, OCC, and Board, while 10 percent are assigned to FHFA.

    The frequency of response is estimated as the number of states that do not have an AMC registration program in which the average AMC operates.18 As discussed above, 5 states do not have AMC registration or oversight programs. According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), the average AMC operates in 19.56 states.19 Therefore, the average AMC operates in approximately 2 states that do not have AMC registration systems: (5 States/55 states) × 19.56 states = 1.778 states, rounded to 2 states. The burden estimate of one hour per response is unchanged from the estimate provided for the currently-approved ICR. Therefore, the total estimated hour burden is: 200 AMCs × 2 states × 1 hour = 400 hours. The estimated burden hours attributable to FHFA are 400 hours × 10 percent = 40 hours.

    18 The number of states includes all U.S. states, territories, and districts to include: The Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands; the District of Columbia; Guam; Puerto Rico; and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

    19 The CFPB conducted a survey of 9 AMCs in 2013 regarding the provisions in the regulation and the related PRA burden.

    4. AMC Recordkeeping Requirements (IC #4)

    The burden for recordkeeping by AMCs of written notices of appraiser removal from a network or panel is estimated to be equal to the number of appraisers who leave the profession per year multiplied by the estimated percentage of appraisers who work for AMCs, then multiplied by burden hours per notice. As described above, 30 percent of the burden hours are then assigned to each of the FDIC, OCC, and Board, while 10 percent are assigned to FHFA.

    The number of appraisers who leave an AMC annually, either by resigning, being laid off, or having their licenses revoked or surrendered, is estimated to be 9,881. The burden estimate of 0.08 hours per notice is unchanged from the estimate provided for the currently-approved ICR. Therefore, the estimated total hour burden is: 9,881 notices × 0.08 hours = 790 hours (rounded to the nearest whole number). The estimated burden hours attributable to FHFA are 790 hours × 10 percent = 79 hours.

    C. Comments Request

    FHFA requests written comments on the following: (1) Whether the collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of FHFA functions, including whether the information has practical utility; (2) the accuracy of FHFA's estimates of the burdens of the collection of information; (3) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information collected; and (4) 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.

    Dated: May 10, 2018. Kevin Winkler, Chief Information Officer, Federal Housing Finance Agency.
    [FR Doc. 2018-10430 Filed 5-15-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 8070-01-P
    FEDERAL HOUSING FINANCE AGENCY [No. 2018-N-06] Proposed Collection; Comment Request AGENCY:

    Federal Housing Finance Agency.

    ACTION:

    60-day notice of submission of information collection for approval from Office of Management and Budget.

    SUMMARY:

    In accordance with the requirements of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA), the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA or the Agency) is seeking public comments concerning an information collection known as “Minority and Women Inclusion,” which has been assigned control number 2590-0014 by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). FHFA intends to submit the information collection to OMB for review and approval of a three-year extension of the control number, which is due to expire on July 31, 2018.

    DATES:

    Interested persons may submit comments on or before July 16, 2018.

    ADDRESSES:

    Submit comments to FHFA, identified by “Proposed Collection; Comment Request: `Minority and Women Inclusion, (No. 2018-N-06)' ” by any of the following methods:

    Agency website: www.fhfa.gov/open-for-comment-or-input.

    Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments. If you submit your comment to the Federal eRulemaking Portal, please also send it by email to FHFA at [email protected] to ensure timely receipt by the agency.

    Mail/Hand Delivery: Federal Housing Finance Agency, Eighth Floor, 400 Seventh Street SW, Washington, DC 20219, ATTENTION: Proposed Collection; Comment Request: “Minority and Women Inclusion, (No. 2018-N-06)”.

    We will post all public comments we receive without change, including any personal information you provide, such as your name and address, email address, and telephone number, on the FHFA website at http://www.fhfa.gov. In addition, copies of all comments received will be available for examination by the public on business days between the hours of 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., at the Federal Housing Finance Agency, Eighth Floor, 400 Seventh Street SW, Washington, DC 20219. To make an appointment to inspect comments, please call the Office of General Counsel at (202) 649-3804.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Sylvia Martinez, Principal Policy Analyst, Office of Minority and Women Inclusion, by email at [email protected] or by telephone at (202) 649-3301; or Eric Raudenbush, Associate General Counsel, [email protected], (202) 649-3084 (these are not toll-free numbers); Federal Housing Finance Agency, 400 Seventh Street SW, Washington, DC 20219. The Telecommunications Device for the Hearing Impaired is (800) 877-8339.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) is seeking comments on its collection of information regarding the minority and gender classification of individuals serving on the boards of directors of the Federal Home Loan Bank (Banks) and of the Office of Finance under FHFA's regulations on Minority and Women Inclusion (MWI), codified at 12 CFR part 1223, which it will soon be submitting for renewal of the OMB control number under the PRA.

    A. Need for and Use of the Information Collection

    The Federal Home Loan Bank System consists of eleven regional Banks and the Office of Finance, which issues and services the Banks' debt securities. The Banks are wholesale financial institutions, organized under authority of the Federal Home Loan Bank Act (Bank Act) to serve the public interest by enhancing the availability of residential housing finance and community lending credit through their member institutions and, to a limited extent, through certain eligible non-member entities. Each Bank is structured as a regional cooperative that is owned and controlled by member financial institutions located within its district, which are also its primary customers. The Bank Act vests the management of each Bank in a board of directors that consists of two types of directors: (1) Member directors, who are drawn from the officers and directors of member institutions located in the Bank's district and who are elected to represent members in a particular state in that district; and (2) independent directors, who are unaffiliated with any of the Bank's member institutions, but who reside in the Bank's district and are elected on an at-large basis.1 The Office of Finance is also governed by a board of directors, which consists of the presidents of the eleven Banks and five independent directors.2

    1See 12 U.S.C. 1427(a)(1), (b), (d).

    2See 12 CFR 1273.7(a).

    Section 1319A of the Federal Housing Enterprises Financial Safety and Soundness Act of 1992 (Safety and Soundness Act) requires that each of the Banks establish an Office of Minority and Women Inclusion (OMWI) to be responsible for all matters relating to diversity in its management, employment, and business activities, in accordance with requirements established by FHFA.3 Section 1319A also requires that each Bank implement standards and procedures to ensure, to the maximum extent possible, the inclusion and utilization of women and minorities “at all levels” of its business and activities, and submit an annual report to FHFA detailing actions taken to achieve those goals.4

    3See 12 U.S.C. 4520(a).

    4See 12 U.S.C. 4520(b), (d).

    FHFA's MWI regulations implement those statutory requirements and also extend the requirements to the Office of Finance. The regulations require generally that each Bank and the Office of Finance “develop, implement, and maintain policies and procedures to ensure, to the maximum extent possible in balance with financially safe and sound business practices, the inclusion and utilization of minorities, women, individuals with disabilities, and minority-, women-, and disabled-owned businesses in all business and activities and at all levels of the regulated entity, including in management, employment, procurement, insurance, and all types of contracts.” 5 In recognition of the fact that each Bank is required by statute to promote diversity and inclusion “at all levels” of its business and activities, the MWI regulations further require that the Banks' policies and procedures (as well as those of the Office of Finance) “[e]ncourage the consideration of diversity in nominating or soliciting nominees for positions on boards of directors and engage in recruiting and outreach directed at encouraging individuals who are minorities, women and individuals with disabilities to seek or apply for employment with the regulated entity.” 6

    5See 12 CFR 1223.21(b).

    6See 12 CFR 1223.21(b)(7).

    In conformity with the statutory requirements, FHFA's MWI regulations require that each Bank and the Office of Finance submit to FHFA an annual report describing, among other things, its efforts to promote diversity at all levels of management and employment, and the results of those efforts.7 In order to provide a quantitative basis upon which to assess the results of those efforts, FHFA's regulations require that each Bank and the Office of Finance set forth in in their respective annual reports the demographic data reported on the EEO-1 form, which they are required to file annually with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).8 The EEO-1 form requires that each respondent provide race, ethnicity and gender information for its employees, broken down into various job categories. Because the EEO-1 form does not require that a respondent provide information on board directors, FHFA cannot use the EEO-1 data to assess the effectiveness of the Bank System's efforts to “encourage the consideration of diversity in nominating or soliciting nominees for positions on boards of directors.”

    7See 12 CFR 1223.22(a).

    8See 12 CFR 1223.23(b)(1). As required by 29 CFR 1602.7, each Bank and the Office of Finance annually files an EEO-1 form with the EEOC.

    Therefore, in order to enable FHFA to assess those efforts, the MWI regulations separately require that the annual reports set forth “[d]ata showing for the reporting year by minority and gender classification, the number of individuals on the board of directors of each Bank and the Office of Finance,” using the same racial and ethnic classifications that are used on the EEO-1 form (which comply with OMB's “Statistical Policy Directive No. 15, Race and Ethnic Standards for Federal Statistics and Administrative Reporting”).9 The regulation requires that each Bank and the Office of Finance collect that data “through an information collection requesting each director's voluntary self-identification of his or her minority and gender classification without personally identifiable information.”

    9See 12 CFR 1223.23(b)(10)(i).

    FHFA uses the information collected under this control number to assess the effectiveness of the policies and procedures that each Bank and the Office of Finance is required to implement to promote diversity in all of its business and activities “at all levels” and, specifically, to encourage diversity in the nomination and solicitation of nominees for members of its boards of directors. FHFA also uses the information to establish a baseline to analyze future trends related to the diversity of the boards of directors of the Banks and the Office of Finance and to assess the effectiveness of the strategies developed by the Banks and the Office of Finance for promoting, developing, and retaining diverse board talent.

    B. Burden Estimate

    FHFA estimates the total annual hour burden imposed upon respondents by this information collection to be 20 hours. This is based on estimates that 200 Bank and Office of Finance Directors will respond annually, with each response taking an average of 0.1 hours (6 minutes) (200 respondents × 0.1 hours = 20 hours).

    C. Comments Request

    FHFA requests written comments on the following: (1) Whether the collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of FHFA functions, including whether the information has practical utility; (2) the accuracy of FHFA's estimates of the burdens of the collection of information; (3) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information collected; and (4) 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.

    Dated: May 10, 2018. Kevin Winkler, Chief Information Officer, Federal Housing Finance Agency.
    [FR Doc. 2018-10431 Filed 5-15-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 8070-01-P
    FEDERAL RESERVE SYSTEM Agency Information Collection Activities; Announcement of Board Approval Under Delegated Authority and Submission to OMB AGENCY:

    Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System.

    SUMMARY:

    The Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (Board) is adopting a proposal to extend for three years, with revision, the Registration Statement for Persons Who Extend Credit Secured by Margin Stock (Other Than Banks, Brokers, or Dealers) (FR G-1), the Deregistration Statement for Persons Registered Pursuant to Regulation U (FR G-2), and the Annual Report (FR G-4), and to extend for three years, without revision, the Statement of Purpose for an Extension of Credit Secured by Margin Stock by a Person Subject to Registration Under Regulation U (FR G-3), the Statement of Purpose for an Extension of Credit by a Creditor (FR T-4), and the Statement of Purpose for an Extension of Credit Secured by Margin Stock (FR U-1). These six data collections are collectively known as the Margin Credit Reports. The revisions will be applicable as of July 1, 2018, instead of April 1, 2018, as proposed.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Federal Reserve Board Clearance Officer—Nuha Elmaghrabi—Office of the Chief Data Officer, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, Washington, DC, 20551 (202) 452-3829. Telecommunications Device for the Deaf (TDD) users may contact (202) 263-4869, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, Washington, DC 20551. OMB Desk Officer—Shagufta Ahmed—Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Office of Management and Budget, New Executive Office Building, Room 10235, 725 17th Street NW, Washington, DC 20503 or by fax to (202) 395-6974.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    On June 15, 1984, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) delegated to the Board authority under the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) to approve of and assign OMB control numbers to collection of information requests and requirements conducted or sponsored by the Board. Board-approved collections of information are incorporated into the official OMB inventory of currently approved collections of information. Copies of the Paperwork Reduction Act Submission, supporting statements and approved collection of information instrument(s) are placed into OMB's public docket files. The Federal Reserve may not conduct or sponsor, and the respondent is not required to respond to, an information collection that has been extended, revised, or implemented on or after October 1, 1995, unless it displays a currently valid OMB control number.

    Final approval under OMB delegated authority of the extension for three years, with revision, of the FR G-1, FR G-2, and FR G-4 reports, as well as extension for three years, without revision, of the FR G-3, FR T-4, and FR U-1:

    1. Report title: Registration Statement for Persons Who Extend Credit Secured by Margin Stock (Other Than Banks, Brokers, or Dealers); Deregistration Statement for Persons Registered Pursuant to Regulation U; Annual Report.

    Agency form number: FR G-1; FR G-2; FR G-4.

    OMB control number: 7100-0011.

    Effective date: July 1, 2018.

    Frequency: FR G-1 and FR G-2, On occasion; FR G-4, annually.

    Estimated number of respondents: 89.

    Estimated average hours per response: FR G-1, 2.5; FR G-2, 0.25; FR G-4, 2.

    Estimated annual burden hours: 160.

    General description of report: The registration statement (FR G-1) is required to enable the Federal Reserve to identify nonbank lenders subject to the Board's Regulation U, to verify compliance with the regulation, and to monitor margin credit. In addition, registered nonbank lenders can be subject to periodic review by the Board, the National Credit Union Administration, and the Farm Credit Administration.

    The deregistration statement (FR G-2) is used by nonbank lenders to terminate its registration if their margin credit activities no longer exceed the regulatory threshold found in Regulation U. Under section 221.3(b)(2) of Regulation U, a registered nonbank lender may apply to terminate its registration if the lender has not, during the preceding six calendar months, had more than $200,000 of such credit outstanding.

    The information submitted on the annual report (FR G-4) is required pursuant to Regulation U to enable the Federal Reserve to monitor the amount of credit extended by nonbank lenders that is secured by margin stock.

    2. Report title: Statement of Purpose for an Extension of Credit Secured by Margin Stock by a Person Subject to Registration Under Regulation U; Statement of Purpose for an Extension of Credit by a Creditor; Statement of Purpose for an Extension of Credit Secured by Margin Stock.

    Agency form number: FR G-3; FR T-4; FR U-1.

    OMB control number: 7100-0018; 7100-0019; 7100-0115.

    Effective date: July 1, 2018.

    Frequency: On occasion.

    Estimated number of respondents: FR G-3, 6; FR T-4, 4; FR U-1, 4.

    Estimated average hours per response: FR G-3, 0.17; FR T-4, 0.17; FR U-1, 0.17.

    Estimated annual burden hours: FR G-3, 20; FR T-4, 14; FR U-1, 51.

    General description of reports: The FR G-3, FR T-4, and FR U-1 purpose statements, which are completed by the borrower and the lender (brokers and dealers, in the case of the FR T-4), consist of three parts. The borrower completes Part I of the reporting form and is required to do the following: State the amount of the loan and whether the purpose of the loan is to purchase, carry, or trade in securities (pursuant to the Board's Regulation T) or purchase or carry margin stock (pursuant to Regulation U) and, if not, describe the specific purpose of the loan. FR T-4 respondents must also answer a question as to whether the securities serving as collateral will be delivered against payment. The borrower must sign and date the reporting form. The lender completes Part II, which may entail listing and valuing any collateral. The lender then signs and dates Part III of the reporting form, acknowledging that the customer's statement is accepted in good faith. The lender is required to hold the reporting forms for at least three years after the credit is extinguished. The Federal Reserve System does not collect or process this information, but the information required on the form may be reviewed by Federal Reserve examiners to assess compliance with the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (the Act) and Regulation T.

    Legal authorization and confidentiality: These reports are authorized by section 7 of the Act (15 U.S.C. 78g). In addition, the FR T-4 is required by section 220.6 of Regulation T (12 CFR 220.6), the FR U-1 is required by sections 221.3(c)(1)(i) and (2)(i) of Regulation U (12 CFR 221.3(c)(1)(i) and (2)(i)), and the FR G-1, FR G-2, FR G-3, and FR G-4 are required by sections 221.3(b)(1), (2), and (3), and (c)(1)(ii) and (2)(ii) of Regulation U (12 CFR 221.3(b)(1), (2), and (3), and (c)(1)(ii) and (2)(ii)).

    The FR G-1 and FR G-4 collect financial information, including a balance sheet, from nonbank lenders subject to Regulation U. Some of these lenders may be individuals or nonbank entities that do not make this information publicly available; release could therefore cause substantial harm to the competitive position of the respondent or result in an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy. In those cases, the information could be withheld under exemption 4 or exemption 6 of the Freedom of Information Act (5 U.S.C. 552(b)(4) and (6)), respectively. Confidentiality determinations will be made on a case-by-case basis. Because the FR G-3, FR T-4, and FR U-1 are not submitted to the Federal Reserve System and FR G-2 does not contain any information considered to be confidential, no confidentiality determination is necessary for these reports.

    Current actions: On January 23, 2018, the Board published a notice in the Federal Register (83 FR 3146) requesting public comment for 60 days on the extension, with revision, of the FR G-1, FR G-2, and FR G-4, as well as the extension, without revision, of the FR G-3, FR T-4, and FR U-1. The Board proposed to revise the instructions for the FR G-1, FR G-2, and FR G-4 to require respondents to submit Portable Document Format (PDF) versions of the reporting forms and attachments to a designated Federal Reserve Board email address. The Board also proposed to consolidate all six Margin Credit Reports under one OMB control number, 7100-0011, which currently only includes the FR G-1, FR G-2, and FR G-4. The comment period expired on March 26, 2018. The Board did not receive any comments. Accordingly, the revisions will be implemented as proposed; provided that, the effective date of the revisions will be July 1, 2018, rather than April 1, 2018, as proposed.

    Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, May 11, 2018. Michele Taylor Fennell, Assistant Secretary of the Board.
    [FR Doc. 2018-10410 Filed 5-15-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6210-01-P
    FEDERAL RESERVE SYSTEM Change in Bank Control Notices; Acquisitions of Shares of a Bank or Bank Holding Company

    The notificants listed below have applied under the Change in Bank Control Act (12 U.S.C. 1817(j)) and § 225.41 of the Board's Regulation Y (12 CFR 225.41) to acquire shares of a bank or bank holding company. The factors that are considered in acting on the notices are set forth in paragraph 7 of the Act (12 U.S.C. 1817(j)(7)).

    The notices are available for immediate inspection at the Federal Reserve Bank indicated. The notices also will be available for inspection at the offices of the Board of Governors. Interested persons may express their views in writing to the Reserve Bank indicated for that notice or to the offices of the Board of Governors. Comments must be received not later than May 31, 2018.

    A. Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago (Colette A. Fried, Assistant Vice President) 230 South LaSalle Street, Chicago, Illinois 60690-1414:

    1. The William C. Martin 2018 Grantor Retained Annuity Trust #1, with William C. Martin as trustee, and the William C. Martin 2018 Grantor Retained Annuity Trust #2, with William C. Martin as trustee, all of Ann Arbor, Michigan; to join the Martin Family Control Group approved on December 15, 2017, and acquire voting shares of Arbor Bancorp, Inc., and thereby indirectly acquire voting shares of Bank of Ann Arbor, both of Ann Arbor, Michigan.

    Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, May 11, 2018. Yao-Chin Chao, Assistant Secretary of the Board.
    [FR Doc. 2018-10438 Filed 5-15-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE P
    DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION [OMB Control No. 9000-0035; Docket No. 2018-0003; Sequence No. 7] Information Collection; Claims and Appeals AGENCIES:

    Department of Defense (DOD), General Services Administration (GSA), and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

    ACTION:

    Notice of request for public comments regarding an extension to an existing OMB clearance.

    SUMMARY:

    Under the provisions of the Paperwork Reduction Act, the Regulatory Secretariat Division will be submitting to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) a request to review and approve an extension of a previously approved information collection requirement concerning claims and appeals.

    DATES:

    Submit comments on or before July 16, 2018.

    ADDRESSES:

    Submit comments identified by Information Collection 9000-0035, Claims and Appeals, by any of the following methods:

    Regulations.gov: http://www.regulations.gov.

    Submit comments via the Federal eRulemaking portal by searching the OMB control number. Select the link “Submit a Comment” that corresponds with “Information Collection 9000-0035, Claims and Appeals”. Follow the instructions provided at the “Submit a Comment” screen. Please include your name, company name (if any), and “Information Collection 9000-0035, Claims and Appeals” on your attached document.

    Mail: General Services Administration, Regulatory Secretariat Division (MVCB), 1800 F Street NW, Washington, DC 20405. ATTN: Ms. Mandell/IC 9000-0035, Claims and Appeals.

    Instructions: Please submit comments only and cite Information Collection 9000-0035, Claims and Appeals, in all correspondence related to this collection. Comments received generally will be posted without change to http://www.regulations.gov, including any personal and/or business confidential information provided. To confirm receipt of your comment(s), please check http://www.regulations.gov, approximately two to three days after submission to verify posting (except allow 30 days for posting of comments submitted by mail).

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Mr. Charles Gray, Procurement Analyst, Federal Acquisition Policy Division, GSA, 703-795-6328 or via email at [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    A. Purpose

    It is the Government's policy to try to resolve all contractual issues by mutual agreement at the contracting officer's level without litigation. Reasonable efforts should be made to resolve controversies prior to submission of a contractor's claim. The Contract Disputes Act of 1978 (41 U.S.C. 7103) requires that claims exceeding $100,000 must be accompanied by a certification that (1) the claim is made in good faith; (2) supporting data are accurate and complete; and (3) the amount requested accurately reflects the contract adjustment for which the contractor believes the Government is liable. The information, as required by FAR clause 52.233-1, Disputes, is used by a contracting officer to decide or resolve the claim. Contractors may appeal the contracting officer's decision by submitting written appeals to the appropriate officials.

    B. Annual Reporting Burden

    Respondents: 4,500.

    Responses per Respondent: 3.

    Annual Responses: 13,500.

    Hours Per Response: 1.

    Total Burden Hours: 13,500.

    C. Public Comments

    Public comments are particularly invited on: Whether this collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of functions of the FAR, and whether it will have practical utility; whether our estimate of the public burden of this collection of information is accurate, and based on valid assumptions and methodology; ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and ways in which we can minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond, through the use of appropriate technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology.

    OBTAINING COPIES OF PROPOSALS:

    Requesters may obtain a copy of the information collection documents from the General Services Administration, Regulatory Secretariat Division (MVCB), 1800 F Street NW, Washington, DC 20405, telephone 202-501-4755. Please cite OMB Control No. 9000-0035, Claims and Appeals, in all correspondence.

    Dated: May 10, 2018. Lorin Curit, Director, Federal Acquisition Policy Division, Office of Governmentwide Acquisition Policy, Office of Acquisition Policy, Office of Governmentwide Policy.
    [FR Doc. 2018-10408 Filed 5-15-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6820-EP-P
    GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION [Notice-MA-2018-03; Docket No. 2018-0002, Sequence No. 7] Rescission of FTR Bulletins AGENCY:

    Office of Government-wide Policy (OGP), General Services Administration (GSA).

    ACTION:

    Notice of Federal Travel Regulation (FTR) Bulletin 18-04, rescission of FTR Bulletins.

    SUMMARY:

    GSA is officially rescinding various FTR bulletins to ensure the Travel/Per Diem Bulletin section on the agency's FTR website displays only current information. Agencies' policies should be updated as warranted.

    DATES:

    The rescission is as of May 16, 2018.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    For clarification of content, please contact Mr. Cy Greenidge, Office of Government-wide Policy, Office of Asset and Transportation Management, at 202-219-2349, or by email at [email protected] Please cite Notice of FTR Bulletin 18-04.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Executive Order 13777, Enforcing the Regulatory Reform Agenda, Section 3, paragraph (d)(ii), states in part, the Regulatory Reform Task Force shall attempt to identify regulations that are outdated, unnecessary, or ineffective. GSA has conducted a thorough review of all FTR bulletins on the FTR Travel/Per Diem Bulletins website (https://www.gsa.gov/policy-regulations/regulations/federal-travel-regulation/federal-travel-regulation-and-related-files#TravelPerDiemBulletins) and determined that some of the Bulletins contain outdated, duplicative, expired, or inapplicable content. FTR Bulletin 18-04 lists all rescinded bulletins meeting one of the aforementioned criterion.

    Dated: May 11, 2018. Alexander Kurien, Deputy Associate Administrator, Office of Asset and Transportation Management, Office of Government-wide Policy.
    [FR Doc. 2018-10436 Filed 5-15-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6820-14-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Administration for Children and Families Proposed Information Collection Activity; Comment Request

    Title: Evaluation of the Transitional Living Program (TLP).

    OMB No.: 0970-0383.

    Description: The Family and Youth Services Bureau (FYSB) and the Office of Planning, Research, Evaluation (OPRE) in the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) are requesting to continue collecting data as part of a currently approved information collection (OMB No. 0970-0383). The purpose is to continue baseline data collection at study enrollment and follow-up data collection for the Evaluation of the Transitional Living Program (TLP). The TLP evaluation was designed to examine the effects of FYSB's Transitional Living Program on runaway and homeless youth, focusing on such outcomes as housing and homelessness, education or training, employment, social connections, socio-emotional well-being, and risk behaviors.

    Data collection will include three primary surveys, previously approved by OMB: (1) A survey administered at the time of TLP enrollment (baseline), (2) a survey administered 6 months after enrollment, which will collect information on short-terms outcomes; and (3) a survey administered at 12 months, which will collect information on longer-term outcomes. Participants will be enrolled through the TLP study sites.

    Respondents: Runaway and homeless youth ages 16 to 22 who agree to participate in the study upon enrollment into one of the TLP study sites.

    Annual Burden Estimates Instrument Total
  • number of
  • respondents
  • Annual
  • number of
  • respondents
  • Number of
  • responses per
  • respondent
  • Average
  • burden hours per
  • response
  • Annual burden hours
    Young Adult Baseline Survey 600 200 1 0.62 124 Young Adult 6-Month Follow Up Survey 600 200 1 0.61 122 Young Adult 12-Month Follow Up Survey 600 200 1 0.61 122

    Estimated Total Burden Hours: 368.

    In compliance with the requirements of Section 3506(c)(2)(A) of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, the Administration for Children and Families is soliciting public comment on the specific aspects of the information collection described above. Copies of the proposed collection of information can be obtained and comments may be forwarded by writing to the Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation, 330 C Street SW, Washington, DC 20201, Attn: OPRE Reports Clearance Officer. Email address: [email protected]. All requests should be identified by the title of the information collection.

    The Department specifically requests comments on (a) whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information shall have practical utility; (b) the accuracy of the agency's estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information; (c) 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. Consideration will be given to comments and suggestions submitted within 60 days of this publication.

    Mary B. Jones, ACF/OPRE Certifying Officer.
    [FR Doc. 2018-10461 Filed 5-15-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4184-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Food and Drug Administration [Docket No. FDA-2018-N-1773] Blood Products Advisory Committee; Notice of Meeting AGENCY:

    Food and Drug Administration, HHS.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announces a forthcoming public advisory committee meeting of the Blood Products Advisory Committee. The general function of the Blood Products Advisory Committee is to provide advice and recommendations to the Agency on regulatory issues related to blood and products derived from blood. On the first day of the meeting, the Committee will provide advice regarding bacterial risk control strategies to enhance the safety and availability of platelets for transfusion. On the second day of the meeting, the Committee, supplemented with members from the Microbiology Devices Panel of the Medical Devices Advisory Committee, will function as a medical device panel to provide advice and recommendations to the Agency on classification of devices. The meeting will be open to the public.

    DATES:

    The meeting will be held on July 18, 2018, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and July 19, 2018, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

    ADDRESSES:

    FDA White Oak Campus, 10903 New Hampshire Ave., Bldg. 31 Conference Center, the Great Room (Rm. 1503, sections B and C), Silver Spring, MD 20993-0002. Answers to commonly asked questions including information regarding special accommodations due to a disability, visitor parking, and transportation may be accessed at: https://www.fda.gov/AdvisoryCommittees/AboutAdvisoryCommittees/ucm408555.htm.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Bryan Emery, Division of Scientific Advisors and Consultants, Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research (CBER), Food and Drug Administration, 10903 New Hampshire Ave., Bldg. 71, Rm. 6268, Silver Spring, MD 20993-0002, 240-402-8054, [email protected]; or Joanne Lipkind, Division of Scientific Advisors and Consultants, CBER, Food and Drug Administration, 10903 New Hampshire Ave., Bldg. 71, Rm. 6270, Silver Spring, MD 20993-0002, 240-402-8106, [email protected]; or FDA Advisory Committee Information Line, 1-800-741-8138 (301-443-0572 in the Washington, DC area). A notice in the Federal Register about last minute modifications that impact a previously announced advisory committee meeting cannot always be published quickly enough to provide timely notice. Therefore, you should always check the Agency's website at https://www.fda.gov/AdvisoryCommittees/default.htm and scroll down to the appropriate advisory committee meeting link, or call the advisory committee information line to learn about possible modifications before coming to the meeting. For those unable to attend in person, the meeting will be also be available via webcast. The webcast will be available at the following link on both days: https://collaboration.fda.gov/bpac0718/.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Agenda: On July 18, 2018, the Blood Products Advisory Committee will meet in open session to discuss and provide advice regarding bacterial risk control strategies for blood collection establishments and transfusion services to enhance the safety and availability of platelets for transfusion. The Committee will discuss the available strategies to control the risk of bacterial contamination of platelets with 5-day and 7-day dating, including bacterial testing using culture-based devices and rapid bacterial detection devices and implementation of pathogen reduction technology.

    On July 19, 2018, the Committee will function as a medical device panel. The Committee will meet in open session to discuss and provide advice regarding the device reclassification from class III to class II of nucleic acid and serology-based point-of-care and laboratory-based in vitro diagnostic devices indicated for use as aids in the diagnosis of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. The devices that will be discussed by the Committee during the meeting are post-amendment devices that currently are classified into class III under section 513(f)(1) of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (21 U.S.C. 360c(f)(1)).

    FDA intends to make background material available to the public approximately 2 weeks and no later than 2 business days before the meeting. If FDA is unable to post the background material on its website prior to the meeting, the background material will be made publicly available at the location of the advisory committee meeting, and the background material will be posted on FDA's website after the meeting. Background material is available at https://www.fda.gov/AdvisoryCommittees/Calendar/default.htm. Scroll down to the appropriate advisory committee meeting link.

    Procedure: Interested persons may present data, information, or views, orally or in writing, on issues pending before the committee. Written submissions may be made to the contact person on or before July 11, 2018. Oral presentations from the public will be scheduled between approximately 2:15 p.m. and 3:15 p.m. on July 18, 2018, and between 12:30 p.m. and 1:30 p.m. on July 19, 2018. Those individuals interested in making formal oral presentations should notify the contact person and submit a brief statement of the general nature of the evidence or arguments they wish to present, the names and addresses of proposed participants, and an indication of the approximate time requested to make their presentation on or before July 5, 2018. Time allotted for each presentation may be limited. If the number of registrants requesting to speak is greater than can be reasonably accommodated during the scheduled open public hearing session, FDA may conduct a lottery to determine the speakers for the scheduled open public hearing session. The contact person will notify interested persons regarding their request to speak by July 6, 2018.

    Persons attending FDA's advisory committee meetings are advised that the Agency is not responsible for providing access to electrical outlets.

    FDA welcomes the attendance of the public at its advisory committee meetings and will make every effort to accommodate persons with disabilities. If you require accommodations due to a disability, please contact Bryan Emery or Joanne Lipkin at least 7 days in advance of the meeting.

    FDA is committed to the orderly conduct of its advisory committee meetings. Please visit our website at https://www.fda.gov/AdvisoryCommittees/AboutAdvisoryCommittees/ucm111462.htm for procedures on public conduct during advisory committee meetings.

    Notice of this meeting is given under the Federal Advisory Committee Act (5 U.S.C. app. 2).

    Dated: May 10, 2018. Leslie Kux, Associate Commissioner for Policy.
    [FR Doc. 2018-10414 Filed 5-15-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4164-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Food and Drug Administration [Docket No. FDA-2014-N-0987] Agency Information Collection Activities; Submission for Office of Management and Budget Review; Comment Request; Generic Clearance for the Collection of Qualitative Data on Tobacco Products and Communications AGENCY:

    Food and Drug Administration, HHS.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is announcing that a proposed collection of information has been submitted to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review and clearance under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA).

    DATES:

    Fax written comments on the collection of information by June 15, 2018.

    ADDRESSES:

    To ensure that comments on the information collection are received, OMB recommends that written comments be faxed to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, OMB, Attn: FDA Desk Officer, Fax: 202-395-7285, or emailed to [email protected] All comments should be identified with the OMB control number 0910-0796. Also include the FDA docket number found in brackets in the heading of this document.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Amber Sanford, Office of Operations, Food and Drug Administration, Three White Flint North, 10A-12M, 11601 Landsdown St., North Bethesda, MD 20852, 301-796-8867, [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    In compliance with 44 U.S.C. 3507, FDA has submitted the following proposed collection of information to OMB for review and clearance.

    Generic Clearance for the Collection of Qualitative Data on Tobacco Products and Communications OMB Control Number 0910-0796—Extension

    Under section 1003(d)(2)(D) of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (21 U.S.C. 393(d)(2)(D)), FDA is authorized to conduct educational and public information programs.

    In conducting studies relating to the regulation and communications related to tobacco products, FDA will need to employ formative qualitative research including focus groups, usability testing, and/or in-depth interviews (IDIs) to assess knowledge and perceptions about tobacco-related topics with specific target audiences. The information collected will serve three major purposes. First, formative research will provide critical knowledge about target audiences. FDA must understand people's knowledge and perceptions about tobacco-related topics before developing survey/research questions as well as stimuli for experimental studies. Second, by collecting communications usability information, FDA will be able to serve and respond to the ever-changing demands of consumers of tobacco products. Additionally, we will be able to determine the best way to present messages. Third, initial testing will allow FDA to assess consumer understanding of survey/research questions and study stimuli. Focus groups and/or IDIs with a sample of the target audience will allow FDA to refine the survey/research questions and study stimuli while they are still in the developmental stage. FDA will collect, analyze, and interpret information gathered through this generic clearance in order to: (1) Better understand characteristics of the target audience—its perceptions, knowledge, attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors—and use these in the development of appropriate survey/research questions, study stimuli, or communications; (2) more efficiently and effectively design survey/research questions and study stimuli; and (3) more efficiently and effectively design experimental studies.

    FDA is requesting approval of this new generic clearance for collecting information through the use of qualitative methods (i.e., individual interviews, small group discussions, and focus groups) for studies involving all tobacco products regulated by FDA. This information will be used as a first step to explore concepts of interest and assist in the development of quantitative study proposals, complementing other important research efforts at FDA. This information may also be used to help identify and develop communication messages, which may be used in education campaigns. Focus groups play an important role in gathering information because they allow for an in-depth understanding of individual attitudes, beliefs, motivations, and feelings. Focus group research serves the narrowly defined need for direct and informal public opinion on a specific topic. In the Federal Register of November 17, 2017 (82 FR 54351), FDA published a 60-day notice requesting public comment on the proposed collection of information. FDA received one comment by a private citizen that was PRA-related.

    (Comment) The commenter stated that FDA should use the data we have collected in the past instead of collecting new information. The comment does not go in detail or provide any alternatives.

    (Response) This collection is a valuable tool for conducting research. The studies FDA has conducted through this collection of information have been essential in helping FDA meet its mission as a science-based regulatory agency and implementing the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act (Pub. L. 111-31). Future submissions submitted under this generic clearance will continue to assist FDA in its mission to protect and promote public health.

    FDA estimates the burden of this collection of information as follows:

    Table 1—Estimated Annual Reporting Burden 1 Type of interview Number of
  • respondents
  • Number of
  • responses per
  • respondent
  • Total
  • annual
  • responses
  • Average
  • burden per
  • response
  • Total hours
    In-Person Individual IDIs 1,092 1 1,092 1 1,092 IDI Screener 1,800 1 1,800 .083 (5 minutes) 149 Focus Group Interviews 4,701 1 4,701 1.5 7,052 Focus Group Screener 3,996 1 3,996 .25 (15 minutes) 999 Usability Testing 2,322 1 2,322 .5 (30 minutes) 1,161 Usability Testing Screener 2,028 1 2,028 .083 (5 minutes) 168 Total 10,621 1 There are no capital costs or operating and maintenance costs associated with this collection of information.

    The number of respondents to be included in each new pretest may vary, depending on the nature of the material or message being tested and the target audience. Table 1 provides examples of the types of studies that may be administered and estimated burden levels during a 3-year period. Time to read, view, or listen to the message being tested is built into the “Hours per Response” figures.

    FDA has updated the estimated burden that was published in the 60-day notice. The estimated burden for this collection has increased by 4,437 hours from 6,184 to 10,621. FDA attributes this increase to adding usability testing, and increasing the overall number of studies planned the next 3 years.

    Dated: May 10, 2018. Leslie Kux, Associate Commissioner for Policy.
    [FR Doc. 2018-10457 Filed 5-15-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4164-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES [Document Identifier: OS-0990—New] Agency Information Collection Request. 30-Day Public Comment Request AGENCY:

    Office of the Secretary, HHS.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    In compliance with the requirement of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, the Office of the Secretary (OS), Department of Health and Human Services, is publishing the following summary of a proposed collection for public comment.

    DATES:

    Comments on the ICR must be received on or before June 15, 2018.

    ADDRESSES:

    Submit your comments to [email protected] or via facsimile to (202) 395-5806.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Sherrette Funn, [email protected] or (202) 795-7714. When submitting comments or requesting information, please include the document identifier 0990—New—30D and project title for reference.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Interested persons are invited to send comments regarding this burden estimate or any other aspect of this collection of information, including any of the following subjects: (1) The necessity and utility of the proposed information collection for the proper performance of the agency's functions; (2) the accuracy of the estimated burden; (3) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (4) the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology to minimize the information collection burden.

    Title of the Collection: Trafficking Victim Assistance Program Social Network Analysis—Network Survey.

    Type of Collection: New.

    OMB No. 0990-NEW—Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation—Administration for Children and Families' Trafficking Victim Assistance Program.

    Abstract

    The Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE), in partnership with the Administration for Children and Families (ACF), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is requesting Office of Management and Budget (OMB) approval for a new information collection request titled, “Trafficking Victim Assistance Program (TVAP) Social Network Analysis—Network Survey.” Under the guidance of ASPE and ACF, a contractor is carrying out this assessment. The data collected and analyzed under this submission will help HHS better understand the type and extent of the relationship between the TVAP grantees, TVAP subrecipients, and other service providers operating in TVAP subrecipient areas. It will also help illuminate each grantee's and subrecipient's types and number of services provided, estimated costs of services, service coordination between grantees or subrecipients and other services providers, and type and strength of relationships between grantees and subrecipients. This information will enable HHS to understand the structure of the grantee/subrecipient network and inform recommendations for more efficient network management and distribution of support.

    TVAP, as authorized by the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000, provides comprehensive case management services to foreign-born victims of human trafficking residing in the United States. Since its inception, TVAP funding and infrastructure have remained relatively unchanged: Services are paid on a per capita basis, and funds are managed through three primary grantees that enter into cooperative agreements with service providers (subrecipients). Given the changing landscape and the greater understanding of the nature and extent of trafficking, HHS is undertaking a program assessment to understand whether any efficiencies can be gained in the program administration and structure. To supplement an earlier fiscal year 2018 assessment to solicit qualitative feedback from a range of program stakeholders, the information collected for this program survey aims to help HHS determine if efficiencies can be gained through improved coordination among TVAP grantees, TVAP subrecipients, and other service providers.

    Data will be collected through an electronic survey of fiscal year 2016 TVAP grantees and subrecipients. Key staff at grantee sites and subrecipient organizations will complete a self-administered online survey that will include questions about each respondent's services provided, estimated costs of services, service coordination between grantees or subrecipients, and type and strength of relationships between grantees and subrecipients. With this data, the contractor, to inform ASPE and ACF, will build a social/organizational network to depict how grantee and subrecipient organizations collaborate with one another through TVAP to better understand the existing network and identify potential opportunities for improving the efficiency of the network. ASPE anticipates completion of all data collection activities by October 2018.

    Estimated Annualized Burden Table Type of respondent Number of
  • respondents
  • Number
  • responses per
  • respondent
  • Average
  • burden per
  • response
  • (in hours)
  • Total burden
  • hours
  • TVAP grantees 3 1 45/60 2.25 TVAP Subrecipients 253 1 45/60 189.75 Total 256 1 45/60 192
    Terry Clark, Asst. Paperwork Reduction Act Reports Clearance Officer, Office of the Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2018-10394 Filed 5-15-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4151-05-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Office of the Secretary RIN 0991-ZA49 HHS Blueprint to Lower Drug Prices and Reduce Out-of-Pocket Costs AGENCY:

    Department of Health and Human Services.

    ACTION:

    Policy Statement; Request for information.

    SUMMARY:

    Through this request for information, HHS seeks comment from interested parties to help shape future policy development and agency action.

    DATES:

    Comments must be submitted on or before July 16, 2018.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments in one of three ways (please choose only one of the ways listed):

    1. Electronically. You may submit electronic comments to http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the “Submit a comment” instructions.

    2. By regular mail. You may mail written comments to the following address ONLY: Department of Health and Human Services, 200 Independence Ave. SW, Room 600E, Washington, DC 20201.

    Please allow sufficient time for mailed comments to be received before the close of the comment period.

    3. By express or overnight mail. You may send written comments to the following address ONLY: Department of Health and Human Services, 200 Independence Ave. SW, Room 600E, Washington, DC 20201.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    John O'Brien, (202) 690-7886.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The United States is the world's leader in biopharmaceutical innovation. American innovation has improved health and quality of life for billions of people, and was made possible by our intellectual property system, decades of government and privately-funded research, strong capital markets, and the world's largest scientific research base. By rewarding innovation through patent and data protection, American companies hold the intellectual property rights for most new, and potentially life changing, medicines. Our regulatory system is the most rigorous in the world, ensuring the safety and efficacy of drugs for American patients. Medicare, Medicaid, other Federal health programs, and private payers ensure Americans have access to medicines, from innovative new cures, to generic versions of medications that have markedly lowered costs for consumers.

    As part of President Trump's bold plan to put American patients first, the Department of Health and Human Services has developed a comprehensive blueprint that addresses many of the challenges and opportunities impacting American patients and consumers. The blueprint covers multiple areas including, but not limited to:

    • Improving competition and ending the gaming of the regulatory process,

    • supporting better negotiation of drug discounts in government-funded insurance programs,

    • creating incentives for pharmaceutical companies to lower list prices, and,

    • reducing out-of-pocket spending for patients at the pharmacy and other sites of care.

    HHS also recognizes that achieving the goal of putting American patients first will require interagency collaboration on pharmaceutical trade policies that promote innovation, and are transparent, nondiscriminatory, and increase fair market access for American innovators. Furthermore, HHS seeks to identify when developed nations are paying less for drugs than the prices paid by Federal health programs, and correct these inequities through better negotiation.

    HHS has already acted to increase the affordability of medicines for millions of our citizens, but is also going much further in response to President Trump's call to action. Through the work of the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, HHS has tremendous ability to change how drugs are developed and paid for in the United States.

    The status quo is no longer acceptable. Millions of Americans face soaring drug prices and higher out-of-pocket costs, while manufacturers and middlemen such as pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) and distributors benefit from rising list prices and their resulting higher rebates and administrative fees. An unprecedented re-examination of the whole system and opportunities for reform is long overdue. We believe a national focus on lowering list prices and out-of-pocket costs has the potential to create new and disruptive alternatives to the current system, while maintaining its many virtues. It is time to realign the system in a way that promotes the development of affordable innovations that improve health outcomes and lower both out-of-pocket cost and the total cost of care.

    Through this request for information, HHS seeks comment from interested parties to help shape future policy development and agency action.

    Table of Contents: I. Previous Actions by the Trump Administration A. Increasing Competition B. Better Negotiation C. Creating Incentives to Lower List Prices D. Reducing Patient Out-of-Pocket Spending II. Responding to President Trump's Call to Action A. Increasing Competition B. Better Negotiation C. Creating Incentives to Lower List Prices D. Reducing Patient Out-of-Pocket Spending III. Solicitation of Comments A. Increasing Competition B. Better Negotiation C. Creating Incentives to Lower List Prices D. Reducing Patient Out-of-Pocket Spending E. Additional Feedback IV. Collection of Information Requirements I. Previous Actions by the Trump Administration

    The President has consistently emphasized the need to reduce the price of prescription drugs. The Trump Administration has already taken a number of significant administrative steps, and proposed in the President's FY2019 Budget, to improve competition and end the gaming of regulatory processes, support better negotiation of drug discounts through government insurance programs, create incentives for pharmaceutical companies to lower list prices, and reduce consumer out-of-pocket spending at the pharmacy and other care settings.

    A. Increasing Competition

    Since the beginning of the Trump Administration, HHS has taken a number of actions to increase competition and end the gaming of regulatory processes that may keep drug prices artificially inflated or hinder generic, branded, or biosimilar competition. These efforts include:

    • Accelerating Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval of generic drugs. Studies show that greater generic competition is associated with lower prices. FDA is publishing the names of drugs that have no competitors in order to spur new entrants and bring prices down. Over 1,000 generic drugs were approved in 2017, which is the most in FDA's history in a calendar year by over 200 drugs. These generic approvals saved American consumers and taxpayers nearly $9 billion in 2017.

    • Drug Competition Action Plan. In 2017, President Trump's FDA established a Drug Competition Action Plan to enable patients to access more affordable medications by focusing the Agency's efforts in three key areas: (1) Improving the efficiency of the generic drug development, review, and approval process; (2) maximizing scientific and regulatory clarity with respect to complex generic drugs; and (3) closing loopholes that allow brand-name drug companies to “game” FDA rules in ways that forestall the generic competition Congress intended. The Agency also has taken steps to prioritize its review of generic drug applications; issued guidance to improve efficiencies in the development, review, and approval processes for generic drugs, including complex generic drugs; and issued guidance to further streamline the submission and review process for shared system REMS, and to allow collective submissions to streamline the review of shared Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategies (REMS).

    • FDA also announced it will facilitate opportunities for enhanced information sharing between manufacturers, doctors, patients and insurers to improve patient access to medical products, including through value-based insurance.

    • Speeding Access to More Affordable Generics by Spurring Competition. Today, a generic manufacturer that has been awarded 180-day exclusivity for being the first generic to file can “park” their application with FDA, preventing additional generic manufacturers from entering the market. The President's FY2019 Budget proposes to prevent companies from using their 180-day exclusivity to indefinitely delay real competition and savings for consumers by seeking a legislative change to start a company's 180-day exclusivity clock in certain instances when another generic application is ready for approval, but is blocked solely by such a first applicant's 180-day exclusivity.

    • Finalizing a policy in which each biosimilar for a given biologic gets its own billing and payment code under Medicare Part B, to incentivize development of additional lower-cost biosimilars. Prior approaches to biosimilar coding and payment would have created a race to the bottom of biosimilar pricing, while leaving the branded product untouched, making it an unviable market that few would want to enter.

    B. Better Negotiation

    Medicare Part D has been very successful since it launched in 2006. However, prescription drug markets are different than they were 12 years ago, and in some cases Part D plan sponsors may be prohibited from doing what private payers outside the Medicare program do to negotiate effectively and keep costs low. More can also be done across the Medicare program to provide beneficiaries with the lower costs and greater price transparency resulting from better negotiation.

    Since the beginning of the Trump Administration, HHS has taken a number of actions to support better negotiation. These efforts include:

    • Finalizing changes to the Medicare Prescription Drug Program in the 2019 Part C and Part D regulation allowing for faster mid-year substitution of generic drugs onto formularies.

    • Proposing in the President's FY2019 Budget 1 a 5-part plan to modernize the Medicare Part D program, a portion of which includes enhancing Part D plans' negotiating power with manufacturers by changing Part D plan formulary standards to require a minimum of one drug per category or class rather than two. We note that the 5-part plan is intended to be implemented together, as eliminating even one piece of the package significantly changes the proposal's impacts.

    1https://www.whitehouse.gov/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/budget-fy2019.pdf.

    • Proposing in the President's FY2019 Budget to address abusive drug pricing by manufacturers by: establishing an inflation limit for reimbursement of Medicare Part B drugs; reducing Wholesale Acquisition Cost (WAC)-Based Payment when Average Sales Price (ASP) isn't available; and improving manufacturers' reporting of Average Sales Prices to set accurate payment rates.

    • Increasing the integrity of the Medicaid Drug Rebate Program, so that manufacturers pay their fair share in rebates, by proposing in the President's FY2019 Budget to remove ambiguity regarding how drugs should be reported under the program. HHS is also manually reviewing each new drug that has been reported in the Medicaid rebate system on a quarterly basis to make sure classifications are correct, and the United States took legal action against Mylan for their misclassification of EpiPen, resulting in an agreement for Mylan to pay back $465 million in rebate payments.

    • Proposing in the President's FY2019 Budget to further clarify the Medicaid definition of brand drugs, which would address inappropriate interpretations leading some manufacturers to classify certain brand and over-the-counter drugs as generics for Medicaid rebate purposes, reducing the rebates they owe.

    • Proposing in the President's FY2019 Budget to call for new Medicaid demonstration authority for up to five states to test drug coverage and financing reforms that build on private sector best practices. Participating states would determine their own drug formularies, coupled with an appeals process to protect beneficiary access to non-covered drugs based on medical need, and negotiate drug prices directly with manufacturers. HHS and participating states would rigorously evaluate these demonstrations, which would provide states with new tools to control drug costs and tailor drug coverage decisions to state needs.

    • Proposing in the President's FY2019 Budget to authorize the HHS Secretary to leverage Medicare Part D plans' negotiating power for certain drugs covered under Part B.

    • Addressing price disparities in the international market. The Administration is updating a number of historical studies to analyze drug prices paid in countries that are a part of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

    C. Creating Incentives to Lower List Prices

    The list price of a drug does not reflect the discounts or price concessions paid to a PBM, insurer, health plan, or government program. Obscuring these discounts can shift costs to consumers in commercial health plans and Medicare beneficiaries. Many incentives in the current system reward higher list prices, and HHS is interested in creating new incentives to reward drug manufacturers that lower list prices or do not increase them.

    Since the beginning of the Trump Administration, HHS has taken a number of actions to create incentives to lower list prices. These efforts include:

    • Proposing in the President's FY2019 budget a 5-part plan to modernize the Medicare Part D program, a portion of which includes the exclusion of manufacturer discounts from the calculation of beneficiary out-of-pocket costs in the Medicare Part D coverage gap, and the establishment of a beneficiary out-of-pocket maximum in the Medicare Part D catastrophic phase to reduce out-of-pocket spending for beneficiaries who spend the most on drugs. The changes in the catastrophic phase would shift more responsibility onto plans, creating incentives for plans to negotiate with manufacturers to lower prices for high-cost drugs. We note that the 5-part plan is intended to be implemented together, as eliminating even one piece of the package significantly changes the proposal's impacts.

    • In addition, the President's FY2019 Budget proposes reforms to improve 340B Program integrity and ensure that the benefits derived from participation in the program are used to benefit patients, especially low-income and uninsured populations.

    D. Reducing Patient Out-of-Pocket Spending

    American patients have the right to know what their prescription drugs will really cost before they get to the pharmacy or get the drug. Too many people abandon their prescriptions at the pharmacy when they discover the price is too high, and too many patients are never informed of lower cost options.

    Since the beginning of the Trump Administration, HHS has taken a number of steps to lower consumer out-of-pocket spending and improve transparency. These efforts include:

    • Finalizing Medicare Outpatient Prospective Payment System (OPPS) rules to reduce beneficiary out-of-pocket spending for 340B drugs administered in certain hospitals by an estimated $320 million in 2018, which would equal $3.2 billion when multiplied over ten years.

    • Seeking information about changes in the Medicare Prescription Drug Program regulations for contract year 2019 that would increase transparency for people with Medicare prescription drug coverage. The proposed rule included a Request for Information soliciting comment on potential policy approaches for applying some manufacturer rebates and all pharmacy price concessions to the price of a drug at the point of sale.

    • Finalizing changes to the Medicare Prescription Drug Program in the 2019 Part C and Part D regulation allowing Medicare beneficiaries receiving low-income subsidies to access biosimilars at a lower cost.

    • Proposing in the President's FY2019 Budget a 5-part plan to modernize the Medicare Part D program, a portion of which includes eliminating cost-sharing on generic drugs for low-income beneficiaries and requiring Medicare Part D plans to apply a substantial portion of rebates at the point of sale. We note that the 5-part plan is intended to be implemented together, as eliminating even one piece of the package significantly changes the proposal's impacts. We also note that in the months following this Part D proposed rule and the President's budget proposal that included this policy change explicitly, several major insurers and pharmacy benefit managers announced they would pass along a portion of rebates to individual members in their fully-insured populations or when otherwise requested by employers.

    II. Responding to President Trump's Call to Action

    President Trump recently reaffirmed his commitment to reducing the price of prescription drugs, and called on the Administration to propose new strategies and take bold actions to improve competition and end the gaming of regulatory processes, support better negotiation of drug discounts through government insurance programs, create incentives for pharmaceutical companies to lower list prices, and reduce consumer out-of-pocket spending at the pharmacy and other care settings. HHS may undertake these and other actions, to the extent permitted by law, in response to President Trump's call to action.

    A. Improve Competition

    In response to President Trump's call to action, HHS may support improved competition by:

    Taking steps to prevent gaming of regulatory processes: FDA will issue guidance to address some of the ways in which manufacturers may seek to use shared system REMS to delay or block competition from generic products entering the market.

    Promoting innovation and competition for biologics. FDA will issue new policies to improve the availability, competitiveness, and adoption of biosimilars as affordable alternatives to branded biologics. FDA will also continue to educate clinicians, patients, and payors about biosimilar and interchangeable products as we seek to increase awareness about these important new treatments.

    B. Better Negotiation

    In response to President Trump's call to action, HHS may support better negotiation by:

    • Directing CMS to develop demonstration projects to test innovative ways to encourage value-based care and lower drug prices. These models should hold manufacturers accountable for outcomes, align with CMS's priorities of value over volume and site-neutral payments, and provide Medicare providers, payers, and states with additional tools to manage spending for high-cost therapies.

    • Allowing Part D plans to adjust formulary or benefit design during the benefit year if necessary to address a price increase for a sole source generic drug. Presently, Part D plans do not contract with generic drug manufacturers for the purchase of generic drugs, and generally are not permitted to change their formulary or benefit design without CMS approval in response to a price increase. This change could ensure Part D plans can respond to a price increase by the only manufacturer of a generic drug.

    • Providing plans full flexibility to manage high cost drugs that do not provide Part D plans with rebates or negotiated fixed prices, including in the protected classes. Presently, Part D plans are unable to negotiate lower prices for high-cost drugs without competition. This change could allow Part D plans to use the tools available to private payers outside of the Medicare program to better negotiate for these drugs.

    • Updating the methodology used to calculate Drug Plan Customer Service star ratings for plans that are appropriately managing utilization of high-cost drugs. Presently, if a Part D plan issues an adverse redetermination decision, the enrollee, the enrollee's representative or the enrollee's prescriber may appeal the decision to the Independent Review Entity (IRE). This process may discourage Part D plan sponsors from appropriately managing utilization of high-cost drugs. This change could provide Part D plan sponsors with the ability to appropriately manage high-cost changes, while holding sponsors accountable primarily using other successful enforcement mechanisms.

    • Evaluating options to allow high-cost drugs to be priced or covered differently based on their indication. Presently, Part D plans must cover and pay the same price for a drug regardless of the indication for which it was prescribed. This change could permit Part D plans to choose to cover or pay a different price for a drug, based on the indication.

    • Sending the President a report identifying particular drugs or classes of drugs in Part B where there are savings to be gained by moving them to Part D.

    • Taking steps to leverage the authority created by the Competitive Acquisition Program (CAP) for Part B Drugs & Biologicals. This program will generally provide physicians a choice between obtaining these drugs from vendors selected through a competitive bidding process or directly purchasing these drugs and being paid under the current average sales price (ASP) methodology. The CAP, or a model building on CAP authority, may provide opportunities for Federal savings to the extent that aggregate bid prices are less than 106 percent of ASP, and provides opportunities for physicians who do not wish to bear the financial burdens and risk associated with being in the business of drug acquisition.

    • Working in conjunction with the Department of Commerce the U.S. Trade Representative, and the U.S. Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator to develop the knowledge base necessary to address the unfair disparity between the drug prices in America and other developed countries. The Trump Administration is committed to making the appropriate regulatory changes and seeking legislative solutions to put American patients first.

    C. Lowering List Prices

    In response to President Trump's call to action, HHS may:

    • Call on the FDA to evaluate the inclusion of list prices in direct-to-consumer advertising.

    • Direct the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to make Medicare and Medicaid prices more transparent, hold drug makers accountable for their price increases, highlight drugs that have not taken price increases, and recognize when competition is working with an updated drug pricing dashboard. This tool will also provide patients, families, and caregivers with additional information to make informed decisions and predict their cost sharing.

    • Develop proposals related to the Affordable Care Act's Maximum Rebate Amount provision, which limits manufacturer rebates on brand and generic drugs in the Medicaid program to 100% of the Average Manufacturer Price.

    D. Reduce Patient Out-of-Pocket Spending

    In response to President Trump's call for action, HHS may:

    • Prohibit Part D plan contracts from preventing pharmacists from telling patients when they could pay less out-of-pocket by not using their insurance—also known as pharmacy gag clauses.

    • Require Part D Plan sponsors to provide additional information about drug price increases and lower-cost alternatives in the Explanation of Benefits they currently provide their members.

    III. Solicitation of Comments

    Building on the ideas already proposed, HHS is considering even bolder actions to bring down prices for patients and taxpayers. These include new measures to increase transparency; fix the incentives that may be increasing prices for patients; and reduce the costs of drug development. HHS is interested in public comments about how the Department can take action to improve competition and end the gaming of regulatory processes, support better negotiation of drug discounts through government insurance programs, create incentives for pharmaceutical companies to lower list prices, and reduce consumer out-of-pocket spending at the pharmacy and other care settings. HHS is also interested in public comments about the general structure and function of the pharmaceutical market, to inform these actions. Proposals described in this section are for administrative action, when within agency authority, and legislative proposals as necessary.

    In this Request for Information, HHS is soliciting comments on these and other policies under active consideration.

    A. Increasing competition

    Underpricing or Cost-Shifting. Do HHS programs contain the correct incentives to obtain affordable prices on safe and effective drugs? Does the Best Price reporting requirement of the Medicaid Drug Rebate Program pose a barrier to price negotiation and certain value-based agreements in other markets, or otherwise shift costs to other markets? Are government programs causing underpricing of generic drugs, and thereby reducing long-term generic competition?

    Affordable Care Act Taxes and Rebates. The Affordable Care Act imposed tens of billions of dollars in new taxes and costs on drugs sold in government programs through a new excise tax, an increase in the Medicaid drug rebate amounts, and an extension of these higher rebates to commercially-run Medicaid Managed Care Organizations. How have these changes impacted manufacturer list pricing practices? Are government programs being cross-subsidized by higher list prices and excess costs paid by individuals and employers in the commercial market? If cross-subsidization exists, are the taxes and artificially-depressed prices causing higher overall drug costs or other negative effects?

    Access to Reference Product Samples

    Distribution restrictions. Certain prescription drugs are subject to limitations on distribution. Some of these distribution limitations are imposed by the manufacturer, while others may be imposed in connection with an FDA-mandated Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS). Some manufacturers may be gaming these distribution limitations to prevent generic developers from accessing their drugs to conduct the tests that are legally required for a generic drug to be brought to market, thereby limiting opportunities for competition that could place downward pressure on drug prices. In some instances, for products that are subject to REMS that impact distribution, manufacturers continue to restrict access to generic developers even after the FDA issues a letter stating that it has favorably evaluated the developer's proposed safety protections for testing and would not consider the provision of drug samples to this developer for generic development to violate the applicable REMS. Should additional steps be taken to review existing REMS to determine whether distribution restrictions are appropriate? Are there terms that could be included in REMS, or provided in addition to REMS, that could expand access to products necessary for generic development? Are there other steps that could be taken to facilitate access to products that are under distribution limitations imposed by the manufacturer?

    Samples for biosimilars and interchangeables. Like some generic drug developers, companies engaged in biosimilar and interchangeable product development may encounter difficulties obtaining sufficient samples of the reference product for testing. What actions should be considered to facilitate access to reference product samples by these companies?

    Biosimilar Development, Approval, Education, and Access

    Resources and tools from FDA: FDA prioritizes ongoing efforts to improve the efficiency of the biosimilar and interchangeable product development and approval process. For example, FDA is working to identify areas in which additional information resources or development tools may facilitate the development of high quality biosimilar and interchangeable products. What specific types of information resources or development tools would be most effective in reducing the development costs for biosimilar and interchangeable products?

    Improving the Purple Book. In the Purple Book, FDA publishes information about biological products licensed under section 351 of the Public Health Service Act, including reference products, biosimilars, and interchangeable products. The Purple Book provides information about these products that is useful to prescribers, pharmacists, patients, and other stakeholders. FDA is committed to the timely publication of certain information about reference product exclusivity in the Purple Book. How could the Purple Book be more useful to health care professionals, patients, manufacturers, and other stakeholders? What additional information could be added to increase the utility of the Purple Book?

    Educating providers and patients. Physician and patient confidence in biosimilar and interchangeable products is critical to the increased market acceptance of these products. FDA intends to build on the momentum of past education efforts, such as the launch of its Biosimilars Education and Outreach Campaign in 2017, by developing additional resources for health care professionals and patients. What types of information and educational resources on biosimilar and interchangeable products would be most useful to heath care professionals and patients to promote understanding of these products? What role could state pharmacy practice acts play in advancing the utilization of biosimilar products?

    Interchangeability. How could the interchangeability of biosimilars be improved, and what effects would it have on the prescribing, dispensing, and coverage of biosimilar and interchangeable products?

    B. Better Negotiation

    The American pharmaceutical marketplace is built on innovation and competition. However, regulations governing how Medicare and Medicaid pay for prescription drugs have not kept pace with the availability of new types of drugs, particularly higher-cost curative therapies intended for use by fewer patients. Drug companies, commercial insurers, and states have proposed creative approaches to financing these new treatments, including indication-based pricing, outcomes-based contracts, long-term financing models, and others. Value-based transformation of our entire healthcare system is a top HHS priority. Improving price transparency is an important part of achieving this aim. What steps can be taken to improve price transparency in Medicare, Medicaid, and other forms of health coverage, so that consumers can seek value when choosing and using their benefits?

    Value-Based Arrangements and Price Reporting. What benefits would accrue to Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries by allowing manufacturers to exclude from statutory price reporting programs discounts, rebates, or price guarantees included in value-based arrangements? How would excluding these approaches from Average Manufacturer Price (AMP) and Best Price (BP) calculations impact the Medicaid Drug Rebate program and supplemental rebate revenue? How would these exclusions affect Average Sales Price (ASP) and 340B Ceiling Prices? What benefits would accrue to Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries by extending the time for manufacturers to report restatements of AMP and/or BP reporting, as outlined in 42 CFR 447.510, to accommodate adjustments because of possible extended VBP evaluation timeframes? Is there a timeframe CMS should consider that will allow manufacturers to restate AMP and BP without negative impact on state rebate revenue? What modifications could be made to the following regulatory definitions in the current Medicaid Drug Rebate Program that could facilitate the development of VBP arrangements: (1) Bundled sale; (2) free good; (3) unit; or (4) best price? Would providing specific AMP/BP exclusions for VBP pricing used for orphan drugs help manufacturers that cannot adopt a bundled sale approach? What regulatory changes would Medicaid Managed Care organizations find helpful in negotiating VBP supplemental rebates with manufacturers? How would these changes affect Medicare or the 340B program? Are there particular sections of the Social Security Act (e.g., the anti-kickback statute), or other statutes and regulations that can be revised to assist with manufacturers' and states' adoption of value-based arrangements? Please provide specific citations and an explanation of how these changes would assist states and manufacturers in participating in VBP arrangements.

    Indication-Based Payments. Prescription drugs have varying degrees of effectiveness when used to treat different types of disease. Though drugs may be approved by the FDA to treat specific indications, or used off-label by prescribers to treat others, they are typically subject to the same price. Should Medicare or Medicaid pay the same price for a drug regardless of the diagnosis for which it is being used? How could indication-based pricing support value-based purchasing? What lessons could be learned from private health plans? Are there unintended consequences of current low-cost drugs increasing in price due to their identification as high value? How and by whom should value be determined?? Is there enough granularity in coding and reimbursement systems to support indication-based pricing? Are changes necessary to CMS's price reporting program definitions or how the FDA's National Drug Code numbers are used in CMS price reporting programs? Do physicians, pharmacists, and insurers have access to all the information they need to support indication-based payments?

    Long-term Financing Models. States and other payers typically establish budgets or premium rates for a given benefit year. As such, their budgets may be challenged when a new high-cost drug unexpectedly becomes available in the benefit year. Long-term financing models are being proposed to help states, insurers, and consumers pay for high-cost treatments by spreading payments over multiple years. Should the state, insurer, drug manufacturer, or other entity bear the risk of receiving future payments? How should Medicare or Medicaid account for the cost of disease averted by a curative therapy paid for by another payer? What regulations should CMS consider revising to allow manufacturers and states more flexibility to participate in novel value-based pricing arrangements? What effects would these solutions have on manufacturer development decisions? What current barriers limit the applicability of these arrangements in the private sector? What assurances would parties need to participate in more of these arrangements, particularly with regard to public programs?

    Part B Competitive Acquisition Program. HHS has the authority to operate a Competitive Acquisition Program for Part B drugs. What changes would vendors and providers need to see relative to the 2007-2008 implementation of this program in order to successfully participate in the program? Has the marketplace evolved such that there would be more vendors capable of successfully participating in this program? Are there a sufficient number of providers interested in having a vendor selected through a competitive bidding process obtain these drugs on their behalf, and bear the financial risk and carrying costs? How could this program be implemented in a way that ensures a competitive market among multiple vendors? Is it necessary that the vendors also hold title to the drugs and provide a distribution channel or are there other ways they can provide value? What other approaches could lower Part B drug spending for patients of providers choosing not to participate, without restricting their access to care?

    Part B to D. The President's Budget requested the authority to move some Medicare Part B drugs to Medicare Part D. Which drugs or classes of drugs would be good candidates for moving from Part B to Part D? How could this proposal be implemented to help reduce out-of-pocket costs for the 27% of beneficiaries who do not have Medicare prescription drug coverage, or those who have Medicare supplemental benefits in Part B? What additional information would inform how this proposal could be implemented and operated?

    Part B drugs are reportedly available to OECD nations at lower prices than those paid by Medicare Part B providers. HHS is interested in receiving data describing the differences between the list prices and net prices paid by Medicare Part B providers, and the prices paid for these same drugs by OECD nations. Though these national health systems may be demanding lower prices by restricting access or delaying entry, should Part B drugs sold by manufacturers offering lower prices to OECD nations be subject to negotiation by Part D plans? Would this lead to lower out-of-pocket costs on behalf of people with Medicare? How could this affect access to medicines for people with Medicare?

    Fixing Global Freeloading. U.S. consumers and taxpayers generally pay more for brand drugs than do consumers and taxpayers in other OECD countries, which often have reimbursements set by their central government. In effect, other countries are not paying an appropriate share of the necessary research and development to bring innovative drugs to the market and are instead freeriding off U.S. consumers and taxpayers. What can be done to reduce the pricing disparity and spread the burden for incentivizing new drug development more equally between the U.S. and other developed countries? What policies should the U.S. government pursue in order to protect IP rights and address concerns around compulsory licensing in this area.

    Site neutrality for physician-administered drugs. Currently under Medicare Part B and often in Medicaid, hospitals and physicians are reimbursed comparable amounts for drugs they administer to patients, but the facility fees when drugs are administered at hospitals and hospital-owned outpatient departments are many times higher than the fees charged by physician offices. What effect would a site neutral payment policy for drug administration procedures have on the location of the practice of medicine? How would this change affect the organization of health care systems? How would this change affect competition for health care services, particularly for cancer care?

    Site neutrality between inpatient and outpatient setting. Medicare payment rules pay for prescription drugs differently when provided during inpatient care (Part A) or administered by an outpatient physician (Part B). Beneficiaries also have different cost-sharing requirements in Part A and Part B. Some drugs can be administered in either the inpatient or outpatient setting, while others are currently limited to inpatient use because of safety concerns. Do the differences between Medicare's Part A and Part B drug payment policies create affordability and access challenges for beneficiaries? What policies should CMS consider to ensure inpatient and outpatient providers are neither underpaid nor overpaid for a drug, regardless of where it was administered? Which elements of the inpatient or outpatient setting lead to naturally differential payments, and why? If a drug can be used safely in the outpatient setting, and achieve the same outcomes at a lower cost, how should Medicare encourage the shift to outpatient settings? In what instances would inpatient administration actually be less costly?

    Accuracy of national spending data. Are annual reports of health spending obscuring the true cost of prescription drugs? What is the value of better understanding the difference between gross and net drug prices? How could the Medicare Trustees Report, annual National Health Expenditure publications, Uniform Rate Review Template, and other publications more accurately collect and report gross and net drug spending in medical and pharmacy benefits? Should average Part D rebate amounts be reported separately for small molecule drugs, biologics, and high-cost drugs? What innovation is needed to maximize price transparency without disclosing proprietary information or data protected by confidentiality provisions?

    C. Create Incentives To Lower List Prices

    Government programs, commercial insurers, and individual consumers pay for drugs differently. The price paid at the pharmacy counter or reimbursed to a physician or hospital is the result of many different complex financial transactions between drug makers, distributors, insurers, pharmacy benefits managers, pharmacies and others. Public programs are also subject to state and Federal regulations governing what drugs are covered, who can be paid for them, and how much will be paid. Too often, these negotiations do not result in the lowest out-of-pocket costs for consumers, and may actually be causing higher list prices.

    Fiduciary duty for Pharmacy Benefit Managers. Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs) and benefits consultants help buyers (insurers, large employers) seek rebates intended to lower net drug prices, and help sellers (drug manufacturers) pay rebates to secure placement on health plan formularies. Most current PBM contracts may allow them to retain a percentage of the rebate collected and other administrative or service fees.

    Do PBM rebates and fees based on the percentage of the list price create an incentive to favor higher list prices (and the potential for higher rebates) rather than lower prices? Do higher rebates encourage benefits consultants who represent payers to focus on high rebates instead of low net cost? Do payers manage formularies favoring benefit designs that yield higher rebates rather than lower net drug costs? How are beneficiaries negatively impacted by incentives across the benefits landscape (manufacturer, wholesaler, retailer, PBM, consultants and insurers) that favor higher list prices? How can these incentives be reset to prioritize lower out of pocket costs for consumers, better adherence and improved outcomes for patients? What data would support or refute the premise described above?

    Should PBMs be obligated to act solely in the interest of the entity for whom they are managing pharmaceutical benefits? Should PBMs be forbidden from receiving any payment or remuneration from manufacturers, and should PBM contracts be forbidden from including rebates or fees calculated as a percentage of list prices? What effect would imposing this fiduciary duty on PBMs on behalf of the ultimate payer (i.e., consumers) have on PBMs' ability to negotiate drug prices? How could this affect manufacturer pricing behavior, insurance, and benefit design? What unintended consequences for beneficiary out-of-pocket spending and Federal health program spending could result from these changes?

    Reducing the impact of rebates. Increasingly higher rebates in Federal health care programs may be causing higher list prices in public programs, and increasing the prices paid by consumers, employers, and commercial insurers. What should CMS consider doing to restrict or reduce the use of rebates? Should Medicare Part D prohibit the use of rebates in contracts between Part D plan sponsors and drug manufacturers, and require these contracts to be based only on a fixed price for a drug over the contract term? What incentives or regulatory changes (e.g., removing the discount safe harbor) could restrict the use of rebates and reduce the effect of rebates on list prices? How would this affect the behavior of drug manufacturers, PBMs, and insurers? How could it change formulary design, premium rates, or the overall structure of the Part D benefit?

    Incentives to lower or not increase list prices. Should manufacturers of drugs who have increased their prices over a particular lookback period or have not provided a discount be allowed to be included in the protected classes? Should drugs for which a price increase has not been observed over a particular lookback period be treated differently when determining the exceptions criteria for protected class drugs? What should CMS consider doing, under current authorities, to create incentives for Part D drug manufacturers committing to a price over a particular lookback period? How long should the lookback period be?

    The Healthcare Common Procedure Coding System (HCPCS) codes for new Part B drugs are not typically assigned until after they are commercially available. Should they be available immediately at launch for new drugs from manufacturers committing to a price over a particular lookback period? What should CMS consider doing, under current authorities, to create incentives for Part B drugs committing to a price over a particular lookback period? How long should the lookback period be?

    How could these incentives affect the behavior of manufacturers and purchasers? What are the operational concerns to implementing them? Are there other incentives that could be created to reward manufacturers of drugs that have not taken a price increase during a particular lookback period?

    Inflationary rebate limits. The Department is concerned that limiting manufacturer rebates on brand and generic drugs in the Medicaid program to 100% of calculated AMP allows for excessive price increases to be taken without manufacturers facing the full effect of the price inflationary penalty established by Congress. This policy, implemented as part of the ACA, may allow for runaway price increases and cost-shifting. When is this limitation a valid constraint upon the rebates manufacturers should pay? What impacts would removing the cap on the inflationary rebate have on list prices, price increases over time, and public and private payers?

    Exclusion of certain payments, rebates, or discounts from the determination of Average Manufacturer Price and Best Price. The Department is concerned that excluding pharmacy benefit manager rebates from the determination of Best Price, implemented as part of the ACA, may allow for runaway price increases and cost-shifting. The Department is also interested in learning more about the effect of excluding payments received from, and rebates or discounts provided to pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) from the determination of Average Manufacturer Price.

    What impacts would these changes have on list prices, price increases over time, and public and private payers? What data would support or refute the premise described above?

    Copay discount cards. Does the use of manufacturer copay cards help lower consumer cost or actually drive increases in manufacturer list price? Does the use of copay cards incent manufacturers and PBMs to work together in driving up list prices by limiting the transparency of the true cost of the drug to the beneficiary? What data would support or refute the premise described above?

    CMS regulations presently exclude manufacturer sponsored drug discount card programs from the determination of average manufacturer price and the determination of best price. What effect would eliminating this exclusion have on drug prices?

    Would there be circumstances under which allowing beneficiaries of Federal health care programs to utilize copay discount cards would advance public health benefits such as medication adherence, and outweigh the effects on list price and concerns about program integrity? What data would support or refute this?

    The 340B Drug Discount Program

    The 340B Drug Pricing Program was established by Congress in 1992, and requires drug manufacturers participating in the Medicaid Drug Rebate Program to provide covered outpatient drugs to eligible health care providers—also known as covered entities—at reduced prices. Covered entities include certain qualifying hospitals and Federal grantees identified in section 340B of the Public Health Service Act (PHSA). The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) administers and oversees the 340B program, and the discounts provided may affect the prices paid for drugs used by Medicare beneficiaries, people with Medicaid, and those covered by commercial insurance.

    Program Growth. The 340B program has grown significantly since 1992—not only in the number of covered entities and contract pharmacies, but also in the amount of money saved by covered entities. HRSA estimates that covered entities saved approximately $6 billion on approximately $12 billion in discounted purchases in Calendar Year (CY) 2015 by participating in the 340B program.2 It is estimated that discounted drug purchases made by covered entities under the 340B program totaled more than $16 billion in 2016—a more than 30 percent increase in 340B program purchases in just one year.3 How has the growth of the 340B drug discount program affected list prices? Has it caused cross-subsidization by increasing list prices applicable in the commercial sector? What impact has this had on insurers and payers, including Part D plans? Does the Group Purchasing Organization (GPO) exclusion, the establishment of the Prime Vendor Program, and the current inventory models for tracking 340B drugs increase or decrease prices? What are the unintended consequences of this program? Would explicit general regulatory authority over all elements of the 340B Program materially affect the elements of the program affecting drug pricing?

    2 340B Drug Pricing Program Ceiling Price and Manufacturer Civil Monetary Penalties Regulation, 82 FR 1210, 1227 (Jan. 5, 2017).

    3 Aaron Vandervelde and Eleanor Blalock, Measuring the Relative Size of the 340B Program: 2012-2017, BERKELEY RESEARCH GROUP (July 2017), available at https://www.thinkbrg.com/media/publication/928_Vandervelde_Measuring340Bsize-July-2017_WEB_FINAL.pdf.

    Program Eligibility. Would changing the definition of “patient” or changing the requirements governing covered entities contracting with pharmacies or registering off-site outpatient facilities (i.e., child sites) help refocus the program towards its intended purpose?

    Duplicate Discounts. The 340B statute prohibits duplicate discounts. Manufacturers are not required to provide a discounted 340B price and a Medicaid drug rebate for the same drug. Are the current mechanisms for identifying and preventing duplicate discounts effective? Are drug companies paying additional rebates over the statutory 340B discounts for drugs that have been dispensed to 340B patients covered by commercial insurance? What is the impact on drug pricing given that private insurers oftentimes pay commercial rates for drugs purchased at 340B discounts? Do insurers, pharmacy, PBM, or manufacturer contracts consider, address, or otherwise include language regarding drugs purchased at 340B discounts? What should be considered to improve the management and the integrity of claims for drugs provided to 340B patients in the overall insured market? What additional oversight or claims standards are necessary to prevent duplicate discounts in Medicaid and other programs?

    D. Reduce Patient Out-of-Pocket Spending

    Part D end-of-year statement on drug price changes and rebates collected. Part D plans presently provide their members with an explanation of benefits, which includes information about the negotiated price for each of their dispensed prescriptions, and what the plan, member, and others paid. What additional information could be added about the rate of change in those prices over the course of the benefit year? Alternatively, could pharmacists could be empowered to inform beneficiaries when prices for their drugs have changed? Would this information be best distributed by pharmacists at the point of sale, by Medicare as an annual report, or by the health plan on a more regular basis, or some combination of these approaches? Could CMS improve transparency for Medicare beneficiaries without violating the Part D program's confidentiality protections? What operational challenges or concerns about burden exist with this approach, and how could CMS measure compliance with this approach?

    Federal preemption of contracted pharmacy gag clause laws. Right now, some contracts between health plans and pharmacies do not allow the pharmacy to inform a patient that the same drug or a competitor could be purchased at a lower price off-insurance. What purpose do these clauses serve other than to require beneficiaries pay higher out-of-pocket costs? What other communication barriers are in place between pharmacists and patients that could be impeding lower drug prices, out-of-pocket costs, and spending? Should pharmacists be required to ask patients in Federal programs if they'd like information about lower-cost alternatives? What other strategies might be most effective in providing price information to consumers at the point of sale?

    Inform Medicare beneficiaries with Medicare Part B and Part D about cost-sharing and lower-cost alternatives. Health plans and pharmacy benefit managers have found new ways to inform prescribers and pharmacists, when prescribing or dispensing a new prescription, about the formulary options, expected cost-sharing, and lower-cost alternatives specific to individual patients. How could these tools reduce out-of-pocket spending for people with Medicare? Is this technology present in all or most electronic prescribing or pharmacy dispensing systems? Should Medicare require the use of systems that support providing this information to patients? What existing systems, tools, or third-party applications could support the creation of these tools? Does the technology exist for this approach to be quickly and inexpensively implemented? Would this increase costs for the Medicare program? Does this create unreasonable burden for prescribers or pharmacists?

    E. Additional Feedback

    We are interested in all suggestions to improve the affordability and accessibility of prescription drugs, including reflections and answers to questions not specifically asked above. Whenever possible, respondents are asked to draw their responses from objective, empirical, and actionable evidence and to cite this evidence within their responses.

    What other regulations or government policies may be increasing list prices, net prices, and out-of-pocket drug spending? What other policies or legislative proposals should HHS consider to lower drug prices while encouraging innovation? What data or evidence should HHS consider when developing proposals to lower drug prices?

    HHS is actively working to reduce regulatory burdens. To what extent do current regulations or government policies related to prescription drug pricing impose burden on providers, payers, or others? To what extent do the planned actions described in this document impose burden, and do these burdens outweigh the benefits?

    This is a request for information only. Respondents are encouraged to provide complete but concise responses to the questions outlined above. We note that a response to every question is not required. This request for information is issued solely for information and planning purposes; it does not constitute a notice of proposed rulemaking or request for proposals, applications, proposal abstracts, or quotations. This request for information does not commit the United States Government (“Government”) to contract for any supplies or services or make a grant award. Further, HHS is not seeking proposals through this request for information and will not accept unsolicited proposals. Respondents are advised that the Government will not pay for any information or administrative costs incurred in response to this request for information; all costs associated with responding to this request for information will be solely at the interested party's expense. Not responding to this request for information does not preclude participation in any future rulemaking or procurement, if conducted. It is the responsibility of the potential responders to monitor this request for information announcement for additional information pertaining to this request. We also note that HHS may not respond to questions about the policy issues raised in this request for information. HHS may or may not choose to contact individual responders. Such communications would only serve to further clarify written responses. Contractor support personnel may be used to review request for information responses. Responses to this notice are not offers and cannot be accepted by the Government to form a binding contract or issue a grant. Information obtained as a result of this request for information may be used by the Government for program planning on a non-attribution basis. Respondents should not include any information that might be considered proprietary or confidential. This request for information should not be construed as a commitment or authorization to incur cost for which reimbursement would be required or sought. All submissions become Government property and will not be returned. HHS may publicly post the comments received, or a summary thereof. While responses to this request for information do not bind HHS to any further actions related to the response, all submissions will be made publicly available on http://www.regulations.gov.

    IV. Collection of Information Requirements

    This document does not impose information collection requirements, that is, reporting, recordkeeping or third-party disclosure requirements. This request for information constitutes a general solicitation of comments. In accordance with the implementing regulations of the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) at 5 CFR 1320.3(h)(4), information subject to the PRA does not generally include “facts or opinions submitted in response to general solicitations of comments from the public, published in the Federal Register or other publications, regardless of the form or format thereof, provided that no person is required to supply specific information pertaining to the commenter, other than that necessary for self-identification, as a condition of the agency's full consideration of the comment.” Consequently, this document need not be reviewed by the Office of Management and Budget under the authority of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.).

    Dated: May 11, 2018. Alex M. Azar II, Secretary, Department of Health and Human Services.
    [FR Doc. 2018-10435 Filed 5-14-18; 11:15 am] BILLING CODE 4150-03-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES National Institutes of Health National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute; Notice of Closed Meeting

    Pursuant to section 10(d) of the Federal Advisory Committee Act, as amended, notice is hereby given of the following meeting of the NHLBI Mentored Transition to Independence Review Committee.

    The meeting will be closed to the public in accordance with the provisions set forth in sections 552b(c)(4) and 552b(c)(6), Title 5 U.S.C., as amended. The grant applications and the discussions could disclose confidential trade secrets or commercial property such as patentable material, and personal information concerning individuals associated with the grant applications, the disclosure of which would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.

    Name of Committee: Heart, Lung, and Blood Initial Review Group; NHLBI Mentored Transition to Independence Review Committee.

    Date: June 7-8, 2018.

    Time: 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

    Agenda: To review and evaluate grant applications.

    Place: The William F. Bolger Center, 9600 Newbridge Drive, Potomac, MD 20854.

    Contact Person: Giuseppe Pintucci, Ph.D., Scientific Review Officer, Office of Scientific Review/DERA National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, 6701 Rockledge Drive, Room 7192, Bethesda, MD 20892, 301-435-0287, [email protected].

    (Catalogue of Federal Domestic Assistance Program Nos. 93.233, National Center for Sleep Disorders Research; 93.837, Heart and Vascular Diseases Research; 93.838, Lung Diseases Research; 93.839, Blood Diseases and Resources Research, National Institutes of Health, HHS)
    Dated: May 10, 2018. Michelle D. Trout, Program Analyst, Office of Federal Advisory Committee Policy.
    [FR Doc. 2018-10472 Filed 5-15-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4140-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES National Institutes of Health Center for Scientific Review; Amended Notice of Meeting

    Notice is hereby given of a change in the meeting of the Center for Scientific Review Special Emphasis Panel, May 22, 2018, 10:00 a.m. to May 22, 2018, 5:00 p.m., National Institutes of Health, 6701 Rockledge Drive, Bethesda, MD 20892 which was published in the Federal Register on May 9, 2018, 83 FR 21301.

    The meeting will be held on June 13, 2018 at 11:00 a.m. The meeting location remains the same. The meeting is closed to the public.

    Dated: May 10, 2018. David D. Clary, Program Analyst, Office of Federal Advisory Committee Policy.
    [FR Doc. 2018-10470 Filed 5-15-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4140-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES National Institutes of Health National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering; Notice of Closed Meeting

    Pursuant to section 10(d) of the Federal Advisory Committee Act, as amended, notice is hereby given of the meeting of the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering Special Emphasis Panel.

    The meeting will be closed to the public in accordance with the provisions set forth in sections 552b(c)(4) and 552b(c)(6), Title 5 U.S.C., as amended. The grant applications and the discussions could disclose confidential trade secrets or commercial property such as patentable material, and personal information concerning individuals associated with the grant applications, the disclosure of which would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.

    Name of Committee: National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering Special Emphasis Panel; P41 BTRC Application Review (2018/10).

    Date: June 19-21, 2018.

    Time: 6:00 p.m. to 12:30 p.m.

    Agenda: To review and evaluate grant applications.

    Place: Wild Palms Hotel, 910 East Fremont Avenue, Sunnyvale, CA 94087.

    Contact Person: John P. Holden, Ph.D., Scientific Review Officer, National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering, National Institutes of Health, 6707 Democracy Blvd., Suite 920, Bethesda, MD 20892, (301) 496-8775, j[email protected].

    Dated: May 10, 2018. David D. Clary, Program Analyst, Office of Federal Advisory Committee Policy.
    [FR Doc. 2018-10473 Filed 5-15-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4140-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES National Institutes of Health National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences; Notice of Closed Meetings

    Pursuant to section 10(d) of the Federal Advisory Committee Act, as amended, notice is hereby given of the following meetings.

    The meetings will be closed to the public in accordance with the provisions set forth in sections 552b(c)(4) and 552b(c)(6), Title 5 U.S.C., as amended. The grant applications and the discussions could disclose confidential trade secrets or commercial property such as patentable material, and personal information concerning individuals associated with the grant applications, the disclosure of which would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.

    Name of Committee: National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences Special Emphasis Panel; CTSA Collaborative Innovation Award Review.

    Date: June 20-21, 2018.

    Time: 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

    Agenda: To review and evaluate grant applications.

    Place: National Institutes of Health, One Democracy Plaza, Room 1068, 6701 Democracy Boulevard, Bethesda, MD 20892 (Virtual Meeting).

    Contact Person: M. Lourdes Ponce, Ph.D., Scientific Review Officer, Office of Scientific Review, National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS), National Institutes of Health, 6701 Democracy Blvd, Democracy 1, Room 1073 Bethesda, MD 20892, 301-435-0810, [email protected].

    Name of Committee: National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences Special Emphasis Panel; Platform Delivery Technologies for Nucleic Acid Therapeutics.

    Date: June 26-27, 2018.

    Time: 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

    Agenda: To review and evaluate grant applications.

    Place: National Institutes of Health, One Democracy Plaza, Room 1080, 6701 Democracy Boulevard, Bethesda, MD 20892 (Virtual Meeting).

    Contact Person: Jing Chen, Ph.D., Scientific Review Officer, Office of Scientific Review, National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS), National Institutes of Health, 6701 Democracy Blvd, Democracy 1, Room 1080, Bethesda, MD 20892-4874 [email protected].

    (Catalogue of Federal Domestic Assistance Program Nos. 93.859, Pharmacology, Physiology, and Biological Chemistry Research; 93.350, B—Cooperative Agreements; 93.859, Biomedical Research and Research Training, National Institutes of Health, HHS)
    Dated: May 10, 2018. David D. Clary, Program Analyst, Office of Federal Advisory Committee Policy.
    [FR Doc. 2018-10471 Filed 5-15-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4140-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY Federal Emergency Management Agency [Docket ID: FEMA-2018-0011; OMB No. 1660—NEW] Agency Information Collection Activities: Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request; Post Disaster Survivor Preparedness Research AGENCY:

    Federal Emergency Management Agency, DHS.

    ACTION:

    Notice and request for comments.

    SUMMARY:

    The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will submit the information collection abstracted below to the Office of Management and Budget for review and clearance in accordance with the requirements of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995. The submission will describe the nature of the information collection, the categories of respondents, the estimated burden (i.e., the time, effort and resources used by respondents to respond) and cost, and the actual data collection instruments FEMA will use.

    DATES:

    Comments must be submitted on or before June 15, 2018.

    ADDRESSES:

    Submit written comments on the proposed information collection to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Office of Management and Budget. Comments should be addressed to the Desk Officer for the Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency, and sent via electronic mail to [email protected]

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Requests for additional information or copies of the information collection should be made to Director, Information Management Division, 500 C Street SW, Washington, DC 20472, email address [email protected] or Jacqueline Snelling, Senior Advisor, U.S. Department of Homeland Security/FEMA/National Preparedness Directorate, Individual and Community Preparedness Division, Washington, DC 20472-3630, [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    This proposed information collection previously published in the Federal Register on February 14, 2018 at 83 FR 6611 with a 60 day public comment period. FEMA received 14 anonymous public comments that were not relevant to the information collection. FEMA noticed a mistake in the number of respondents that results in a change from what was published on February 14, 2018, at 83 FR 6611. The number of respondents has changed from 3,120 to 6,120. FEMA also noted a mistake in the total annual respondent cost from $19,240.00 to $26,299.60. The purpose of this notice is to notify the public that FEMA will submit the information collection abstracted below to the Office of Management and Budget for review and clearance.

    Collection of Information

    Title: Post Disaster Survivor Preparedness Research.

    Type of Information Collection: New information collection.

    OMB Number: 1660—NEW.

    Form Titles and Numbers: FEMA Form 519-0-54, Post Disaster Survivor Preparedness Research.

    Abstract: Through improved understanding of the relationship between an individual's preparedness knowledge, actions, and perception and self-efficacy, FEMA will be able to draw some conclusions as to how these factors contribute to and/or hinder life-saving responses and short and long-term recovery, with a focus on historically underserved communities.

    Affected Public: Individuals or households.

    Estimated Number of Respondents: 6,120.

    Estimated Number of Responses: 6,120.

    Estimated Total Annual Burden Hours: 740.

    Estimated Total Annual Respondent Cost: $26,299.60

    Estimated Respondents' Operation and Maintenance Costs: $0.

    Estimated Respondents' Capital and Start-Up Costs: $0.

    Estimated Total Annual Cost to the Federal Government: $186,573.45.

    Comments

    Comments may be submitted as indicated in the ADDRESSES caption above. Comments are solicited to (a) evaluate whether the proposed data collection is necessary for the proper performance of the agency, including whether the information shall have practical utility; (b) evaluate the accuracy of the agency's estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used; (c) enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (d) minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond, including through the use of appropriate automated, electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology, e.g., permitting electronic submission of responses.

    Dated: May 10, 2018. Rachel Frier, Records Management Branch Chief, Office of the Chief Administrative Officer, Mission Support, Federal Emergency Management Agency, Department of Homeland Security.
    [FR Doc. 2018-10393 Filed 5-15-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9111-46-P
    DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Geological Survey [GX18EE000101100] Public Meeting of the National Geospatial Advisory Committee AGENCY:

    U.S. Geological Survey, Interior.

    ACTION:

    Notice of public meeting.

    SUMMARY:

    In accordance with the Federal Advisory Committee Act of 1972, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) is publishing this notice to announce that a Federal Advisory Committee meeting of the National Geospatial Advisory Committee (NGAC) will take place.

    DATES:

    The meeting will be held on Tuesday, June 26, 2018 from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., and on Wednesday, June 27, 2018 from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. (Eastern Standard Time).

    ADDRESSES:

    The meeting will be held at the Department of the Interior building, 1849 C Street NW, Washington, DC 20240 in the South Penthouse Conference Room. Send your comments to the Group Federal Officer by email to [email protected]

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Mr. John Mahoney, Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC), U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), 909 First Avenue, Suite 800, Seattle, WA 98104; by email at [email protected]; or by telephone at (206) 220-4621.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    This meeting is being held under the provisions of the Federal Advisory Committee Act of 1972 (5 U.S.C., Appendix, as amended), the Government in the Sunshine Act of 1976 (5 U.S.C. 552B, as amended), and 41 CFR 102-3.140 and 102-3.150.

    Purpose of the Meeting: The National Geospatial Advisory Committee (NGAC) provides advice and recommendations related to management of Federal and national geospatial programs, the development of the National Spatial Data Infrastructure, and the implementation of Office of Management and Budget Circular A-16. The NGAC reviews and comments on geospatial policy and management issues and provides a forum to convey views representative of non-federal stakeholders in the geospatial community. The NGAC meeting is one of the primary ways that the FGDC collaborates with its broad network of partners. Additional information about the NGAC meeting is available at: www.fgdc.gov/ngac.

    Agenda Topics:

    —FGDC Update —Geospatial Data as Services —Cultural and Historical Geospatial Resources —Geospatial Platform —NSDI Strategic Plan Framework —Landsat Advisory Group

    Meeting Accessibility/Special Accommodations: The meeting is open to the public from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on June 26 and from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on June 27. Members of the public wishing to attend the meeting should contact Ms. Lucia Foulkes by email at [email protected] to register no later than five (5) business days prior to the meeting. Seating may be limited due to room capacity. Individuals requiring special accommodations to access the public meeting should contact Ms. Lucia Foulkes at the email stated above or by telephone at 703-648-4142 at least five (5) business days prior to the meeting so that appropriate arrangements can be made.

    Public Disclosure of Comments: Time will be allowed at the meeting for any individual or organization wishing to make formal oral comments. To allow for full consideration of information by the committee members at the meeting, written comments must be provided to Ms. Lucia Foulkes, Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC), U.S. Geological Survey, 12201 Sunrise Valley Drive, MS-590, Reston, VA 20192; by email at [email protected]; or by telephone at 703-648-4142, at least five (5) business days prior to the meeting. Any written comments received will be provided to the committee members.

    Before including your address, phone number, email address, or other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment—including your personal identifying information—may be made publicly available at any time. While you may ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so.

    Kenneth Shaffer, Deputy Executive Director, Federal Geographic Data Committee.
    [FR Doc. 2018-10419 Filed 5-15-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4338-11-P
    DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Office of the Secretary [189D0102DM DS61100000 DLSN00000.000000 DX61101]; [OMB Control Number 1094-0001] Agency Information Collection Activities; “7 CFR Part 1; 43 CFR Part 45; 50 CFR Part 221; The Alternatives Process in Hydropower Licensing” AGENCY:

    Office of the Secretary, Office of Environmental Policy and Compliance, Interior.

    ACTION:

    Notice of Information Collection; request for comment.

    SUMMARY:

    In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, we, the Office of the Secretary, Office of Environmental Policy and Compliance are proposing to renew an information collection.

    DATES:

    Interested persons are invited to submit comments on or before July 16, 2018.

    ADDRESSES:

    Send your written comments on this information collection request (ICR) to Shawn Alam, Office of Environmental Policy and Compliance, U.S. Department of the Interior, 1849 C Street NW, MS 5538-MIB, Washington, DC 20240, fax 202-208-6970 or email to [email protected] Please reference OMB Control Number 1094-0001 in the subject line of your comments.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    To request additional information about this ICR, any explanatory information and related forms, please use the contact information in the ADDRESSES section above.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, we provide the general public and other Federal agencies with an opportunity to comment on new, proposed, revised, and continuing collections of information. This helps us assess the impact of our information collection requirements and minimize the public's reporting burden. It also helps the public understand our information collection requirements and provide the requested data in the desired format.

    We are soliciting comments on the proposed ICR that is described below. We are especially interested in public comment addressing the following issues: (1) Is the collection necessary to the proper functions of the Office of the Secretary, Office of Environmental Policy and Compliance Departments; (2) will this information be processed and used in a timely manner; (3) is the estimate of burden accurate; (4) how might the Office of the Secretary, Office of Environmental Policy and Compliance Departments enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (5) how might the Office of the Secretary, Office of Environmental Policy and Compliance Departments minimize the burden of this collection on the respondents, including through the use of information technology.

    Comments that you submit in response to this notice are a matter of public record. We will include or summarize each comment in our request to OMB to approve this ICR. Before including your address, phone number, email address, or other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment—including your personal identifying information—may be made publicly available at any time. While you can ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so.

    Abstract: The OMB regulations at 5 CFR part 1320, which implement the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, 44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq., require that interested members of the public and affected agencies have an opportunity to comment on information collection and recordkeeping activities (see 5 CFR 1320.8 (d)).

    On November 23, 2016, the Departments of Agriculture, the Interior, and Commerce published a final rule on the March 31, 2015 revised interim final rule to the interim rule originally published in November 2005 at 7 CFR part 1, 43 CFR part 45, and 50 CFR part 221, to implement section 241 of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EP Act), Public Law 109-58, enacted on August 8, 2005. Section 241 of the EP Act added a new section 33 to the Federal Power Act (FPA), 16 U.S.C. 823d, that allowed the license applicant or any other party to the license proceeding to propose an alternative to a condition or prescription that one or more of the Departments develop for inclusion in a hydropower license issued by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) under the FPA. This provision required that the Department of Agriculture, the Department of the Interior, and the Department of Commerce collect the information covered by 1094-0001.

    Under FPA section 33, the Secretary of the Department involved must accept the proposed alternative if the Secretary determines, based on substantial evidence provided by a party to the license proceeding or otherwise available to the Secretary, (a) that the alternative condition provides for the adequate protection and utilization of the reservation, or that the alternative prescription will be no less protective than the fishway initially proposed by the Secretary, and (b) that the alternative will either cost significantly less to implement or result in improved operation of the project works for electricity production.

    In order to make this determination, the regulations require that all of the following information be collected: (1) A description of the alternative, in an equivalent level of detail to the Department's preliminary condition or prescription; (2) an explanation of how the alternative: (i) If a condition, will provide for the adequate protection and utilization of the reservation; or (ii) if a prescription, will be no less protective than the fishway prescribed by the bureau; (3) an explanation of how the alternative, as compared to the preliminary condition or prescription, will: (i) Cost significantly less to implement; or (ii) result in improved operation of the project works for electricity production; (4) an explanation of how the alternative or revised alternative will affect: (i) Energy supply, distribution, cost, and use; (ii) flood control; (iii) navigation; (iv) water supply; (v) air quality; and (vi) other aspects of environmental quality; and (5) specific citations to any scientific studies, literature, and other documented information relied on to support the proposal.

    This notice of proposed renewal of an existing information collection is being published by the Office of Environmental Policy and Compliance, Department of the Interior, on behalf of all three Departments, and the data provided below covers anticipated responses (alternative conditions/prescriptions and associated information) for all three Departments.

    Title of Collection: 7 CFR part 1; 43 CFR part 45; 50 CFR part 221; The Alternatives Process in Hydropower Licensing

    OMB Control Number: 1094-0001.

    Form Number: None.

    Type of Review: Extension of a currently approved collection.

    Respondents/Affected Public: Business or for-profit entities.

    Total Estimated Number of Annual Respondents: 5.

    Total Estimated Number of Annual Responses: 5.

    Estimated Completion Time per Response: 500 hours.

    Total Estimated Number of Annual Burden Hours: 2,500 hours.

    Respondent's Obligation: Voluntary.

    Frequency of Collection: Once per alternative proposed.

    Total Estimated Annual Nonhour Burden Cost: There are no nonhour burden costs.

    An agency may not conduct or sponsor, and a person is not required to respond to, a collection of information unless it displays a currently valid OMB control number.

    The authority for this action is the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq).

    Michaela E. Noble, Director.
    [FR Doc. 2018-10370 Filed 5-15-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4334-63-P
    DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR National Park Service [NPS-WASO-NRNHL-DTS#-25514; PPWOCRADI0, PCU00RP14.R50000] National Register of Historic Places; Notification of Pending Nominations and Related Actions AGENCY:

    National Park Service, Interior.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The National Park Service is soliciting comments on the significance of properties nominated before April 28, 2018, for listing or related actions in the National Register of Historic Places.

    DATES:

    Comments should be submitted by May 31, 2018.

    ADDRESSES:

    Comments may be sent via U.S. Postal Service and all other carriers to the National Register of Historic Places, National Park Service, 1849 C St. NW, MS 7228, Washington, DC 20240.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The properties listed in this notice are being considered for listing or related actions in the National Register of Historic Places. Nominations for their consideration were received by the National Park Service before April 28, 2018. Pursuant to Section 60.13 of 36 CFR part 60, written comments are being accepted concerning the significance of the nominated properties under the National Register criteria for evaluation.

    Before including your address, phone number, email address, or other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment—including your personal identifying information—may be made publicly available at any time. While you can ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so.

    Nominations submitted by State Historic Preservation Officers:

    ARKANSAS Carroll County Eureka Springs Cemetery, NW of jct. of Cty. Rd. 205 & US 62 E, Eureka Springs vicinity, SG100002535 IOWA Cerro Gordo County Elmwood—St. Joseph Municipal Cemetery Historic District, 1224 S Washington Ave., Mason City, SG100002541 MASSACHUSETTS Plymouth County Emerson Shoe Company, 51 Maple St., Rockland, SG100002542 OKLAHOMA Jackson County Downtown Altus Historic District, Broadway, Main, Hudson & Commerce Sts., Altus, SG100002543 Muskogee County Thomas, Reverend L.W., Homestead, 5805 Oktaha Rd., Summit vicinity, SG100002544 Oklahoma County Pioneer Telephone Company Warehouse and Garage, 1-13 NE 6th St., Oklahoma City, SG100002545 Tulsa County Cheairs Furniture Company Building, 537 S Kenosha Ave., Tulsa, SG100002546 Vernon A.M.E. Church, 311 N Greenwood Ave., Tulsa, SG100002547

    Additional documentation has been received for the following resource:

    ILLINOIS Cook County Emmanuel Episcopal Church, 203 S. Kensington Ave., LaGrange, AD100001922
    Authority:

    Section 60.13 of 36 CFR part 60.

    Dated: April 30, 2018. Julie H. Ernstein, Acting Chief, National Register of Historic Places/National Historic Landmarks Program.
    [FR Doc. 2018-10371 Filed 5-15-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4312-52-P
    DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Bureau of Reclamation [RR83550000, 189R5065C6, RX.59389832.1009676] Quarterly Status Report of Water Service, Repayment, and Other Water-Related Contract Actions AGENCY:

    Bureau of Reclamation, Interior.

    ACTION:

    Notice of contract actions.

    SUMMARY:

    Notice is hereby given of contractual actions that have been proposed to the Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) and are new, discontinued, or completed since the last publication of this notice. This notice is one of a variety of means used to inform the public about proposed contractual actions for capital recovery and management of project resources and facilities consistent with section 9(f) of the Reclamation Project Act of 1939. Additional announcements of individual contract actions may be published in the Federal Register and in newspapers of general circulation in the areas determined by Reclamation to be affected by the proposed action.

    ADDRESSES:

    The identity of the approving officer and other information pertaining to a specific contract proposal may be obtained by calling or writing the appropriate regional office at the address and telephone number given for each region in the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section of this notice.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Michelle Kelly, Reclamation Law Administration Division, Bureau of Reclamation, P.O. Box 25007, Denver, Colorado 80225-0007; telephone 303-445-2888.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Consistent with section 9(f) of the Reclamation Project Act of 1939, and the rules and regulations published in 52 FR 11954, April 13, 1987 (43 CFR 426.22), Reclamation will publish notice of proposed or amendatory contract actions for any contract for the delivery of project water for authorized uses in newspapers of general circulation in the affected area at least 60 days prior to contract execution. Announcements may be in the form of news releases, legal notices, official letters, memorandums, or other forms of written material. Meetings, workshops, and/or hearings may also be used, as appropriate, to provide local publicity. The public participation procedures do not apply to proposed contracts for the sale of surplus or interim irrigation water for a term of 1 year or less. Either of the contracting parties may invite the public to observe contract proceedings. All public participation procedures will be coordinated with those involved in complying with the National Environmental Policy Act. Pursuant to the “Final Revised Public Participation Procedures” for water resource-related contract negotiations, published in 47 FR 7763, February 22, 1982, a tabulation is provided of all proposed contractual actions in each of the five Reclamation regions. When contract negotiations are completed, and prior to execution, each proposed contract form must be approved by the Secretary of the Interior, or pursuant to delegated or redelegated authority, the Commissioner of Reclamation or one of the regional directors. In some instances, congressional review and approval of a report, water rate, or other terms and conditions of the contract may be involved.

    Public participation in and receipt of comments on contract proposals will be facilitated by adherence to the following procedures:

    1. Only persons authorized to act on behalf of the contracting entities may negotiate the terms and conditions of a specific contract proposal.

    2. Advance notice of meetings or hearings will be furnished to those parties that have made a timely written request for such notice to the appropriate regional or project office of Reclamation.

    3. Written correspondence regarding proposed contracts may be made available to the general public pursuant to the terms and procedures of the Freedom of Information Act, as amended.

    4. Written comments on a proposed contract or contract action must be submitted to the appropriate regional officials at the locations and within the time limits set forth in the advance public notices.

    5. All written comments received and testimony presented at any public hearings will be reviewed and summarized by the appropriate regional office for use by the contract approving authority.

    6. Copies of specific proposed contracts may be obtained from the appropriate regional director or his or her designated public contact as they become available for review and comment.

    7. In the event modifications are made in the form of a proposed contract, the appropriate regional director shall determine whether republication of the notice and/or extension of the comment period is necessary.

    Factors considered in making such a determination shall include, but are not limited to, (i) the significance of the modification, and (ii) the degree of public interest which has been expressed over the course of the negotiations. At a minimum, the regional director will furnish revised contracts to all parties who requested the contract in response to the initial public notice.

    Definitions of Abbreviations Used in the Reports ARRA American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 BCP Boulder Canyon Project Reclamation Bureau of Reclamation CAP Central Arizona Project CUP Central Utah Project CVP Central Valley Project CRSP Colorado River Storage Project FR Federal Register IDD Irrigation and Drainage District ID Irrigation District M&I Municipal and Industrial O&M Operation and Maintenance OM&R Operation, Maintenance, and Replacement P-SMBP Pick-Sloan Missouri Basin Program RRA Reclamation Reform Act of 1982 SOD Safety of Dams SRPA Small Reclamation Projects Act of 1956 USACE U.S. Army Corps of Engineers WD Water District

    Pacific Northwest Region: Bureau of Reclamation, 1150 North Curtis Road, Suite 100, Boise, Idaho 83706-1234, telephone 208-378-5344.

    1. Irrigation, M&I, and Miscellaneous Water Users; Idaho, Oregon, Washington, Montana, and Wyoming: Temporary or interim irrigation and M&I water service, water storage, water right settlement, exchange, miscellaneous use, or water replacement contracts to provide up to 10,000 acre-feet of water annually for terms up to 5 years; long-term contracts for similar service for up to 1,000 acre-feet of water annually.

    2. Rogue River Basin Water Users, Rogue River Basin Project, Oregon: Water service contracts; $8 per acre-foot per annum.

    3. Willamette Basin Water Users, Willamette Basin Project, Oregon: Water service contracts; $8 per acre-foot per annum.

    4. Pioneer Ditch Company, Boise Project, Idaho; Clark and Edwards Canal and Irrigation Company, Enterprise Canal Company, Ltd., Lenroot Canal Company, Liberty Park Canal Company, Poplar ID, all in the Minidoka Project, Idaho; and Juniper Flat District Improvement Company, Wapinitia Project, Oregon: Amendatory repayment and water service contracts; purpose is to conform to the RRA.

    5. Nine water user entities of the Arrowrock Division, Boise Project, Idaho: Repayment agreements with districts with spaceholder contracts for repayment, per legislation, of the reimbursable share of costs to rehabilitate Arrowrock Dam Outlet Gates under the O&M program.

    6. Three irrigation water user entities, Rogue River Basin Project, Oregon: Long-term contracts for exchange of water service with three entities for the provision of up to 292 acre-feet of stored water from Applegate Reservoir (a USACE project) for irrigation use in exchange for the transfer of out-of-stream water rights from the Little Applegate River to instream flow rights with the State of Oregon for instream flow use.

    7. Conagra Foods Lamb Weston, Inc., Columbia Basin Project, Washington: Miscellaneous purposes water service contract providing for the delivery of up to 1,500 acre-feet of water from the Scooteney Wasteway for effluent management.

    8. Benton ID, Yakima Project, Washington: Replacement contract to, among other things, withdraw the District from the Sunnyside Division Board of Control; provide for direct payment of the District's share of total operation, maintenance, repair, and replacement costs incurred by the United States in operation of storage division; and establish District responsibility for operation, maintenance, repair, and replacement for irrigation distribution system.

    9. City of Prineville and Ochoco ID, Crooked River Project, Oregon: Long-term contract to provide the City of Prineville with a mitigation water supply from Prineville Reservoir; with Ochoco ID anticipated to be a party to the contract, as they are responsible for O&M of the dam and reservoir.

    10. Burley and Minidoka IDs, Minidoka Project, Idaho: Supplemental and amendatory contracts to transfer the O&M of the Main South Side Canal Headworks to Burley ID and transfer the O&M of the Main North Side Canal Headworks to the Minidoka ID.

    11. Clean Water Services and Tualatin Valley ID, Tualatin Project, Oregon: Long-term water service contract that provides for the District to allow Clean Water Services to beneficially use up to 6,000 acre-feet annually of stored water for water quality improvement.

    12. Willow Creek District Improvement Company, Willow Creek Project, Oregon: Amend contract to increase the amount of storage water made available under the existing long-term contract from 2,500 to 3,500 acre-feet.

    13. East Columbia Basin ID, Columbia Basin Project, Washington: Amendment of renewal master water service contract No. 159E101882, to authorize up to an additional 70,000 acres within the District that are located within the Odessa Subarea and eligible to participate in the Odessa Groundwater Replacement Program, to receive Columbia Basin Project irrigation water service; and to provide for additional acreage development through future water conservation measures.

    14. Stanfield ID, Umatilla Basin Project, Oregon: A short-term water service contract to provide for the use of conjunctive use water, if needed, for the purposes of pre-saturation or for such use in October to extend their irrigation season.

    15. Yakima Nation and Cascade ID, Yakima Project, Washington: Long-term contract for an exchange of water and to authorize the use of capacity in Yakima Project facilities to convey up to 10 cubic feet per second of nonproject water during the non-irrigation season for fish hatchery purposes.

    16. Talent, Medford, and Rogue River Valley IDs; Rogue River Basin Project; Oregon: Contracts for repayment of reimbursable shares of SOD program modifications for Howard Prairie Dam.

    17. Falls ID, Michaud Flats Project, Idaho: Amendment to contract No. 14-06-100-851 to authorize the District to participate in State water rental pool.

    Mid-Pacific Region: Bureau of Reclamation, 2800 Cottage Way, Sacramento, California 95825-1898, telephone 916-978-5250.

    1. Irrigation water districts, individual irrigators, M&I and miscellaneous water users; California, Nevada, and Oregon: Temporary (interim) water service contracts for available project water for irrigation, M&I, or fish and wildlife purposes providing up to 10,000 acre-feet of water annually for terms up to 5 years; temporary Warren Act contracts for use of excess capacity in project facilities for terms up to 5 years; temporary conveyance agreements with the State of California for various purposes; long-term contracts for similar service for up to 1,000 acre-feet annually.

    2. Contractors from the American River Division, Delta Division, Cross Valley Canal, San Felipe Division, West San Joaquin Division, San Luis Unit, and Elk Creek Community Services District; CVP; California: Renewal of 30 interim and long-term water service contracts; water quantities for these contracts total in excess of 2.1M acre-feet. These contract actions will be accomplished through long-term renewal contracts pursuant to Public Law 102-575. Prior to completion of negotiation of long-term renewal contracts, existing interim renewal water service contracts may be renewed through successive interim renewal of contracts.

    3. Redwood Valley County WD, SRPA, California: Restructuring the repayment schedule pursuant to Public Law 100-516.

    4. El Dorado County Water Agency, CVP, California: M&I water service contract to supplement existing water supply. Contract will provide for an amount not to exceed 15,000 acre-feet annually authorized by Public Law 101-514 (Section 206) for El Dorado County Water Agency. The supply will be subcontracted to El Dorado ID and Georgetown Divide Public Utility District.

    5. Sutter Extension WD, Delano-Earlimart ID, Pixley ID, the State of California Department of Water Resources, and the State of California Department of Fish and Wildlife; CVP; California: Pursuant to Public Law 102-575, agreements with non-Federal entities for the purpose of providing funding for Central Valley Project Improvement Act refuge water conveyance and/or facilities improvement construction to deliver water for certain Federal wildlife refuges, State wildlife areas, and private wetlands.

    6. Horsefly, Klamath, Langell Valley, and Tulelake IDs; Klamath Project; Oregon: Repayment contracts for SOD work on Clear Lake Dam. These districts will share in repayment of costs, and each district will have a separate contract.

    7. Casitas Municipal WD, Ventura Project, California: Repayment contract for SOD work on Casitas Dam.

    8. Warren Act Contracts, CVP, California: Execution of long-term Warren Act contracts (up to 40 years) with various entities for conveyance of nonproject water in the CVP.

    9. Tuolumne Utilities District (formerly Tuolumne Regional WD), CVP, California: Long-term water service contract for up to 9,000 acre-feet from New Melones Reservoir, and possibly a long-term contract for storage of nonproject water in New Melones Reservoir.

    10. Madera-Chowchilla Water and Power Authority, CVP, California: Agreement to transfer the OM&R and certain financial and administrative activities related to the Madera Canal and associated works.

    11. Sacramento Suburban WD, CVP, California: Execution of a long-term Warren Act contract for conveyance of 29,000 acre-feet of nonproject water. The contract will allow CVP facilities to be used to deliver nonproject water provided from the Placer County Water Agency to the District for use within its service area.

    12. Town of Fernley, State of California, City of Reno, City of Sparks, Washoe County, State of Nevada, Truckee-Carson ID, and any other local interest or Native American Tribal Interest who may have negotiated rights under Public Law 101-618; Nevada and California: Contract for the storage of non-Federal water in Truckee River reservoirs as authorized by Public Law 101-618 and the Preliminary Settlement Agreement. The contracts shall be consistent with the Truckee River Water Quality Settlement Agreement and the terms and conditions of the Truckee River Operating Agreement.

    13. Delta Lands Reclamation District No. 770, CVP, California: Long-term Warren Act contract for conveyance of up to 300,000 acre-feet of nonproject flood flows via the Friant-Kern Canal for flood control purposes.

    14. Pershing County Water Conservation District, Pershing County, and Lander County; Humboldt Project; Nevada: Title transfer of lands and features of the Humboldt Project.

    15. Mendota Wildlife Area, CVP, California: Reimbursement agreement between the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and Reclamation for conveyance service costs to deliver Level 2 water to the Mendota Wildlife Area during infrequent periods when the Mendota Pool is down due to unexpected but needed maintenance. This action is taken pursuant to Public Law 102-575, Title 34, Section 3406(d)(1), to meet full Level 2 water needs of the Mendota Wildlife Area.

    16. San Luis WD, CVP, California: Proposed partial assignment of 2,400 acre-feet of the District's CVP supply to Santa Nella County WD for M&I use.

    17. Placer County Water Agency, CVP, California: Proposed exchange agreement under section 14 of the 1939 Act to exchange up to 71,000 acre-feet annually of the Agency's American River Middle Fork Project water for use by Reclamation, for a like amount of CVP water from the Sacramento River for use by the Agency.

    18. Irrigation contractors, Klamath Project, Oregon: Amendment of repayment contracts or negotiation of new contracts to allow for recovery of additional capital costs.

    19. Orland Unit Water User's Association, Orland Project, California: Repayment contract for the SOD costs assigned to the irrigation of Stony Gorge Dam.

    20. Goleta WD, Cachuma Project, California: An agreement to transfer title of the federally owned distribution system to the District subject to approved legislation.

    21. City of Santa Barbara, Cachuma Project, California: Execution of a temporary contract and a long-term Warren Act contract with the City for conveyance of nonproject water in Cachuma Project facilities.

    22. Water user entities responsible for payment of O&M costs for Reclamation projects in California, Nevada, and Oregon: Contracts for extraordinary maintenance and replacement funded pursuant to ARRA. Added costs to rates to be collected under irrigation and interim M&I ratesetting policies.

    23. Water user entities responsible for payment of O&M costs for Reclamation projects in California, Nevada, and Oregon: Contracts for extraordinary maintenance and replacement funded pursuant to Subtitle G of Public Law 111-11.

    24. Cachuma Operation and Maintenance Board, Cachuma Project, California: Amendment to SOD contract No. 01-WC-20-2030 to provide for increased SOD costs associated with Bradbury Dam.

    25. Reclamation will become signatory to a three-party conveyance agreement with the Cross Valley Contractors and the California State Department of Water Resources for conveyance of Cross Valley Contractors' CVP water supplies that are made available pursuant to long-term water service contracts.

    26. Westlands WD, CVP, California: Negotiation and execution of a long-term repayment contract to provide reimbursement of costs related to the construction of drainage facilities. This action is being undertaken to satisfy the Federal Government's obligation to provide drainage service to Westlands located within the San Luis Unit of the CVP.

    27. San Luis WD, Meyers Farms Family Trust, and Reclamation; CVP; California: Revision of an existing contract between San Luis WD, Meyers Farms Family Trust, and Reclamation providing for an increase in the exchange of water from 6,316 to 10,526 acre-feet annually and an increase in the storage capacity of the bank to 60,000 acre-feet.

    28. San Joaquin Valley National Cemetery, U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs; Delta Division, CVP; California: Negotiation of a multi-year wheeling agreement with a retroactive effective date of 2011 is pending. A wheeling agreement with the State of California Department of Water Resources provides for the conveyance and delivery of CVP water through the State of California's water project facilities to the San Joaquin Valley National Cemetery.

    29. Byron-Bethany ID, CVP, California: Negotiation of a multi-year wheeling agreement with a retroactive effective date is pending. A wheeling agreement with the State of California Department of Water Resources provides for the conveyance and delivery of CVP water through the State of California's water project facilities, to the Musco Family Olive Company, a customer of Byron-Bethany ID.

    30. Contra Costa WD, CVP, California: Amendment to an existing O&M agreement to transfer O&M of the Contra Costa Rock Slough Fish Screen to the District. Initial construction funding provided through ARRA.

    31. Irrigation water districts, individual irrigators and M&I water users, CVP, California: Temporary water service contracts for terms not to exceed 1 year for up to 100,000 acre-feet of surplus supplies of CVP water resulting from an unusually large water supply, not otherwise storable for project purposes, or from infrequent and otherwise unmanaged flood flows of short duration.

    32. Irrigation water districts, individual irrigators, M&I and miscellaneous water users, CVP, California: Temporary Warren Act contracts for terms up to 5 years providing for use of excess capacity in CVP facilities for annual quantities exceeding 10,000 acre-feet.

    33. City of Redding, CVP, California: Proposed partial assignment of 30 acre-feet of the City of Redding's CVP water supply to the City of Shasta Lake for M&I use.

    34. Langell Valley ID, Klamath Project; Oregon: Title transfer of lands and facilities of the Klamath Project.

    35. Sacramento River Division, CVP, California: Administrative assignments of various Sacramento River Settlement Contracts.

    36. California Department of Fish and Game, CVP, California: To extend the term of and amend the existing water service contract for the Department's San Joaquin Fish Hatchery to allow an increase from 35 to 60 cubic feet per second of continuous flow to pass through the Hatchery prior to it returning to the San Joaquin River.

    37. Orland Unit Water User's Association, Orland Project, California: Title transfer of lands and features of the Orland Project.

    38. Santa Clara Valley WD, CVP, California: Second amendment to Santa Clara Valley WD's water service contract to add CVP-wide form of contract language providing for mutually agreed upon point or points of delivery.

    39. PacifiCorp, Klamath Project, Oregon and California: Transfer of O&M of Link River Dam and associated facilities. Contract will allow for the continued O&M by PacifiCorp.

    40. Tulelake ID, Klamath Project, Oregon and California: Transfer of O&M of Station 48 and gate on Drain No. 1, Lost River Diversion Channel.

    41. Fresno County Waterworks No. 18; Friant Division, CVP; California: Execution of an agreement to provide for the O&M of select Federal facilities by Fresno County Waterworks No. 18.

    42. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Tulelake ID; Klamath Project; Oregon and California: Water service contract for deliveries to Lower Klamath National Wildlife Refuge, including transfer of O&M responsibilities for the P Canal system.

    43. Tulelake ID, Klamath Project, Oregon and California: Amendment of repayment contract to eliminate reimbursement for P Canal O&M costs.

    44. East Bay Municipal Utility District, CVP, California: Long-term Warren Act contract for storage and conveyance of up to 47,000 acre-feet annually.

    45. Gray Lodge Wildlife Area, CVP, California: Reimbursement agreement between the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and Reclamation for groundwater pumping costs. Groundwater will provide a portion of Gray Lodge Wildlife Area's Central Valley Improvement Act Level 4 water supplies. This action is taken pursuant to Public Law 102-575, Title 34, Section 3406(d)(1, 2 and 5), to meet full Level 4 water needs of the Gray Lodge Wildlife Area.

    46. State of Nevada, Newlands Project, Nevada: Title transfer of lands and features of the Carson Lake and Pasture.

    47. Washoe County Water Conservation District, Truckee Storage Project, Nevada: Repayment contract for costs associated with SOD work on Boca Dam.

    48. Del Puerto WD, CVP, California: Negotiation of a short-term wheeling agreement with the State of California, Department of Water Resources to provide for the conveyance and delivery of CVP water through the State of California's water project facilities to Del Puerto Water District via a state water project contractor.

    Lower Colorado Region: Bureau of Reclamation, P.O. Box 61470 (Nevada Highway and Park Street), Boulder City, Nevada 89006-1470, telephone 702-293-8192.

    1. Milton and Jean Phillips, BCP, Arizona: Develop a Colorado River water delivery contract for 60 acre-feet of Colorado River water per year as recommended by the Arizona Department of Water Resources.

    2. Gila Project Works, Gila Project, Arizona: Perform title transfer of facilities and certain lands in the Wellton-Mohawk Division from the United States to the Wellton-Mohawk IDD.

    3. Bard WD, Yuma Project, California: Supersede and replace the District's O&M contract for the Yuma Project, California, Reservation Division, Indian Unit, to reflect that appropriated funds are no longer available, and to specify an alternate process for transfer of funds. In addition, other miscellaneous processes required for Reclamation's contractual administration and oversight will be updated to ensure the Federal Indian Trust obligation for reservation water and land are met.

    4. Ogram Farms, BCP, Arizona: Assign the contract to the new landowners and revise Exhibit A of the contract to change the contract service area and points of diversion/delivery.

    5. Ogram Boys Enterprises, Inc., BCP, Arizona: Revise Exhibit A of the contract to change the contract service area and points of diversion/delivery.

    6. City of Yuma, BCP, Arizona: Enter into a long-term consolidated contract with the City for delivery of its Colorado River water entitlement.

    7. Gold Dome Mining Corporation and Wellton-Mohawk IDD, Gila Project, Arizona: Terminate contract No. 0-07-30-W0250 pursuant to Articles 11(d) and 11(e).

    8. Estates of Anna R. Roy and Edward P. Roy, Gila Project, Arizona: Terminate contract No. 6-07-30-W0124 pursuant to Article 9(c).

    9. Reclamation, Davis Dam (Davis Dam) and Big Bend WD; BCP; Arizona and Nevada: Enter into proposed “Agreement for the Diversion, Treatment, and Delivery of Colorado River Water” in order for the District to divert, treat, and deliver to Davis Dam the Davis Dam Secretarial Reservation amount of up to 100 acre-feet per year of Colorado River water.

    10. Cibola Valley IDD and Western Water, LLC, BCP, Arizona: Execute a proposed partial assignment of fourth priority Colorado River water in the amount of 621.48 acre-feet per year from the District to Western Water, LLC and a new Colorado River water delivery contract with Western Water, LLC.

    11. Red River Land Company, LLC; BCP; Arizona: Review and approve a proposed partial assignment of 300 acre-feet per year of Arizona fourth priority Colorado River water entitlement from Cibola Valley IDD to Red River and execute the associated amendment to Cibola Valley IDD's contract and enter into a Colorado River water delivery contract with Red River.

    12. Mohave County Water Authority, BCP, Arizona: Execute Exhibit B, Revision 6 that will supersede and replace Exhibit B, Revision 5 to the Authority's Colorado River water delivery contract in order to update the annual diversion amounts to be used within each of the contract service areas.

    13. Rayner Ranches, BCP, Arizona: Review and approve a proposed assignment of Rayner Ranches Colorado River water delivery contract for 4,500 acre-feet per year to GM Gabrych Family, LP and execute a new Colorado River water delivery contract with GM Gabrych Family, LP.

    14. Sarah S. Chesney, BCP, Arizona: Review and approve a proposed assignment of Sarah S. Chesney's contract for the conveyance of Colorado River water from Sarah S. Chesney to WPI II—COL FARM AZ, LLC.

    15. San Carlos Apache Tribe and the Town of Gilbert, CAP, Arizona: Execute a proposed 100-year lease not to exceed 5,925 acre-feet per year of CAP water from the Tribe to Gilbert.

    16. San Carlos Apache Tribe and the Town of Gilbert, CAP, Arizona: Execute amendment No. 7 to a CAP water lease to extend the term of the lease in order for San Carlos Apache Tribe to lease 20,000 acre-feet of its CAP water to the Town of Gilbert during calendar year 2018.

    17. Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation and the Town of Gilbert, CAP, Arizona: Execute amendment No. 6 to a CAP water lease to extend the term of the lease in order for Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation to lease 13,933 acre-feet of its CAP water to the Town of Gilbert during calendar year 2018.

    18. San Carlos Apache Tribe and the Pascua Yaqui Tribe, CAP, Arizona: Execute a CAP water lease in order for the San Carlos Apache Tribe to lease 500 acre-feet of its CAP water to the Pascua Yaqui Tribe during calendar year 2018.

    19. San Carlos Apache Tribe and Freeport Minerals Corporation, CAP, Arizona: Execute a CAP water lease in order for the San Carlos Apache Tribe to lease 17,010 acre-feet of its CAP water to Freeport Minerals Corporation during calendar year 2018.

    Discontinued contract action:

    1. (11) Reclamation, Arizona Department of Water Resources, Arizona Water Banking Authority, Central Arizona Water Conservation District, Southern Nevada Water Authority, and The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California; BCP; Arizona, California and Nevada: Begin negotiations to enter into proposed “Storage and Interstate Release Agreement(s)” for creation, offstream storage, and release of unused basic or surplus Colorado River apportionment within the lower division states pursuant to 43 CFR part 414.

    Completed contract action:

    1. (23) Imperial ID, Lower Colorado River Water Supply Project, California: Amend the agreement between Reclamation and Imperial ID to extend the term for the funding of design, construction, and installation of power facilities for the Lower Colorado Water Supply Project. Contract executed October 25, 2017.

    Upper Colorado Region: Bureau of Reclamation, 125 South State Street, Room 8100, Salt Lake City, Utah 84138-1102, telephone 801-524-3864.

    1. Individual irrigators, M&I, and miscellaneous water users; Initial Units, CRSP; Utah, Wyoming, Colorado, and New Mexico: Temporary (interim) water service contracts for surplus project water for irrigation or M&I use to provide up to 10,000 acre-feet of water annually for terms up to 10 years; long-term contracts for similar service for up to 1,000 acre-feet of water annually.

    2. Contracts with various water user entities responsible for payment of O&M costs for Reclamation projects in Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, Utah, and Wyoming: Contracts for extraordinary maintenance and replacement funded pursuant to Subtitle G of Public Law 111-11 to be executed as project progresses.

    3. Middle Rio Grande Project, New Mexico: Reclamation continues annual leasing of water from various San Juan-Chama Project contractors to stabilize flows in a critical reach of the Rio Grande in order to meet the needs of irrigators and preserve habitat for the silvery minnow. Reclamation leased approximately 15,067 acre-feet of water from San Juan-Chama Project contractors in 2017.

    4. Bridger Valley Water Conservancy District, Lyman Project, Wyoming: The District has requested that its Meeks Cabin repayment contract be amended from two 25-year contacts to one 40-year contract, or that the second 25-year contract be negotiated, as outlined in the original contract.

    5. Strawberry High Line Canal Company, Strawberry Valley Project; Utah: The Strawberry High Line Canal Company has requested to allow for the carriage of nonproject water held by McMullin Orchards in the High Line Canal.

    6. Grand Valley Water Users Association and Orchard Mesa ID, Grand Valley Project, Colorado: A contract under the Upper Colorado Recovery Program for delivery of non-project water to the Grand Valley Power Plant. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will also be a party to the contract.

    7. Eden Valley IDD, Eden Project, Wyoming: The District proposes to raise the level of Big Sandy Dam to fully perfect its water rights. A supplemental O&M agreement will be necessary to obtain the authorization to modify Federal facilities.

    8. Tri-County Water Conservancy District, Dallas Creek Project, Colorado: A contract under the Upper Colorado Recovery Program to construct and transfer O&M of a fish barrier net at Dallas Creek Project. The State of Colorado, Colorado Parks and Wildlife Department will also be a party to the contract.

    9. Dolores Water Conservancy District, Dolores Project, Colorado: The District has requested a contract amendment to update articles related to releases for downstream uses.

    10. Newton Water Users Association, Newton Project; Utah: The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources desires to install a fish screen on the outlet works of Newton Dam. This requires an agreement to approve modification to Federal Reclamation facilities.

    11. Pojoaque Valley ID, San Juan-Chama Project, New Mexico: An amendment to the repayment contract to reflect the changed allocations as a result of the Aamodt Litigation Settlement Act (Title VI of the Claims Resolution Act of 2010, Pub. L. 111-291, December 8, 2010) is being discussed.

    12. South Cache Water Users Association, Hyrum Project, Utah: Problems with the spillway at Hyrum Dam require the construction of a new spillway under the SOD Act, as amended. A repayment contract is necessary to recover 15 percent of the construction costs in accordance with the SOD Act.

    13. Uintah Water Conservancy District; Vernal Unit, CUP; Utah: Due to sloughing on the face of Steinaker Dam north of Vernal, Utah, a SOD fix authorized under the SOD Act may be necessary to perform the various functions needed to bring Steinaker Reservoir back to full capacity. This will require a repayment contract with the United States.

    14. Salt River Project Agricultural Improvement and Power District, Salt River Project; Glen Canyon Unit, CRSP; Arizona: The District has requested an extension of its existing contract from 2034 through 2044. This action is awaiting further development by the District.

    15. Dolores Water Conservancy District, Dolores Project, Colorado: The District has requested a water service contract for 1,402 acre-feet of newly identified project water for irrigation. The proposed water service contract will provide 417 acre-feet of project water for irrigation of the Ute Enterprise and 985 acre-feet for use by the District's full-service irrigators.

    16. Utah Division of State Parks, Utah: Requested an early renewal of its 11 State Parks Agreements for recreation management at various Reclamation Reservoirs.

    17. State of Wyoming, Seedskadee Project; Wyoming. The Wyoming Water Development Commission is interested in purchasing an additional 65,000 acre-feet of M&I water from Fontenelle Reservoir.

    18. Ute Indian Tribe of the Uinta and Ouray Reservation, CUP, Utah: The Ute Indian Tribe of the Uinta and Ouray Reservation has requested the use of excess capacity in the Strawberry Aqueduct and Collection System, as authorized in the CUP Completion Act legislation.

    19. Ute Indian Tribe of the Uinta and Ouray Reservation; Flaming Gorge Unit, CRSP; Utah: As part of discussions on settlement of a potential compact, the Ute Indian Tribe of the Uinta and Ouray Reservation has indicated interest in storage of its potential water right in Flaming Gorge Reservoir.

    20. State of Utah; Flaming Gorge Unit, CRSP; Utah: The State of Utah has requested contracts that will allow the full development and use of the CUP Ultimate Phase water right of 158,000 acre-feet of depletion, which was previously assigned to the State of Utah.

    21. Weber Basin Water Conservancy District, Weber Basin Project, Utah: The District has requested permission to install a low-flow hydro-electric generation plant at Causey Reservoir to take advantage of winter releases. This will likely be accomplished through a supplemental O&M contract.

    22. Central Utah Water Conservancy District; Bonneville Unit, CUP; Utah: The District has received a request to convert 300 acre-feet of irrigation water in Wasatch County to M&I purposes. This will require an amended block notice.

    23. Mancos Water Conservancy District, Mancos Project, Colorado: Proposed preliminary lease and funding agreement for preliminary work associated with potential lease of power privilege.

    24. Mancos Water Conservancy District, Mancos Project, Colorado: Proposed funding agreement for preliminary work associated with the evaluation of title transfer.

    25. Collbran Water Conservancy District, Collbran Project, Colorado: Laramie Energy has requested a water exchange contract.

    26. Mancos Water Conservancy District, Mancos Project, Colorado: The District and Reclamation are discussing an amendment to the Public Law 111-11 repayment contract for rehabilitation of the Jackson Gulch facilities to continue to facilitate the District's ability to receive funding under the legislation.

    27. Collbran Water Conservancy District, Collbran Project, Colorado: The District has requested an exchange contract with William Morse for exchange of water on the Collbran Project.

    28. Ute Mountain Ute Tribe, Animas-La Plata Project, Colorado: Ute Mountain Ute Tribe has requested a water delivery contract for 16,525 acre-feet of M&I water; contract terms to be consistent with the Colorado Ute Settlement Act Amendments of 2000 (Title III of Pub. L. 106-554).

    29. Navajo-Gallup Water Supply Project, New Mexico: Reclamation continues negotiations on an OM&R transfer contract with the Navajo Tribal Utility Authority pursuant to Public Law 111-11, Section 10602(f) which transfers responsibilities to carry out the OM&R of transferred works of the Project; ensures the continuation of the intended benefits of the Project; distribution of water; and sets forth the allocation and payment of annual OM&R costs of the Project.

    30. Animas-La Plata Project, Colorado-New Mexico: (a) Navajo Nation title transfer agreement for the Navajo Nation Municipal Pipeline for facilities and land outside the corporate boundaries of the City of Farmington, New Mexico; contract terms to be consistent with the Colorado Ute Settlement Act Amendments of 2000 (Title III of Pub. L. 106-554) and the Northwestern New Mexico Rural Water Projects Act (Title X of Pub. L. 111-11); (b) City of Farmington, New Mexico, title transfer agreement for the Navajo Nation Municipal Pipeline for facilities and land inside the corporate boundaries of the City of Farmington; New Mexico, contract terms to be consistent with the Colorado Ute Settlement Act Amendments of 2000 (Title III of Pub. L. 106-554) and the Northwestern New Mexico Rural Water Projects Act (Title X of Pub. L. 111-11); and (c) Operations agreement among the United States, Navajo Nation, and City of Farmington for the Navajo Nation Municipal Pipeline pursuant to Public Law 111-11, Section 10605(b)(1) that sets forth any terms and conditions that secures an operations protocol for the M&I water supply.

    31. Weber Basin Water Conservancy District, Weber Basin Project, Utah: The District has requested a contract to allow the storage of Weber Basin Project water in Smith Morehouse Reservoir under the authority of Section 14 of the Reclamation Projects Act of 1939.

    32. Strawberry High Line Canal Company, Strawberry Valley Project; Utah: The Strawberry High Line Canal Company has requested a conversion of up to 20,000 acre-feet of irrigation water to be allowed for miscellaneous use.

    33. Emery County Water Conservancy District, Emery County Project, Utah: The District has requested to convert 79 acre-feet of Cottonwood Creek Consolidated Irrigation Company water from irrigation to M&I uses.

    34. City of Page, Arizona; Glen Canyon Unit, CRSP; Arizona: Request for a long-term contract for 975 acre-feet of water for municipal purposes.

    Discontinued contract actions:

    1. (11) Newton Water Users Association, Newton Project; Utah: The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources desires to install a fish screen on the outlet works of Newton Dam. This requires a supplementary O&M agreement to approve modification to Federal Reclamation facilities.

    2. (13) Weber Basin Water Conservancy District, A.V. Watkins Dam, Utah: The United States intends to enter into an implementation agreement with the District giving the District the authority to modify Federal facilities to raise the crest of A.V. Watkins Dam.

    Completed contract actions:

    1. (5) Ephraim Irrigation Company, Sanpete Project, Utah: The Company proposes to enclose the Ephraim Tunnel with a 54-inch pipe. A supplemental O&M agreement will be necessary to obtain the authorization to modify Federal facilities. Agreement executed April 19, 2017.

    2. (35) VBC Owners Association; Aspinall Unit, CRSP; Colorado: The association has requested a long-term water service contract for 8 acre-feet of water out of the Aspinall Unit, CRSP. Contract executed September 11, 2017.

    3. (39) Florida Water Conservancy District, Florida Project, Colorado: The United States and the District, pursuant to Section 4 of the CRSP, and subsection 9(c)(2) of the Reclamation Projects Act of 1939, propose to execute a water service contract for 2,500 acre-feet of Florida Project water for M&I and other miscellaneous beneficial uses, other than commercial agricultural irrigation, within the District boundaries in La Plata County, Colorado. Contract executed October 18, 2017.

    Great Plains Region: Bureau of Reclamation, P.O. Box 36900, Federal Building, 2021 4th Avenue North, Billings, Montana 59101, telephone 406-247-7752.

    1. Irrigation, M&I, and miscellaneous water users; Colorado, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, and Wyoming: Water service contracts for the sale, conveyance, storage, and exchange of surplus project water and nonproject water for irrigation or M&I use to provide up to 10,000 acre-feet of water annually for a term of up to 1 year, or up to 1,000 acre-feet of water annually for a term of up to 40 years.

    2. Water user entities responsible for payment of O&M costs for Reclamation projects in Colorado, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, and Wyoming: Contracts for extraordinary maintenance and replacement funded pursuant to Subtitle G of Public Law 111-11.

    3. Green Mountain Reservoir, Colorado-Big Thompson Project, Colorado: Water service contracts for irrigation and M&I; contracts for the sale of water from the marketable yield to water users within the Colorado River Basin of western Colorado.

    4. Garrison Diversion Conservancy District, Garrison Diversion Unit, P-SMBP, North Dakota: Intent to modify long-term water service contract to add additional irrigated acres.

    5. Fryingpan-Arkansas Project, Colorado: Consideration of excess capacity contracting in the Fryingpan-Arkansas Project.

    6. Colorado-Big Thompson Project, Colorado: Consideration of excess capacity contracting in the Colorado-Big Thompson Project.

    7. Roger W. Evans (Individual); Boysen Unit, P-SMBP; Wyoming: Renewal of long-term water service contract.

    8. Busk-Ivanhoe, Inc., Fryingpan-Arkansas Project, Colorado: Contract for long-term carriage and storage, and/or a new contract for an additional use of water.

    9. State of Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks; Glen Elder Unit, P-SMBP; Kansas: Intent to enter into a contract for the remaining conservation storage in Waconda Lake for recreation and fish and wildlife purposes.

    10. Arkansas Valley Conduit, Fryingpan-Arkansas Project, Colorado: Consideration of a repayment contract for the Arkansas Valley Conduit, and signing a contract to use infrastructure owned by the Pueblo Board of Water Works.

    11. Donala Water and Sanitation District, Fryingpan-Arkansas Project, Colorado: Consideration of a long-term excess capacity contract.

    12. Purgatoire Water Conservancy District, Trinidad Project, Colorado: Consideration of a request to amend the contract.

    13. Central Oklahoma Master Conservancy District, Norman Project, Oklahoma: Amend existing contract No. 14-06-500-590 to execute a separate contract(s) to allow for importation and storage of nonproject water in accordance with the Lake Thunderbird Efficient Use Act of 2012.

    14. Tom Green County Water Control and Improvement District No. 1, San Angelo Project, Texas: Consideration of a potential contract(s) for use of excess capacity by individual landowner(s) for irrigation purposes.

    15. Western Heart River ID; Heart Butte Unit, P-SMBP; North Dakota: Consideration of amending the long-term irrigation repayment contract and project-use power contract to include additional acres.

    16. Dickinson-Heart River Mutual Aid Corporation; Dickinson Unit, Heart Division; P-SMBP; North Dakota: Consideration of amending the long-term irrigation water service contract to modify the acres irrigated.

    17. Buford-Trenton ID, Buford-Trenton Project, P-SMBP; North Dakota: Consideration of amending the long-term irrigation power repayment contract and project-use power contract to include additional acres.

    18. Milk River Project, Montana: Proposed amendment to contracts to reflect current landownership.

    19. Glen Elder ID No. 8; Glen Elder Unit, P-SMBP; Kansas: Consideration to renew long-term water service contract No. 2-07-60-W0855.

    20. Town of Estes Park, Colorado-Big Thompson Project, Colorado: Consideration of a renewal of contract with the Town of Estes Park.

    21. Bureau of Land Management, Fryingpan-Arkansas Project, Colorado: Consideration of excess capacity contracting to store water in the Fryingpan-Arkansas Project.

    22. Southeastern Colorado Water Conservancy District, Fryingpan-Arkansas Project, Colorado: Consideration of amending contract No. 5-07-70-W0086 and convert or renew contract No. 5-07-70-W0086.

    23. Fresno Dam, Milk River Project, Montana: Consideration of contract(s) for repayment of SOD costs.

    24. Western Heart River ID; Heart Butte Unit, P-SMBP; North Dakota: Consideration of contract for repayment of SOD costs.

    25. Keyhole Country Club; Keyhole Unit, P-SMBP; North Dakota: Consideration of renewal of contract No. 8-07-60-WS042.

    26. Canyon Ferry Water Users Association; Canyon Ferry Unit, P-SMBP;

    Montana: Consideration for new long-term repayment contract.

    27. City of Thermopolis; Boysen Unit, P-SMBP; Wyoming: Consideration for renewal of long-term water service contract No. 8-07-WS050 with the City of Thermopolis.

    28. Kansas Bostwick ID, Bostwick Division, P-SMBP, Kansas: Consideration of an excess capacity contract to store water in Harlan County Lake.

    Discontinued contract action:

    1. (7) Northern Integrated Supply Project, Colorado-Big Thompson Project, Colorado: Consideration of a new long-term contract with approximately 15 regional water suppliers and the Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District for the Northern Integrated Supply Project.

    Dated: February 12, 2018. Ruth Welch, Director, Policy and Administration.
    [FR Doc. 2018-10412 Filed 5-15-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4332-90-P
    DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Bureau of Reclamation [RR02054000, 18XR0687NA, RX.18527901.3000000] Central Valley Project Improvement Act Water Management Plans AGENCY:

    Bureau of Reclamation, Interior.

    ACTION:

    Notice of availability.

    SUMMARY:

    The Bureau of Reclamation has made available to the public the Water Management Plans for twelve entities. For the purpose of this announcement, Water Management Plans (Plans) are considered the same as Water Conservation Plans. Reclamation is publishing this notice in order to allow the public an opportunity to review the Plans and comment on the preliminary determinations.

    DATES:

    Submit written comments on the preliminary determinations on or before June 15, 2018.

    ADDRESSES:

    Send written comments to Ms. Charlene Stemen, Bureau of Reclamation, 2800 Cottage Way, MP-400, Sacramento, CA 95825; or via email at [email protected]

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    To be placed on a mailing list for any subsequent information, please contact Ms. Charlene Stemen at [email protected], or at 916-978-5218 (TDD 978-5608).

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Section 3405(e) of the Central Valley Project Improvement Act (Title 34 Pub. L. 102-575), requires the Secretary of the Interior to, amongst other things, “develop criteria for evaluating the adequacy of all water conservation plans” developed by certain contractors. According to Section 3405(e)(1), these criteria must promote, “the highest level of water use efficiency reasonably achievable by project contractors using best available cost-effective technology and best management practices.” In accordance with this legislative mandate, the Bureau of Reclamation developed and published the Criteria for Evaluating Water Management Plans (Criteria). Each of the twelve entities listed below developed a Plan that Reclamation evaluated and preliminarily determined meets the requirements of the Criteria. The following Plans are available for review:

    • City of Roseville • City of Santa Barbara • Contra Costa Water District • Del Puerto Water District • Dunnigan Water District • East Bay Municipal Utilities District • El Dorado Irrigation District • Proberta Water District • Santa Clara Valley Water District • Shafter-Wasco Irrigation District • Truckee-Carson Irrigation District • Tulelake Irrigation District

    We invite the public to comment on our preliminary (i.e., draft) determination of Plan adequacy. A copy of these Plans will be available for review at Reclamation's Mid-Pacific Regional Office, 2800 Cottage Way, MP-410, Sacramento, CA 95825. If you wish to review a copy of these Plans, please contact Ms. Stemen.

    Public Disclosure

    Our practice is to make comments, including names and home addresses of respondents, available for public review. Before including your address, phone number, email address, or other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment—including your personal identifying information—may be made publicly available at any time. While you can ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying information from public review, we cannot guarantee we will be able to do so.

    Dated: May 8, 2018. Richard J. Woodley, Regional Resources Manager, Mid-Pacific Region, Bureau of Reclamation.
    [FR Doc. 2018-10409 Filed 5-15-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4332-90-P
    DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement [Docket ID BSEE-2018-0009; 189E1700D2 ET1SF0000.PSB000.EEEE500000; OMB Control Number 1014-0024] Agency Information Collection Activities; Plans and Information AGENCY:

    Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, Interior.

    ACTION:

    Notice of information collection; request for comment.

    SUMMARY:

    In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) proposes to renew an information collection.

    DATES:

    Interested persons are invited to submit comments on or before July 16, 2018.

    ADDRESSES:

    Send your comments on this information collection request (ICR) by either of the following methods listed below:

    • Electronically go to http://www.regulations.gov. In the Search box, enter BSEE-2018-0009 then click search. Follow the instructions to submit public comments and view all related materials. We will post all comments.

    • Email [email protected], fax (703) 787-1546, or mail or hand-carry comments to the Department of the Interior; Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement; Regulations and Standards Branch; ATTN: Nicole Mason; 45600 Woodland Road, Sterling, VA 20166. Please reference OMB Control Number 1014-0024 in the subject line of your comments.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    To request additional information about this ICR, contact Nicole Mason by email at [email protected] or by telephone at (703) 787-1607.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, we provide the general public and other Federal agencies with an opportunity to comment on new, proposed, revised, and continuing collections of information. This helps us assess the impact of our information collection requirements and minimize the public's reporting burden. It also helps the public understand our information collection requirements and provide the requested data in the desired format.

    We are soliciting comments on the proposed ICR that is described below. We are especially interested in public comments addressing the following issues: (1) Is the collection necessary to the proper functions of BSEE; (2) Will this information be processed and used in a timely manner; (3) Is the estimate of burden accurate; (4) How might BSEE enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (5) How might BSEE minimize the burden of this collection on the respondents, including through the use of information technology.

    Comments that you submit in response to this notice are a matter of public record. We will include or summarize each comment in our request to OMB to approve this ICR. Before including your address, phone number, email address, or other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment—including your personal identifying information—may be made publicly available at any time. While you can ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so.

    Abstract: The regulations at 30 CFR part 250, subpart B, concern plans and information and are the subject of this collection. This request also covers any related Notices to Lessees and Operators (NTLs) that BSEE issues to clarify, supplement, or provide additional guidance on some aspects of our regulations.

    Post-Approval Requirements for the Exploration Plans, Development and Production Plans, and Development Operation Coordination Document: While the information is submitted to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, BSEE analyzes and evaluates the information and data collected under this section of subpart B to verify that an ongoing/completed OCS operation is/was conducted in compliance with established environmental standards placed on the activity.

    Deepwater Operations Plan (DWOP): BSEE analyzes and evaluates the information and data collected under this section of subpart B to ensure that planned operations are safe; will not adversely affect the marine, coastal, or human environment; and will conserve the resources of the OCS. We use the information to make an informed decision on whether to approve the proposed DWOPs, or whether modifications are necessary without the analysis and evaluation of the required information.

    Title of Collection: 30 CFR part 250, subpart B, Plans and Information.

    OMB Control Number: 1014-0024.

    Form Number: None.

    Type of Review: Extension of a currently approved collection.

    Respondents/Affected Public: Potential respondents comprise Federal OCS oil, gas, and sulfur lessees/operators and holders of pipeline rights-of-way.

    Total Estimated Number of Annual Respondents: Varies, not all potential respondents will submit information in any given year and some may submit multiple times.

    Total Estimated Number of Annual Responses: 64.

    Estimated Completion Time per Response: Varies from 180 hours to 1,140 hours, depending on activity.

    Total Estimated Number of Annual Burden Hours: 37,084.

    Respondent's Obligation: Most responses are mandatory, while others are required to obtain or retain benefits.

    Frequency of Collection: Submissions are generally on occasion.

    Total Estimated Annual Nonhour Burden Cost: $39,589. Submission of a DWOP (§ 250.292) requires a cost recovery fee of $3,599.

    An agency may not conduct or sponsor and a person is not required to respond to a collection of information unless it displays a currently valid OMB control number.

    The authority for this action is the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq).

    Dated: March 5, 2018. Doug Morris, Chief, Office of Offshore Regulatory Programs.
    [FR Doc. 2018-10415 Filed 5-15-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4310-VH-P
    INTERNATIONAL TRADE COMMISSION [Investigation No. 337-TA-1046] Certain Non-Volatile Memory Devices and Products Containing the Same; Notice of Request for Statement on the Public Interest AGENCY:

    U.S. International Trade Commission.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    Notice is hereby given that the presiding administrative law judge has issued a Final Initial Determination and Recommended Determination on Remedy and Bonding in the above-captioned investigation. The Commission is soliciting comments on public interest issues raised by the recommended relief, specifically a limited exclusion order directed to respondents Toshiba Corporation of Tokyo, Japan; Toshiba Memory Corporation of Tokyo, Japan; Toshiba America, Inc. of New York, New York; Toshiba America Electronic Components, Inc. of Irvine, California; Toshiba America Information Systems, Inc. of Irvine, California; and Toshiba Information Equipment (Philippines), Inc. of Binan, Philippines, and cease and desist orders directed to the domestic respondents. This notice is soliciting public interest comments from the public only. Parties are to file public interest submissions pursuant to Commission rules.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Panyin A. Hughes, Office of the General Counsel, U.S. International Trade Commission, 500 E Street SW, Washington, DC 20436, telephone (202) 205-3042. The public version of the complaint can be accessed on the Commission's electronic docket (EDIS) at https://edis.usitc.gov, and will be available for inspection during official business hours (8:45 a.m. to 5:15 p.m.) in the Office of the Secretary, U.S. International Trade Commission, 500 E Street SW, Washington, DC 20436, telephone (202) 205-2000.

    General information concerning the Commission may also be obtained by accessing its internet server (https://www.usitc.gov). The public record for this investigation may be viewed on the Commission's electronic docket (EDIS) at https://edis.usitc.gov. Hearing-impaired persons are advised that information on this matter can be obtained by contacting the Commission's TDD terminal on (202) 205-1810.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930 provides that if the Commission finds a violation it shall exclude the articles concerned from the United States:

    unless, after considering the effect of such exclusion upon the public health and welfare, competitive conditions in the United States economy, the production of like or directly competitive articles in the United States, and United States consumers, it finds that such articles should not be excluded from entry.

    19 U.S.C. 1337(d)(1). A similar provision applies to cease and desist orders. 19 U.S.C. 1337(f)(1).

    The Commission is interested in further development of the record on the public interest in these investigations. Accordingly, parties are to file public interest submissions pursuant to pursuant to 19 CFR 210.50(a)(4). In addition, members of the public are hereby invited to file submissions of no more than five (5) pages, inclusive of attachments, concerning the public interest in light of the administrative law judge's Recommended Determination on Remedy and Bonding issued in this investigation on May 10, 2018. Comments should address whether issuance of a limited exclusion order and cease and desist orders in this investigation would affect the public health and welfare in the United States, competitive conditions in the United States economy, the production of like or directly competitive articles in the United States, or United States consumers.

    In particular, the Commission is interested in comments that:

    (i) Explain how the articles potentially subject to the recommended orders are used in the United States;

    (ii) identify any public health, safety, or welfare concerns in the United States relating to the recommended orders;

    (iii) identify like or directly competitive articles that complainant, its licensees, or third parties make in the United States which could replace the subject articles if they were to be excluded;

    (iv) indicate whether complainant, complainant's licensees, and/or third party suppliers have the capacity to replace the volume of articles potentially subject to the recommended exclusion order and/or a cease and desist order within a commercially reasonable time; and

    (v) explain how the limited exclusion order and cease and desist orders would impact consumers in the United States.

    Written submissions from the public must be filed no later than by close of business on June 5, 2018.

    Persons filing written submissions must file the original document electronically on or before the deadlines stated above and submit 8 true paper copies to the Office of the Secretary by noon the next day pursuant to section 210.4(f) of the Commission's Rules of Practice and Procedure (19 CFR 210.4(f)). Submissions should refer to the investigation number (“Inv. No. 337-TA-1016”) in a prominent place on the cover page and/or the first page. (See Handbook for Electronic Filing Procedures, https://www.usitc.gov/secretary/documents/handbook_on_filing_procedures.pdf). Persons with questions regarding filing should contact the Secretary (202-205-2000).

    Any person desiring to submit a document to the Commission in confidence must request confidential treatment. All such requests should be directed to the Secretary to the Commission and must include a full statement of the reasons why the Commission should grant such treatment. See 19 CFR 201.6. Documents for which confidential treatment by the Commission is properly sought will be treated accordingly. All information, including confidential business information and documents for which confidential treatment is properly sought, submitted to the Commission for purposes of this Investigation may be disclosed to and used: (i) By the Commission, its employees and Offices, and contract personnel (a) for developing or maintaining the records of this or a related proceeding, or (b) in internal investigations, audits, reviews, and evaluations relating to the programs, personnel, and operations of the Commission including under 5 U.S.C. Appendix 3; or (ii) by U.S. government employees and contract personnel,[1] solely for cybersecurity purposes. All nonconfidential written submissions will be available for public inspection at the Office of the Secretary and on EDIS.

    [1] All contract personnel will sign appropriate nondisclosure agreements.

    This action is taken under the authority of section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (19 U.S.C. 1337), and in Part 210 of the Commission's Rules of Practice and Procedure (19 CFR part 210).

    By order of the Commission.

    Issued: May 11, 2018. Lisa Barton, Secretary to the Commission.
    [FR Doc. 2018-10451 Filed 5-15-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 7020-02-P
    DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE National Institute of Corrections Advisory Board; Notice of Meeting

    This notice announces a forthcoming meeting of the National Institute of Corrections (NIC) Advisory Board. The meeting will be open to the public, with one portion closed to the public.

    Name of the Committee: NIC Advisory Board.

    General Function of the Committee: To aid the National Institute of Corrections in developing long-range plans, advise on program development, and recommend guidance to assist NIC's efforts in the areas of training, technical assistance, information services, and policy/program development assistance to Federal, state, and local corrections agencies.

    Date and Time: 8:00 a.m.-4:30 p.m. on Thursday, June 21, 2018; 8:00 a.m.-11:00 a.m. on Friday, June 22, 2018

    Location: National Institute of Corrections, 500 First Street NW, 2nd Floor, Washington, DC 20534, (202) 514-4202.

    Contact Person: Shaina Vanek, Acting Director, National Institute of Corrections, 320 First Street NW, Room 5002, Washington, DC 20534. To contact Ms. Vanek, please call (202) 514-4202.

    Agenda: On June 21, 2018, the Advisory Board will discuss/address the following topics:

    (1) Agency Report from the NIC Acting Director,

    (2) briefings on current activities and future goals, and

    (3) updates from partner agencies and associations. On June 22, 2018, the Advisory Board will discuss the NIC Director candidates, the status of the position, and the related appointment process.

    Procedure: On June 21, 2018, the meeting is open to the public. Interested persons may present data, information, or views, orally or in writing, on issues pending before the committee. Written submissions may be made to the contact person on or before June 8, 2018. Oral presentations from the public will be scheduled between approximately 11:15 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. and 3:45 p.m. and 4:15 p.m. on June 21, 2018. Time allotted for each presentation may be limited. Those desiring to make formal oral presentations should notify the contact person and submit a brief statement of the general nature of the evidence or arguments they wish to present, the names and addresses of proposed participants, and an indication of the approximate time requested to make their presentation on or before June 8, 2018.

    Closed Committee Deliberations: June 22, 2018, between 8:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m., the meeting will be closed to permit discussion of information that (1) relates solely to the internal personnel rules and practices of an agency (5 U.S.C. 552b(c)(2)), and (2) is of a personal nature where disclosure would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy (5 U.S.C. 552b(c)(6)). The Advisory Board will discuss the NIC Director candidates and recommendations made to the U.S. Attorney General, the status of the position, and the related appointment process.

    General Information: NIC welcomes the attendance of the public at its advisory committee meetings and will make every effort to accommodate persons with physical disabilities or special needs. If you require special accommodations due to a disability, please contact Shaina Vanek at least 7 days in advance of the meeting. Notice of this meeting is given under the Federal Advisory Committee Act (5 U.S.C. app. 2).

    Shaina Vanek, Acting Director, National Institute of Corrections.
    [FR Doc. 2018-10406 Filed 5-15-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4410-36-P
    NATIONAL TRANSPORTATION SAFETY BOARD Sunshine Act Meeting TIME AND DATE:

    9:30 a.m., Tuesday, May 22, 2018.

    PLACE:

    NTSB Conference Center, 429 L'Enfant Plaza SW, Washington, DC 20594.

    STATUS:

    The one item is open to the public.

    MATTERS TO BE CONSIDERED:

    57905 Highway Special Investigation Report—Selective Issues in School Bus Transportation Safety: Crashes in Baltimore, Maryland, and Chattanooga, Tennessee. News Media Contact: Telephone: (202) 314-6100

    The press and public may enter the NTSB Conference Center one hour prior to the meeting for set up and seating.

    Individuals requesting specific accommodations should contact Rochelle McCallister at (202) 314-6305 or by email at [email protected] by Wednesday, May 16, 2018.

    The public may view the meeting via a live or archived webcast by accessing a link under “News & Events” on the NTSB home page at www.ntsb.gov.

    Schedule updates, including weather-related cancellations, are also available at www.ntsb.gov.

    CONTACT PERSON FOR MORE INFORMATION:

    Candi Bing at (202) 314-6403 or by email at [email protected]

    For Media Information Contact: Keith Holloway at (202) 314-6100 or by email at [email protected]

    Monday, May 14, 2018. LaSean McCray, Assistant Federal Register Liaison Officer.
    [FR Doc. 2018-10537 Filed 5-14-18; 11:15 am] BILLING CODE 7533-01-P
    NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION Docket No. 72-1051; NRC-2018-0052] Holtec International HI-STORE Consolidated Interim Storage Facility Project AGENCY:

    Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

    ACTION:

    Environmental impact statement; public scoping comment meetings; extension of comment period.

    SUMMARY:

    On March 30, 2018, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) published in the Federal Register a notice of its intent to prepare an environmental impact statement (EIS) and requested public comments on the scope of its environmental review of Holtec International's (Holtec) application for the HI-STORE Combined Interim Storage Facility (CISF). The NRC is announcing two additional local public comment scoping meetings, an extension of the comment period, and an additional method to submit scoping comments by email.

    DATES:

    The due date of comments requested in the document published on March 30, 2018 (83 FR 13802) is extended. Comments should be filed no later than July 30, 2018. Comments received after this date will be considered, if it is practical to do so, but the Commission is able to ensure consideration only for comments received on or before this date.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments by any of the following methods:

    Federal Rulemaking Website: Go to http://www.regulations.gov and search for Docket ID NRC-2018-0052. Address questions about NRC dockets to Jennifer Borges; telephone: 301-287-9127; email: [email protected] For technical questions, contact the individual listed in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section of this document.

    Mail comments to: May Ma, Office of Administration, Mail Stop: TWFN-7-A60M, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555-0001.

    Email comments to: [email protected]

    For additional direction on obtaining information and submitting comments, see “Obtaining Information and Submitting Comments” in the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section of this document.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Jill Caverly, Office of Nuclear Material Safety and Safeguards, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington DC 20555-0001; telephone: 301-415-7674; email: [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    I. Obtaining Information and Submitting Comments A. Obtaining Information

    Please refer to Docket ID NRC-2018-0052 when contacting the NRC about the availability of information for this action. You may obtain publicly-available information related to this action by the following methods:

    Federal Rulemaking Website: Go to http://www.regulations.gov and search for Docket ID NRC-2018-0052.

    NRC's Agencywide Documents Access and Management System (ADAMS): You may obtain publicly-available documents online in the ADAMS Public Documents collection at http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/adams.html. To begin the search, select “ADAMS Public Documents” and then select “Begin Web-based ADAMS Search.” For problems with ADAMS, please contact the NRC's Public Document Room (PDR) reference staff at 1-800-397-4209, 301-415-4737, or by email to [email protected]

    NRC'S PDR: You may examine and purchase copies of public documents at the NRC's PDR, Room O1-F21, One White Flint North, 11555 Rockville Pike, Rockville, Maryland 20852.

    Project web page: Information related to the Holtec HI-STORE CISF project can be accessed on the NRC's Holtec HI-STORE CISF web page at https://www.nrc.gov/waste/spent-fuel-storage/cis/holtec-international.html.

    Public Libraries: A copy of the application's Environmental Report can be accessed at the following public libraries: Carlsbad Public Library, 101 S. Halegueno Street, Carlsbad, NM 88220; Hobbs Public Library, 509 N. Shipp St., Hobbs, NM 88240; or Roswell Public Library, 301 N. Pennsylvania, Roswell, NM 88201.

    B. Submitting Comments

    Please include Docket ID NRC-2018-0052 in your comment submission. Written comments may be submitted during the scoping period as described in the ADDRESSES section of this document.

    The NRC cautions you not to include identifying or contact information that you do not want to be publicly disclosed in your comment submission. The NRC posts all comment submissions at http://www.regulations.gov and enters all comment submissions into ADAMS. The NRC does not routinely edit comment submissions to remove identifying or contact information.

    If you are requesting or aggregating comments from other persons for submission to the NRC, then you should inform those persons not to include identifying or contact information that they do not want to be publicly disclosed in their comment submission, because the NRC does not routinely edit comment submissions before making the comment submissions available to the public or entering the comment submissions into ADAMS.

    II. Meeting Information

    On March 30, 2018 (83 FR 13802), the NRC published in the Federal Register a notice of its intent to prepare an EIS on Holtec's proposed CISF for spent nuclear fuel and requested public comments on the scope of the EIS. The NRC has already held three local public meetings in Roswell, New Mexico; Hobbs, New Mexico; and Carlsbad, New Mexico, as well as one webinar and a public meeting at NRC headquarters in Rockville, Maryland. The NRC is announcing two additional local public scoping meetings in Gallup, New Mexico, and Albuquerque, New Mexico. The dates and times for the open houses and public meetings are as follows:

    Meeting Date Time Location Open House and Public Scoping Meeting May 21, 2018 Open House 5:00 p.m.-6:00 p.m.; Public Meeting 6:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m. (MDT) Gallup, New Mexico. Address: Gallup Downtown Conference Center, 204 W Coal Ave., Gallup, NM 87301. Open House and Public Scoping Meeting May 22, 2018 Open House 5:00 p.m.-6:00 p.m.; Public Meeting 6:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m. (MT) Albuquerque, New Mexico. Address: Crown Plaza, 1901 University Blvd., Albuquerque, NM 87102.

    Persons interested in attending these meetings should check the NRC's Public Meeting Schedule web page at https://www.nrc.gov/pmns/mtg for additional information and agendas for the meetings.

    III. Extending Public Comment Scoping Period

    The NRC is extending the public comment scoping period for an additional 60 days, to July 30, 2018.

    IV. Submitting Comments

    Members of the public have requested the ability to submit their scoping comments to an NRC email address, in addition to the methods previously offered through the mail and through the Federal Rulemaking website. Accordingly, the NRC will now also accept comments submitted by email to [email protected]

    Dated at Rockville, Maryland, this 11th day of May, 2018.

    For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

    Craig G. Erlanger, Director, Division of Fuel Cycle Safety, Safeguards, and Environmental Review, Office of Nuclear Material Safety and Safeguards.
    [FR Doc. 2018-10418 Filed 5-15-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 7590-01-P
    PEACE CORPS Information Collection Request Submission for OMB Review AGENCY:

    Peace Corps.

    ACTION:

    60-Day notice and request for comments.

    SUMMARY:

    The Peace Corps will be submitting the following information collection request to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review and approval. The purpose of this notice is to allow 60 days for public comment in the Federal Register preceding submission to OMB. We are conducting this process in accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995.

    DATES:

    Submit comments on or before July 16, 2018.

    ADDRESSES:

    Comments should be addressed to Virginia Burke, FOIA/Privacy Act Officer. Virginia Burke can be contacted by telephone at 202-692-1236 or email at [email protected] Email comments must be made in text and not in attachments.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Virginia Burke can be contacted by telephone at 202-692-1236 or email at [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Title: RPCV Event Bulletin Board.

    OMB Control Number: 0420-****.

    Type of Request: New.

    Affected Public: Individuals.

    Respondents Obligation to Reply: Voluntary.

    Burden to the Public:

    Estimated burden (hours) of the collection of information:

    a. Number of respondents: 50.

    b. Frequency of response: 10 times.

    c. Completion time: 5 minutes.

    d. Annual burden hours: 42 hours.

    General Description of Collection: The event information submitted via the form will be used to (1) populate events on the RPCV Events Bulletin Board web page; (2) assess the events for compliance with the Peace Corps statutory authority, regulations, and policy; (3) enable 3GL to better understand and support activities of RPCV groups related to the Third Goal and career; and (4) enable University Programs to better understand and support activities of the Paul. D. Coverdell Fellows partner universities related to RPCV career development.

    Request for Comment: Peace Corps invites comments on whether the proposed collections of information are necessary for proper performance of the functions of the Peace Corps, including whether the information will have practical use; the accuracy of the agency's estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information, including the validity of the information to be collected; and, ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond, including through the use of automated collection techniques, when appropriate, and other forms of information technology.

    This notice is issued in Washington, DC on May 3, 2018. Virginia Burke, FOIA/Privacy Act Officer, Management.
    [FR Doc. 2018-09879 Filed 5-15-18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6051-01-P
    PENSION BENEFIT GUARANTY CORPORATION Proposed Submission of Information Collection for OMB Review; Comment Request; Locating and Paying Participants AGENCY:

    Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation.

    ACTION:

    Notice of intent to request extension of OMB approval, with modifications.

    SUMMARY:

    The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) intends to request that the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) extend approval, with modifications, to a collection of information under the Paperwork Reduction Act. The purpose of the information collection is to enable PBGC to pay benefits to participants and beneficiaries. This notice informs the public of PBGC's intent and solicits public comment on the collection of information, as modified.

    DATES:

    Comments must be submitted by July 16, 2018.

    ADDRESSES:

    Comments may be submitted by any of the following methods:

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

    Email: [email protected]

    Mail or Hand Delivery: Regulatory Affairs Division, Office of the General Counsel, Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, 1200 K Street NW, Washington, DC 20005-4026.

    All comments received must include the agency's name (Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, or PBGC) and the OMB Control Number for the information collection (OMB Control No. 1212-0055). All comments received will be posted without change to PBGC's website, http://www.pbgc.gov, including any personal information provided. Copies of the collection of information may also be obtained without charge by writing to the Disclosure Division, Office of the General Counsel, Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, 1200 K Street NW, Washington, DC 20005-4026, or calling 202-326-4040 during normal business hours. (TTY users may call the Federal relay service toll-free at 800-877-8339 and ask to be connected to 202-326-4040.)

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Stephanie Cibinic ([email protected]), Deputy Assistant General Counsel, Regulatory Affairs Division, Office of the General Counsel, Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, 1200 K Street NW, Washington, DC 20005-4026, 202-326-4400, extension 6352. TTY users may call the Federal relay service toll-free at 800-877-8339 and ask to be connected to 202-326-4400.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    This information collection is needed to pay participants and beneficiaries who may be entitled to pension benefits from plans that have terminated. It consists of information participants and beneficiaries are asked to provide in connection with an application for benefits. In addition, in some instances, PBGC requests individuals to provide identifying information so that it may determine whether the individuals may be entitled to benefits. All requested information is needed so that PBGC may determine benefit entitlements and make appropriate payments.

    This information collection includes My Pension Benefit Account (MyPBA), an application on PBGC's website, http://www.pbgc.gov, through which plan participants and beneficiaries may conduct electronic transactions with PBGC, including applying for pension benefits, designating a beneficiary, electing monthly payments, electing to withhold income tax from periodic payments, changing contact information, and applying for electronic direct deposit.

    PBGC is proposing to revise one form in this collection, the Power of Attorney Form (Form 715). The proposed revision would include:

    • Features previously unavailable—granting a durable power of attorney (DPOA) in addition to a nondurable power of attorney (NDPOA), and allowing a principal to name up to three agents to act on her behalf with PBGC (and to designate whether the agents have independent or joint authority), whereas the current form only has room for one agent to be named;

    • Features that would protect the principal—heightened requirements for granting authority and for executing the document (i.e., the principal's signature must be witnessed and notarized, and witnesses must meet certain criteria); and

    • A “Notice to the Principal,” to alert the principal about what powers she is granting to a designated agent, and an “Agent's Acknowledgement” to inform the agent about her duties and liabilities with respect to handling the principal's affairs.

    PBGC believes these revisions provide greater flexibility and greater protections against fraud for customers using the Form 715. Customers are not required to use this form and can use other DPOAs or NDPOAs that comply with applicable state laws.

    The existing collection of information was approved under OMB control number 1212-0055 (expires March 31, 2019). PBGC intends to request that OMB extend its approval (with modifications) for three years. An agency may not conduct or sponsor, and a person is not required to respond to, a collection of information unless it displays a currently valid OMB control number.

    PBGC estimates that it will receive 72,010 benefit application or information forms annually. The total annual burden associated with this collection of information is estimated to be 56,746 hours (approximately one hour for benefit applications and 30 minutes for information forms) and an estimated $56,711, which is the total average maximum cost of notary services for spousal consents on benefit applications and for the Form 715. PBGC estimates that from the above totals, 710 Form 715s will be filed annually at approximately 355 hours and $2,485.

    PBGC is soliciting public comments to—

    • Evaluate whether the collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information will have practical utility;

    • Evaluate the accuracy of the agency's estimate of the burden of the collection of information, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used;

    • Enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and

    • Minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond, including the use of appropriate automated, electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology, e.g., permitting electronic submission of responses.

    Issued in Washington, DC, by

    Stephanie Cibinic, Deputy Assistant General Counsel for Regulatory Affairs, Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation.
    [FR Doc. 2018-10374 Filed 5-15-18; 8:45 am]