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Proposed Rule

Drawbridge Operating Regulation; Gulf Intracoastal Waterway, Algiers Alternate Route, Louisiana

Document Details

Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

Published Document

This document has been published in the Federal Register. Use the PDF linked in the document sidebar for the official electronic format.

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AGENCY:

Coast Guard, DOT.

ACTION:

Notice of proposed rulemaking.

SUMMARY:

The Coast Guard proposes to change the regulation governing the operation of the State Route 23 vertical lift span drawbridge across the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway (Algiers Alternate Route), mile 3.8, at Belle Chasse, Louisiana. The change would allow the bridge to remain closed to navigation from 4 p.m. until 7 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday of the last weekend in October. This change would facilitate the movement of vehicular traffic from the New Orleans Open House Air Show held annually at the Naval Air Station, Joint Reserve Base at Belle Chasse, Louisiana.

DATES:

Comments and related material must reach the Coast Guard on or before September 27, 2000.

ADDRESSES:

You may mail comments and related material to Commander (ob), Eighth Coast Guard District, 501 Magazine St., Room 1313, New Orleans, LA 70130-3396. The Bridge Administration Branch of the Eighth Coast Guard District maintains the public docket for this rulemaking. Comments and materials received from the public, as well as documents indicated in this preamble as being available in the docket, will be available for inspection or copying at the office of the Eighth Coast Guard District, Bridge Administration Branch, Hale Boggs Federal Building, Room 1313, 501 Magazine Street, New Orleans, Louisiana 70130-3396 between 7 a.m. and 3 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Mr. David Frank, Bridge Administration Branch, Commander (ob), Eighth Coast Guard District, 501 Magazine Street, New Orleans, Louisiana, 70130-3396, telephone number 504-589-2965.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Regulatory Information

We encourage you to participate in this rulemaking by submitting comments and related material. If you do so, please include your name and address, identify the docket number for this rulemaking (CGD8-00-021), indicate the specific section of this document to which each comment applies, and give the reason for each comment. Please submit all comments and related material in an unbound format, no larger than 8 1/2 by 11 inches, suitable for copying. If you would like to know they reached us, please enclose a stamped, self-addressed postcard or envelope. We consider all comments and material received during the comment period. We may change this proposed rule in view of them.

Public Meeting

We do not plan to hold a public meeting. But you may submit a request for a meeting by writing to the Eighth Coast Guard District Bridge Administration Branch at the address under ADDRESSES explaining why one would be beneficial. If we determine that one would aid this rulemaking, we will hold one at a time and place announced by a later notice in the Federal Register.

Background and Purpose

The State Route 23 vertical lift span drawbridge across the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway (Algiers Alternate Route), mile 3.8, at Belle Chasse, Louisiana has a vertical clearance of 40 feet above mean high water in the closed-to-navigation position and 100 feet above mean high water in the open-to-navigation position. Navigation on the waterway consists primarily of tugs with tows, commercial fishing vessels, and occasional recreational craft.

The Department of the Navy requested a rule changing the operation of the State Route 23 vertical lift span drawbridge. The proposed change is needed to accommodate the additional volume of vehicular traffic that the New Orleans Open House Air Show generates each year. Between 150,000 and 200,000 members of the public are expected to attend the New Orleans Open House Air Show on each day. The proposed change would allow for the expeditious dispersal of the heavy volume of vehicular traffic expected to depart the Naval Air Station, Joint Reserve Base following the event. This event has been held annually on the last weekend in October. This proposed change would eliminate the necessity of having to do a rulemaking each year for this annually scheduled event.

Discussion of Proposed Rule

This proposed rule would allow the bridge to remain closed to navigation from 4 p.m. until 7 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday of the last weekend in October. The closure of the bridge would affect marine traffic for a three-hour period on each day, but alternate routes are available. Vessels with less than 40 feet of vertical clearance requirements may continue to transit the waterway. This proposed annual closure allows for a temporary increase in vehicular traffic to transit over the bridge on this weekend while not significantly inconveniencing the mariners transiting the waterway. This drawbridge closure has occurred annually on the last weekend in October for many years.

Regulatory Evaluation

This proposed rule is not a “significant regulatory action” under section 3(f) of Executive Order 12866 and does not require an assessment of potential costs and benefits under section 6(a)(3) of that Order. The Office of Management and Budget has not reviewed it under that Order. It is not significant under the regulatory policies and procedures of the Department of Transportation (DOT)(44 FR 11040; February 26, 1979).

The Coast Guard expects the economic impact of this proposed rule to be so minimal that a full Regulatory Evaluation under paragraph 10(e) of the regulatory policies and procedures of DOT is unnecessary.

This is because the number of vessels impaired during the closed-to-navigation periods is minimal. All commercial vessels still have ample opportunity to transit this waterway before and after the each three-hour closure on the last weekend in October. Additionally, a practical alternate route of approximately seven additional miles is available via the Harvey Canal and the Mississippi River.

Small Entities

Under the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.), the Coast Guard considers whether this proposed rule would have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. The term “small entities” comprises small businesses, not-for-profit organizations that are independently owned and operated and are not dominant in their fields, and governmental jurisdictions with populations of less than 50,000.

The Coast Guard certifies under 5 U.S.C. 605(b) that this proposed rule would not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities.

This proposed rule would affect the following entities, some of which may be small entities: the owners or operators of vessels intending to transit Start Printed Page 52058through the bridge across the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway (Algiers Alternate Route) from 4 p.m. until 7 p.m. on the last weekend in October.

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

Assistance for Small Entities

Under the 213(a) of the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996 (Pub. L. 104-121, we want to assist small entities in understanding the proposed rule so that they can better evaluate its effects on them and participate in the rulemaking process. If the rule would affect your small business, organization, or governmental jurisdiction and you have questions concerning its provisions or options for compliance, please contact the Bridge Administration Branch, Eighth Coast Guard District at the address above.

Collection of Information

This proposed rule would call for no new collection of information under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501-3520.).

Federalism

We have analyzed this proposed rule under Executive Order 13132 and have determined that this proposed rule would not have implications for federalism under that Order.

Unfunded Mandates Reform Act

The Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (2 U.S.C. 1531-1538) governs the issuance of Federal regulations that require unfunded mandates. An unfunded mandate is a regulation that requires a State, local, or tribal government or the private sector to incur direct costs without the Federal Government's having first provided the funds to pay those costs. This proposed rule would not impose an unfunded mandate.

Taking of Private Property

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

Civil Justice Reform

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

Protection of Children

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

Environment

We considered the environmental impact of this proposed rule and concluded that, under figure 2-1, paragraph (32)(e), of Commandant Instruction M16475.lC, this proposed rule is categorically excluded from further environmental documentation. Bridge Administration Program actions that can be categorically excluded include promulgation of operating regulations or procedures for drawbridges. A “Categorical Exclusion Determination” is available in the docket where indicated under ADDRESSES.

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List of Subjects in 33 CFR Part 117

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Regulations

For the reasons set out in the preamble, the Coast Guard proposes to amend Part 117 of Title 33, Code of Federal Regulations, as follows:

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PART 117—DRAWBRIDGE OPERATION REGULATIONS

1. The authority citation for Part 117 continues to read as follows:

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Authority: 33 U.S.C. 499; 49 CFR 1.46; 33 CFR 1.05-1(g); section 117.255 also issued under the authority of Pub. L. 102-587, 105 Stat. 5039.

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2. Section 117.451(b) is revised to read as follows:

Gulf Intracoastal Waterway.
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(b) The draw of the SR 23 bridge, Algiers Alternate Route, mile 3.8 at Belle Chasse, operates as follows:

(1) The draw shall open on signal; except that, from 6 a.m. until 8:30 a.m. and from 3:30 p.m. until 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays, the draw need not be opened for the passage of vessels.

(2) On Saturday and Sunday of the last weekend in October, the draw need not open for the passage of vessels from 4 p.m. until 7 p.m.

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Dated: August 21, 2000.

K.J. Eldridge,

Captain, U.S. Coast Guard Acting Commander, 8th Coast Guard Dist.

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[FR Doc. 00-21880 Filed 8-25-00; 8:45 am]

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