Coast Guard, DOT.
Notice of proposed rulemaking.
The Coast Guard proposes to change the drawbridge operating regulations for the Metro-North Bridge, at mile 1.0, across the Mianus River at Greenwich, Connecticut. This proposed rule would require the bridge to open on signal from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m., after an advance notice is given. The bridge presently does not open for vessel traffic between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m., daily. This action is expected to better meet the reasonable needs of navigation.
Comments must reach the Coast Guard on or before March 9, 2001.
You may mail comments to Commander (obr), First Coast Guard District, Bridge Branch, at 408 Atlantic Avenue, Boston, MA. 02110-3350, or deliver them to the same address between 7 a.m. and 3 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The telephone number is (617) 223-8364. The First Coast Guard District, Bridge Branch, maintains the public docket for this rulemaking. Comments and material received from the public, as well as documents indicated in this preamble as being available in the docket, will become part of this docket and will be available for inspection or copying at the First Coast Guard District, Bridge Branch, 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday through Friday, except, Federal holidays.Start Further Info
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
Mr. John McDonald, Project Officer, First Coast Guard District, (617) 223-8364.End Further Info End Preamble Start Supplemental Information
Request for Comments
We encourage you to participate in this rulemaking by submitting comments or related material. If you do so, please include your name and address, identify the docket number for this rulemaking (CGD01-00-228), 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 81/2 by 11 inches, suitable for copying. If you would like to know if they reached us, please enclose a stamped, self-addressed postcard or envelope. We will consider all comments and material received during the comment period. We may change this proposed rule in view of them.
We do not now plan to hold a public meeting. But you may submit a request for a meeting by writing to the First Coast Guard District, Bridge 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 Metro-North Bridge, mile 1.0, across the Mianus River has a vertical clearance of 20 feet at mean high water and 27 feet at mean low water in the closed position.
The existing operating regulations in 33 CFR 117.209 require the bridge to open on signal from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m., immediately for commercial vessels and as soon as practicable, but no later than 20 minutes after the signal to open is given, for the passage of all other vessel traffic. When a train scheduled to cross the bridge without stopping has passed the Greenwich or Riverside stations and is in motion toward the bridge, the draw shall open as soon as the train has crossed the bridge. From 9 p.m. to 5 a.m., the draw need not be opened for the passage of vessels.
The Coast Guard received a request from a commercial vessel operator requesting a change to the operating regulations for the Metro-North Bridge. The commercial operator requested that the bridge open for vessel traffic during the 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. time period when the bridge is normally closed. Start Printed Page 1282
The Coast Guard published a temporary 90 day deviation from the drawbridge operation regulations on April 27, 2000, to provide immediate relief to navigation and to obtain comments from the public concerning this rule. The deviation was in effect from June 7, 2000, through September 4, 2000, during which time, the Metro-North Bridge was required to open on signal, from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m., after a four-hour advance notice was given. No comments were received during the comment period which ended on September 30, 2000. A late comment letter was received from the commercial mariner that requested the rule change. The mariner indicated that his vessel utilized the additional opening time provided by the test deviation and made about 40 transits after 9 p.m. during the test period. The commercial mariner will be adding an additional vessel to his fleet next season which will also require bridge openings after 9 p.m., daily.
The Coast Guard is responsible for the enforcement of the bridge laws and regulations which are intended to prevent any interference with the navigable waters of the United States whether by bridges, dams, dikes or other obstructions to navigation except by express permission of the United States.
The decision as to whether a bridge permit or a drawbridge operation regulation will be issued or promulgated is based upon the effect of the proposed action on navigation to assure that the action provides for the reasonable needs of navigation after full consideration of the effect of the proposed action on the human environment, including the effect on rail and vehicular traffic.
The Coast Guard believes that in the case of the Metro-North Bridge, that changing the bridge operating regulations to require openings between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m. is reasonable because it provides for the needs of navigation, as demonstrated by the demand for bridge openings during the test deviation, and has no effect on rail traffic over the bridge.
Discussion of Proposal
The Coast Guard proposes to revise the operating regulations in 33 CFR 117.209(b) for the Metro-North Bridge by requiring the bridge to open during the 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. time period.
The proposed rule would require the draw to open on signal from April 1 through October 31, from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m., after at least a four-hour advance notice is given and from November 1 through March 30, from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m., after at least a twenty-four hours advance notice is given.
The Coast Guard believes this rule will better meet the reasonable needs of navigation based upon comments received and successful results of the 90-day test deviation.
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 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, Feb. 26, 1979).
We expect the economic impact of this proposed rule to be so minimal that a full Regulatory Evaluation, under paragraph 10e of the regulatory policies and procedures of DOT, is unnecessary. This conclusion is based on the fact that bridges are required to meet the reasonable needs of navigation at all times and that this bridge will only need to be crewed between the hours of 9 p.m. to 5 a.m., when there is a definite navigational need.
Under the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601-612), we considered whether this proposed rule would have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. The term “small entities” comprises small businesses, not-for-profit organizations that are independently owned and operated and are not dominant in their fields, and governmental jurisdictions with populations of less than 50,000.
The Coast Guard certifies under section 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 conclusion is based upon the fact that the bridge will now be available to open for all vessel traffic, both small entities and commercial operators, at all times.
If you think that your business, organization, or governmental jurisdiction qualifies as a small entity and that this rule would have a significant economic impact on it, please submit a comment (see ADDRESSES) explaining why you think it qualifies and how and to what degree this rule would economically affect it.
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).
We have analyzed this proposed rule under Executive Order 13132 and have determined that this rule does 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 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.
We considered the environmental impact of this proposed rule and concluded that, under figure 2-1, paragraph (32)(e), of Commandant Instruction M16475.1C, this proposed rule is categorically excluded from further environmental documentation because promulgation of drawbridge regulations have been found not to have a significant effect on the environment. A “Categorical Exclusion Determination” is available in the docket where indicated under ADDRESSES.Start List of Subjects
List of Subjects in 33 CFR Part 117End List of Subjects Start Printed Page 1283
For the reasons set out in the preamble, the Coast Guard proposes to amend 33 CFR part 117 as follows:Start Part
PART 117—DRAWBRIDGE OPERATION REGULATIONS
1. The authority citation for part 117 continues to read as follows:
2. Section 117.209(b) is revised to read as follows:
(b) The draw shall open on signal from April 1 through October 31, from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m., after at least a four-hour advance notice is given and from November 1 through March 30, from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m., after at least a twenty-four-hour advance notice is given by calling the number posted at the bridge.
Dated: December 6, 2000.
Rear Admiral, U.S. Coast Guard, Commander, First Coast Guard District.
[FR Doc. 01-435 Filed 1-5-01; 8:45 am]
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