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Proposed Rule

Safety Zones; Ponce Bay, Tallaboa Bay, and Guayanilla Bay, Puerto Rico and Limetree Bay, St. Croix, U.S.V.I.

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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 create moving safety zones around all Liquefied Hazardous Gas (LHG) vessels with product aboard in the waters of the Caribbean Sea and the Bays of Ponce, Tallaboa, Guayanilla, Puerto Rico and Limetree Bay, U.S. Virgin Islands. This action is necessary due to the highly volatile nature of this cargo. This proposed rule would enhance public and maritime safety by requiring vessel traffic to maintain a safe distance from these LHG vessels while they are underway.

DATES:

Comments and related material must reach the Coast Guard on or before August 5, 2002.

ADDRESSES:

You may mail comments and related material to Commanding Officer, Marine Safety Office San Juan, P.O. Box 71526, San Juan, Puerto Rico 00936. You may also deliver them in person to Commanding Officer, Marine Safety Office San Juan, Rodriguez and Del Valle Building, 4th Floor, Calle San Martin, Road #2, Guaynabo, Puerto Rico, 00968. The U.S. Coast Guard Marine Safety Office 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 become part of this docket and will be available for inspection or copying at the USCG Marine Safety Office between the hours of 7 a.m. and 3:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding Federal holidays.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

If you have questions on this proposed rule, call Lieutenant Chip Lopez at Coast Guard Marine Safety Office San Juan, Puerto Rico, at (787) 706-2444.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Request for Comments

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 [COTP San Juan-02-038], indicate the specific section of this document to which each comment applies, and give the reason for each comment. You may submit your comments and material by mail, hand delivery, fax, or electronic means to the Docket Management Facility at the address under ADDRESSES; but please submit your comments and material by only one means. If you submit them by mail or hand delivery, submit them in an unbound format, no larger than 81/2 by 11 inches, suitable for copying and electronic filing. If you submit them by mail and would like to know that 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.

Public Meeting

We do not now plan to hold a public meeting. But you may submit a request for one by writing to the Commanding Officer, U.S. Coast Guard Marine Safety Office 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

These regulations are needed to provide for the safety of life on navigable waters from the hazards associated with LHG carriers. The safety zones are needed because of the significant risks Liquefied Hazardous Gas (LHG) ships present to public safety due to their size, draft, and volatile cargoes. We anticipate periodic arrivals of vessels carrying LHG in Ponce, Tallaboa and Guayanilla Bays, Puerto Rico and Limetree Bay, St. Croix, U.S.V.I. This proposed rule would keep vessel traffic at least 100 yards away from LHG vessels thereby decreasing the risk of a collision, allision, or grounding.

Discussion of Proposed Rule

This proposed rule would create a 100-yard safety zone in the waters of the Caribbean Sea surrounding all LHG vessels with product aboard while transiting on approach to or departing from the following Ports, north of the latitudes indicated. Port of Ponce, Puerto Rico north of Latitude 17° 56.00′ N. Ports of Tallaboa and Guayanilla, Puerto Rico north of Latitude 17° 57.00′ N. Port of Limetree Bay, St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands north of 17° 39.00′ N. (NAD 83) These safety zones would remain in effect until the LHG vessel is safely moored. The Marine Safety Office San Juan would notify the maritime community of periods during which these safety zones would be in effect by providing advance notice of scheduled arrivals and departures on LHG carriers via a broadcast notice to mariners on VHF Marine Band Radio, Channel 16 (156.8 MHz).

Regulatory Evaluation

This proposed rule is not a “significant regulatory action” under section 3(f) of Executive Order 12866, Regulatory Planning and Review, 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).

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 due to the relative infrequent arrivals of LHG carriers, the limited size of the safety zone, and the relatively sparse nature of other commercial traffic in Ponce, Tallaboa, Guayanilla, and Limetree Bays.

Small Entities

Under the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601-612), we have considered whether this proposed rule would have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. The term “small entities” comprises small businesses, not-for-profit organizations that are independently owned and operated and are not Start Printed Page 38452dominant 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 because of the relative infrequent arrivals of LHG carriers, the limited size of the safety zone, and the relatively sparse nature of other commercial traffic in Ponce, Tallaboa, Guayanilla, and Limetree Bays. 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 to the Docket Management Facility at the address under ADDRESSES. In your comment, explain why you think it qualifies and how and to what degree this rule would economically affect it.

Assistance for Small Entities

Under section 213(a) of the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996 (Public Law 104-121), we want to assist small entities in understanding this proposed rule so that they can better evaluate its proposed effects on them and participate in the rulemaking. If the rule would affect your small business, organization, or governmental jurisdiction and you have questions concerning its provisions or options for compliance, please consult Lieutenant Chip Lopez at Coast Guard Marine Safety Office San Juan, Puerto Rico, (787) 706-2444.

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

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, Federalism, and have determined that it 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) requires Federal agencies to assess the effects of their regulatory actions not specifically required by law. In particular, the Act addresses actions that may result in the expenditure by a State, local, or tribal government, in the aggregate, or by the private sector of $100,000,000 or more in any one year. Though this proposed rule would not result in such an expenditure, we do discuss the effects of this rule elsewhere in this preamble.

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 would not create an environmental risk to health or risk to safety that might disproportionately affect children.

Indian Tribal Governments

This proposed rule does not have tribal implications under Executive Order 13175, Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribal Governments, because it would not have a substantial direct effect on one or more Indian tribes, on the relationship between the Federal Government and Indian tribes, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities between the Federal Government and Indian tribes. We invite your comments on how this proposed rule might impact tribal governments, even if that impact may not constitute a “tribal implication” under the Order.

Environment

We have considered the environmental impact of this proposed rule and concluded that, under figure 2-1, paragraph (34) (g), of Commandant Instruction M16475.1D, this rule is categorically excluded from further environmental documentation because it is establishing safety zones. A “Categorical Exclusion Determination” is available in the docket where indicated under ADDRESSES.

Energy Effects

We have analyzed this proposed rule under Executive Order 13211, Actions Concerning Regulations That Significantly Affect Energy Supply, Distribution, or Use. We have determined that it is not a “significant energy action” under that order because it is not a “significant regulatory action” under Executive Order 12866 and is not likely to have a significant adverse effect on the supply, distribution, or use of energy. It has not been designated by the Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs as a significant energy action. Therefore, it does not require a Statement of Energy Effects under Executive Order 13211.

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List of Subjects in 33 CFR Part 165

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For the reasons discussed in the preamble, the Coast Guard proposes to amend 33 CFR part 165 as follows:

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PART 165—REGULATED NAVIGATION AREAS AND LIMITED ACCESS AREAS

1. The authority citation for part 165 continues to read as follows:

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Authority: 33 U.S.C. 1231; 50 U.S.C. 191, 33 CFR 1.05-1(g), 6.04-1, 6.04-6, 160.5; 49 CFR 1.46.

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2. Add § 165.757 to read as follows:

Safety Zones; Ports of Ponce, Tallaboa, and Guayanilla, Puerto Rico and Limetree Bay, St. Croix, U.S.V.I.

(a) The following areas are established as safety zones during the specified conditions:

(1) Port of Ponce, Puerto Rico. A 100-yard radius surrounding all Liquefied Hazardous Gas (LHG) vessels with product aboard while transiting north of Latitude 17°57.0″ N in the waters of the Caribbean Sea on approach to or departing from the Port of Ponce, Puerto Rico. (NAD 83) The safety zone remains in effect until the LHG vessel is docked.

(2) Port of Tallaboa, Puerto Rico. 100-yard radius surrounding all Liquefied Hazardous Gas (LHG) vessels with product aboard while transiting north of Latitude 17°56.0′ N in the waters of the Caribbean Sea on approach to or departing from the Port of Tallaboa, Puerto Rico. (NAD 83) The safety zone remains in effect until the LHG vessel is docked.

(3) Port of Guayanilla, Puerto Rico. A 100-yard radius surrounding all Start Printed Page 38453Liquefied Hazardous Gas (LHG) vessels around with product aboard while transiting north of Latitude 17°57.0′ N in the waters of the Caribbean Sea on approach to or departing from the Port of Guayanilla, Puerto Rico. (NAD 83) The safety zone remains in effect until the LHG vessel is docked.

(4) Port of Limetree Bay, St. Croix, U.S.V.I. A 100-yard radius surrounding all Liquefied Hazardous Gas (LHG) vessels with product aboard while transiting north of Latitude 17°39.0′ N in the waters of the Caribbean Sea on approach to or departing from the Port of Limetree Bay, U.S.V.I. (NAD 83) The safety zone remains in effect until the LHG vessel is docked.

(b) In accordance with the general regulations in § 165.23 of this part, anchoring, mooring or transiting in these zones is prohibited unless authorized by the Coast Guard Captain of the Port. The Marine Safety Office San Juan will notify the maritime community of periods during which these safety zones will be in effect by providing advance notice of scheduled arrivals and departures on LHG carriers via a broadcast notice to mariners on VHF Marine Band Radio, Channel 16 (156.8 MHz).

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Dated: May 14, 2002.

J.A. Servidio,

Commander, U.S. Coast Guard, Captain of the Port San Juan.

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[FR Doc. 02-13969 Filed 6-3-02; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4910-15-P