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Security Zones; Port of Port Lavaca-Point Comfort, Point Comfort, TX; Port of Corpus Christi Inner Harbor, Corpus Christi, TX

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:

Final rule.

SUMMARY:

The Coast Guard is establishing security zones within the Port of Port Lavaca-Point Comfort and Port of Corpus Christi Inner Harbor. These security zones are needed to protect personnel, vessels, waterfront facilities, and national security interests in these ports from possible subversive actions by any group or groups of individuals whose objective it is to destroy or disrupt maritime activities. Entry of recreational vessels, passenger vessels, or commercial fishing vessels into these zones is prohibited unless specifically authorized by the Captain of the Port Corpus Christi or his designated representative.

DATES:

This rule is effective beginning 8 a.m. October 15, 2002.

ADDRESSES:

Comments and material received from the public, as well as documents indicated in this preamble as being available in the docket, are part of [COTP Corpus Christi-02-003] and are available for inspection or copying at U.S. Coast Guard Marine Safety Office Corpus Christi, 555 N. Carancahua Street, Suite 500, Corpus Christi, Texas, between 7:30 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Lieutenant Junior Grade (LTJG) Thomas Hopkins, Marine Safety Office Corpus Christi at (361) 888-3162 x303.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Regulatory Information

On May 10, 2002, the Coast Guard published a notice of proposed rule making (NPRM) entitled “Security Zones; Port of Port Lavaca-Point Comfort, Point Comfort, TX; Port of Corpus Christi Inner Harbor, Corpus Christi, TX; and Port of Brownsville, Brownsville, TX”, in the Federal Register (67 FR 31750). We received seven letters commenting on the proposed rule, including requests for a public hearing on the proposed Port of Brownsville zone. No public hearing was held as we have decided not to implement the proposed security zone for the Port of Brownsville at this time.

Under 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3), the Coast Guard finds that good cause exists for making this rule effective less than 30 days after publication in the Federal Register. National security and intelligence officials continue to warn that future terrorist attacks against United States interests are likely. The temporary final rule published in the Federal Register on March 18, 2002 (67 FR 11922) as amended on June 7, 2002 (67 FR 39301) expires on October 15, 2002. This rule replaces the original temporary final rule. Any delay in making this rule effective would be contrary to the public interest because action is necessary to protect against the possible loss of life, injury, or damage to property.

Background and Purpose

On September 11, 2001, both towers of the World Trade Center and the Pentagon were attacked by terrorists. National security and intelligence officials have warned that future terrorist attacks against civilian targets may be anticipated. In response to these terrorist acts and continued warnings, heightened awareness for the security and safety of all vessels, ports and harbors is necessary. The Captain of the Port, Corpus Christi is establishing permanent security zones within the Port of Port Lavaca-Point Comfort, Point Comfort, TX and the Port of Corpus Christi Inner Harbor, Corpus Christi, TX.

These security zones are around highly industrialized areas with concentrated commercial facilities considered critical to national security. Restricting the access of recreational, passenger, and commercial fishing vessels increases the opportunity for detection and reduces potential methods of attack on personnel, vessels and waterfront facilities within these zones.

The security zones are designed to limit the access of vessels that do not have business to conduct with facilities or structures within these industrial areas. Entry of recreational vessels, passenger vessels, or commercial fishing vessels into these zones is prohibited unless specifically authorized by the Captain of the Port Corpus Christi or his designated representative.

Discussion of Comments and Changes

We received seven comments on the proposed rule. Six of these comments opposed the creation of a security zone in the Brownsville Ship Channel because of the impact it might have on the local fishing industry. Five of these comments addressed what they considered to be a lack of sufficient threat in this area to require a security zone. After evaluating the comments received and touring the area in question with local port and recreational fishing representatives, the Coast Guard has determined there is not a need establish the proposed security zone for the Port of Brownsville in the current threat environment.

One comment was received on the proposed security zone for Port Lavaca-Point Comfort. The commenter was under the mistaken impression that the security zone would be for the entirety of Lavaca bay. Once the concerned party was made aware of the limited location of the proposed security zone, there was no objection to the zone for this area.

There were no comments received concerning the proposed security zone Start Printed Page 64045for the Port of Corpus Christi Inner Harbor.

We have made no substantive changes to the provisions of the proposed rule for Port of Point Lavaca-Point Comfort and the Corpus Christi Inner Harbor security zones.

Regulatory Evaluation

This 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 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 rule does not affect commercial traffic conducting business within the ports. Within these areas there are no marinas or other public businesses or docks that service recreational, passenger and commercial fishing vessels. As a result there would be little or no economic impact on recreational, passenger, and commercial fishing vessels or servicing entities. Vessels affected by this final rule may be permitted by the Captain of Port Corpus Christi to enter the security zones on a case-by-case basis.

Small Entities

Under the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601-612), we have considered whether this 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 rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities because recreational vessels, passenger vessels, and commercial fishing vessels do not normally conduct business within these industrial areas. Should a recreational vessel, passenger vessel, or commercial fishing vessel need to enter one of these security zones to conduct business with a small entity, there is no cost and little burden associated with obtaining permission to enter from the Captain of the Port Corpus Christi via VHF Channel 16 or via telephone at (361) 888-3162.

If you are a small business entity and are significantly affected by this regulation please contact LTJG Hopkins at (361) 888-3162 ext. 303 or at the address listed under ADDRESSES.

Assistance for Small Entities

Under section 213(a) of the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996 (Public Law 104-121), we offered to assist small entities in understanding the rule so that they could better evaluate its effects on them and participate in the rulemaking process.

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

Federalism

A rule has implications for federalism under Executive Order 13132, Federalism, if it has a substantial direct effect on State or local governments and would either preempt State law or impose a substantial direct cost of compliance on them. We have analyzed this rule under that Order and have determined that it does not have implications for federalism.

Unfunded Mandates Reform Act

The Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (2 U.S.C. 1531-1538) requires Federal agencies to assess the effects of their discretionary regulatory actions. In particular, the Act addresses actions that may result in the expenditure by a State, local, or tribal government, in the aggregate, or by the private sector of $100,000,000 or more in any one year. Though this rule will not result in such an expenditure, we do discuss the effects of this rule elsewhere in this preamble.

Taking of Private Property

This rule will not affect 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 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 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 create an environmental risk to health or risk to safety that may disproportionately affect children.

Indian Tribal Governments

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

Energy Effects

We have analyzed this 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.

Environment

We have considered the environmental impact of this rule and concluded that, under figure 2-1, paragraph (34)(g), of Commandant Instruction M16475.lD, this rule is categorically excluded from further environmental documentation because this rule is not expected to result in any significant adverse environmental impact as described in the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA). A “Categorical Exclusion Determination” is available in the docket where indicated under ADDRESSES.

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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 amends

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PART 165—REGULATED NAVIGATION AREAS AND LIMITED ACCESS AREAS

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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, and 160.5; 49 CFR 1.46.

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2. Add § 165.809 to read as follows:

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Security Zones; Port of Port Lavaca-Point Comfort, Point Comfort, TX and Port of Corpus Christi Inner Harbor, Corpus Christi, TX.

(a) Location. The following areas are designated as a security zone:

(1) Port of Port Lavaca-Point Comfort—all waters between the Dredge Island Bridge at 28°39′30″ N, 96°34′20″ W and a line drawn between points 28°38′10″ N, 96°33′15″ W and 28°38′10″ N, 96°34′45″ W including the Point Comfort turning basin and the adjacent Alcoa Channel. These coordinates are based upon NAD 1983.

(2) Port of Corpus Christi Inner Harbor—all waters of the Corpus Christi Inner Harbor from the Inner Harbor Bridge (US HWY 181) to, and including the Viola Turning Basin.

(b) Regulations. (1) No recreational vessels, passenger vessels, or commercial fishing vessels may enter these security zones unless specifically authorized by the Captain of the Port Corpus Christi or his designated representative.

(2) Recreational vessels, passenger vessels and commercial fishing vessels requiring entry into these security zones must contact the Captain of the Port Corpus Christi or his designated representative. The Captain of the Port may be contacted via VHF Channel 16 or via telephone at (361) 888-3162 to seek permission to transit the area. If permission is granted, all persons and vessels must comply with the instructions of the Captain of the Port, Corpus Christi or his designated representative.

(3) Designated representatives include U.S. Coast Guard commissioned, warrant, and petty officers.

(c) Authority. In addition to 33 U.S.C. 1231, the authority for this section includes 33 U.S.C. 1226.

Start Signature

Dated: September 25, 2002.

William J. Wagner, III,

Captain, U.S. Coast Guard, Captain of the Port, Corpus Christi.

End Signature End Supplemental Information

[FR Doc. 02-26512 Filed 10-15-02 12:57 pm]

BILLING CODE 4910-15-P