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Proposed Rule

Drawbridge Operation Regulation; Houma Navigation Canal, LA

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 modify the existing drawbridge operation regulation for the draw of the SR661 bridge across the Houma Navigation Canal, mile 36.0, at Houma, Terrebonne Parish, Louisiana. The modification will allow for the morning closure period to be increased by 30 minutes to facilitate the movement of Start Printed Page 64579high volumes of vehicular traffic across the bridge during peak traffic hours.

DATES:

Comments and related material must reach the Coast Guard on or before December 20, 2002.

ADDRESSES:

You may mail comments to Commander (obc), Eighth Coast Guard District, 501 Magazine Street, New Orleans, Louisiana 70130-3396, or deliver them to room 1313 at the same address above between 7 a.m. and 3 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The Commander, Eighth Coast Guard District, Bridge Administration 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 by appointment at the Bridge Administration Branch, Eighth Coast Guard District 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, at the address given above or telephone (504) 589-2965.

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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 (CGD08-02-023), 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 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. You may submit a request for a public meeting by writing to the Commander, Eighth Coast Guard District, Bridge Administration Branch at the address under ADDRESSES explaining why a public meeting would be beneficial. If we determine that one would aid this rulemaking, we will hold one at a time and place to be announced by notice in the Federal Register.

Background and Purpose

The existing drawbridge operating regulations at 33 CFR 117.455 require the draw of the bridge across the Houma Navigation Canal at S661, mile 36.0 at Houma, to open on signal, except that the draw need not be opened for the passage of vessels Monday through Friday except holidays from 7 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m.

The bridge owner requested a modification to the morning closure periods to allow the bridge to remain closed to navigation from 6:30 a.m. until 8:30 a.m. vice 7 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. Approximately 13,000 vehicles cross the bridge daily, 10% of which cross the bridge during the requested closure times. The adjustment to the morning closure time reflects a change to expand the closure period to align with the heaviest commuter traffic. The bridge averages 953 openings a month. It is estimated that 3 tows a month will be delayed by the additional 30-minute morning closure request. In a 17-day review period in July 2002, two tows requiring bridge openings were delayed during the requested additional time period. The average length of the bridge opening is less than ten minutes, delaying an average of 60 vehicles for each opening. Based upon our review of the documentation provided by the bridge owner, the closure of an additional 30 minutes in the morning will have a minimal effect on vessels wishing to transit the waterway.

In its current form, § 117.455 refers to the affected highway as “S661.” This proposed rule will change the name of the affected highway to its correct name, “SR661.”

Discussion of Proposed Rule

The proposed rule would modify the existing regulation in 33 CFR 117.455 to facilitate the movement of high volumes of vehicular traffic across the bridge during peak traffic hours. The change will now allow the State Route 661 bridge to remain closed to navigation from 6:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. vice the presently published times of 7 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. The regulation will also identify the roadway across the bridge as SR661.

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).

We expect 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 proposed rule allows vessels ample opportunity to transit this waterway with proper notification before and after the peak vehicular traffic periods. According to the vehicle traffic surveys, the public at large is better served by closure times between 6:30 a.m. and 8:30 a.m.

Small Entities

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 5 U.S.C. 605(b) that this proposed rule would not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. The proposed rule would affect the following entities, some of which might be small entities: the owners and operators of vessels needing to transit the bridge from 6:30 a.m. to 7 a.m. on weekdays. From traffic and vessel counts it is estimated that only an additional 3 tows per month will be delayed by the thirty-minute extension to the morning closure. This is not considered to have a significant impact on a substantial number of small entities.

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 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 effects on them and participate in the rulemaking. If the proposed rule would affect your small business, organization, or Start Printed Page 64580governmental 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

A rule has implications for federalism under Executive Order 13132, Federalism, if it has a substantial direct cost of compliance on them. We have analyzed this proposed rule under Executive Order 13132 and have determined that this proposed rule 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 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 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 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 economically significant and does not cause an environmental risk to health or risk to safety that may 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.

To help the Coast Guard establish regular and meaningful consultation and collaboration with Indian and Alaskan Native tribes, we published a notice in the Federal Register (66 FR 36361, July 11, 2001) requesting comments on how to best carry out the Order. 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.

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.

Environment

We considered the environmental impact of this proposed rule and concluded that, under figure 2-1, paragraph 32(e), of Commandant Instruction M16475.lD, this proposed rule is categorically excluded from further environmental documentation. 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, 106 Stat. 5039.

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2. § 117.455 is revised to read as follows:

Houma Navigation Canal.

The draw of the SR661 bridge across the Houma Navigation Canal, mile 36.0, at Houma, shall open on signal; except that, the draw need not open for the passage of vessels Monday through Friday except holidays from 6:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. and from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Start Signature

Dated: October 9, 2002.

Roy J. Casto,

Rear Admiral, U.S. Coast Guard, Commander, Eighth Coast Guard District.

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[FR Doc. 02-26718 Filed 10-18-02; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4910-15-P