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Rule

Seaway Regulations and Rules: Inflation Adjustment of Civil Monetary Penalty

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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AGENCY:

Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation, DOT.

ACTION:

Final rule.

SUMMARY:

This final rule implements the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act of 1990 as amended by the Debt Collection Improvement Act of 1996. The rule adjusts the amount of the statutory civil penalty for violation of the Seaway Regulations and Rules under the authority of the Ports and Waterways Safety Act of 1972, as amended (PWSA).

EFFECTIVE DATE:

This rule is effective on November 4, 2002.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Marc C. Owen, Chief Counsel, Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation, 400 Seventh Street, SW., Washington, DC 20590, (202) 366-6823.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

The Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act of 1990 (1990 Act), Public Law 101-410, 104 Stat. 890, 28 U.S.C. 2461 NOTE, as amended by the Debt Collection Improvement Act of 1996 (Act), Public Law 104-134, April 26, 1996, requires the inflation adjustment of civil monetary penalties (CMP) to ensure that they continue to maintain their deterrent value. The Act requires that not later than 180 days after its enactment, October 23, 1996, and at least once every four years thereafter, the head of each agency shall, by regulation published in the Federal Register, adjust each CMP within its jurisdiction by the inflation adjustment described in the 1990 Act. The cost-of-living adjustment is the percentage (if any) for each CMP by which the Consumer Price Index for all urban consumers (CPI), published annually by the Department of Labor, for the month of June of the calendar year preceding the adjustment, exceeds the CPI for the month of June of the calendar year in which the amount of the CMP was last set or adjusted pursuant to law. Nevertheless, the first adjustment to a CMP may not exceed 10 percent of that penalty amount. Any increased penalties shall apply only to violations that occur after the date on which the increase takes effect. 33 U.S.C. 1232(a) imposes a maximum $25,000 civil penalty for a violation of a regulation issued under the authority of the PWSA, which includes the Seaway Regulations and Rules in 33 CFR part 401. The penalty was set in 1978. Under the Act, the penalty amount was adjusted in 1996 to $27,500. The CPI for June 1996, was 156.6. The CPI for June 2002, is 179.2. The inflation factor, therefore, is 179.2/156.6 or 1.15. The maximum penalty amount after the increase and statutory rounding would be $31,625 (1.15 X 27,500). Accordingly, paragraph (a) of section 401.102 is being amended to change the amount of the penalty from $ 27,500 to $31,625.

Regulatory Evaluation

This final rule is exempt from Office of Management and Budget review under Executive Order 12866 because it is limited to the adoption of statutory language, without interpretation. As stated above, the provisions contained in this final rulemaking set forth the inflation adjustments in compliance with the Act for a specific, applicable CMP under the authority of the Corporation. The great majority of individuals, organizations, and entities addressed through the Seaway Regulations and Rules do not commit violations and, as a result, we believe any aggregate economic impact of this revision will be minimal, affecting only those who violate the regulations. As such, the final rule and its inflation adjustment should have no effect on Federal and State expenditures. This final rule has also been evaluated under the Department of Transportation's Regulatory Policies and Procedures and the proposed regulation is not considered significant under those procedures and its economic impact is expected to be so minimal that a full economic evaluation is not warranted.

Regulatory Flexibility Act Determination

The Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation certifies that this final rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. The St. Lawrence Seaway Regulations and Rules primarily relate to the activities of commercial users of the Seaway, the vast majority of whom are foreign vessel operators. Therefore, any resulting costs will be borne mostly by foreign vessels.

Environmental Impact

This final rule does not require an environmental impact statement under the National Environmental Policy Act (49 U.S.C. 4321, et seq.) because it is not a major federal action significantly affecting the quality of human environment.

Federalism

The Corporation has analyzed this final rule under the principles and criteria in Executive Order 12612 and has determined that this final rule does not have sufficient federalism implications to warrant the preparation of a Federalism Assessment.

Unfunded Mandates

The Corporation has analyzed this proposed rule under title II of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (Pub. L. 104-4, 109 Stat. 48) and determined that it does not impose unfunded mandates on State, local, and tribal governments and the private sector requiring a written statement of economic and regulatory alternatives.

Paperwork Reduction Act

This proposed regulation has been analyzed under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 and does not contain new or modified information collection requirements subject to the Office of Management and Budget review.

Notice and Public Comment

Notice and an opportunity for public comment under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) (5 U.S.C. 553) are waived. The APA provides an exception to the notice and comment procedures when an agency finds there is good cause for dispensing with those procedures because they are impracticable, unnecessary, or contrary to the public interest. The Corporation has determined under 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(3) that good cause exists for dispensing with the notice of proposed rulemaking and public comment procedures for this rule. Specifically, this rulemaking comports with the statutory authority in the Act with no issues of policy discretion. Accordingly, the Corporation finds that the opportunity for prior comment is unnecessary and contrary to the public interest and is issuing this revised regulation as a final rule that will apply to all future cases under this authority.

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List of Subjects in 33 CFR Part 401

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Accordingly, the Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation proposes to amend 33 CFR chapter IV as follows:

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PART 401—SEAWAY REGULATIONS AND RULES

Subpart B—[Amended]

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1. The authority citation for part 401 would continue to read as follows:

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Authority: 33 U.S.C. 983(a) and 984(a)(4), as amended; 49 CFR 1.52, unless otherwise noted.

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2. Paragraph (a) of § 401.102 is amended by removing the number “$27,500” and adding, in its place, the number “$31,625”.

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Issued in Washington, DC on October 28, 2002.

Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation.

Albert S. Jacquez,

Administrator.

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[FR Doc. 02-28021 Filed 11-1-02; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4910-61-P