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Proposed Rule

Anchorage Regulation; Bolivar Roads, Galveston, 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.

Start Preamble

AGENCY:

Coast Guard, DOT.

ACTION:

Notice of proposed rulemaking.

SUMMARY:

The Coast Guard proposes to create a new anchorage area in Bolivar Roads near Galveston, Texas. The establishment of this new anchorage area would enhance navigational safety, support regional maritime security needs, and contribute to the free flow of commerce in the Houston/Galveston area.

DATES:

Comments and related material must reach the Coast Guard on or before March 31, 2003.

ADDRESSES:

You may mail comments and related material to Commander, Eighth Coast Guard District (m), Hale Boggs Federal Bldg., 501 Magazine Street, New Orleans, LA 70130, or deliver comments and related material to Room 1341 at the same address between 8 a.m. and 3:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. Commander, Eighth Coast Guard District (m) 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 Commander, Eighth Coast Guard District (m) between 8 a.m. and 3:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.

Start Further Info

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Lieutenant (LT) Karrie Trebbe, Project Manager for Eighth Coast Guard District Commander, telephone (504) 589-6271.

End Further Info End Preamble Start Supplemental Information

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 (CCGD8-02-018), 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 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 a meeting by writing to Commander, Eighth Coast Guard District (m) at the address under ADDRESSES explaining why one would be beneficial. If we determine that a public meeting 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

At its February 2002 meeting the Houston/Galveston Navigation Safety Advisory Committee (HOGANSAC) recommended establishment of a third anchorage area in the Galveston Bay area. HOGANSAC, a Congressionally-chartered Federal advisory committee, is responsible for advising, consulting with and making recommendations to the Secretary of Transportation on matters relating to the transit of vessels to and from the ports of Galveston, Houston and Texas City and the safety of maritime navigation in the Galveston Bay area. Participants at the February 2002 HOGANSAC meeting noted that a third anchorage in the Bolivar Roads area was necessary to address port security and navigation safety concerns. After extensive discussion, including the observations of and comments from members of the public in attendance, HOGANSAC recommended that the Coast Guard establish a third anchorage area in Bolivar Roads.

Based on the recommendation of HOGANSAC the Coast Guard proposes a third anchorage area, anchorage area (C), in Bolivar Roads. The proposed anchorage area, located inside the Galveston Bay Entrance Jetties, would provide a sheltered location for vessels to anchor during heavy weather or reduced visibility conditions. The existing anchorages, anchorage area (A) and anchorage area (B), are generally full during these same periods and there is no alternative sheltered anchorage in Bolivar Roads. The proposed location of anchorage area (C), abuts the western edge of anchorage area (B), is in a naturally deep portion of Bolivar Roads, and is outside any heavily traveled section of the waterway.

This third anchorage area is also necessary because port security-related initiatives adopted by various terminals and facilities in the Galveston Bay area have restricted pier side operations critical to the efficient flow of maritime commerce. For example, bunkering, provisions deliveries, and personnel transfer operations are restricted or prohibited by numerous facilities in the ports of Galveston, Houston and Texas City. The nature of those activities requires that they be accomplished in calm water conditions and relatively close to shore. As a result, vessel operators and ship owners rely upon the existing anchorage areas (anchorage areas (A) and (B)) in Galveston Bay to conduct these operations. Increasingly, anchorage space in those areas is in high demand. A third designated anchorage area would relieve congestion and provide anchorage space to accommodate the ever-increasing volumes of traffic in the Galveston Bay area. Start Printed Page 4131

Discussion of Proposed Rule

The proposed amendment would create a new anchorage area, to be known as anchorage area (C), bounded by rhumb lines joining points at:

LatitudeLongitude
29°20′39.0″ N.94°46′07.5″ W.
29°21′06.1″ N.94°47′00.2″ W.
29°21′24.0″ N.94°46′34.0″ W.
29°21′14.5″ N.94°45′49.0″ W.

The anchorage area would be for the temporary use by vessels of all types. Vessels may occupy the anchorage area during a wide range of conditions and for a broad variety of purposes. For example, vessels would be allowed to anchor temporarily while taking on stores, transferring personnel, or engaging in bunkering or lightering operations. Vessels would also be allowed to use the anchorage area while awaiting weather and other conditions favorable to resuming their voyage. Except when stress of weather makes sailing impractical or hazardous, vessels would not be allowed to anchor in anchorage area (C) for more than 48 hours unless authorized by the Captain of the Port Houston-Galveston. Authorization to remain for more than 48 hours would be obtained via VHF-FM radio through Coast Guard Vessel Traffic Service Houston/Galveston. No vessel with a draft of less than 16 feet would be allowed to occupy anchorage area (C) without prior approval of the Captain of the Port Houston-Galveston. Vessels would not be allowed to anchor so as to obstruct the passage of other vessels proceeding to and from other anchorage spaces. Anchors would not be placed in the channel and no portion of the hull or rigging of any anchored vessel would be allowed to extend outside the limits of the anchorage area. Vessels using spuds for anchors would have to anchor as close to shore as practicable. Fixed moorings, piles or stake and floats, and buoys for marking anchorages or moorings in place would be prohibited. Whenever the maritime or commercial interests of the United States so require, the Captain of the Port Houston-Galveston or his designated representative may direct the movement of any vessel anchored or moored within the anchorage areas.

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, l979).

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. The proposed anchorage area would not unnecessarily restrict traffic as it is located outside of the established navigation channel. Vessels would be able to maneuver in, around and through the anchorage. Operators who choose to maneuver their vessels around the limits of the proposed anchorage area would not be significantly impacted because the total route deviation to cross from one side of the anchorage to the other following the perimeter of the anchorage is only 1.4 nautical miles.

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 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. This proposed rule could potentially affect the following entities, some of which might be small entities: the owners or operators of vessels intending to fish or anchor in, or transit through, the proposed anchorage area (C) in Bolivar Roads.

The number of small entities impacted and the extent of the impact, if any, is expected to be minimal. The proposed anchorage would be located in an area of Bolivar Roads that is not a popular or productive fishing location. Further, the proposed location is in an area not routinely transited by vessels heading to, or returning from, known fishing grounds. Finally, the anchorage would be located in an area that is not currently used by small entities, including small vessels, for anchoring due to the depth of water naturally present in the area.

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.

Assistance for Small Entities

Under section 213(a) of the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996 (Pub. L. 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 rule would affect your small business, organization, or governmental jurisdiction and you have questions concerning its provisions or options for compliance, please contact LT Karrie Trebbe, Project Manager for Eighth Coast Guard District Commander, at (504) 589-6271.

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 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 proposed 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 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 Start Printed Page 4132Reform, 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.

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 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 have considered the environmental impact of this proposed rule and concluded that, under figure 2-1, paragraph (34)(f), of Commandant Instruction M16475.lD, this rule is categorically excluded from further environmental documentation because it is a regulation establishing an additional anchorage ground. A “Categorical Exclusion Determination” is available in the docket where indicated under ADDRESSES.

Start List of Subjects

List of Subjects in 33 CFR Part 110

End List of Subjects

For the reasons discussed in the preamble, the Coast Guard proposes to amend 33 CFR part 110 as follows:

Start Part

PART 110—ANCHORAGE REGULATIONS

1. The authority citation for part 110 continues to read as follows:

Start Authority

Authority: 33 U.S.C. 471, 1221 through 1236, 2030, 2035, 2071; 49 CFR 1.46 and 33 CFR 1.05-1(g).

End Authority

2. In § 110.197, add a new paragraph (a)(3), and revise paragraph (b) to read as follows:

Galveston Harbor, Bolivar Roads Channel, Texas.

(a) * * *

(3) Anchorage area (C). The water bounded by a line connecting the following points:

LatitudeLongitude
29°20′39.0″ N94°46′07.5″ W
29°21′06.1″ N94°47′00.2″ W
29°21′14.5″ N94°46′34.0″ W
29°21′24.0″ N94°45′49.0″ W

and thence to the point of beginning.

(b) The regulations. (1) The anchorage area is for the temporary use of vessels of all types, but especially for naval and merchant vessels awaiting weather and other conditions favorable to the resumption of their voyages.

(2) Except when stress of weather makes sailing impractical or hazardous, vessels shall not anchor in anchorage areas (A) or (C) for more than 48 hours unless expressly authorized by the Captain of the Port Houston-Galveston. Permission to anchor for longer periods may be obtained through Coast Guard Vessel Traffic Service Houston/Galveston on VHF-FM channels 12 (156.60 MHz) or 13 (156.65 MHz).

(3) No vessel with a draft of less than 22 feet may occupy anchorage (A) without prior approval of the Captain of the Port.

(4) No vessel with a draft of less than 16 feet may anchor in anchorage (C) without prior approval of the Captain of the Port Houston-Galveston.

(5) Vessels shall not anchor so as to obstruct the passage of other vessels proceeding to or from other anchorage spaces.

(6) Anchors shall not be placed in the channel and no portion of the hull or rigging of any anchored vessel shall extend outside the limits of the anchorage area.

(7) Vessels using spuds for anchors shall anchor as close to shore as practicable, having due regard for the provisions in paragraph (b)(5) of this section.

(8) Fixed moorings, piles or stakes, and floats or buoys for marking anchorages or moorings in place, are prohibited.

(9) Whenever the maritime or commercial interests of the United States so require, the Captain of the Port, or his authorized representative, may direct the movement of any vessel anchored or moored within the anchorage areas.

Start Signature

Dated: January 3, 2003.

Roy J. Casto,

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

End Signature End Part End Supplemental Information

[FR Doc. 03-1873 Filed 1-27-03; 8:45 am]

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