Coast Guard, DHS.
Notice of proposed rulemaking.
The Coast Guard proposes the establishment of a safety zone around a petroleum and gas production facility in Green Canyon 645 of the Outer Continental Shelf in the Gulf of Mexico while the facility is being constructed and after the construction is completed. The construction site and facility need to be protected from vessels operating outside the normal shipping channels and fairways, and placing a safety zone around this area would significantly reduce the threat of allisions, oil spills and releases of natural gas. The proposed rule would prohibit all vessels from entering or remaining in the specified area around the facility's location except for the following: An attending vessel; a vessel under 100 feet in length overall not engaged in towing; or a vessel authorized by the Eighth Coast Guard District Commander.
Comments and related material must reach the Coast Guard on or before November 25, 2003.
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 comments and related material may be delivered to Room 1341 at the same address between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The telephone number is (504) 589-6271. 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 the location listed above during the noted time periods.Start Further Info
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
Lieutenant (LT) Kevin Lynn, Project Manager for Eighth Coast Guard District Commander, Hale Boggs Federal Bldg., 501 Magazine Street, New Orleans, LA 70130, telephone (504) 589-6271.End Further Info End Preamble Start Supplemental Information
Requests 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 [CGD08-03-028], 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.
We do not plan to hold a public meeting. However, 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
The Coast Guard proposes the establishment of a safety zone around a petroleum and gas production facility in the Gulf of Mexico: Holstein, Green Canyon Block 645 (GC 645), located at position 27°19′17″ N, 90°32′08″ W. The proposed safety zone would be in effect while the facility is being constructed and after the construction is completed.
This proposed safety zone is in the deepwater area of the Gulf of Mexico. For the purposes of this rule it is considered to be in waters of 304.8 meters (1,000 feet) or greater depth extending to the limits of the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) contiguous to the territorial sea of the United States and extending to a distance up to 200 nautical miles from the baseline from which the breadth of the sea is measured. Navigation in the area of the proposed safety zone consists of large commercial shipping vessels, fishing vessels, cruise ships, tugs with tows and the occasional recreational vessel. The deepwater area of the Gulf of Mexico also includes an extensive system of fairways. The fairways nearest the proposed safety zone include the East-West Gulf of Mexico Safety Fairway and Louisiana Offshore Oil Port (LOOP) Shipping Safety Fairway. Significant amounts of vessel traffic occur in or near the various fairways in the deepwater area.
BP Exploration & Production Inc., hereafter referred to as “BP” has requested that the Coast Guard establish a safety zone in the Gulf of Mexico around the Holstein construction site and for the zone to remain in effect after construction is completed.
The request for the safety zone was made due to the high level of shipping activity around the site of the facility and the safety concerns for construction personnel, the personnel on board the facility after it is completed, and the environment. BP indicated that the location, production level, and personnel levels on board the facility make it highly likely that any allision with the facility during and after construction would result in a catastrophic event. The Holstein will be a high production oil and gas spar drilling facility, capable of producing approximately 100,000 barrels of oil per day and 90 million cubic feet of gas per Start Printed Page 55558day, and manned with a crew of approximately 149 people.
The Coast Guard has reviewed BP's concerns and agrees that the risk of allision to the facility and the potential for loss of life and damage to the environment resulting from such an accident during and following the construction of Holstein warrants the establishment of this proposed safety zone. The proposed rule would significantly reduce the threat of allisions, oil spills and natural gas releases and increase the safety of life, property, and the environment in the Gulf of Mexico. This proposed rule is issued pursuant to 14 U.S.C. 85 and 43 U.S.C. 1333 as set out in the authority citation for 33 CFR part 147.
Discussion of Proposed Rule
The specific risk factors which necessitate a safety zone for the Holstein construction site and for a safety zone to remain in effect after the facility is completed are: (1) The construction site is located approximately 43 nautical miles southwest of the Louisiana Offshore Oil Port (LOOP) Shipping Safety Fairway (2) the facility will have a high production capacity of 100,000 barrels of petroleum oil per day and 90 million cubic feet of gas per day; (3) the facility will be manned with a crew of 149 people; (4) the facility will be a truss spar; and (5) the truss spar will be moored by a 16-line permanent mooring system.
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 Homeland Security (DHS).
We expect the economic impact of this proposed rule to be so minimal that a full regulatory evaluation under the regulatory policies and procedures of DHS is unnecessary.
The impacts on routine navigation are expected to be minimal because the proposed safety zone will not overlap any of the safety fairways within the Gulf of Mexico.
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. Since the construction site for the Holstein is located far offshore, few privately owned fishing vessels and recreational boats/yachts operate in the area. This proposed rule will not impact an attending vessel or vessels less than 100 feet in length overall not engaged in towing. Alternate routes are available for all other vessels impacted by this proposed rule. Use of an alternate route may cause a vessel to incur a delay of four to ten minutes in arriving at their destinations depending on how fast the vessel is traveling. Therefore, the Coast Guard expects the impact of this proposed regulation on small entities to be minimal.
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 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 Kevin Lynn, Project Manager for Eighth Coast Guard District Commander, Hale Boggs Federal Bldg., 501 Magazine Street, New Orleans, LA 70130, telephone (504) 589-6271.
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).
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 will not result in such an expenditure, we discuss the effects of this rule elsewhere in this preamble.
Taking of Private Property
This proposed rule will 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 does not create 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 Start Printed Page 55559between the Federal Government and Indian tribes, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities between the Federal Government and Indian tribes.
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. The Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs has not designated it as a significant energy action. Therefore, it does not require a Statement of Energy Effects under Executive Order 13211.
We have analyzed this proposed rule under Commandant Instruction M16475.1D, which guides the Coast Guard in complying with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) (42 U.S.C. 4321-4370f), and have concluded that there are no factors in this case that would limit the use of categorical exclusion under section 2.B.2 of the Instruction. Therefore, this rule is categorically excluded, under figure 2-1 paragraph (34)(g), of the instruction, from further environmental documentation because this rule is not expected to result in any significant environmental impact as described in NEPA. A draft “Environmental Analysis Check List” and a draft “Categorical Exclusion Determination” are available in the docket where indicated under ADDRESSES. Comments on this section will be considered before we make the final decision on whether the rule should be categorically excluded from further environmental review.Start List of Subjects
List of Subjects in 33 CFR Part 147
- Continental shelf
- Marine safety
- Navigation (water)
For the reasons discussed in the preamble, the Coast Guard proposes to amend 33 CFR part 147 as follows:Start Part
PART 147—SAFETY ZONES
1. The authority citation for part 147 continues to read as follows:
2. Add § 147.831 to read as follows:
(a) Description. Holstein, Green Canyon 645 (GC 645), located at position 27°19′17″ N, 90°32′08″ W. The area within 500 meters (1640.4 feet) from each point on the structure's outer edge is a safety zone. These coordinates are based upon North American Datum 1983.
(b) Regulation. No vessel may enter or remain in this safety zone except the following: (1) An attending vessel;
(2) A vessel under 100 feet in length overall not engaged in towing; or
(3) A vessel authorized by the Commander, Eighth Coast Guard District.
Dated: August 19, 2003.
Captain, U.S. Coast Guard, Acting Commander, 8th Coast Guard District.
[FR Doc. 03-24366 Filed 9-25-03; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-15-P