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Safety/Security Zone; Cove Point Liquefied Natural Gas Terminal, Chesapeake Bay, Maryland

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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Coast Guard, DHS.


Temporary final rule.


The Coast Guard is establishing a safety/security zone at the Cove Point Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) Terminal. This is in response to the re-opening of the terminal by Dominion Power in July 2003. This safety and security zone is necessary to help ensure public safety and security. The zone will prohibit vessels and persons from entering a well-defined area of 500 yards in all directions around the Cove Point LNG Terminal.


This rule is effective from January 6, 2004, through January 28, 2004.


Comments and material received from the public, as well as documents indicated in this preamble as being available in the docket, are part of docket [CGD05-03-204] and are available for inspection or copying at Commander, U.S. Coast Guard Activities, 2401 Hawkins Point Road, Building 70, Port Safety, Security and Waterways Management Branch, Baltimore, Maryland 21226-1791 between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.

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Lieutenant Dulani Woods, at Coast Guard Activities Baltimore, Port Safety, Security and Waterways Management Branch, at telephone number (410) 576-2513.

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Regulatory Information

On March 20, 2003, we published a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) in the Federal Register entitled “Safety and Security Zone; Cove Point Liquefied Natural Gas Terminal, Chesapeake Bay, Maryland” (68 FR 13647). In it we proposed a permanent safety and security zone. And in response to a request for a public meeting, we announced a June 5, 2003 public meeting and reopened the comment period to June 12, 2003. (68 FR 26247, May 15, 2003). On August 1, 2003, we published a temporary final rule (TFR) entitled “Safety and Security Zone; Cove Point Natural Gas Terminal, Chesapeake Bay, MD,” in the Federal Register (68 FR 45165), that expired on September 26, 2003. On September 26, 2003, we issued a TFR entitled “Safety/Security Zone; Cove Point Natural Gas Terminal, Chesapeake Bay, MD,” and published this TFR in the Federal Register on October 16, 2003 (68 FR 59538). That temporary final rule will expire January 5, 2004. The final rule is being published elsewhere in this same issue of the Federal Register and will become effective January 29, 2004.

Under 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B), the Coast Guard finds that good cause exists for not publishing a notice of proposed rulemaking and under 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3) for making this rule effective less than 30 days after publication in the Federal Register. It took longer to resolve issues related to the final rule than we expected at the time we issued the last TFR. This new TFR is necessary because it would be contrary to public interest not to maintain a temporary safety and security zone until the final rule becomes effective January 29, 2004, at which time this temporary rule will be removed.

Background and Purpose

In preparation for the re-opening of the LNG terminal at Cove Point, MD, the Coast Guard is evaluating the current safety zone established in 33 CFR 165.502. This safety zone was established during the initial operation of the terminal in 1979 and includes both the terminal and associated vessels. To better manage the safety and security of the LNG terminal, this proposed rule incorporates necessary security provisions and changes the size of the zone. This rule establishes a 500 yard combined safety zone and security zone in all directions around the LNG terminal at Cove Point.

Based on the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center buildings in New York, NY and the Pentagon building in Arlington, VA, there is an increased risk that subversive activity could be launched by vessels or persons in close proximity to the Cove Point LNG Terminal. As part of the Diplomatic Security and Antiterrorism Act of 1986 (Pub. L. 99-399), Congress amended section 7 of the Ports and Waterways Safety Act (PWSA), 33 U.S.C. 1226, to allow the Coast Guard to take actions, including the establishment of security and safety zones, to prevent or respond to acts of terrorism against individuals, vessels, or public or commercial structures. The Coast Guard also has authority to establish security zones pursuant to the Espionage Act of June 15, 1917, as amended by the Magnuson Act of August 9, 1950 (50 U.S.C. 191 et seq.) (“Magnuson Act”), section 104 of the Maritime Transportation Security Act of November 25, 2002, and by implementing regulations promulgated by the President in subparts 6.01 and 6.04 of part 6 of Title 33 of the Code of Federal Regulations.

Discussion of Rule

This temporary final rule is identical to the previous rules published in the Federal Register on August 1, 2003 (68 FR 45165), and October 16, 2003 (68 FR 59538). The Coast Guard was unable to publish an extension to this rule. However, the practical effect of this new temporary final rule is the same and continues the safety and security zone currently in effect.

The Coast Guard is establishing a temporary safety/security zone on specified waters of the Chesapeake Bay near the Cove Point Liquefied Natural Gas Terminal to reduce the potential threat that may be posed by vessels or persons that approach the terminal. The zone will extend 500 yards in all directions from the terminal. The effect will be to prohibit vessels or persons entry into the security zone, unless specifically authorized by the Captain of the Port, Baltimore, Maryland. Federal, state and local agencies may assist the Coast Guard in the enforcement of this rule.

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 Homeland Security (DHS). This regulation is of limited size, and vessels may transit around the zone.

There may be some adverse effects on the local maritime community that has been using the area as a fishing ground. Since the terminal has not been in operation, the Coast Guard has not enforced the current zone under 33 CFR 165.502. Commercial vessel operators have been using the area on a regular Start Printed Page 75135basis for commercial fishing, passenger tours, and fishing parties. Enforcement of the proposed zone or the current zone would prohibit these commercial vessel operators from using this area.

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. This proposed rule would affect the following entities, some of which might be small entities: The owners or operators of vessels intending to transit or anchor in a portion of the Chesapeake Bay near the Cove Point LNG Terminal.

Assistance for Small Entities

Under section 213(a) of the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996 (Pub. L. 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).


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. 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 rule under Commandant Instruction M16475.lD, 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 a 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 establishes a security zone.

A final “Categorical Exclusion Determination” will be available in the docket where indicated under ADDRESSES.

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List of Subjects in 33 CFR Part 165

  • Harbors
  • Marine safety
  • Navigation (water)
  • Reporting and record keeping requirements
  • Security measures
  • Waterways
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For the reasons discussed in the preamble, the Coast Guard amends 33 CFR part 165 as follows:

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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. 1226,1231; 46 U.S.C. Chapter 701; 50 U.S.C. 191,195; 33 CFR 1.05-1(g), 6.04-1, 6.04-6, and 160.5; Pub. L. 107-295, 116 Stat. 2064, Department of Homeland Security Delegation No. 0170.1.

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2. From January 6, 2004, through February 4, 2004, add § 165.T05-204 to read as follows:

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Safety and Security Zone; Cove Point Liquefied Natural Gas Terminal, Chesapeake Bay, Maryland.

(a) Location. The following area is a safety and security zone: All waters of the Chesapeake Bay, from surface to bottom, encompassed by lines connecting the following points, beginning at 38°24′27″ N, 076°23′42″ W, thence to 38°24′44″ N, 076°23′11″ W, thence to 38°23′55″ N, 076°22′27″ W, thence to 38°23′37″ N, 076°22′58″ W, thence to beginning at 38°24′27″ N, 076°23′42″ W. These coordinates are based upon North American Datum (NAD) 1983. This area is 500 yards in all directions from the Cove Point LNG terminal structure.

(b) Regulations. (1) In accordance with the general regulations in §§ 165.23 Start Printed Page 75136and 165.33 of this part, entry into or movement within this zone is prohibited unless authorized by the Coast Guard Captain of the Port, Baltimore, Maryland or his designated representative. Designated representatives include any Coast Guard commissioned, warrant, or petty officer.

(2) Persons desiring to transit the area of the zone may contact the Captain of the Port at telephone number (410) 576-2693 or via VHF Marine Band Radio channel 16 (156.8 MHz) 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 or his designated representative.

(c) Enforcement. The U.S. Coast Guard may be assisted in the patrol and enforcement of the zone by Federal, State, local, and private agencies.

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Dated: December 15, 2003.

Curtis A. Springer,

Captain, U.S. Coast Guard, Captain of the Port, Baltimore, Maryland.

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[FR Doc. 03-31788 Filed 12-29-03; 8:45 am]