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Drawbridge Operation Regulations; Columbia River, OR

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, DHS.

ACTION:

Temporary final rule.

SUMMARY:

The Coast Guard is temporarily changing the operating regulations of the dual vertical lift bridges on Interstate Highway 5 across the Columbia River, mile 106.5, between Portland, OR, and Vancouver, WA. Between July 15 and October 15, 2004, the lift spans will open for the passage of vessels only at scheduled times to accommodate a major rehabilitation of the mechanical and electrical systems of the bridges.

DATES:

This rule is effective from 6:30 a.m. on July 15 to 9 p.m. on October 15, 2004.

ADDRESSES:

Comments and material received from the public, as well as documents indicated in this preamble as being available in the docket [CGD13-03-027], will become part of this docket and will be available for inspection or copying at the Commander (oan), Thirteenth Coast Guard District , 915 Second Avenue, Seattle, Washington 98174 between 7:30 a.m. and 4 p.m., Start Printed Page 7683Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Austin Pratt, Chief Bridge Section, (206) 220-7282.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Regulatory History

On September 5, 2003, the Coast Guard published a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) entitled Drawbridge Operation Regulations; Columbia River, Oregon in the Federal Register (68 FR 52722). We received no comments on this NPRM. No public hearing was requested and none was held.

Background and Purpose

This temporary rule will enable the bridge owners to conduct a major rehabilitation project during the part of the year when water levels are typically low enough that most vessels do not need the drawspans to open for their passage. The seven million dollar project will completely replace the existing 1959 electrical system in both bridges and the 1916 gears in the northbound drawbridge. In addition, the operating control center will be rebuilt with improved visibility and new television cameras. During the first three weeks of the period, the dual lifts will remain in the down position to facilitate gear replacement. Thereafter, openings will be provided once every two weeks, if needed, until the end of the temporary period. Historically, water levels on the Columbia River fluctuate significantly over the course of an annual cycle. Essentially, water levels are dependent on the accumulation of snow in the winter and its melting in the spring and early summer. The annual dry season in the Pacific Northwest is typically from approximately July 15 to October 15. Usually rainfall begins to raise water levels again after October 15.

A river elevation of 6.0 feet Columbia River Datum (CRD) is the critical point for towboats on the Columbia River at and upstream of the bridges. Cargo towing is the main commercial use of the Columbia above the bridges. Large oceangoing vessels do not generally pass above these bridges. The towboats that ply that portion of the Columbia require 52 feet of vertical clearance. Most towing vessels and passenger tour vessels are able to pass through the highest fixed spans near midstream without requiring the vertical lift spans near the north shore to open when the river level is six feet or less.

The exceptions are the tallest sailboats, some construction derricks, and large structures that have been built upstream of the bridges at shore facilities. With the exception of the first three weeks of the affected period when the draws need not open, an opening will be provided every two weeks. During summer months the openings average less than one per day, mostly for sailboats, some of which could pass the higher fixed spans if antennas were lowered.

Discussion of Rule

We received no comments on the notice of proposed rulemaking.

The temporary rule authorizes a continuous closure of the draws from 6:30 a.m. July 15 to 9 p.m. August 6, 2004. On August 6 and 20, September 3 and 17 and October 1, 2004, openings will be provided on signal at 9 p.m. Openings need not be provided at times other than these from 9 p.m. on August 6 until 9 p.m. October 15.

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.

We expect the economic impact of this rule to be so minimal that a full Regulatory Evaluation under the regulatory policies and procedures of DHS is unnecessary.

We do expect recreational sailboats to be affected by this temporary rule. This class of vessel most commonly requires openings of the subject drawbridges during the summer months. Some of these vessels will either have to find alternate moorage or otherwise be limited in their operating areas during the project. Others will be able to modify their top hamper by lowering antennas, instruments, masts, etc., in order to pass the bridge if the biweekly scheduled openings do not serve their needs. These vessel operators will receive notice of several months duration to plan their activities for summer 2004.

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 would not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. We expect that some recreational sailboat owners will be affected by this proposal. Most other vessels will either not require openings of the draws during low water season or will be accommodated by the biweekly scheduled openings. Some sail boaters will have to change their moorage and itineraries or modify their vessels to avoid delays.

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 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 Austin Pratt, Chief, Bridge Section at (206) 220-7282.

Collection of Information

This 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 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 would not affect a taking of private property or otherwise have taking implications under Executive Start Printed Page 7684Order 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 would not create an environmental risk to health or risk to safety that might 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 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.

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. 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 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 (32)(e) of the Instruction, from further environmental documentation. There are no expected environmental consequences of the action that would require further analysis and documentation.

Start List of Subjects

List of Subjects in 33 CFR Part 117

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Regulations

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For the reasons discussed in the preamble, the Coast Guard amends

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PART 117—DRAWBRIDGE OPERATION REGULATIONS

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1. The authority citation for part 117 continues to read as follows:

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Authority: 33 U.S.C. 499; Department of Homeland Security Delegation No. 0170.1; 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. From 6:30 a.m. on July 15, 2004, until 9 p.m. on October 15, 2004, in § 117.869, suspend paragraph (a) and add a new paragraph (d) to read as follows:

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Columbia River.
* * * * *

(d) The draws of the Interstate 5 Bridges, mile 106.5, between Portland, OR, and Vancouver, WA, need not open for the passage of vessels from 6:30 a.m. on July 15, 2004, to 9 p.m. on August 6, 2004, and at no other time until 9 p.m. on October 15 except for scheduled openings on signal at 9 p.m. on August 6 and 20, September 3 and 17, and October 1, 2004.

Start Signature

Dated: February 6, 2004.

Jeffrey M. Garrett,

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

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[FR Doc. 04-3623 Filed 2-18-04; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4910-15-P