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Regulated Navigation Area; Savannah River, Savannah, GA

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Coast Guard, DHS.


Final rule.


The Coast Guard is amending the regulated navigation area on the Savannah River to improve vessel traffic flow during Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) tankship transits. This change will allow all vessels greater than 1600 gross tons to transit the area during LNG tankship transits, provided they come no closer than 2 nautical miles to the LNG vessel without specific authorization from the Captain of the Port. This amendment will improve the flow of vessel traffic on the Savannah River during LNG transits while still providing for the safety of vessels on the navigable waterways.


This rule is effective May 20, 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 [CGD07-03-147] and are available for inspection or copying at Coast Guard Marine Safety Office Savannah, Juliette Gordon Low Federal Building, Suite 1017, 100 W. Oglethorpe, Savannah, Georgia 31401, between 7:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.

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Lieutenant Commander Lawrence Greene, Marine Safety Office Savannah; phone (912) 652-4353, extension 205.

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Regulatory Information

On November 19, 2003, we published a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) entitled Regulated Navigation Area: Savannah River, Savannah GA, in the Federal Register (68 FR 65227). We received no public comments on the proposed rule. No public hearing was requested, and none was held. No other documents were published as part of this rulemaking.

Background and Purpose

The port of Savannah currently receives LNG tankships, ranging from two to eight vessels per month, at the Southern LNG Elba Island facility. The Coast Guard currently has a regulated navigation area (RNA) in effect for LNG tankship transits. The existing regulation restricts vessel movement and extends from Fort Jackson, which is upriver from the Elba Island LNG facility, down the length of the Savannah River and offshore to the Savannah River Channel Entrance Sea Buoy (67 FR 46865). After over two years of experience with LNG tankship transits on the Savannah River, the Coast Guard is changing the existing regulation in order to allow vessels of 1600 gross tons or greater to enter the RNA during LNG tankship transits, provided they come no closer than 2 nautical miles to the transiting LNG tankship. Vessels less than 1600 gross tons will still be permitted to transit the RNA during LNG tankship transits provided they maintain a safe distance from transiting LNG tankships. This rule will reduce port congestion during LNG transits and decrease delays to vessels, facilities and terminals on the Savannah River. A safe distance of two nautical miles for vessels 1600 gross tons and greater is necessary to protect the safety of life and property on the navigable waters from hazards associated with LNG activities.

Discussion of Comments and Changes

No comments were received and no changes were made in the proposed amendment to the Regulated Navigation Area.

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).

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. Delays for inbound and outbound traffic due to LNG transits will be minimized through this change and through pre-transit conferences between the pilots and the Coast Guard Captain of the Port. The RNA requirements under this final rule are less burdensome for smaller vessels, which are more likely to be small entities.

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 Start Printed Page 21068governments 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. No comments were submitted regarding this section.

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 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 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. Under figure 2-1, paragraph (34)(g), of the Instruction, an “Environmental Analysis Check List” and a “Categorical Exclusion Determination” are not required for this rule.

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List of Subjects in 33 CFR Part 165

  • Harbors
  • Marine safety
  • Navigation (water)
  • Reporting and recordkeeping requirements
  • Waterways
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For the reasons set out 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. In § 165.756, paragraph (d)(1)(i) is revised to read as follows:

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Regulated Navigation Area; Savannah River, Georgia.
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(d) * * *

(1) * * *

(i) Except for a vessel that is moored at a marina, wharf, or pier, and remains moored, no vessel 1600 gross tons or greater may approach within two nautical miles of a LNG tankship that is underway within the RNA without the permission of the Captain of the Port (COTP).

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Dated: March 28, 2004.

H.E. Johnson,

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

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[FR Doc. 04-8867 Filed 4-19-04; 8:45 am]