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National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP); Assistance to Private Sector Property Insurers; Extension of Term of Arrangement

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.

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AGENCY:

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Emergency Preparedness and Response Directorate, Department of Homeland Security.

ACTION:

Interim final rule.

SUMMARY:

FEMA is changing the current Financial Assistance/Subsidy Arrangement (the Arrangement) to extend its term of October 1, 2002, through May 1, 2004, to a term of October 1, 2002, through September 30, 2004. The Arrangement defines the duties and responsibilities of insurers that sell and service insurance under the Write Your Own (WYO) program. It also identifies the responsibilities of the Government to provide financial and technical assistance to these insurers.

DATES:

Effective May 2, 2004. Comments on this interim final rule should be received on or before June 29, 2004.

ADDRESSES:

Please send your comments to the Rules Docket Clerk, Office of the Start Printed Page 23658General Counsel, Federal Emergency Management Agency, 500 C Street, SW., Room 840, Washington, DC 20472, (facsimile) 202-646-4536, or (e-mail) FEMA-RULES@dhs.gov.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Edward L. Connor, FEMA, 500 C Street, SW., Washington, DC 20472, (phone) 202-646-3429, (facsimile) 202-646-3445, or (e-mail) Edward.Connor@dhs.gov.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

On August 9, 2002, FEMA published in the Federal Register, 67 FR 51768, a final rule to revise the effective date of the Arrangement to agree with the new Arrangement year beginning October 1, 2002, and ending September 30, 2003.

FEMA had planned to make significant changes in the Arrangement regarding litigation issues effective October 1, 2003. The proposed rule for these changes was not published until October 14, 2003, 68 FR 59146. As an interim measure, an interim final rule was published September 5, 2003, 68 FR 52700, extending the Arrangement term beginning October 1, 2002, to December 31, 2003. No comments were received on that interim final rule. It was anticipated that comments on the October 14, 2003, proposed rule could be reviewed and a final rule published effective January 1, 2004. This did not happen; rather, a second interim final rule was published on December 31, 2003, 68 FR 75453, extending the Arrangement term beginning October 1, 2002, to May 1, 2004. FEMA received one comment on the second interim final rule: an insurance association commented on the expense allowance. It is not feasible to complete the rulemaking for an effective date of May 2, 2004.

Under this extension of the current Arrangement, the expense allowance provided for in Article III.B of Appendix A to Part 62—Federal Emergency Management Agency, Federal Insurance Administration, Financial Assistance/Subsidy Arrangement will remain the same for the additional five months, including the additional expense allowance of up to two percentage points for meeting marketing goals. This additional expense allowance will be based on the period May 2, 2004, through September 30, 2004. Please note that there was an error in the supplementary information of the second interim final rule that was published on December 31, 2003. The additional expense allowance was supposed to be provided from October 1, 2002, through May 1, 2004, consistent with the extended term of the Arrangement. It was inadvertently only provided until April 1, 2004. With this interim final rule, FEMA corrects that error and provides the additional expense allowance through September 30, 2004.

National Environmental Policy Act

This interim final rule falls within the exclusion category 44 CFR 10.8(d)(2)(ii), which addresses the preparation, revision, and adoption of regulations, directives, and other guidance documents related to actions that qualify for categorical exclusions. Qualifying for this exclusion and because no other extraordinary circumstances have been identified, this interim final rule will not require the preparation of either an environmental assessment or environmental impact statement as defined by the National Environmental Policy Act.

Executive Order 12866, Regulatory Planning and Review

We have prepared and reviewed this rule under the provisions of E.O. 12866, Regulatory Planning and Review. Under Executive Order 12866, 58 FR 51735, October 4, 1993, a significant regulatory action is subject to an OMB review and the requirements of the Executive Order. The Executive Order defines “significant regulatory action” as one that is likely to result in a rule that may:

(1) Have an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more or adversely affect in a material way the economy, a sector of the economy, productivity, competition, jobs, the environment, public health or safety, or State, local, or tribal governments or communities;

(2) Create a serious inconsistency or otherwise interfere with an action taken or planned by another agency;

(3) Materially alter the budgetary impact of entitlements, grants, user fees, or loan programs or the rights and obligations of recipients thereof; or

(4) Raise novel legal or policy issues arising out of legal mandates, the President's priorities, or the principles set forth in the Executive Order.

For the reasons that follow, we have concluded that this interim final rule is neither economically significant nor a significant regulatory action under the Executive Order. The interim final rule will not have an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more nor will it adversely affect in a material way the economy, the insurance sector, competition, or other sectors of the economy. It will create no serious inconsistency or otherwise interfere with an action taken or planned by another agency. It will not materially alter the budgetary impact of entitlements, grants, user fees, or loan programs or the rights and obligations of recipients thereof. Nor does it raise novel legal or policy issues arising out of legal mandates, the President's priorities, or the principles set forth in the Executive Order.

OMB has not reviewed this rule under the principles of Executive Order 12866.

Paperwork Reduction Act

This interim final rule does not contain a collection of information and is therefore not subject to the provisions of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501-3520).

Executive Order 13132, Federalism

Executive Order 13132, Federalism, dated August 4, 1999, sets forth principles and criteria to which agencies must adhere in formulating and implementing policies that have federalism implications, that is, regulations that have substantial direct effects on the States, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities among the various levels of government. Federal agencies must closely examine the statutory authority supporting any action that would limit the policymaking discretion of the States, and to the extent practicable, must consult with State and local officials before implementing any such action.

We have reviewed this rule under E.O. 13132 and have concluded that the rule does not have federalism implications as defined by the Executive Order. We have determined that the rule does not significantly affect the rights, roles, and responsibilities of States, and involves no preemption of State law nor does it limit State policymaking discretion.

Administrative Procedure Act Statement

In general, FEMA publishes a rule for public comment before issuing a final rule, under the Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. 533 and 44 CFR 1.12. The Administrative Procedure Act, however, provides an exception from that general rule where the agency for good cause finds the procedures for comment and response contrary to public interest. The public benefit of this rule is the continuation of the WYO Arrangement without interruption. Therefore, we believe it is contrary to the public interest to delay the benefits of this rule. In accordance with the Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3), we find that there is good cause for the interim final rule to be published without prior public comment and without a full 30-day Start Printed Page 23659delayed effective date, so as to allow for the continuation of the Arrangement.

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List of Subjects in 44 CFR Part 62

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Accordingly, FEMA amends

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PART 62—SALE OF INSURANCE AND ADJUSTMENT OF CLAIMS

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1. The authority citation for part 62 continues to read as follows:

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Authority: 42 U.S.C. 4001 et seq.; Reorganization Plan No. 3 of 1978, 43 FR 41943, 3 CFR, 1978 Comp., p. 329; E.O. 12127 of Mar. 31, 1979, 44 FR 19367, 3 CFR, 1979 Comp., p. 376.

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2. In Appendix A to part 62, revise the first sentence of Article V, Section A to read as follows:

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Appendix A to Part 62—Federal Emergency Management Agency, Federal Insurance Administration, Financial Assistance/Subsidy Arrangement

Article V * * *

A. This Arrangement shall be effective for the period October 1, 2002 through September 30, 2004. * * *

* * * * *
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Michael D. Brown,

Under Secretary, Emergency Preparedness and Response, Department of Homeland Security.

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[FR Doc. 04-9827 Filed 4-29-04; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 9110-12-P