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Rule

Drawbridge Operation Regulations: Hackensack River, NJ

Document Details

Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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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:

Coast Guard, DHS.

ACTION:

Final rule.

SUMMARY:

The Coast Guard has changed the drawbridge operation regulations that govern the Amtrak Portal Bridge at mile 5.0, across the Hackensack River at Little Snake Hill, New Jersey. This final rule allows the bridge owner to expand the two time periods in the morning and in the afternoon, Monday through Friday, when the bridge may remain closed to vessel traffic.

DATES:

This rule is effective November 4, 2005.

ADDRESSES:

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 (CGD01-05-061) and are available for inspection or copying at the First Coast Guard District, Bridge Branch Office, 408 Atlantic Avenue, Boston, Massachusetts 02110, between 7 a.m. and 3 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Mr. Gary Kassof, Bridge Administrator, First Coast Guard District, (212) 668-7165.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Regulatory Information

On July 29, 2005, we published a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) entitled Drawbridge Operation Regulations; Hackensack River, New Jersey, in the Federal Register (70 FR 43812). We received 30 comment letters in response to the notice of proposed rulemaking. All 30 comment letters were in favor of the proposed rulemaking. No public hearing was requested and none was held.

Background and Purpose

The Amtrak Portal Bridge has a vertical clearance of 23 feet at mean high water and 28 feet at mean low water in the closed position. The existing operating regulations are listed at 33 CFR 117.723(c).

The owner of the bridge, National Railroad Passenger Corporation (AMTRAK), requested a change to the drawbridge operation regulations that would expand the two time periods in the morning and afternoon, Monday through Friday, when the bridge may remain closed to vessel traffic.

Rail traffic during the morning and afternoon commuter periods has increased over the past several years. Bridge openings during the two commuter time periods have caused delays to rail traffic prompting the bridge owner to request the expansion of the two bridge closure periods in the morning and afternoon Monday through Friday.

The Coast Guard conducted two 90-day test deviations to help determine if the proposed drawbridge operation schedule changes would help facilitate Start Printed Page 58058better rail traffic movement and not cause undue delays to vessel traffic.

On February 26, 2004, the Coast Guard published a temporary 90-day deviation, with request for comment, (69 FR 8817) to test changes to the drawbridge operation regulations for the Amtrak Portal Bridge identical to those proposed in this final rule. That temporary deviation was in effect from March 1, 2004, through May 29, 2004. We received nine comment letters in response to the temporary deviation. All the comment letters were in favor of making the tested drawbridge operation schedule a permanent rule change.

On November 23, 2004, we published a second 90-day deviation (69 FR 68079) to test the same drawbridge operation schedule as above during the winter months of the year. The second test deviation was in effect from December 13, 2004 through March 12, 2005. We received eight comment letters in response to our second test deviation. All eight letters were in favor of making the proposed rule change permanent.

The existing drawbridge operation regulations allow the bridge to remain closed to vessel traffic, Monday through Friday, from 7:20 a.m. to 9:20 a.m. and from 4:30 p.m. to 6:50 p.m., daily.

Under this final rule the Amtrak Portal Bridge will not open for vessel traffic, Monday through Friday, from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. and from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., daily. Additional bridge openings will be provided for commercial vessels from 6 a.m. to 7:20 a.m., from 9:20 a.m. to 10 a.m., from 4 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. and from 6:50 p.m. to 8 p.m., if at least a one-hour advance notice is given by calling the number posted at the bridge.

Discussion of Comments and Changes

The Coast Guard received 30 comment letters in response to the notice of proposed rulemaking. All 30 comment letters were in favor of the rulemaking. As a result, no changes have been made to this final 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 conclusion is based on the fact that the expansion of the existing bridge closed periods were previously tested during two 90-day temporary deviations with favorable results. We received no objections from the marine operators that normally use this waterway during the two deviation test periods or in response to our notice of proposed rulemaking.

Small Entities

Under the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601-612), we 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 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 conclusion is based on the fact that the expansion of the existing bridge closed periods were previously tested during two 90-day temporary deviations with favorable results. We received no objections from the marine operators that normally use this waterway during the two deviation test periods or in response to our notice of proposed rulemaking.

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. No small entities requested Coast Guard assistance and none was given.

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).

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 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 concern an environmental risk to health or risk to safety that may disproportionately affect children.

Indian Tribal Governments

This final rule does not have tribal implications under Executive Order 13175, Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribal Governments, because it does not have 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 Start Printed Page 58059Significantly 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.

Technical Standards

The National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act (NTTAA) (15 U.S.C. 272 note) directs agencies to use voluntary consensus standards in their regulatory activities unless the agency provides Congress, through the Office of Management and Budget, with an explanation of why using these standards would be inconsistent with applicable law or otherwise impractical. Voluntary consensus standards are technical standards (e.g., specifications of materials, performance, design, or operation; test methods; sampling procedures; and related management systems practices) that are developed or adopted by voluntary consensus standards bodies. This rule does not use technical standards. Therefore, we did not consider the use of voluntary consensus standards.

Environment

We have analyzed this 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 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. It has been determined that this final rule does not significantly impact the environment.

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List of Subjects in 33 CFR Part 117

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Regulations

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For the reasons set out 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; 33 CFR 1.05-1(g); Department of Homeland Security Delegation No. 0170.1; § 117.255 also issued under the authority of Pub. L. 102-587, 106 Stat. 5039.

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2. Section 117.723 is amended by revising paragraph (c) to read as follows:

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Hackensack River.
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(c) Except as provided in paragraphs (a)(1) of this section, the draw of the Amtrak Portal Bridge, mile 5.0, at Little Snake Hill, need not open for the passage of vessel traffic Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays, from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. and from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Additional bridge openings shall be provided for commercial vessels from 6 a.m. to 7:20 a.m.; 9:20 a.m. to 10 a.m.; 4 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. and from 6:50 p.m. to 8 p.m., if at least a one-hour advance notice is given by calling the number posted at the bridge. At all other times the draw shall open on signal.

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Start Signature

Dated: September 25, 2005.

David P. Pekoske,

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

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[FR Doc. 05-19952 Filed 10-4-05; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4910-15-P