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Proposed Rule

Drawbridge Operation Regulations; Jamaica Bay and Connecting Waterways, NY

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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Coast Guard, DHS.


Notice of proposed rulemaking.


The Coast Guard proposes to temporarily change the drawbridge operating regulations governing the operation of the New York City Highway Bridge (Belt Parkway), at mile 0.8, across Mill Basin. This notice of proposed rulemaking would allow the bridge owner to open only one of the two moveable spans for the passage of vessel traffic from March 1, 2006 through September 7, 2006. This proposed rule is necessary to facilitate bridge deck replacement.


Comments must reach the Coast Guard on or before March 1, 2006.


You may mail comments to Commander (dpb), First Coast Guard District Bridge Branch, One South Street, Battery Park Building, New York, New York 10004, or deliver them to the same address between 7 a.m. and 3 p.m., Monday through Friday, except, Federal holidays. The telephone number is (212) 668-7165. The First Coast Guard District, Bridge Branch, maintains the public docket for this rulemaking. Comments and material received from the public, as well as documents indicated in this preamble as being available in the docket, will become part of this docket and will be available for inspection or copying at the First Coast Guard District, Bridge Branch, 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.

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Ms. July Leung-Yee, Project Officer, First Coast Guard District, (212) 668-7195.

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Request for Comments

We encourage you to participate in this rulemaking by submitting comments or related material. If you do so, please include your name and address, identify the docket number for this rulemaking (CGD01-06-006), indicate the specific section of this document to which each comment applies, and give the reason for each comment. Please submit all comments and related material in an unbound format, no larger than 81/2 by 11 inches, suitable for copying. If you would like to know if they reached, us please enclose a stamped, self-addressed postcard or envelope. We will consider all comments and material received during the comment period. We may change this proposed rule in view of them.

We anticipate making this rule effective in less than 30 days after publication in the Federal Register to allow for the rehabilitation work to commence in time for the March 1, 2006, deck replacement construction start date. The deck replacement for the New York City Highway (Belt Parkway) Bridge is vital, necessary work that must be performed without delay as a result of deterioration of the existing bridge deck which could fail if not replaced with all due speed. In order to assure the continued safe and reliable operation of the bridge construction work should begin as scheduled on March 1, 2006. However, the Coast Guard desires to allow as much time as possible for public participation in the rulemaking process. Thus, we are allowing the comment period to run into the 30-day time period normally included between publication and the effective date.

Public Meeting

We do not now plan to hold a public meeting but you may submit a request for a meeting by writing to the First Coast Guard District, Bridge Branch, at the address under ADDRESSES explaining why one would be beneficial. If we determine that one would aid this rulemaking, we will hold one at a time and place announced by a later notice in the Federal Register.

Background and Purpose

The New York City Highway Bridge (Belt Parkway) has a vertical clearance of 34 feet at mean high water and 39 feet at mean low water in the closed position. The existing operating regulations are listed at 33 CFR 117.795(b).

The owner of the bridge, New York City Department of Transportation (NYCDOT), requested a temporary change to the drawbridge operation regulations to facilitate the replacement of the bridge roadway deck.

This rulemaking is necessary because during the prosecution of this rehabilitation construction, the opening span that is undergoing deck replacement cannot open for vessel traffic. As a result, the bridge owner requested that only one of the two opening spans need open for the passage of vessel traffic from March 1, 2006 through September 7, 2006.

Discussion of Proposed Rule

This proposed change would amend 33 CFR 117.795 by suspending paragraph (b), which lists the New York City Highway Bridge (Belt Parkway), and add a temporary paragraph (d) to allow single span bridge openings from March 1, 2006 through September 7, 2006.

The horizontal clearance at the bridge is 135 feet with both spans opened and 67.5 feet with a single span open.

The Coast Guard believes this proposed rule is reasonable because the recreational vessel traffic that normally transits this bridge can safely pass through the bridge with a single span opening of 67.5 feet of horizontal clearance.

Regulatory Evaluation

This proposed 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 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).

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

This conclusion is based on the fact that the vessel traffic that normally transits this bridge should not be precluded from transiting due to single span bridge openings.

Small Entities

Under the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601-612), we considered whether this proposed 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 section 5 U.S.C. 605(b), that this proposed rule would not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities.

This notice of proposed rulemaking would not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small Start Printed Page 4853entities for the following reason: Mill Basin is navigated predominantly by recreational vessels.

The single span bridge openings should not preclude vessel traffic from transiting the bridge because the recreational vessels that normally use this waterway should be able to transit through the bridge with the reduced horizontal clearance of 67.5 feet due to their relative small size.

If you think that your business, organization, or governmental jurisdiction qualifies as a small entity and that this rule would have a significant economic impact on it, please submit a comment (see ADDRESSES) explaining why you think it qualifies and how and to what degree this rule would economically affect it.

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 proposed 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 us in writing at, Commander (dpb), First Coast Guard District, Bridge Branch, One South Street, New York, NY 10004. The telephone number is (212) 668-7165. The Coast Guard will not retaliate against small entities that question or complain about this rule or any policy or action of the Coast Guard.

Collection of Information

This proposed rule would call 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 proposed 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 proposed rule would not result in such an expenditure, we do discuss the effects of this rule elsewhere in this preamble.

Taking of Private Property

This proposed rule would not effect a taking of private property or otherwise have taking implications under E.O. 12630, Governmental Actions and Interference with Constitutionally Protected Property Rights.

Civil Justice Reform

This proposed 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 proposed 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 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 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. 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 proposed rule does not use technical standards. Therefore, we did not consider the use of voluntary consensus standards.


We have analyzed this proposed 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 made a preliminary determination 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, we believe that this rule should be categorically excluded, under figure 2-1, paragraph (32)(e), of the Instruction, from further environment documentation because this action relates to the promulgation of operating regulations or procedures for drawbridges.

Under figure 2-1, paragraph (32)(e) of the instruction, an “Environmental Analysis Checklist” is not required for this rule. Comments on this section will be considered before we make the final decision on whether to categorically exclude this rule from further environmental review.

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List of Subjects in 33 CFR Part 117

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For the reasons set out in the preamble, the Coast Guard proposes to amend 33 CFR part 117 as follows:

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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; section 117.255 also issued under the authority of Pub. L. 102-587, 106 Stat. 5039.

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2. From March 1, 2006 through September 7, 2006, § 117.795 is Start Printed Page 4854amended by suspending paragraph (b) and adding a temporary paragraph (d) to read as follows:

Jamaica Bay and Connecting Waterways.
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(d) The New York City Highway Bridge (Belt Parkway), mile 0.8, across Mill Basin, need only open one moveable span for the passage of vessel traffic from March 1, 2006 through September 7, 2006. The draw need not be opened for the passage of vessel traffic from 12 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Sundays from May 15 through September 30, and on Memorial Day, Independence Day, and Labor Day. However, on these days the draw shall open on signal from the time two hours before to one hour after the predicted high tide(s). For the purpose of this section, predicted high tide(s) occur 15 minutes later than that predicted for Sandy Hook, as documented in the tidal current data, which is updated, generated and published by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration/National Ocean Service.

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Dated: January 22, 2006.

David P. Pekoske,

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

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[FR Doc. 06-855 Filed 1-25-06; 4:03 pm]