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Proposed Rule

Subsistence Management Regulations for Public Lands in Alaska, Subpart A; Makhnati Island Area

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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AGENCIES:

Forest Service, Agriculture; Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION:

Proposed rule.

SUMMARY:

This proposed rule would revise the jurisdiction of the Federal Subsistence Management Program by adding submerged lands and waters in the area of Makhnati Island, near Sitka, Alaska. This would then allow Federal subsistence users to harvest marine resources in this area under seasons, harvest limits, and methods specified in Federal Subsistence Management regulations.

DATES:

We must receive your written public comments on this proposed rule no later than June 15, 2006.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Chair, Federal Subsistence Board, c/o U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Attention: Thomas H. Boyd, Office of Subsistence Management; (907) 786-3888. For questions specific to National Forest System lands, contact Steve Kessler, Regional Subsistence Program Leader, USDA, Forest Service, Alaska Region, (907) 786-3888.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

In Title VIII of the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA) (16 U.S.C. 3111-3126), Congress found that “the situation in Alaska is unique in that, in most cases, no practical alternative means are available to replace the food supplies and other items gathered from fish and wildlife which supply rural residents dependent on subsistence uses * * *” and that “continuation of the opportunity for subsistence uses of resources on public and other lands in Alaska is threatened * * *.” As a result, Title VIII requires, among other things, that the Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of Agriculture (Secretaries) implement a program to provide for rural Alaska residents a priority for the taking for subsistence uses of fish and wildlife resources on public lands in Alaska, unless the State of Alaska enacts and implements laws of general applicability that are consistent with ANILCA and that provide for the subsistence definition, priority, and participation specified in Sections 803, 804, and 805 of ANILCA.

The State implemented a program that the Department of the Interior previously found to be consistent with ANILCA. However, in December 1989, the Alaska Supreme Court ruled in McDowell v. State of Alaska that the rural priority in the State subsistence statute violated the Alaska Constitution. The Court's ruling in McDowell caused the State to delete the rural priority from the subsistence statute which therefore Start Printed Page 25529negated State compliance with ANILCA. The Court stayed the effect of the decision until July 1, 1990. As a result of the McDowell decision, the Department of the Interior and the Department of Agriculture (Departments) assumed, on July 1, 1990, responsibility for implementation of Title VIII of ANILCA on public lands. On June 29, 1990, the Departments published the Temporary Subsistence Management Regulations for Public Lands in Alaska in the Federal Register (55 FR 27114). Permanent regulations were jointly published on May 29, 1992 (57 FR 22940), and have been amended since then.

As a result of this joint process between Interior and Agriculture, these regulations can be found in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) both in title 36, “Parks, Forests, and Public Property,” and title 50, “Wildlife and Fisheries,” at 36 CFR 242.1-28 and 50 CFR 100.1-28, respectively. The regulations contain the following subparts: Subpart A, General Provisions; Subpart B, Program Structure; Subpart C, Board Determinations; and Subpart D, Subsistence Taking of Fish and Wildlife.

Consistent with Subparts A, B, and C of these regulations, as revised May 7, 2002 (67 FR 30559), and December 27, 2005 (70 FR 76400), the Departments established a Federal Subsistence Board (Board) to administer the Federal Subsistence Management Program, as established by the Secretaries. The Board's composition includes a Chair appointed by the Secretary of the Interior with concurrence of the Secretary of Agriculture; the Alaska Regional Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; the Alaska Regional Director, U.S. National Park Service; the Alaska State Director, U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM); the Alaska Regional Director, U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs; and the Alaska Regional Forester, USDA Forest Service. Through the Board, these agencies participated in the development of regulations for Subparts A, B, and C, and the annual Subpart D regulations.

Jurisdictional Perspective

Federal Subsistence Management Regulations (50 CFR 100.3 and 36 CFR 242.3) currently specify that “The public lands described in paragraphs (b) and (c) of this section remain subject to change through rulemaking pending a Department of the Interior review of title and jurisdictional issues regarding certain submerged lands beneath navigable waters in Alaska.” In April 2005, the Board requested a review by the U.S. Department of the Interior's, Office of the Solicitor to determine whether a Federal interest presently exists in certain areas of southeastern Alaska. The specific areas were originally identified by the Sitka Tribe of Alaska and presented before the Southeast Alaska Subsistence Regional Advisory Council, who forwarded a request for review to the Board. In November 2005, the Office of the Solicitor responded that the Makhnati Island area withdrawal in Executive Order 8877 (August 29, 1941) was not rescinded until after statehood, so the submerged land did not transfer to the State of statehood. Since this submerged land is not included in any other withdrawal, reservation, or administrative setaside, the marine submerged lands, including any filled lands owned by the United States, are under the administration of the BLM. Accordingly, the Solicitor's Office indicated that this area should be included within the jurisdiction of the Federal Subsistence Management Program. See 70 FR 76400 (December 27, 2005).

The specific area encompasses approximately 610 acres of land and water adjacent to Japonski Island. Whiting Harbor and numerous small islands are included within the boundary of the withdrawal. The Board recommends the inclusion of this area in the Federal Subsistence Management Program. Therefore, we propose to amend the Federal Subsistence Management Regulations for Public Lands in Alaska to reflect Federal subsistence management jurisdiction in the area of Makhnati Island, near Sitka, Alaska.

We propose to amend Section __3(b), which includes those areas where marine waters are included, and where the regulations contained in 50 CFR 100 and 36 CFR 242 apply to both navigable and non-navigable waters. If additional marine submerged lands are determined in the future to be held by the United States, those additional lands would be the subject of future rulemakings.

Because the Federal Subsistence Management Program relates to public lands managed by an agency or agencies in both the Departments of Agriculture and the Interior, we would propose to incorporate identical text into 36 CFR part 242 and 50 CFR part 100.W

Conformance with Statutory and Regulatory Authorities

National Environmental Policy Act Compliance

A Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for developing a Federal Subsistence Management Program was distributed for public comment on October 7, 1991. That document described in major issues associated with Federal subsistence management as identified through public meetings, written comments, and staff analysis, and examined the environmental consequences of four alternatives. Proposed regulations (Subparts A, B, and C) that would implement the preferred alternative were included in the DEIS as an appendix. The DEIS and the proposed administrative regulations presented a framework for an annual regulatory cycle regarding subsistence hunting and fishing regulations (Subpart D). The Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) was published on February 28, 1992.

Based on the public comments received, the analysis contained in the FEIS, and the recommendations of the Federal Subsistence Board and the Department of the Interior's Subsistence Policy Group, the Secretary of the Interior, with the concurrence of the Secretary of Agriculture, through the U.S. Department of Agriculture—Forest Service, implemented Alternative IV as identified in the DEIS and FEIS (Record of Decision on Subsistence Management for Federal Public Lands in Alaska (ROD), signed April 6, 1992). The DEIS and the selected alternative in the FEIS defined the administrative framework of an annual regulatory cycle for subsistence hunting and fishing regulations. The final rule for Subsistence Management Regulations for Public Lands in Alaska, Subparts A, B, and C, published May 29, 1992, implemented the Federal Subsistence Management Program and included a framework for an annual cycle for subsistence hunting and fishing regulations. The following Federal Register documents pertain to this rulemaking: Start Printed Page 25530

Federal Register Documents Pertaining to Subsistence Management Regulations for Public Lands in Alaska, Subparts A and B

Federal Register citationDate of publicationCategoryDetails
57 FR 22940May 29, 1992Final Rule“Subsistence Management Regulations for Public Lands in Alaska; Final Rule” was published in the Federal Register.
64 FR 1276January 8, 1999Final Rule (amended)Amended to include subsistence activities occurring on inland navigable waters in which the United States has a reserved water right and to identify specific Federal land units where reserved water rights exist. Extended the Federal Subsistence Board's management to all Federal lands selected under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act and the Alaska Statehood Act and situated within the boundaries of a Conservation System Unit, National Recreation Area, National Conservation Area, or any new national forest or forest addition, until conveyed to the State of Alaska or an Alaska Native Corporation. Specified and clarified Secretaries' authority to determine when hunting, fishing, or trapping activities taking place in Alaska off the public lands interfere with the subsistence priority.
66 FR 31533June 12, 2001Interim RuleExpanded the authority that the Board may delegate to agency field officials and clarified the procedures for enacting emergency or temporary restrictions, closures, or openings.
67 FR 30559May 7, 2002Final RuleIn response to comments on an interim rule, amended the operating regulations. Also corrected some inadvertent errors and oversights of previous rules.
68 FR 7703February 18, 2003Direct Final RuleThis rule clarified how old a person must be to receive certain subsistence use permits and removed the requirement that Regional Councils must have an odd number of members.
68 FR 23035April 30, 2003Affirmation of Direct Final RuleReceived no adverse comments on the direct final rule (68 FR 7703). Adopted direct final rule.
68 FR 60957October 14, 2004Final RuleEstablished Regional Council membership goals.
70 FR 76400December 27, 2005Final RuleRevised jurisdiction in marine waters and clarified jurisdiction relative to military lands.

An environmental assessment was prepared in 1997 on the expansion of Federal jurisdiction over fisheries and is available by contacting the office listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT. The Secretary of the Interior with the concurrence of the Secretary of Agriculture determined that the expansion of Federal jurisdiction did not constitute a major Federal action significantly affecting the human environment, and therefore, signed a Finding of No Significant Impact.

Compliance With Section 810 of ANILCA

The intent of all Federal subsistence regulations is to accord subsistence uses of fish and wildlife on public lands a priority over the taking of fish and wildlife on such lands for other purposes, unless restriction is necessary to conserve healthy fish and wildlife populations. A Section 810 analysis was completed as part of the FEIS process. The final Section 810 analysis determination appeared in the April 6, 1992, ROD, which concluded that the Federal Subsistence Management Program may have some local impacts on subsistence uses, but that the program is not likely to significantly restrict subsistence uses.

Paperwork Reduction Act

These rules contain no new information collection requirements subject to Office of Management and Budget (OMB) approval under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995. They apply to the use of public lands in Alaska. The information collection requirements described in the rule were approved by OMB under 44 U.S.C. 3501 and were assigned clearance number 1018-0075, which expires August 31, 2006. We will not conduct or sponsor, and you are not required to respond to, a collection of information request unless it displays a currently valid OMB control number.

Other Requirements

Economic Effects—This rule is not a significant rule subject to OMB review under Executive Order 12866. This rulemaking will impose no significant costs on small entities; this rule does not restrict any existing sport or commercial fishery on the public lands, and subsistence fisheries will continue at essentially the same levels as they presently occur. The number of businesses and the amount of trade that will result from this Federal land-related activity is unknown but expected to be insignificant.

The Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980 (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq. requires preparation of regulatory flexibility analyses for rules that will have a significant economic effect on a substantial number of small entities, which include small businesses, organizations, or governmental jurisdictions. The Departments have determined that this rulemaking will not have a significant economic effect on a substantial number of small entities within the meaning of the Regulatory Flexibility Act.

This rulemaking will impose no significant costs on small entities; the exact number of businesses and the amount of trade that will result from this Federal land-related activity is unknown. The aggregate effect is an insignificant positive economic effect on Start Printed Page 25531a number of small entities, such as tackle, boat, and gasoline dealers. The number of small entities affected is unknown; however, the fact that the positive effects will be seasonal in nature and will, in most cases, merely continue preexisting uses of public lands indicates that the effects will not be significant.

In general, the resources harvested under this rule will be consumed by the local harvester and do not result in a dollar benefit to the economy. However, we estimate that about 26.2 million pounds of fish (including about 9 million pounds of salmon) are harvested Statewide by the local subsistence users annually and, if based on a replacement value of $3.00 per pound, would equate to $78.6 million in food value Statewide.

Title VIII of ANILCA requires the Secretaries to administer a subsistence preference on public lands. The scope of this program is limited by definition to certain public lands. Likewise, these regulations have no potential takings of private property implications as defined by Executive Order 12630.

The Service has determined and certifies pursuant to the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act, 2 U.S.C. 1502 et seq. that this rulemaking will not impose a cost of $100 million or more in any given year on local or State governments or private entities. The implementation of this rule is by Federal agencies, and no cost is involved to any State or local entities or tribal governments.

The Service has determined that these regulations meet the applicable standards provided in Sections 3(a) and 3(b)(2) of Executive Order 12988 on Civil Justice Reform.

In accordance with Executive Order 13132, the rule does not have sufficient federalism implications to warrant the preparation of a federalism assessment. title VIII of ANILCA precludes the State from exercising subsistence management authority over fish and wildlife resources on Federal lands unless their program is compliant with the requirements of that Title.

In accordance with the President's memorandum of April 29, 1994, “Government-to-Government Relations with Native American Tribal Governments” (59 FR 22951), 512 DM 2, and E.O. 13175, we have evaluated possible effects on federally recognized Indian tribes and have determined that there are no effects. The Bureau of Indian Affairs is a participating agency in this rulemaking.

On May 18, 2001, the President issued Executive Order 13211 on regulations that significantly affect energy supply, distribution, or use. The Executive Order requires agencies to prepare Statements of Energy Effects when undertaking certain actions. As this rule is not a significant regulatory action under Executive Order 13211, affecting energy supply, distribution, or use, this action is not a significant action and no Statement of Energy Effects is required.

William Knauer drafted these regulations under the guidance of Thomas H. Boyd of the Office of Subsistence Management, Alaska Regional Office, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Anchorage, Alaska. Dennis Tol and Taylor Brelsford, Alaska State Office, Bureau of Land Management; Greg Bos, Carl Jack, and Jerry Berg, Alaska Regional Office, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; San Rabinowitch and Nancy Swanton, Alaska Regional Office, National Park Service; Warren Eastland, Pat Petrivelli, and Dr. Glenn Chen, Alaska Regional Office, Bureau of Indian Affairs; and Steve Kessler, Alaska Regional Office, USDA-Forest Service provided additional guidance.

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List of Subjects

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For the reasons set out in the preamble, the Secretaries propose to amend title 36, part 242, and title 50, part 100, of the Code of Federal Regulations, as set forth below.

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PART__—SUBSISTENCE MANAGEMENT REGULATIONS FOR PUBLIC LANDS IN ALASKA

1. The authority citation for both 36 CFR part 242 and 50 CFR part 100 would continue to read as follows:

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Authority: 16 U.S.C. 3, 472, 551, 668dd, 3101-3126; 18 U.S.C. 3551-3586; 43 U.S.C. 1733.

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Subpart A—General Provisions

2. In Subpart A of 36 CFR part 242 and 50 CFR part 100, § __.3 would be amended by adding paragraph (b)(5) to read as follows:

Applicability and scope.
* * * * *

(b) * * *

(5) Southeastern Alaska—Makhnati Island Area: Land and waters beginning at the southern point of Fruit Island, 57°21′35″ north latitude, 135°21′07″ west longitude as shown on United States Coast and Geodetic Survey Chart No. 8244, May 21, 1941; from the point of beginning, by metes and bounds; S. 58° W., 2500 feet, to the southern point of Nepovorotni Rocks; S. 83° W., 5600 feet, on a line passing through the southern point of a small island lying about 150 feet south of Makhnati Island; N. 6° W., 4200 feet, on a line passing through the western point of a small island lying about 150 feet west of Makhnati Island, to the northwestern point of Signal Island; N. 24° E., 3000 feet, to a point, 57°03′15″ north latitude, 135°23′07″ west longitude; East, 2900 feet, to a point in course No. 46 in meanders of U.S. Survey No. 1496, on west side of Japonski Island; Southeasterly, with the meanders of Japonski Island, U.S. Survey No. 1496 to angle point No. 35, on the Southwestern point of Japonski Island; S. 60° E., 3300 feet, along the boundary line of Naval reservation described in Executive order No. 8216, July 25, 1939, to the point beginning.

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Dated: March 22, 2006.

P. Lynn Scarlett,

Secretary of the Interior, Department of the Interior.

Dated: April 4, 2006.

Dennis E. Bschor,

Regional Forester, USDA-Forest Service.

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[FR Doc. 06-4012 Filed 4-28-06; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 3410-11-M; 4310-55-M