Coast Guard, DHS.
Notice of proposed rulemaking.
The Coast Guard proposes to change the regulations governing the draw of the Valentine Pontoon Bridge across Bayou Lafourche, mile 44.7, in Lafourche Parish, Louisiana. The regulation will allow for the bridge to be unmanned and remain closed during hours of infrequent traffic with an advance notification requirement to open the bridge.
Comments and related material must reach the Coast Guard on or before November 20, 2006.
You may mail comments and related material to Commander (dpb), Eighth Coast Guard District, 500 Poydras Street, New Orleans, Louisiana 70130-3310. The Commander, Eighth Coast Guard District, Bridge Administration 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 Bridge Administration office between 7 a.m. and 3 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.Start Further Info
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
David Frank, Bridge Administration Branch, telephone 504-671-2128.End Further Info End Preamble Start Supplemental Information
Request for Comments
We encourage you to participate in this rulemaking by submitting comments and related material. If you do so, please include your name and address, identify the docket number for this rulemaking [CGD08-06-034], 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 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 do not now plan to hold a public meeting. You may submit a request for a meeting by writing to Commander, Eighth Coast Guard District, Bridge Administration 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 U.S. Coast Guard, at the request of the Lafourche Parish Council, proposes to modify the existing operating schedules of the Valentine Pontoon Bridge across Bayou Lafourche, mile 44.7, in Lafourche Parish, Louisiana. The majority of the bridge's openings occur between the hours of 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. The bridge owner proposes to continue to open the bridge on signal during these hours and to open the bridge on signal if at least four hours advance notification is given between the hours of 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. Presently, the draw of the bridge opens on signal for the passage of traffic.
Several large shipyards are located on Bayou Lafourche upstream of the bridge. The Lafourche Parish Council has contacted these facilities and has received letters of no objection to the proposed changes. A recent review of the bridge tender logs indicates that approximately 700 vessels transited through the bridge over the past year. Approximately 80% of the vessels transiting though the bridge site did so between the hours of 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. Additionally, it would appear that the majority of the night time openings for the bridge are for trawl vessels and they appear to increase during the months of May and August. Many of the trawl vessels appear to transit in clusters and pass through the bridge site on the same bridge opening. Presently, it is unclear as to whether or not a four-hour advance notification will place an undue burden on the vessel owners; however, the regulation will be written so that the bridge will be required to open on signal during the advance notification period if a temporary surge in water traffic occurs.
Traffic counts were not included as part of the submittal from the bridge owner as the request is to reduce the requirement of having a bridge tender at the bridge 24 hours a day due to the limited number of vessel openings that occur during the hours of 6 p.m. to 6 a.m.
Discussion of Proposed Rule
The proposed rule would modify the existing regulations in 33 CFR 117.465. The modification to the regulations will require the bridge owner to open the bridge on signal from 6 a.m. until 6 p.m. daily for the passage of vessels. At all other times, the bridge will open for signal for the passage of vessels if at least four hours advance notification is given. This modification will allow the bridge owner to reduce their requirements to have a bridge tender at the bridge site at all times. The SR 3220 bridge, mile 49.2, at Lockport, is required to open on signal for the passage of vessels; except that from 6 p.m. to 10 a.m., the bridge draw shall open on signal if at least four hours advance notification is given. As the next bridge upstream from the Valentine Bridge already has a more restrictive regulation established, the new regulation will only directly affect those individuals whose vessels or facilities are located within this five mile stretch of the waterway. The two largest commercial facilities have already submitted letters of no objection to the proposed changes. Start Printed Page 54947
Included in the regulation will be a clause similar to that which is included on the SR 3220 bridge that requires the bridge owner to open the bridge in less than four hours for an emergency and to open the bridge on signal if a temporary surge in water traffic occurs.
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 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. We expect the economic impact of this proposed rule to be so minimal that a full Regulatory Evaluation is unnecessary.
Prior to proposing this rule, the Coast Guard analyzed the bridge usage records and determined that requiring four hours notice during off peak periods would have minimal impact on commercial vessel traffic. This proposed rule allows vessels ample opportunity to transit this waterway during the day and with minimal advanced notification at all other times.
Under the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601-612), we have 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 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 proposed rule would affect the following entities: the owners and operators of vessels needing to transit the bridges during the requested closure periods.
If you think that your business, organization, or governmental jurisdiction qualifies as a small entity and that this proposed 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 proposed 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 the Eighth Coast Guard District Bridge Administration Branch at the address above. 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 will not result in such an expenditure, we do discuss the effects of this proposed rule elsewhere in this preamble.
Taking of Private Property
This proposed rule would not affect 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 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 proposed rule is not an economically significant rule and would not create an environmental risk to health or risk to safety that might disproportionately affect children.
Indian Tribal Governments
This proposed 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.
We have analyzed this proposed 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.
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. Start Printed Page 54948
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 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, we believe that this rule should be categorically excluded, under figure 2-1, paragraph (32)(e), of the Instruction, from further environmental documentation. Under figure 2-1, paragraph (32)(e), of the Instruction, an “Environmental Determination Check List” and a “Categorical Exclusion Determination” are not required for this rule. However, comments on this section still be considered before the final rule.Start List of Subjects
List of Subjects in 33 CFR Part 117End List of Subjects
For the reasons discussed in the preamble, the Coast Guard proposes to amend 33 CFR part 117 as follows:Start Part
PART 117—DRAWBRIDGE OPERATION REGULATIONS
1. The authority citation for part 117 continues to read as follows:
2. In § 117.465, paragraphs (b), (c), (d), (e), and (f) are redesignated paragraphs (c), (d), (e), (f) and (g). A new paragraph (b) is added to read as follows:
(b) The draw of the Valentine bridge, mile 44.7 at Valentine, shall open on signal; except that, from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m., the draw shall open on signal if at least four hours advance notification is given. During the advance notification period, the draw shall open on less than four hours notice for an emergency and shall open on demand should a temporary surge in water traffic occur.
Dated: September 10, 2006.
Joel R. Whitehead,
Rear Admiral, U.S. Coast Guard, Commander, Eighth Coast Guard District.
[FR Doc. E6-15561 Filed 9-19-06; 8:45 am]
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