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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 Amtrak Bridge across the Thames River, mile 0.8, at New London, Connecticut. This notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) would allow the bridge owner to open the bridge on a temporary opening schedule from November 15, 2006 through May 15, 2007. This proposed rule is necessary to facilitate bridge pier repairs.
Comments must reach the Coast Guard on or before November 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.Start Further Info
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
Ms. Judy Leung-Yee, Project Officer, First Coast Guard District, (212) 668-7195.End Further Info End Preamble Start Supplemental Information
Under 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B), the Coast Guard finds that good cause exists for publishing an NPRM with a shortened comment period of 15 days, and under 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3), the Coast Guard finds that good cause exists for making this rule effective less than 30 days after publication in the Federal Register. Due to the urgency of the repairs, it is essential that this rule becomes effective on November 15, 2006. Start Printed Page 61699
The owner of the bridge, National Railroad Passenger Corporation (Amtrak), requested a temporary final rule to facilitate un-scheduled structural bridge repairs.
On June 29, 2006, the bridge owner discovered that one of the main bridge piers had shifted as a result of pile driving for the new adjacent Amtrak Bridge. In order to perform corrective repairs, minimize structural impingement, and continue to provide for rail traffic, the bridge must remain in the closed position, except during specific time periods during which the bridge will remain in the full open position for the passage of vessel traffic.
The Coast Guard published a temporary deviation in the Federal Register on July 24, 2006 [71 FR 41730], to allow immediate repairs to the bridge to commence.
On September 6, 2006, Amtrak contacted the Coast Guard and requested a temporary regulation effective from November 15, 2006 through May 15, 2007, to facilitate the completion of the bridge repairs.
The Coast Guard believes this shortened comment period and effective date is reasonable because the bridge repairs facilitated by this temporary rule are vital and necessary, thus, they must be performed with all due speed in order to assure the continued safe and reliable operation of the bridge.
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 (CGD01-06-122), 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 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 Amtrak Bridge across the Thames River, mile 3.0, at New London, Connecticut, has a vertical clearance of 30 feet at mean high water and 33 feet at mean low water in the closed position. The existing operating regulations are listed at 33 CFR 117.224.
The owner of the bridge, Amtrak, requested a temporary change to the drawbridge operation regulations to facilitate repairs to one of the main bridge piers.
On June 29, 2006, the bridge owner discovered that one of the main bridge piers had shifted as a result of pile driving for the new adjacent Amtrak Bridge.
In order to perform corrective repairs, minimize structural impingement, and continue to provide for rail traffic, the bridge must remain in the closed position except during specific time periods during which the bridge will remain in the full open position for the passage of vessel traffic.
Discussion of Proposed Rule
This proposed change would allow the Amtrak Bridge to operate on temporary schedule from November 15, 2006 through May 15, 2007, to facilitate the completion of repairs to one of the main bridge piers damaged by nearby pile driving.
Under this notice of proposed rulemaking, from November 15, 2006 through May 15, 2007, the Amtrak Bridge across the Thames River, mile 3.0, at New London, Connecticut, shall remain in the full open position for the passage of vessel traffic as follows:
Monday through Friday: 5 a.m. to 5:40 a.m.; 11:20 a.m. to 11:55 a.m.; 3:35 p.m. to 4:15 p.m.; and 8:30 p.m. to 8:55 p.m.
Saturday: 8:30 a.m. to 9:10 a.m.; 12:35 p.m. to 1:05 p.m.; 3:40 p.m. to 4:10 p.m.; 5:35 p.m. to 6:05 p.m.; and 7:35 p.m. to 8:40 p.m.
Sunday: 8:30 a.m. to 9:20 a.m.; 11:35 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.; 1:30 p.m. to 1:55 p.m.; 6:30 p.m. to 7:10 p.m.; and 8:30 p.m. to 9:15 p.m.
The bridge shall open on signal at any time for the passage of U.S. Navy submarines and escort vessels. At all other times the draw shall remain in the closed position. Vessels that can pass under the draw without a bridge opening may do so at all times.
The Coast Guard believes this proposed rule is reasonable because the required repair work is vital and necessary in order to ensure the safe and continued reliable operation of the bridge.
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.
We expect the economic impact of this proposed rule to be so minimal that a full Regulatory Evaluation is unnecessary. This conclusion is based on the fact that the vessel traffic that normally transits this bridge should only be minimally affected as they will still be able to transit the bridge under the temporary opening schedule.
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 entities for the following reason: The Thames River is navigated predominantly by recreational vessels and U.S. Navy vessels.
The temporary opening schedule should not preclude recreational vessel traffic from transiting the bridge because the recreational vessels that normally use this waterway will be in winter storage for most of the time period this rule is in effect and the U.S. Navy submarines and associated vessels will be provided bridge openings on demand at any time.
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 Start Printed Page 61700Fairness 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 affect 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.
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.
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 and Department of Homeland Security Management Directive 5100.1, which guide 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.Start List of Subjects
List of Subjects in 33 CFR Part 117End List of Subjects
For the reasons set out 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:
(c)(1) The draw shall remain in the full open position for the passage of vessel traffic as follows: Monday through Friday from 5 a.m. to 5:40 a.m.; 11:20 a.m. to 11:55 a.m.; 3:35 p.m. to 4:15 p.m.; and 8:30 p.m. to 8:55 p.m. Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 9:10 a.m.; 12:35 p.m. to 1:05 p.m.; 3:40 p.m. to 4:10 p.m.; 5:35 p.m. to 6:05 p.m.; and 7:35 p.m. to 8:40 p.m. Sunday from 8:30 a.m. to 9:20 a.m.; 11:35 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.; 1:30 p.m. to 1:55 p.m.; 6:30 p.m. to 7:10 p.m.; and 8:30 p.m. to 9:15 p.m.
(2) The draw shall open on signal at all times for the passage of U.S. Navy submarines, Navy escort vessels and Start Printed Page 61701commercial vessels. At all other times the draw need not open for the passage of vessel traffic.
Dated: October 13, 2006.
Timothy S. Sullivan,
Rear Admiral, U.S. Coast Guard Commander, First Coast Guard District.
[FR Doc. 06-8814 Filed 10-17-06; 2:34 pm]
BILLING CODE 4910-15-P