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Proposed Rule

Safety Zone; Outer Continental Shelf Facility in the Gulf of Mexico for Mississippi Canyon Block 920

Document Details

Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

Published Document

This document has been published in the Federal Register. Use the PDF linked in the document sidebar for the official electronic format.

Start Preamble

AGENCY:

Coast Guard, DHS.

ACTION:

Notice of proposed rulemaking.

SUMMARY:

The Coast Guard proposes to establish a 500 meter safety zone around the oil and natural gas production facility Independence Hub in Mississippi Canyon Block 920 of the Outer Continental Shelf in the Gulf of Mexico. This safety zone is needed to protect the crew of the Independence Hub and vessels operating in the vicinity of the facility. Vessels are prohibited from entering this proposed safety zone with the following exceptions: an attending vessel; a vessel under 100 feet in length overall not engaged in towing; or a vessel authorized by the Eighth Coast Guard District Commander.

DATES:

Comments and related material must reach the Coast Guard on or before June 15, 2007.

ADDRESSES:

You may mail comments and related material to Commander, Eighth Coast Guard District (dpw), Hale Boggs Federal Bldg., 500 Poydras Street, New Orleans, LA 70130, or comments and related material may be delivered to Room 1230 at the same address between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The telephone number is (504) 671-2107. Commander, Eighth Coast Guard District (dpw) 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 location listed above during the noted time periods.

Start Further Info

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Doug Blakemore, waterways management specialist for Eighth Coast Guard District Commander, Hale Boggs Federal Bldg., 500 Poydras Street, New Orleans, LA 70130, telephone (504) 671-2109.

End Further Info End Preamble Start Supplemental Information

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Requests 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 [CGD08-07-004], 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.

Public Meeting

We do not plan to hold a public meeting. However, you may submit a request for a meeting by writing to Commander, Eighth Coast Guard District (dpw) at the address under ADDRESSES explaining why one would be beneficial. If we determine that a public meeting 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 Coast Guard proposes to establish a safety zone around the Independence Hub facility, an oil and natural gas production facility in the Gulf of Mexico in Mississippi Canyon Block 920, located at position 28.085° N, 87.986° W. The Independence Hub is an integrated development of nine gas fields and consists of a deepdraft, column-legged, semi-submersible production platform, a subsea production infrastructure, connecting flowlines and a trunk line terminating at a junction platform in Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana. Anadarko Petroleum Corporation (Anadarko), the lead operator of the Independence Hub, has requested that a safety zone be established 500 meters around the semi-submersible production platform.

Navigation in the vicinity of the proposed safety zone consists of large commercial shipping vessels, fishing vessels, cruise ships, tugs with tows and the occasional recreational vessel. Significant amounts of vessel traffic occur in or near the various fairways in the deepwater area. Information provided by Anadarko to the Coast Guard indicates that the location, production levels, and personnel levels on board the facility make it highly likely that any allision with the facility or its mooring system could result in a catastrophic event. The proposed rule would reduce the threat of allisions, oil spills and natural gas releases and increase the safety of life, property, and the environment in the Gulf of Mexico.

Discussion of Proposed Rule

The proposed safety zone would encompass the area within 500 meters from each point on the Independence Hub's structure outer edge. No vessel would be allowed to enter or remain in this proposed safety zone except the following: an attending vessel; a vessel under 100 feet in length overall not engaged in towing; or a vessel authorized by the Eighth Coast Guard District Commander.

Regulatory Evaluation

This proposed rule is not a “significant regulatory action” under section 3(f) of Executive Order 12866 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).

We expect the economic impact of this proposed rule to be so minimal that a full regulatory evaluation under the regulatory policies and procedures of DHS is unnecessary. The impacts on routine navigation are expected to be Start Printed Page 18930minimal because the proposed safety zone will not overlap any of the safety fairways within the Gulf of Mexico.

Small Entities

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. Since the Independence Hub facility will be located far offshore, few privately owned fishing vessels and recreational boats/yachts operate in the area and alternate routes are available for those vessels. Therefore, the Coast Guard expects the impact of this proposed rule on small entities to be minimal.

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 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 (Public Law 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 Doug Blakemore, waterways management specialist for Eighth Coast Guard District Commander, Hale Boggs Federal Bldg., 500 Poydras Street, New Orleans, LA 70130, telephone (504) 671-2109.

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).

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 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 expenditure, we discuss the effects of this rule elsewhere in this preamble.

Taking of Private Property

This proposed 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 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 does not create an environmental risk to health or risk to safety that may 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 invite your comments on this proposed rule. This proposed rule might impact tribal governments, even though the impact may not constitute a tribal implication under the rule.

Energy Effects

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.

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.

Environment

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 categorical exclusion under section 2.B.2 of the Instruction. Therefore, this rule is categorically excluded, under figure 2-1 paragraph (34)(g), of the instruction, from further environmental documentation because this rule is not expected to result in any significant environmental impact as described in NEPA.

A draft “Environmental Analysis Check List” and a draft “Categorical Exclusion Determination” are available in the docket where indicated under ADDRESSES. Comments on this section will be considered before we make the final decision on whether the rule Start Printed Page 18931should be categorically excluded from further environmental review.

Start List of Subjects

List of Subjects in 33 CFR Part 147

End List of Subjects

For the reasons discussed in the preamble, the Coast Guard proposes to amend 33 CFR part 147 as follows:

Start Part

PART 147—SAFETY ZONES

1. The authority citation for part 147 continues to read as follows:

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Authority: 14 U.S.C. 85; 43 U.S.C. 1333; Department of Homeland Security Delegation No. 0170.1.

End Authority

2. Add § 147.845 to read as follows:

Independence Hub safety zone.

(a) Description. The Independence Hub, Mississippi Canyon Block 920, is located at position 28.08505611° N, 87.98583917° W. The area within 500 meters (1640.4 feet) from each point on the structure's outer edge is a safety zone. These coordinates are based upon [NAD 83].

(b) Regulation. No vessel may enter or remain in this safety zone except the following:

(1) An attending vessel;

(2) A vessel under 100 feet in length overall not engaged in towing; or

(3) A vessel authorized by the Commander, Eighth Coast Guard District.

Start Signature

Dated: April 5, 2007.

Richard G. Sullivan,

Captain, U.S. Coast Guard, Commander, 8th Coast Guard District, Acting.

End Signature End Part End Supplemental Information

[FR Doc. E7-7186 Filed 4-13-07; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4910-15-P