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Rule

Regulated Navigation Area; Mississippi River, Eighty-One Mile Point

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.

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AGENCY:

Coast Guard, DHS.

ACTION:

Final rule.

SUMMARY:

The Coast Guard has amended the regulated navigation area (RNA) for the Lower Mississippi River (LMR) mile marker (MM) 233.9 through South and South West Passes by establishing mandatory check-in procedures for vessels transiting on the waters of the Mississippi River between (MM) 167.5 LMR and 187.9 LMR. This rule is needed to minimize the risk of collisions, allisions, and groundings occurring as a result of vessels meeting unanticipated traffic in the vicinity of Eighty-One Mile Point, MM 178 LMR. This rule requires vessels, subject to the Bridge to Bridge Radiotelephone Act (33 U.S.C. 26), to notify Vessel Traffic Center Lower Mississippi River, New Orleans (VTC New Orleans) prior to entering or getting underway in this section of the RNA.

DATES:

This rule is effective August 30, 2007.

ADDRESSES:

Documents indicated in this preamble as being in the docket, are part of docket [CGD08-07-007] and are available for inspection or copying at U.S. Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit Baton Rouge, 6041 Crestmount Drive, Baton Rouge, LA 70809 between 7:30 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Lieutenant Todd Peterson, Marine Safety Unit Baton Rouge, at (225) 298-5400.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Regulatory Information

On April 5, 2007 we published a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) entitled Regulated Navigation Area; Mississippi River, Eighty-One Mile Point in the Federal Register (72 FR 65). We received no comments on the proposed rule. No public meetings were requested and none were held.

Background and Purpose

From 1999 to 2006 there have been 64 reported collisions, allisions, or groundings on the Lower Mississippi River between MM 167.5 and 187.9. There have been 21 allisions, 2 barge breakaways, 13 collisions and 28 groundings. Of these 64 casualties, 3 were categorized by 46 CFR part 4 as serious marine incidents and 5 as major marine casualties. These casualties have involved all sectors of the maritime industry including deep draft shipping, towing vessels, and barge fleets and have occurred at high, normal and low water conditions.

A waterways user group subcommittee of the Lower Mississippi River Waterway Safety Advisory Committee (LMRWSAC) examined marine casualties on the LMR in the vicinity of 81 Mile Point. This subcommittee consisted of members of the pilots association, towing vessel industry, barge fleets and the Coast Guard. This subcommittee reviewed the location and marine investigation associated with each casualty and subjectively examined river conditions within this RNA. This committee determined that existing waterways management tools may not be sufficient to safely navigate in the vicinity of 81 Mile Point. Providing position reports to VTC New Orleans would allow the Coast Guard to track vessels in this RNA and provide advice to mariners about upcoming traffic in an effort to eliminate meeting and overtaking scenarios at Eighty-One Mile Point.

Discussion of Comments and Changes

There were no comments received on this rule change. No public meetings were requested and none were held.

Regulatory Evaluation

This 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.

This rule does not prohibit vessel transits, barge fleeting, or towboat operations within the RNA, but merely requires checking in with VTS New Orleans using existing equipment. The impacts on routine navigation are expected to be minimal.

Small Entities

Under the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601-612), we have considered whether this 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 rule does not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. This RNA will not have an impact on a substantial number of small entities because this rule will not obstruct the regular flow of commercial vessel traffic conducting business within the RNA. It does not require the purchase of additional equipment and instead uses Start Printed Page 41625existing VHF capabilities already required by other laws or regulations.

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 to Marine Safety Unit Baton Rouge 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 (Public Law 104-121), we want to assist small entities in understanding this rule so that they can better evaluate its effects on them and participate in the rulemaking. If this rule affects your small business, organization, or governmental jurisdiction and you have questions concerning its provisions or options for compliance, please contact LT Todd Peterson, Marine Safety Unit Baton Rouge at (225) 298-5400.

Collection of Information

This rule calls 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 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 rule does not result in such an expenditure, we do discuss the effects of this rule elsewhere in this preamble.

Taking of Private Property

This rule does 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 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 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 might 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 does 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. It has not been designated by the Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs 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 rule does not use technical standards. Therefore, we did not consider the use of voluntary consensus standards.

Environment

We have analyzed this 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 determined 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 is categorically excluded, under figure 2-1, paragraph (34)(g), of the Instruction, from further environmental documentation. This rule fits in paragraph (34)(g) because it is a regulated navigation area. A preliminary “Environmental Analysis Check List” is available in the docket where indicated under ADDRESSES.

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List of Subjects in 33 CFR Part 165

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For the reasons discussed in the preamble, the Coast Guard amends

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PART 165—REGULATED NAVIGATION AREAS AND LIMITED ACCESS AREAS

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1. The authority citation for part 165 continues to read as follows:

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Authority: 33 U.S.C. 1226, 1231; 46 U.S.C. Chapter 701; 50 U.S.C. 191, 195; 33 CFR 1.05-1, 6.04-1, 6.04-6, and 160.5; Pub. L. 107-295, 116 Stat. 2064; Department of Homeland Security Delegation No. 0170.1.

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2. Amend § 165.810 by adding paragraph (g) to read as follows:

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Mississippi River, LA-regulated navigation area.
* * * * *

(g) Movement of vessels in the vicinity of Eighty-One Mile Point, Geary LA mm 167.5-187.9 LMR. (1) Prior to proceeding upriver past MM 167.5, LMR, Sunshine Bridge, vessels shall contact Vessel Traffic Center (VTC) New Orleans on VHF Channel 63A to check-in. Vessels must provide name, destination, confirm proper operation of their automated identification system (AIS) if required under 33 CFR 164.46 and, if applicable, size of tow and number of loaded and empty barges. At MM 173.7, LMR, Bringier Point Light, ascending vessels shall contact VTC New Orleans and provide a follow-on Start Printed Page 41626position check. At both check-in and follow-on position check, VTC New Orleans will advise the vessel on traffic approaching Eighty-One Mile Point.

(2) Prior to proceeding downriver past MM 187.9, LMR, COS-MAR Lights, vessels shall contact Vessel Traffic Center (VTC) New Orleans on VHF Channel 63A to check-in. Vessels must provide name, destination, confirm proper operation of their automated identification system (AIS) if required under 33 CFR 164.46 and, if applicable, size of tow and number of loaded and empty barges. At MM 183.9 LMR, Wyandotte Chemical Dock Lights, descending vessels shall contact VTC New Orleans and provide a follow-on position check. At both check-in and follow-on position check VTC New Orleans will advise the vessel on traffic approaching Eighty-One Mile Point.

(3) All vessels getting underway between miles 167.5 and 187.9 must check-in with VTC New Orleans on VHF Channel 63A immediately prior to getting underway and must comply with the respective ascending and descending check-in and follow-on points listed in paragraphs (g)(1) and (g)(2) above.

(4) Fleet vessels must check-in with VTC New Orleans if they leave their respective fleet or if they move into the main channel. Fleet vessels are not required to check-in if they are operating exclusively within their fleet.

Start Signature

Dated: July 16, 2007.

J.R. Whitehead,

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

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[FR Doc. E7-14697 Filed 7-30-07; 8:45 am]

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