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Proposed Rule

Drawbridge Operation Regulations; Liberty Bayou, Slidell, LA

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Coast Guard, DHS.


Supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking.


The Coast Guard is proposing to change the operating schedule for the State Route 433 (S433) pontoon span bridge across Liberty Bayou, mile 2.0, at Slidell, St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana. The proposed rule would allow the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development, owner of the bridge, to reduce the hours of manned operation of the bridge in order to make more efficient use of personnel and operating resources.


Comments and related material must reach the Coast Guard on or before January 14, 2008.


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.

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Phil Johnson, Bridge Administration Branch, telephone (504) 671-2128.

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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 [CGD08-06-010], 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 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 Coast Guard previously published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in the Federal Register [CGD08-06-010] on May 4, 2006 (86 FR 26290). The proposed rule would have changed the notice required for an opening from 12 hours to 4 hours. The Coast Guard did not receive any comments as a result of the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, but a final rule was not published. Subsequently, the bridge owner requested that the operating regulation for the bridge again be revised so that the bridge will open on signal, except that from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m., the bridge will open on signal if at least 2 hours notice is given.

The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development has requested that the operating regulation of the S433 pontoon span bridge be changed in order to make more efficient use of operating resources. Currently, the draw of the S433 Bridge opens on signal except that from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. the draw will open on signal if at least 12 hours notice is given, as required by 33 CFR 117.469.

Traffic counts indicate that an average of 6000 vehicles cross the bridge daily and approximately 1025, or 17.1% of those, cross between the hours of 7 p.m. and 7 a.m. Bridge tender logs for a three-month period show that the bridge opened 540 times, or an average of 6 times per day, to pass vessels. Of those vessel openings during the three-month period, 56, or 10.2% of them, were between the hours of 7 p.m. and 7 a.m. Most of the boats requesting openings are recreational fishing vessels, recreational powerboats and sailboats that routinely transit this waterway and are able to give advance notice.

Concurrent with the publication of the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, a Test Deviation [CGD08-07-032] has been issued to allow the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development to test the proposed schedule and to obtain data and public comments. The test period will be in effect during the entire Notice of Proposed Rulemaking comment period. The Coast Guard will review the logs of the drawbridge and evaluate public comments from this Supplemental Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and the above referenced Test Deviation to determine if a permanent special drawbridge operating regulation is warranted.

The Test Deviation allows the draw of the S433 Bridge to open on signal, except that between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m. daily, the bridge will open on signal if at least 2 hours notice is given.

On November 24, 2006 a Coast Guard Bridge Permit was issued approving the construction of a new swing span bridge to be constructed to replace the existing pontoon span bridge. Upon completion of construction, the new bridge will provide a vertical clearance of 7.59 feet above the 2% flow line. While this vertical clearance will accommodate many small recreational boats, larger vessels will still require an opening of the draw for passage. The schedule proposed in this SNPRM would be carried over to this new bridge.

Discussion of Proposed Rule

The proposed rule change to 33 CFR 117.469 would require that, between the hours of 7 p.m. and 7 a.m., a 2-hour notice be given for the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development to open the draw of the S433 Bridge. This change would reduce the amount of time that a bridge tender would need to man the bridge, making more efficient use of operating resources.Start Printed Page 64178

Regulatory Evaluation

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.

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 all vessel traffic will still be able to transit through the bridge between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m. after providing the two-hour advance notice for bridge openings.

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. This proposed rule would affect a limited number of small entities. These entities include operators of recreational fishing vessels, powerboats and sailboats using the waterway. This proposed rule will have no impact on any small entities because they are able to give notice prior to transiting through this bridge and most vessel operators that require an opening are currently providing advance notice.

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 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 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 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.

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.


We have analyzed this proposed rule under Commandant Instruction M16475.lD 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 Start Printed Page 64179that 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, (32)(e), of the Instruction, from further environmental documentation. Under figure 2-1, paragraph (32)(e), an “Environmental Analysis Check List” or “Categorical Exclusion Determination” 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.

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List of Subjects in 33 CFR Part 117

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For the reasons discussed in the preamble, the Coast Guard proposes to amend 33 CFR part 117 as follows:

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1. The authority citation for part 117 continues to read as follows:

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Authority: 33 U.S.C. 499; 33 CFR 1.05-1(g); Department of Homeland Security Delegation No. 0170.1.

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2. § 117.469 is revised to read as follows:

Liberty Bayou.

The draw of the S433 Bridge, mile 2.0 at Slidell, shall open on signal, except that between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m., the draw shall open on signal if at least 2 hours notice is given.

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Dated: November 6, 2007.

J.H. Korn,

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

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[FR Doc. E7-22365 Filed 11-14-07; 8:45 am]