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Rule

Safety Zones: Northeast Gateway, Deepwater Port, Atlantic Ocean, Boston, MA

Document Details

Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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Start Preamble

AGENCY:

Coast Guard, DHS.

ACTION:

Temporary final rule.

SUMMARY:

The Coast Guard is re-establishing two temporary safety zones of 500 meter radii around the primary components, two independent submerged turret-loading buoys, of Excelerate Energy's Northeast Gateway Deepwater Port, Atlantic Ocean, and its accompanying systems. The purpose of these temporary safety zones is to protect vessels and mariners from the potential safety hazards associated with deepwater port facilities. All vessels, with the exception of deepwater port support vessels, are prohibited from entering into or moving within either of the safety zones.

DATES:

This rule is effective from May 7, 2008 through July 12, 2008.

ADDRESSES:

Documents indicated in this preamble as being available in the docket are part of docket USCG-2008-0372 and are available online at http://www.regulations.gov. They are also available for inspection or copying at two locations: The Docket Management Facility (M-30), U.S. Department of Transportation, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE., Washington, DC 20590, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays, and the U.S. Coast Guard, Sector Boston, 427 Commercial Street, Boston, MA 02109 between 7 a.m. and 3 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

If you have questions on this temporary rule, call Chief Petty Officer Eldridge McFadden, Waterways Management Division, U.S. Coast Guard Sector Boston, at 617-223-5160. If you have questions on viewing the docket, call Renee V. Wright, Program Manager, Docket Operations, telephone 202-366-9826.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Regulatory Information

We did not publish a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) for this regulation. Under 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B), the Coast Guard finds that good cause exists for not publishing an NPRM. The deepwater port facilities discussed elsewhere in this rule were recently completed and present a potential safety hazard to vessels, especially fishing vessels, operating in the vicinity of submerged structures associated with the deepwater port facility. A more robust regulatory scheme to ensure the safety and security of vessels operating in the area, has been developed via separate rulemaking, and is available for review and comment at the Web site http://www.regulations.gov using a search term of USCG-2007-0087. These safety zones are needed pending implementation of a final regulatory scheme, proposed in a separate rulemaking docket, USCG-2007-0087, to protect vessels from the hazard posed by the presence of the currently uncharted, submerged deepwater infrastructure. Delaying the effective day pending completion of notice and comment rulemaking is contrary to the public interest to the extent it would expose vessels currently operating in the area to the known, but otherwise uncharted submerged hazards.

For the same reasons, 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.

Background and Purpose

On May 14, 2007, the Maritime Administration (MARAD), in accordance with the Deepwater Port Act of 1974, as amended, issued a license to Excelerate Energy to own, construct, and operate a natural gas deepwater port, “Northeast Gateway.” Northeast Gateway Deepwater Port (NEGDWP) is located in the Atlantic Ocean, approximately 13 nautical miles south-southeast of the City of Gloucester, Massachusetts, in Federal waters. The coordinates for its two submerged turret loading (STL) buoys are: STL Buoy A, Latitude 42°23′38″ N, Longitude 070°35′31″ W and STL Buoy B, Latitude 42°23′56″ N, Longitude 070°37′00″ W. The NEGDWP will accommodate the mooring, connecting, and offloading of two liquefied natural gas carriers (LNGCs) at one time. The NEGDWP operator plans to offload LNG by degasifying the LNG on board the vessels. The regasified natural gas is then transferred through two submerged turret-loading buoys, via a flexible riser leading to a seabed pipeline that ties into the Algonquin Gas Transmission Pipeline for transfer to shore.

Excelerate recently completed installation of the STL buoys and associated sub-surface infrastructure, which includes, among other things, a significant sub-surface sea anchor and mooring system.

In December 2007, the Coast Guard established a safety zone around the submerged turret loading buoys while regulations were developed to protect the buoys as well as passing vessels. See 73 FR 1274. That temporary safety zone expires May 7, 2007. The comment period for the permanent rulemaking project, docket number USCG-2007-0087, ends May 12, 2008. The temporary zone created by this rule ensures that there is no gap in authority to ensure safety around the submerged deepwater port infrastructure while comments on proposed permanent Start Printed Page 28040regulatory regime are analyzed, and that rulemaking project is completed.

Discussion of Rule

The Coast Guard is re-establishing two temporary safety zones 500 meters around the Northeast Gateway Deepwater Port (NEGDWP) STL buoys as described above to protect vessels from these submerged hazards. All vessels, other than Liquefied Natural Gas carriers and associated support vessels are prohibited from entering into or moving within the safety zones.

This rule is effective immediately through July 12, 2008.

Regulatory Evaluation

This 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.

This regulation may have some impact on the public in excluding vessels from the areas of these zones. This impact, however, is outweighed by the safety risk mitigated by the enactment of these zones.

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 will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities.

This rule may affect the following entities, some of which may be small entities: The owners or operators of vessels intending to transit or anchor in those portions of Atlantic Ocean covered by the safety zones. For the reasons outlined in the Regulatory Evaluation section above, this rule will not have a significant impact on a substantial number of small entities.

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), in the NPRM we offered to assist small entities in understanding the rule so that they could better evaluate its effects on them and participate in the rulemaking process.

Under section 213(a) of the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996 (Pub. L. 104-121), we offer to assist small entities in understanding the rule so that they can better evaluate its effects on them and participate in the rulemaking process.

If this rule will affect your small business, organization, or governmental jurisdiction and you have questions concerning its provisions or options for compliance, please call Lieutenant Commander Heather Morrison, Chief, Waterways Management Division, Coast Guard Sector Boston, at 617-223-3028.

Small businesses may send comments on the actions of Federal employees who enforce, or otherwise determine compliance with, Federal regulations to the Small Business and Agriculture Regulatory Enforcement Ombudsman and the Regional Small Business Regulatory Fairness Boards. The Ombudsman evaluates these actions annually and rates each agency's responsiveness to small business. If you wish to comment on actions by employees of the Coast Guard, call 1-888-REG-FAIR (1-888-734-3247). 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 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 will not result in such an expenditure, we do discuss the effects of this rule elsewhere in this preamble.

Taking of Private Property

This 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 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 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 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. 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. Start Printed Page 28041

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.lD 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, this rule is categorically excluded, under figure 2-1, paragraph (34)(g), of the Instruction, from further environmental documentation as the rule establishes a safety zone.

A final “Environmental Analysis Check List” and a final “Categorical Exclusion Determination” will be available in the docket where indicated under ADDRESSES.

Start List of Subjects

List of Subjects in 33 CFR Part 165

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Words of Issuance and Regulatory Text

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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 and 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; Public Law 107-295, 116 Stat. 2064; Department of Homeland Security Delegation No. 0170.1.

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2. Add temporary § 165.T01-0372 to read as follows:

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Safety Zones: Northeast Gateway, Deepwater Port, Atlantic Ocean, Boston, MA.

(a) Location. The following areas are safety zones: All navigable waters of the United States within a 500-meter radius of the two submerged turret loading buoys of the Northeast Gateway Deepwater Port located at 42°23′38″ N, 070°35′31″ W and 42°23′56″ N, 070°37′00″. All coordinates are North American Datum 1983.

(b) Definitions. As used in this section—

Authorized representative means a Coast Guard commissioned, warrant, or petty officer or a Federal, State, or local law enforcement officer designated by or assisting the Captain of the Port, Boston (COTP).

Deepwater port means any facility or structure meeting the definition of deepwater port in 33 CFR 148.5.

Support vessel means any vessel meeting the definition of support vessel in 33 CFR 148.5.

(c) Regulations.

(1) The general regulations contained in 33 CFR 165.23 apply.

(2) In accordance with the general regulations in § 165.23 of this part, entry into or movement within these zones is prohibited unless authorized by the Captain of the Port, Boston. Liquefied Natural Gas Carrier vessels and related Support Vessels calling on the Northeast Gateway Deepwater Port are authorized to enter and move within the safety zones of this section in the normal course of their operations.

(3) All persons and vessels shall comply with the Coast Guard Captain of the Port or authorized representative.

(4) Upon being hailed by an authorized representative by siren, radio, flashing light or other means, the operator of the vessel shall proceed as directed.

(5) Persons and vessels may contact the Coast Guard to request permission to enter the zone on VHF-FM Channel 16 or via phone at 617-223-5761.

Start Signature

Dated: May 7, 2008.

Gail P. Kulisch,

Captain, U.S. Coast Guard, Captain of the Port, Boston.

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[FR Doc. 08-1267 Filed 5-12-08; 3:11 pm]

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