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Proposed Rule

Safety Zone: Port of Ponce, Puerto Rico

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 moving and fixed safety zones around all vessels carrying Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) cargo in the waters of the Caribbean Sea and Bahia de Ponce, Puerto Rico. This action will protect the public from the inherent dangers of this highly volatile material by requiring vessel traffic to maintain a safe distance from LNG vessels operating near shore.

DATES:

Comments and related material must reach the Coast Guard on or before July 28, 2008.

ADDRESSES:

You may submit comments identified by Coast Guard docket number USCG-2007-0075 to the Docket Management Facility at the U.S. Department of Transportation. To avoid duplication, please use only one of the following methods:

(1) Online: http://www.regulations.gov.

(2) Mail: Docket Management Facility (M-30), U.S. Department of Transportation, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590-0001.

(3) Hand delivery: Room W12-140 on the Ground Floor of the West Building, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, Start Printed Page 30556except Federal holidays. The telephone number is 202-366-9329.

(4) Fax: 202-493-2251.

Start Further Info

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

If you have questions on this proposed rule, call Ensign Rachael E. Love, Sector San Juan, Prevention Department, Waterways & Facilities Division, at (787) 289-2071. If you have questions on viewing or submitting material to the docket, call Renee V. Wright, Program Manager, Docket Operations, telephone 202-366-9826.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Public Participation and Request for Comments

We encourage you to participate in this rulemaking by submitting comments and related materials. All comments received will be posted, without change, to http://www.regulations.gov and will include any personal information you have provided. We have an agreement with the Department of Transportation (DOT) to use the Docket Management Facility. Please see DOT's “Privacy Act” paragraph below.

Submitting Comments

If you submit a comment, please include the docket number for this rulemaking (USCG-2007-0075), indicate the specific section of this document to which each comment applies, and give the reason for each comment. We recommend that you include your name and a mailing address, an e-mail address, or a phone number in the body of your document so that we can contact you if we have questions regarding your submission. You may submit your comments and material by electronic means, mail, fax, or delivery to the Docket Management Facility at the address under ADDRESSES; but please submit your comments and material by only one means. If you submit them by mail or delivery, submit them in an unbound format, no larger than 81/2 by 11 inches, suitable for copying and electronic filing. If you submit them by mail and would like to know that they reached the Facility, 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.

Viewing Comments and Documents

To view comments, as well as documents mentioned in this preamble as being available in the docket, go to http://www.regulations.gov at any time. Enter the docket number for this rulemaking (USCG.2007-0075) in the search box, and click “GO>>”. You may also visit either the Docket Management Facility in Room W12-140 on the ground floor of the DOT West Building, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays; or the Sector San Juan, Prevention Department between 7:30 a.m. and 3 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.

Privacy Act

Anyone can search the electronic form of all comments received into any of our dockets by the name of the individual submitting the comment (or signing the comment, if submitted on behalf of an association, business, labor union, etc.). You may review the Department of Transportation's Privacy Act Statement in the Federal Register published on April 11, 2000 (65 FR 19477), or you may visit http://DocketsInfo.dot.gov.

Public Meeting

We do not now plan to hold a public meeting. But you may submit a request for one to the Docket Management Facility 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

This rule is necessary to provide for the safety of life at sea by excluding vessel traffic from the waters immediately adjacent to liquefied natural gas (LNG) carriers. LNG in any quantity poses a risk of fire or explosion due to its highly volatile nature. LNG carried by tank ships in bulk quantities can be hazardous to a port if sufficient precaution is not taken to reduce this risk. The proposed rule would require vessel traffic to maintain a 100-yard separation from LNG vessels transiting the harbor and 150-foot separation from LNG vessels moored pier-side. The purpose of this rule is to minimize the risk of vessel collision or allision with an LNG carrier, thereby reducing the risk of fire or explosion.

Discussion of Proposed Rule

This proposed rule would establish the following moving and fixed safety zones: A 100-yard zone surrounding all LNG vessels transiting north of Latitude 17°54′00″ N en route to or from the Puerto de Ponce waterfront facility in Bahia de Ponce, Puerto Rico; and a 150-foot zone surrounding all LNG vessels moored at the Puerto de Ponce waterfront facility in Bahia de Ponce, Puerto Rico. The Coast Guard will notify the public of effective periods by providing a broadcast notice to mariners on VHF Marine Band Radio, Channel 22A (156.8 MHz).

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 due to the infrequent arrival of LNG carriers and the small amount of commercial vessel traffic in Bahia de Ponce.

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 the following entities, some of which might be small entities: The owners or operators of vessels intending to transit a portion of Bahia de Ponce when an LNG vessel is transiting the harbor or moored at the Puerto de Ponce waterfront facility. This safety zone would not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities for the following reasons: The Port of Ponce receives only a few commercial vessel arrivals per week, and recreational boating traffic can easily transit around the regulated area.

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 30557Fairness 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 person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT for assistance in understanding and participating in this rulemaking. 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.).

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 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 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 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.

Environment

We have analyzed this proposed 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 made a preliminary determination that this action is not likely to have a significant effect on the human environment. A preliminary “Environmental Analysis Check List” supporting this preliminary determination is available in the docket where indicated under ADDRESSES. We seek any comments or information that may lead to the discovery of a significant environmental impact from this proposed rule.

Start List of Subjects

List of Subjects in 33 CFR Part 165

End List of Subjects

Words of Issuance and Proposed Regulatory Text

For the reasons discussed in the preamble, the Coast Guard proposes to amend 33 CFR part 165 as follows:

Start Part

PART 165—REGULATED NAVIGATION AREAS AND LIMITED ACCESS AREAS

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

Start Authority

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

End Authority

2. Add § 165.771 to read as follows:

Safety Zone; Bahia de Ponce, Puerto Rico.

(a) Location. The following area is established as a safety zone during the specified conditions:

(1) A 100 yard radius around any vessel carrying liquefied natural gas (LNG) cargo while transiting north of Latitude 17°54′00″ N in the waters of the Caribbean Sea and the Bahia de Ponce, on approach to or departure from the Puerto de Ponce waterfront facility in Bahia de Ponce.

(2) The waters within 150 feet of any vessel carrying LNG cargo while moored at the Puerto de Ponce waterfront facility in Bahia de Ponce, between berths 4 and 7 at approximate position 17°58′12″ N, 066°37′08″ W.

(b) Definitions. The following definitions apply to this section:

Designated Representative means Coast Guard Patrol Commander including Coast Guard coxswains, petty officers and other officers operating Start Printed Page 30558Coast Guard vessels and federal, state, and local officers designated by or assisting the COTP San Juan in the enforcement of the safety zone.

(c) Regulations. In accordance with the general regulations in § 165.23 of this part, anchoring, mooring or transiting in these zones is prohibited unless authorized by the Coast Guard Captain of the Port or a designated representative. Persons and vessels desiring to transit the Regulated Area may contact the U.S. Coast Guard Captain of the Port San Juan at telephone number 787-289-2041 or on VHF channel 16 (156.8 MHz).

(d) Enforcement periods. The Coast Guard will notify the maritime community of effective periods via a broadcast notice to mariners on VHF Marine Band Radio, Channel 22A (156.8 MHz).

Start Signature

Dated: May 2, 2008.

R.R. Rodriguez,

Commander, U.S. Coast Guard, Acting Captain of the Port San Juan.

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BILLING CODE 4910-15-P

[FR Doc. E8-11864 Filed 5-27-08; 8:45 am]

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