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Drawbridge Operation Regulations; Potomac River, Oxon Hill, MD and Alexandria, VA

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:

Temporary rule.

SUMMARY:

The Coast Guard is temporarily changing the regulations governing the operation of the new Start Printed Page 37807Woodrow Wilson Memorial (I-95) Bridge, mile 103.8, across Potomac River between Alexandria, Virginia and Oxon Hill, Maryland. This action is necessary to finalize construction of the drawbridge.

DATES:

This temporary rule is effective from July 2, 2008 to March 1, 2009.

ADDRESSES:

Comments and related materials received from the public, as well as documents mentioned in this preamble as being available in the docket, are part of docket USCG-2008-0207 and are available online at http://www.regulations.gov. This material is 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 Commander (dpb), Fifth Coast Guard District, Federal Building, 1st Floor, 431 Crawford Street, Portsmouth, VA 23704-5004 between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.

Start Further Info

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

If you have questions on this rule, call Waverly W. Gregory, Jr., Bridge Administrator, Fifth Coast Guard District, at (757) 398-6222. If you have questions on viewing or submitting material to the docket, call Renee V. Wright, Program Manager, Docket Operations, telephone 202-366-9826.

End Further Info End Preamble Start Supplemental Information

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Regulatory Information

On April 18, 2008, we published a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) entitled “Drawbridge Operation Regulations; Potomac River, Oxon Hill, MD and Alexandria, VA” in the Federal Register (73 FR 21090). We received two e-mails commenting on the proposed rule. No public meeting was requested, and none was held.

Under 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3), the Coast Guard finds that good cause exists for making this rule effective in less than 30 days after publication in the Federal Register. While construction continues, this rule will allow the drawbridge to remain closed-to-navigation each day from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. until and including March 1, 2009.

Background and Purpose

On March 5, 2008, we published a notice of temporary deviation from the regulations entitled “Drawbridge Operation Regulations; Potomac River, Between Maryland and Virginia” in the Federal Register (73 FR 13127), which ended on May 30, 2008.

The Maryland State Highway Administration and the Virginia Department of Transportation, co-owners of the drawbridge, requested an extension of the aforementioned temporary deviation for a longer period of time in an effort to minimize the potential for major regional traffic impacts and consequences during bridge openings while construction continues. Bridge owners requested that the drawbridge not be available for openings for vessels each day between the hours of 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. through Sunday, March 1, 2009 or until the bridge is properly commissioned, whichever comes first. Construction will continue during this time period and the normal vehicular traffic pattern with five lanes operating in each direction is not anticipated until near the end of the time period.

From a river-user standpoint, the coordinators for the construction of the new Woodrow Wilson Bridge Project have received no requests from boaters or mariners to open during the 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. timeframe since the first temporary deviation was issued in late June 2006. In fact, no requests have been received for an opening of the new bridge at all since July 3, 2006. Finally, the coordinators have received no complaints on the 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. restriction. This temporary rule will affect only vessels with mast heights of 75 feet or greater. Furthermore, all operators of affected vessels with mast heights greater than 75 feet will be able to request an opening of the drawbridge in the “off-peak” vehicle traffic hours (evening and overnight) in accordance with 33 CFR 117.255(a).

Discussion of Comments and Changes

The Coast Guard received two comments by e-mail to the NPRM. One respondent stated that this temporary change of the regulation will have minimal effect on their Potomac River operation and the delivery of the jet fuel barge can be scheduled around the daily planned closure.

The other respondent indicated that their tugs did not need to open the drawbridge; the vertical clearance is sufficient and did not foresee any issues as long as they can still use the channel.

Based on the comments received, we are issuing a temporary rule without substantive change from the NPRM.

Discussion of Rule

The Coast Guard is temporarily amending 33 CFR § 117.255 by inserting new paragraphs (a)(2)(iii) and (a)(4)(iv), which allow the draw of the Woodrow Wilson Memorial (I-95) Bridge, at mile 103.8, between Alexandria, Virginia and Oxon Hill, Maryland to remain closed between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. through March 1, 2009.

Regulatory Analyses

We developed this rule after considering numerous statutes and executive orders related to rulemaking. Below we summarize our analyses based on 13 of these statutes or executive orders.

Regulatory Planning and Review

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. We reached this conclusion based on the fact that this temporary change will have only a minimal impact on maritime traffic transiting the bridge. All operators of affected vessels with mast heights greater than 75 feet will be able to request an opening of the drawbridge in the “off-peak” vehicle traffic hours (evening and overnight) in accordance with 33 CFR 117.255(a), and mariners can plan their trips in accordance with the scheduled bridge openings to minimize delays.

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 will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities because the rule only adds minimal restrictions to the movement of navigation, all operators of affected vessels with mast heights greater than 75 feet will be able to request an opening of the drawbridge in the “off-peak” vehicle traffic hours (evening and overnight) in accordance with 33 CFR 117.255(a), and mariners who plan their transits in accordance with the scheduled bridge openings can minimize delay. Start Printed Page 37808

Assistance for Small Entities

Under section 213(a) of the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996 (Pub. L. 104-121), 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. 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 would 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 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 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 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 and Department of Homeland Security Management Directive 5100.1, 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 (32)(e) of the Instruction, from further environmental documentation.

Under figure 2-1, paragraph (32)(e), of the Instruction, an environmental analysis checklist and a categorical exclusion determination are not required for this rule.

Start List of Subjects

List of Subjects in 33 CFR Part 117

End List of Subjects

Bridges.

Start Amendment Part

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

End Amendment Part Start Part

PART 117—DRAWBRIDGE OPERATION REGULATIONS

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

End Amendment Part Start Authority

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

End Authority Start Amendment Part

2. From July 2, 2008 to March 1, 2009, in § 117.255 add new paragraphs (a)(2)(iii) and (a)(4)(iv) to read as follows:

End Amendment Part
Potomac River.

(a) * * *

(2) * * *

(iii) From July 2, 2008 to March 1, 2009, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., the draw need not be opened.

* * * * *

(4) * * *

(iv) From July 2, 2008 to March 1, 2009, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., the draw need not be opened.

* * * * *
Start Signature

Dated: June 19, 2008.

Fred M. Rosa, Jr.,

Rear Admiral, United States Coast Guard, Commander, Fifth Coast Guard District.

End Signature End Supplemental Information

[FR Doc. E8-14954 Filed 7-1-08; 8:45 am]

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