Coast Guard, DHS.
Interim rule with request for comments.
The Coast Guard is establishing a safety zone around the Perdido Regional Host (PRH), a high-production, manned oil and natural gas platform. The platform needs to be protected from vessels operating outside the normal shipping channels and fairways. Placing a safety zone around the platform will significantly reduce the threat of allisions, oil spills, and releases of natural gas, and thereby protect the safety of life, property, and the environment.Start Printed Page 7182
This interim rule is effective February 13, 2009. Comments and related material must reach the Docket Management Facility no later than April 14, 2009.
You may submit comments identified by docket number USCG-2008-1051 using any one of the following methods:
(1) Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov.
(2) Fax: 202-493-2251.
(3) 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.
(4) Hand delivery: Same as mail address above, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The telephone number is 202-366-9329.
To avoid duplication, please use only one of these methods. For instructions on submitting comments, see the “Public Participation and Request for Comments” portion of the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section below.Start Further Info
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
If you have questions on this interim rule, call Lieutenant Junior Grade Wes Geyer, Waterways Management Division, U.S. Coast Guard Sector Corpus Christi, (361) 888-3162. 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
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.
If you submit a comment, please include the docket number for this rulemaking (USCG-2008-1051), indicate the specific section of this document to which each comment applies, and provide a reason for each suggestion or recommendation. You may submit your comments and material online, or by fax, mail or hand delivery, but please use only one of these means. 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.
To submit your comment online, go to http://www.regulations.gov, select the Advanced Docket Search option on the right side of the screen, insert “USCG-2008-1051” in the Docket ID box, press Enter, and then click on the balloon shape in the Actions column. If you submit your comments by mail or hand 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 and may change this rule based on your comments.
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, select the Advanced Docket Search option on the right side of the screen, insert USCG-2008-1051 in the Docket ID box, press Enter, and then click on the item in the Docket ID column. You may also visit either the Docket Management Facility in Room W12-140 on the ground floor of the Department of Transportation 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 U.S. Coast Guard Sector Corpus Christi office located at 555 N. Carancahua St., Suite 500, Corpus Christi, TX 78478 between 8 a.m. and 3:30 p.m., Monday through Friday except Federal holidays. We have an agreement with the Department of Transportation to use the Docket Management Facility.
Anyone can search the electronic form of 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 a Privacy Act notice regarding our public dockets in the January 17, 2008 issue of the Federal Register (73 FR 3316).
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.
The Coast Guard is issuing this interim rule without prior notice and opportunity to comment pursuant to authority under section 4(a) of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) (5 U.S.C. 553(b)). This provision authorizes an agency to issue a rule without prior notice and opportunity to comment when the agency for good cause finds that those procedures are “impracticable, unnecessary, or contrary to the public interest.” Under 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B), the Coast Guard finds that good cause exists for not publishing a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) with respect to this rule because it is in the best interest of the public to ensure, to the extent practicable the threat of allisions, oil spills, and releases of natural gas, and thereby protect the safety of life, property, and the environment. For those 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
The safety zone established by this regulation is in the deepwater area of the Gulf of Mexico, located at 26°07′44″ N, 094°53′53″ W. For the purposes of this regulation, the deepwater area is considered to be waters of 304.8 meters (1,000 feet) or greater depth extending to the limits of the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) contiguous to the territorial sea of the United States and extending to a distance up to 200 nautical miles from the baseline from which the breadth of the sea is measured. Navigation in the area of the safety zone consists of large commercial shipping vessels, fishing vessels, cruise ships, tugs with tows and the occasional recreational vessel. The deepwater area also includes an extensive system of fairways. Shell Offshore, Inc. requested that the Coast Guard establish a safety zone around the Perdido Regional Host. The request for the safety zone was made due to the safety concerns for both the personnel aboard the platforms and the environment. Shell Offshore, Inc. indicated that the location, production level, and personnel levels on board the platform make it likely that an allision with the platform would result in a catastrophic event. Perdido Regional Host is a high production oil and gas drilling platform producing from 100,000 barrels of oil per day, 200 million standard cubic feet of gas per day, and is manned with a crew of Start Printed Page 7183approximately 150 people. The Coast Guard has reviewed Shell Offshore Inc.'s concerns and agrees that the risk of allision to the platforms and the potential for loss of life and damage to the environment resulting from such an accident warrants the establishment of this safety zone. The regulation would significantly reduce the threat of allisions, oil spills, and releases of natural gas and increase the safety of life, property, and the environment in the Gulf of Mexico by prohibiting entry into the zone unless specifically authorized by the Captain of the Port Corpus Christi or a designated representative.
Because this safety zone could affect the routes of commercial fishermen and other vessels, we are interested in receiving comments as to how this may affect trade and fishing in the area before issuing a final rule.
Discussion of the Interim Rule
The Coast Guard is establishing a safety zone in the deepwater area of the Gulf of Mexico, located at 26°07′44″ N, 094°53′53″ W. Entry into this zone is prohibited unless specifically authorized by the Captain of the Port Corpus Christi or a designated representative. Persons or vessels requiring entry into or passage through must request permission from the Captain of the Port Corpus Christi or a designated representative. They may be contacted on VHF-FM Channel 13 or 16 or by telephone at (361) 939-6393.
We developed this interim 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.
This rule is not a significant regulatory action due to the location of the Perdido Regional Host—on the Outer Continental Shelf—and its distance from both land and safety fairways. Because of the location and distance of the Perdido Regional Host vessels traversing waters near the safety zone will be able to safely travel around the zone without incurring additional costs.
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 affect the following entities, some of which may be small entities: The owners or operators of vessels intending to transit or anchor in Alaminos Canyon block 856.
This safety zone will not have a significant economic impact or a substantial number of small entities for the following reasons: This rule will enforce a safety zone around a production platform that is in an area of the Gulf of Mexico not frequented by vessel traffic and is not in close proximity to a safety fairway. Further, vessel traffic can pass safely around the safety zone without incurring additional costs.
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 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.
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).
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 would not effect a taking of private property or otherwise have taking implications under E.O. 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 E.O. 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 Start Printed Page 7184Federal Government and Indian tribes, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities between the Federal Government and Indian tribes.
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.
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.
We have analyzed this rule under Department of Homeland Security Management Directive 5100.1 and Commandant Instruction M16475.lD, which guide the Coast Guard in complying with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) (42 U.S.C. 4321-4370f), and have concluded under the Instruction 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 since implementation of this action will not result in any significant cumulative impacts on the human environment; does not involve a substantial change to existing environmental conditions; and is consistent with Federal, State and/or local laws or administrative determinations relating to the environment.
An environmental analysis checklist and a categorical exclusion determination will be available in the docket where indicated under ADDRESSES.Start List of Subjects
List of Subjects in 33 CFR Part 147End List of Subjects Start Amendment Part
For the reasons discussed in the preamble, the Coast Guard amendsEnd Amendment Part Start Part
PART 147—[SAFETY ZONES]End Part Start Amendment Part
1. The authority citation for Part 147 continues to read as follows:End Amendment Part Start Amendment Part
2. Add § 147.845 to read as follows:End Amendment Part
(a) Description. The Perdido Regional Host is located at position 26°07′44″ N, 094°53′53″ W. The area within 500 meters (1640.4 feet) from each point on the structure's outer edge is a safety zone.
(b) Regulation. No vessel may enter or remain in this safety zone except:
(1) An attending vessel;
(2) A vessel under 100 feet in length overall not engaged in towing; or
(3) A vessel authorized by the Commander, Eighth Coast Guard District.
Dated: October 31, 2008.
Captain, U.S. Coast Guard, Commander, 8th Coast Guard District.
This document was received in the Office of the Federal Register on Tuesday, February 10, 2009.End Supplemental Information
[FR Doc. E9-3124 Filed 2-12-09; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-15-P