Coast Guard, DHS.
Notice of proposed rulemaking.
The Coast Guard proposes to change the regulation governing the operation of the SR 23 bridge across the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway (Algiers Alternate Route), mile 3.8, at Belle Chasse, Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana. Due to high vehicular traffic during the afternoon, Plaquemines Parish has requested a change to the operation schedule to allow the bridge to remain closed-to-navigation for an additional 90 minutes during weekday afternoons to facilitate the movement of vehicular traffic.
Comments and related material must reach the Coast Guard on or before May 26, 2009.
You may submit comments identified by Coast Guard docket number USCG-2008-1158 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, except 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 David Frank, Bridge Administration Branch at 504-671-2128. 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. We have an agreement with the Department of Transportation (DOT) to use the Docket Management Facility. Please see DOT's “Privacy Act” paragraph below.
If you submit a comment, please include the docket number for this rulemaking (USCG-2008-1158), 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 Start Printed Page 13162know 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-2008-1158) 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 Bridge Administration Office in Room 1313 of the Hale Boggs Federal Building, 500 Poydras Street, New Orleans, LA 70130 between 7 a.m. and 3 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.
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.
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
Plaquemines Parish has requested that a regulation regarding the operation of the SR 23 bridge across the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway (Algiers Alternate Route), mile 3.8, at Belle Chasse, Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana to allow for the bridge to remain in the closed-to-navigation for an additional 90 minutes in the afternoon to facilitate the movement of vehicular traffic. Presently, the draw need not open for the passage of vessels in the afternoon from 3:30 p.m. until 5:30 p.m. The request from Plaquemines Parish is to add an additional 90 minutes to the closure in the afternoon so that the draw need not open for the passage of vessels from 3:30 p.m. until 7 p.m. The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development, the owner of the bridge, has reviewed their bridge tender logs and have estimated that the schedule change would affect an average of two vessels. It should be noted that the vertical clearance of the bridge in the closed-to-navigation position is 40 feet above mean high water in the closed-to-navigation position so only vessels with vertical clearance requirements of more than 40 feet will be affected by the proposed change.
This bridge currently opens on signal, except from 6 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. and from 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, excluding Federal holidays, during which time the draw need not be opened for the passage of vessels. Plaquemines Parish has requested that the bridge remain closed an additional 90 minutes in the afternoon, until 7 p.m. in the evening to minimize the delays to traffic caused by the opening of the bridge. A recent traffic study indicates that between 1500 and 2000 vehicles per hour cross the bridge during weekday afternoons. When the bridge opens for the passage of a vessel at 5:30 p.m., traffic may back up for more than two miles. As SR 23 is the main highway into and out of Plaquemines Parish, the traffic backup severely hampers the ability of emergency responders to transit in the area. Plaquemines Parish Office of Emergency Management has indicated that the increase in times in the afternoon will allow for most of the traffic to clear out of the area. They believe that the request will only cause a minor increase in delays for vessels wishing to use the area. An alternate route via the Harvey Canal is available for vessels with vertical clearances of greater than 40 feet if they do not wish to be delayed.
A Test Deviation, USCG-2008-0069, is being issued in conjunction with this Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to test the proposed schedule and to obtain data and public comments. The test period will be in effect from April 10, 2009 until May 11, 2009. The Coast Guard will review the logs of the drawbridge and evaluate public comments from this Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and the above referenced Temporary Deviation to determine if a permanent change to the special drawbridge operating regulation is warranted.
The Test Deviation shall allow the draw to open on signal, except that the draw need not be opened for the passage of vessels from 6 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. and from 3:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, excluding Federal holidays.
Discussion of Proposed Rule
Plaquemines Parish has requested a change in the operating regulation which would allow the draw of the bridge to remain in the closed-to-navigation position for an additional 90 minutes in the afternoon to facilitate the movement of vehicular traffic in the area. Presently, the bridge opens on signal, except from 6 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. and from 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, excluding Federal holidays, the draw need not be opened for the passage of vessels.
Plaquemines Parish has requested that an additional 90 minutes be added on to the afternoon closure to allow the bridge to remain in the closed-to-navigation position from 3:30 p.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The additional time would facilitate the movement of vehicular traffic through Belle Chasse.
We developed this proposed 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 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.
The public would need to notify the bridge owner of a required opening 14 days in advance rather than 24 hours in advance.
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.Start Printed Page 13163
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 with vertical clearances of greater that 40 feet needing to transit the bridge between the hours of 3:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays, would be delayed an additional 90 minutes until 7 p.m. Vessels that can safely transit under the bridge may do so at any time. Before the effective period, we will issue maritime advisories widely available to users of the waterway.
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 David Frank, Bridge Administration Branch, at 504-671-2128. 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.
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.
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 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 because it simply promulgates the operating regulations or procedures for drawbridges. 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 117 Bridges.End List of Subjects
For the reasons discussed in the preamble, the Coast Guard proposes to amend 33 CFR part 117 as follows:Start Part
PART 117—DRAWBRIDGE OPERATION REGULATIONS
1. The authority citation for part 117 continues to read as follows:
§ 117.451(b) is revised to read as follows:
(b) The draw of the SR 23 bridge, Algiers Alternate Route, mile 3.8 at Belle Chasse, shall open on signal; Start Printed Page 13164except that, from 6 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. and from 3:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays, the draw need not be opened for the passage of vessels.
Dated: March 9, 2009.
Rear Admiral, U.S. Coast Guard, Commander, Eighth Coast Guard District.
[FR Doc. E9-6668 Filed 3-25-09; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-15-P