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Proposed Rule

Subsistence Management Regulations for Public Lands in Alaska-Subpart B, Federal Subsistence Board

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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Start Preamble

AGENCIES:

Forest Service, Agriculture; Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION:

Proposed rule.

SUMMARY:

This proposed rule would revise the regulations concerning the composition of the Federal Subsistence Board (Board). On October 23, 2009, the Secretary of the Interior announced the initiation of a Departmental review of the Federal Subsistence Management Program in Alaska. The review focused on how the program is meeting the purposes and subsistence provisions of the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act of 1980 (ANILCA), and how the program is serving rural subsistence users. The review proposed several administrative and regulatory changes to strengthen the program and make it more responsive to rural users. One proposed change called for adding two public members representing rural Alaskan subsistence users to the existing Board, which would afford additional regional representation and increase stakeholder input in the decisionmaking process.

DATES:

Public meetings: The Federal Subsistence Regional Advisory Councils will hold public meetings to receive comments and make proposals to change this proposed rule on several dates between February 15, 2011, and March 24, 2011, and to make recommendations on the proposed rule to the Federal Subsistence Board. The Board will discuss and evaluate proposed regulatory changes during a public meeting in Anchorage, AK, on May 3, 2011, and make recommendations on the proposed rule to the Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of Agriculture. See SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION for specific information on dates and locations of the public meetings.

Public comments: Comments and proposals to change this proposed rule must be received or postmarked by April 12, 2011.

ADDRESSES:

Public meetings: The Federal Subsistence Board and the Regional Advisory Councils' public meetings will be held at various locations in Alaska. See SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION for specific information on dates and locations of the public meetings.

Public comments: You may submit comments by one of the following methods:

  • Electronically: Go to the Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov and search for FWS-R7-SM-2011-0004, which is the docket number for this rulemaking.
  • By hard copy: U.S. mail or hand-delivery to: USFWS, Office of Subsistence Management, 1011 East Tudor Road, MS 121, Attn: Theo Matuskowitz, Anchorage, AK 99503-6199, or hand delivery to the Designated Federal Official attending any of the Federal Subsistence Regional Advisory Council public meetings. See SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION for additional information on locations of the public meetings.

We will post all comments on http://www.regulations.gov. This Start Printed Page 7759generally means that we will post any personal information you provide us (see the Public Review Process section below for more information).

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Chair, Federal Subsistence Board, c/o U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Attention: Peter J. Probasco, Office of Subsistence Management; (907) 786-3888 or subsistence@fws.gov. For questions specific to National Forest System lands, contact Steve Kessler, Regional Subsistence Program Leader, USDA, Forest Service, Alaska Region; (907) 743-9461 or skessler@fs.fed.us.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

Under Title VIII of the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA) (16 U.S.C. 3111-3126), the Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of Agriculture (Secretaries) jointly implement the Federal Subsistence Management Program (Program). This Program provides a preference for take of fish and wildlife resources for subsistence uses on Federal public lands and waters in Alaska. The Secretaries published temporary regulations to carry out this Program in the Federal Register on June 29, 1990 (55 FR 27114), and final regulations were published in the Federal Register on May 29, 1992 (57 FR 22940). The Program has subsequently amended these regulations a number of times. Because this Program is a joint effort between Interior and Agriculture, these regulations are located in two titles of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR): Title 36, “Parks, Forests, and Public Property,” and Title 50, “Wildlife and Fisheries,” at 36 CFR 242.1-28 and 50 CFR 100.1-28, respectively. The regulations contain subparts as follows: Subpart A, General Provisions; Subpart B, Program Structure; Subpart C, Board Determinations; and Subpart D, Subsistence Taking of Fish and Wildlife. Only the Secretaries can promulgate changes to the subpart A and B regulations.

Consistent with subpart B of these regulations, the Secretaries established a Federal Subsistence Board to administer the Federal Subsistence Management Program. The Board is made up of:

  • A Chair appointed by the Secretary of the Interior with concurrence of the Secretary of Agriculture;
  • The Alaska Regional Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service;
  • The Alaska Regional Director, U.S. National Park Service;
  • The Alaska State Director, U.S. Bureau of Land Management;
  • The Alaska Regional Director, U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs; and
  • The Alaska Regional Forester, U.S. Forest Service.

Through the Board, these agencies participate in the development of regulations for subparts C and D, which, among other things, set forth program eligibility and specific harvest seasons and limits. As the Secretaries are responsible for promulgating changes to subparts A and B; the Board is assisting the Secretaries in this effort.

In administering the program, the Secretaries divided Alaska into 10 subsistence resource regions, each of which is represented by a Regional Council. The Regional Councils provide a forum for rural residents with personal knowledge of local conditions and resource requirements to have a meaningful role in the subsistence management of fish and wildlife on Federal public lands in Alaska. The Regional Council members represent varied geographical, cultural, and user interests within each region.

Proposed Regulatory Changes

On October 23, 2009, Secretary of the Interior Salazar announced the initiation of a Departmental review of the Federal Subsistence Management Program in Alaska. The review focused on how the Program is meeting the purposes and subsistence provisions of the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act of 1980 (ANILCA), and how the Program is serving rural subsistence users as envisioned when the program was begun in the early 1990s.

On August 31, 2010, the Secretaries announced the findings of the review. The Program review proposed several administrative and regulatory changes to strengthen the Program and make it more responsive to the concerns of those who rely on it for their subsistence needs. One proposal called for adding two public members representing rural Alaskan subsistence users to the Federal Subsistence Board, which would allow additional regional representation and increased stakeholder input in the decisionmaking process. Conforming regulatory changes are also proposed to clarify the designation of alternates for Federal Board members and to increase the size of a quorum.

Public Review Process—Comments, Proposals, and Public Meetings

The Regional Councils have a substantial role in reviewing this proposed rule and making recommendations for the final rule. The Federal Subsistence Board, through the Regional Councils, will hold meetings on this proposed rule at the following locations in Alaska, on the following dates:

Region 1—Southeast Regional CouncilSitkaMarch 22, 2011.
Region 2—Southcentral Regional CouncilAnchorageMarch 16, 2011.
Region 3—Kodiak/Aleutians Regional CouncilKodiakFebruary 16, 2011.
Region 4—Bristol Bay Regional CouncilNaknekMarch 9, 2011.
Region 5—Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta Regional CouncilMtn. VillageFebruary 23, 2011.
Region 6—Western Interior Regional CouncilGalenaMarch 1, 2011.
Region 7—Seward Peninsula Regional CouncilNomeFebruary 15, 2011.
Region 8—Northwest Arctic Regional CouncilKotzebueMarch 18, 2011.
Region 9—Eastern Interior Regional CouncilFairbanksMarch 3, 2011.
Region 10—North Slope Regional CouncilBarrowMarch 7, 2011.

A notice will be published of specific dates, times, and meeting locations in local and statewide newspapers prior to this series of meetings. Locations and dates may change based on weather or local circumstances. The amount of work on each Regional Council's agenda determines the length of each Regional Council meeting.

The Board will discuss and evaluate proposed changes to the subsistence management regulations during a public meeting scheduled to be held in Anchorage, AK, on May 3, 2011. The Council Chairs, or their designated representatives, will present their respective Councils' recommendations at the Board meeting. Additional oral testimony may be provided to the Board at that time. At that public meeting, the Board will deliberate and make final recommendations to the Secretaries on this proposed rule.Start Printed Page 7760

Tribal Consultation and Comment

As expressed in Executive Order 13175, “Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribal Governments,” the Federal officials that have been delegated authority by the Secretaries are committed to honoring the unique government-to-government political relationship that exists between the Federal Government and Federally Recognized Indian Tribes (Tribes) as listed in 75 FR 60810 (October 1, 2010) and the relationship required by statute for consultation and coordination with Alaska Native corporations. Consultation with Alaska Native corporations is based on Public Law 108-199, div. H, Sec. 161, Jan. 23, 2004, 118 Stat. 452, as amended by Public Law 108-447, div. H, title V, Sec. 518, Dec. 8, 2004, 118 Stat. 3267, which provides that: “The Director of the Office of Management and Budget and all Federal agencies shall hereafter consult with Alaska Native corporations on the same basis as Indian Tribes under Executive Order No. 13175.”

The Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act does not provide rights to Tribes for the subsistence taking of wildlife, fish, and shellfish. However, because Tribal members are affected by subsistence fishing, hunting, and trapping regulations, the Secretaries, through the Board, will provide Federally recognized Tribes and Alaska Native corporations an opportunity to consult on this rule.

The Board will engage in outreach efforts for this rule, including a notification letter, to ensure that Tribes and Alaska Native corporations are advised of the mechanisms by which they can participate. The Board provides a variety of opportunities for consultation: Commenting on proposed changes to the existing rule; engaging in dialogue at the Regional Council meetings; engaging in dialogue at the Board's meetings; and providing input in person, by mail, e-mail, or phone at any time during the rulemaking process. The Board will commit to efficiently and adequately providing an opportunity to Tribes and Alaska Native corporations for consultation with regard to subsistence rulemaking.

The Board will consider Tribes' and Alaska Native corporations' information, input, and recommendations, and address their concerns as much as practicable. The Board will inform the Tribes and Alaska Native corporations how their recommendations were considered.

Compliance With Statutory and Regulatory Authorities

National Environmental Policy Act

A Draft Environmental Impact Statement that described four alternatives for developing a Federal Subsistence Management Program was distributed for public comment on October 7, 1991. The Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) was published on February 28, 1992. The Record of Decision (ROD) on Subsistence Management for Federal Public Lands in Alaska was signed April 6, 1992. The selected alternative in the FEIS (Alternative IV) defined the administrative framework of an annual regulatory cycle for subsistence regulations.

Several alternatives were considered for the composition of the Board including all Federal agency heads and all public members representing subsistence users. This proposed regulation adding two additional public members to the Board falls within the scope of alternatives. For this reason, the impacts described in the FEIS and ROD are deemed sufficient for this proposed regulation and require no further analysis.

Even in the absence of the consideration of alternatives in the existing programmatic FEIS and ROD, no further NEPA analysis would be required in this instance. There are two reasons for this. The first is that this action is merely administrative in nature and has no environmental impact. The second is that activities of this nature are categorically excluded from the requirements of NEPA under both Department of the Interior (DOI) regulations and Department of Agriculture (DOA) regulations. Specifically, DOI regulations at 43 CFR 46.210 set forth categorical exclusions for both internal organizational changes and the adoption of regulations that are of an administrative nature. Similarly, DOA regulations at 7 CFR 1b.3(a) provide a categorical exclusion for routine activities such as personnel and organizational changes, and similar administrative functions.

A 1997 environmental assessment dealt with the expansion of Federal jurisdiction over fisheries and is available at the office listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT. The Secretary of the Interior, with concurrence of the Secretary of Agriculture, determined that expansion of Federal jurisdiction does not constitute a major Federal action significantly affecting the human environment and, therefore, signed a Finding of No Significant Impact.

Section 810 of ANILCA

An ANILCA section 810 analysis was completed as part of the FEIS process on the Federal Subsistence Management Program. The intent of all Federal subsistence regulations is to accord subsistence uses of fish and wildlife on public lands a priority over the taking of fish and wildlife on such lands for other purposes, unless restriction is necessary to conserve healthy fish and wildlife populations. The final section 810 analysis determination appeared in the April 6, 1992, ROD and concluded that the Federal Subsistence Management Program, under Alternative IV with an annual process for setting subsistence regulations, may have some local impacts on subsistence uses, but will not likely restrict subsistence uses significantly. This analysis describes impacts of the alternative Board compositions. This proposed action falls within that analysis and no further analysis is warranted.

During the subsequent environmental assessment process for extending fisheries jurisdiction, an evaluation of the effects of this rule was conducted in accordance with § 810. That evaluation concluded that, because this is merely an administrative action, the rule will not reach the “may significantly restrict” threshold that would require notice and hearings under ANILCA § 810(a).

Paperwork Reduction Act

An agency may not conduct or sponsor and you are not required to respond to a collection of information unless it displays a currently valid Office of Management and Budget (OMB) control number. This proposed rule does not contain any new collections of information that require OMB approval. OMB has reviewed and approved the following collections of information associated with the subsistence regulations at 36 CFR 242 and 50 CFR 100: Subsistence hunting and fishing applications, permits, and reports, Federal Subsistence Regional Advisory Council Membership Application/Nomination and Interview Forms (OMB Control No. 1018-0075 expires January 31, 2013).

Regulatory Planning and Review (Executive Order 12866)

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has determined that this proposed rule is not significant and has not reviewed this rule under Executive Order 12866. OMB bases its determination upon the following four criteria:

(a) Whether the rule will have an annual effect of $100 million or more on Start Printed Page 7761the economy or adversely affect an economic sector, productivity, jobs, the environment, or other units of the government.

(b) Whether the rule will create inconsistencies with other agencies' actions.

(c) Whether the rule will materially affect entitlements, grants, user fees, loan programs, or the rights and obligations of their recipients.

(d) Whether the rule raises novel legal or policy issues.

Regulatory Flexibility Act

The Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980 (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.) requires preparation of flexibility analyses for rules that will have a significant effect on a substantial number of small entities, which include small businesses, organizations, or governmental jurisdictions. In general, the resources to be harvested under this rule are already being harvested and consumed by the local harvester and do not result in an additional dollar benefit to the economy. However, we estimate that two million pounds of meat are harvested by subsistence users annually and, if given an estimated dollar value of $3.00 per pound, this amount would equate to about $6 million in food value statewide. Based upon the amounts and values cited above, the Departments certify that this rulemaking will not have a significant economic effect on a substantial number of small entities within the meaning of the Regulatory Flexibility Act.

Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act

Under the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act (5 U.S.C. 801 et seq.), this rule is not a major rule. It does not have an effect on the economy of $100 million or more, will not cause a major increase in costs or prices for consumers, and does not have significant adverse effects on competition, employment, investment, productivity, innovation, or the ability of U.S.-based enterprises to compete with foreign-based enterprises.

Executive Order 12630

Title VIII of ANILCA requires the Secretaries to administer a subsistence priority on public lands. The scope of this program is limited by definition to certain public lands. Likewise, these regulations have no potential takings of private property implications as defined by Executive Order 12630.

Unfunded Mandates Reform Act

The Secretaries have determined and certify pursuant to the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act, 2 U.S.C. 1502 et seq., that this rulemaking will not impose a cost of $100 million or more in any given year on local or State governments or private entities. The implementation of this rule is by Federal agencies and there is no cost imposed on any State or local entities or Tribal governments.

Executive Order 12988

The Secretaries have determined that these regulations meet the applicable standards provided in §§ 3(a) and 3(b)(2) of Executive Order 12988, regarding civil justice reform.

Executive Order 13132

In accordance with Executive Order 13132, the proposed rule does not have sufficient Federalism implications to warrant the preparation of a Federalism Assessment. Title VIII of ANILCA precludes the State from exercising subsistence management authority over fish and wildlife resources on Federal lands unless it meets certain requirements.

Executive Order 13175

The Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act does not provide rights to Tribes for the subsistence taking of wildlife, fish, and shellfish. However, the Board will provide Federally recognized Tribes and Alaska Native corporations an opportunity to consult on this rule. Consultation with Alaska Native corporations is based on Public Law 108-199, div. H, Sec. 161, Jan. 23, 2004, 118 Stat. 452, as amended by Public Law 108-447, div. H, title V, Sec. 518, Dec. 8, 2004, 118 Stat. 3267, which provides that: “The Director of the Office of Management and Budget and all Federal agencies shall hereafter consult with Alaska Native corporations on the same basis as Indian Tribes under Executive Order No. 13175.”

The Secretaries, through the Board, will provide a variety of opportunities for consultation: Commenting on proposed changes to the existing rule; engaging in dialogue at the Regional Council meetings; engaging in dialogue at the Board's meetings; and providing input in person, by mail, e-mail, or phone at any time during the rulemaking process.

Executive Order 13211

This Executive Order requires agencies to prepare Statements of Energy Effects when undertaking certain actions. However, this proposed rule is not a significant regulatory action under E.O. 13211, affecting energy supply, distribution, or use, and no Statement of Energy Effects is required.

Drafting Information

Theo Matuskowitz drafted these regulations under the guidance of Pat Pourchot, Special Assistant to the Secretary of the Interior for Alaska Affairs, Department of the Interior, Anchorage, Alaska. Additional assistance was provided by:

  • Peter J. Probasco, Office of Subsistence Management, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; and
  • Steve Kessler, Alaska Regional Office, U.S. Forest Service.
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List of Subjects

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For the reasons set out in the preamble, the Secretaries propose to amend 36 CFR 242 and 50 CFR 100, as set forth below.

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PART ___—SUBSISTENCE MANAGEMENT REGULATIONS FOR PUBLIC LANDS IN ALASKA

1. The authority citation for both 36 CFR Part 242 and 50 CFR Part 100 would continue to read as follows:

Start Authority

Authority: 16 U.S.C. 3, 472, 551, 668dd, 3101-3126; 18 U.S.C. 3551-3586; 43 U.S.C. 1733.

End Authority

2. Amend § __.10 by revising paragraphs (b)(1) and (d)(2) to read as follows:

Federal Subsistence Board.
* * * * *

(b) * * *

(1) The voting members of the Board are: A Chair to be appointed by the Secretary of the Interior with the concurrence of the Secretary of Agriculture; two public members representing rural Alaskan subsistence users to be appointed by the Secretary of the Interior with the concurrence of the Secretary of Agriculture; the Alaska Regional Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; Alaska Regional Director, National Park Service; Alaska Regional Forester, USDA Forest Service; the Alaska State Director, Bureau of Land Management; and the Alaska Regional Director, Bureau of Indian Affairs. Each Federal agency member of the Board may appoint a designee.

* * * * *

(d) * * * Start Printed Page 7762

(2) A quorum consists of five members.

* * * * *
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Dated: February 2, 2011.

Thomas L. Strickland,

Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks, Department of the Interior.

Dated: January 18, 2011.

Beth G. Pendleton,

Regional Forester, USDA—Forest Service.

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[FR Doc. 2011-2959 Filed 2-10-11; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 3410-11-P; 4310-55-P