Skip to Content

Proposed Rule

Drawbridge Operation Regulation; Black River, La Crosse, WI

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


Coast Guard, DHS.


Notice of proposed rulemaking and public meeting.


The Coast Guard proposes a change to drawbridge operations for the Canadian Pacific Railroad Drawbridge across the Black River at Mile 1.0 near La Crosse, Wisconsin. Drawspan is currently operated by an onsite bridge tender, opening on signal following two-hour notification. The proposed change is for drawspan operation by remote operator, opening immediately upon demand.


Comments and related material must reach the Coast Guard on or before January 13, 2012. A public meeting will be held on November 29, 2011.


You may submit comments identified by docket number USCG-2011-0937 using any one of the following methods:

(1) Federal eRulemaking Portal:

(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. Comments can also be delivered in person at the public meeting on November 29, 2011, 6 p.m. at the Black River Beach Neighborhood Center, 1433 Rose Street, La Crosse, WI 54603.

To avoid duplication, please use only one of these four methods. See the “Public Participation and Request for Comments” portion of the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section below for instructions on submitting comments.

Start Further Info


If you have questions on this proposed rule, call or email Mr. Eric Washburn, Bridge Administrator, Western Rivers, (314) 269-2378, email 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 and will include any personal information you have provided.

Submitting Comments

If you submit a comment, please include the docket number for this rulemaking (USCG-2011-0937), 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. If you submit a comment online via, it will be considered received by the Coast Guard when you successfully transmit the comment. If you fax, hand deliver, or mail your comment, it will be considered as having been received by the Coast Guard when it is received at the Docket Management Facility. We recommend that you include your name and a mailing address, an email 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, click on the “submit a comment” box, which will then become highlighted in blue. In the “Document Type” drop down menu select “Proposed Rules” and insert Start Printed Page 70385“USCG-2011-0937” in the “Keyword” box. Click “Search” 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 the 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, click on the “read comments” box, which will then become highlighted in blue. In the “Keyword” box insert “USCG-2011-0937” and click “Search.” Click the “Open Docket Folder” in the “Actions” column. You may also visit 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. We have an agreement with the Department of Transportation to use the Docket Management Facility.

Privacy Act

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).

Public Meeting

We plan on holding a public meeting regarding this rulemaking at 6 p.m. on November 29, 2011 at the Black River Beach Neighborhood Center, 1433 Rose Street, La Crosse, WI 54603. We plan to record this meeting using a certified stenographer, and then make the transcript available through a link in our online docket.

For information on facilities or services for individuals with disabilities or to request special assistance at the public meeting, contact Mr. Eric Washburn at the telephone number or email address indicated under the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section of this notice.

Basis and Purpose

The Black River is a navigable waterway of the United States from its mouth at mile 698.2 of the Upper Mississippi River, to approximately mile 3.0. Heavy recreational vessel traffic can be found along the length of the river and commercial navigation primarily operates up to mile 1.4. In this reach, commercial barge operations handle cement, chemical, and fuel products at various loading terminals. A large recreational vessel manufacturer and marine repair facility are also located within this stretch of river.

The Black River drawbridge operation regulation contained in 33 CFR 117.1081, states that “The draw of the CP Rail Railroad bridge, Mile 1.0 at La Crosse, shall open on signal if at least two hours notice is given.” In order to reduce wait time for requested drawbridge openings while also reducing operating costs, Canadian Pacific has requested this drawbridge be operated where vessels would contact a remote drawbridge operator via VHF-FM Channel 16 or telephone (507) 895-6087. Mariners would establish radio or telephone communications and request an opening. The remote operator would ensure no trains were in the block and then proceed with opening the drawspan. Once opened to navigation it would remain raised until the remote operator verified safe vessel passage. This verification would be conducted by radio or telephone confirmation with the passing vessel, video monitoring, and boat detection equipment.

Discussion of Proposed Rule

The Coast Guard proposes to amend 33 CFR 117.1081 by changing the current requirement from the bridge opening on signal if two hours notice is given to the bridge opening upon demand by communicating to a remote operator via VHF-FM Channel 16 or telephone.

The Coast Guard has determined this regulation change will reduce vessel wait time by eliminating the two-hour advance notice requirement mandated by existing regulations.

Regulatory Analyses

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.

Executive Order 12866 and Executive Order 13563

This proposed rule is not a “significant regulatory action” under section 3(f) of Executive Order 12866, Regulatory Planning and Review, as supplemented by Executive Order 13563, 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 rule on commercial traffic operating on the Black River to be minimal. The operating procedures affected by this change will be for the benefit of vessels transiting the bridge because reduced drawspan opening delays under the new regulatory guidance are anticipated.

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, if promulgated, will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities.

This action is based on the expected reduction in wait time for drawspan openings and will not impact the local businesses, organizations, or government entities in the community.

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 Mr. Eric Washburn (see ADDRESSES). The Coast Guard will not retaliate against small entities that question or complain about this proposed rule or any policy or action of the Coast Guard.Start Printed Page 70386

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 (adjusted for inflation) 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 cause 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.


We have analyzed this proposed rule under Department of Homeland Security Management Directive 023-01, and 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 one of a category of actions which do not individually or cumulatively 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

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


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

Start Authority

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

End Authority

2. Revise § 117.1081 to read as follows:

Black River.

The drawspan of the Canadian Pacific Railroad bridge, mile 1.0 at La Crosse, is operated by remote operator located at the Canadian Pacific Railway Minneapolis Operations Center, in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Drawspan shall open upon demand by contacting remote operator via VHF-FM Channel 16 or telephone (507) 895-6087.

Start Signature

Dated: November 2, 2011.

Roy A. Nash,

Rear Admiral, Commander, U.S. Coast Guard, Eighth Coast Guard District.

End Signature End Part End Supplemental Information

[FR Doc. 2011-29240 Filed 11-10-11; 8:45 am]