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Drawbridge Operation Regulation; Blackwater River, South Quay, VA

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Final rule.


The Coast Guard is changing the regulations that govern the operation of the S189 Bridge over Blackwater River, mile 9.2, at South Quay, VA. The new rule will change the current regulation requiring a 24-hour advance notice and allow the bridge to remain in the closed position for the passage of vessels. There have been no requests for openings in 11 years.


This rule is effective May 7, 2012.


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-2011-0943 and are available by going to, inserting USCG-2011-0943 in the “Keyword” box, and then clicking “Search.” This material is also available for inspection or copying at 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.


If you have questions on this rule, call or email Jim Rousseau, Bridge Management Specialist, Coast Guard; telephone 757-398-6557, 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.


Regulatory Information

On December 8, 2011, we published a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) entitled Drawbridge Operation Regulation; Blackwater River, South Quay, VA in the Federal Register (76 FR 76634). We received no comments on the proposed rule. No public meeting was requested, and none was held.

Basis and Purpose

Virginia Department of Transportation has requested a change in the operation regulation of the S189 Bridge across Blackwater River, mile 9.2, at South Quay VA. There has been no request for openings since the year 2000. The only industrial waterway user to request openings left the area in 2000. Since 2008 up to the present day, the average daily vehicular count is approximately 2,930. The Coast Guard will allow the above mentioned bridge to remain in the closed to navigation position in accordance with 33 CFR 117.39.

The vertical clearance of the Swing Bridge is 14 feet above mean high tide in the closed position and unlimited in the open position. The current operating schedule for the bridge is set out in 33 CFR 117.999. The current 24 hour advance notice is no longer necessary because of the lack of openings.

Discussion of Comments and Changes

The Coast Guard will revise 33 CFR 117.999 for the S189 Bridge over Blackwater River, mile 9.2, at South Quay, VA. The current regulation states: The draw of the S189 bridge, mile 9.2 at South Quay, shall open on signal if at least 24 hours notice is given. The new regulation would allow the bridge to not open for the passage of vessels. The change of the operating regulation will reflect the current use of the waterway. Pursuant to the NPRM, there was a comment period of 60 days and no comments were received.

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, as supplemented by Executive Order 13563, Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review, and does not require an assessment of potential costs and benefits under section 6(a)(3) of Executive Order 12866. The Office of Management and Budget has not reviewed it under that Order. The change is expected to have minimal impact on mariners, because there have been no requests for openings for the past 11 years, and there is no anticipated change to vessel traffic.

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 action will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities for the following reasons: There have been no vessel requests for openings for the past 11 years. 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 river.

Assistance for Small Entities

Under section 213(a) of the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996 (Pub. L. 104-121), in the NPRM, 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.

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 (adjusted for inflation) or more in any one year. Though this rule will not result in such expenditure, we do discuss the effects of this rule elsewhere in this preamble.

Taking of Private Property

This rule will 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 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 will 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.


We have analyzed this 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 rule.

List of Subjects in 33 CFR Part 117

For the reasons discussed in the preamble, the Coast Guard amends 33 CFR part 117 as follows:


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

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

2. Revise § 117.999 to read as follows:

Blackwater River.

The draw of the S189 bridge, mile 9.2 at South Quay, need not be opened for the passage of vessels.

Dated: March 1, 2012.

William D. Lee,

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

[FR Doc. 2012-8295 Filed 4-5-12; 8:45 am]