Skip to Content

Proposed Rule

Safety Zones, Facilities on the Outer Continental Shelf in the Gulf of Mexico

Document Details

Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

Enhanced Content

Relevant information about this document from Regulations.gov provides additional context. This information is not part of the official Federal Register document.

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

AGENCY:

Coast Guard, DHS.

ACTION:

Notice of Proposed Rulemaking.

SUMMARY:

The Coast Guard proposes to establish safety zones around four Chevron North America (Chevron) facilities located on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) in the Gulf of Mexico. The facilities are as follows: The Jack & St Malo Semi-Sub Facility located in Walker Ridge Block 718; The Petronius Compliant Tower Facility located in Viosca Knoll Block 786; The Blind Faith Semi-Sub Facility located in Mississippi Canyon Block 650; and The Tahiti SPAR Facility located in Green Canyon Block 641.

The purpose of these safety zones is to protect each facility from vessels operating outside the normal shipping channels and fairways. Placing a safety zone around each facility 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.

DATES:

Comments and related material must be received by the Coast Guard on or before May 9, 2014.

ADDRESSES:

You may submit comments identified by docket number USCG-2013-0874 using any one of the following methods:

(1) Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov.

(2) Fax: 202-493-2251.

(3) Mail or Delivery: 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. Deliveries accepted between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except federal holidays. The telephone number is 202-366-9329. See the “Public Participation and Request for Comments” portion of the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section below for further instructions on submitting comments. To avoid duplication, please use only one of these three methods.

Start Further Info

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

If you have questions on this proposed rule, call or email Mr. Rusty Wright, U.S. Coast Guard, District Eight Waterways Management Branch; telephone 504-671-2138, rusty.h.wright@uscg.mil. If you have questions on viewing or submitting material to the docket, call Cheryl F. Collins, Program Manager, Docket Operations, telephone (202) 366-9826.

End Further Info End Preamble Start Supplemental Information

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Table of Acronyms

DHS Department of Homeland Security

USCG United States Coast Guard

FR Federal Register

NPRM Notice of Proposed Rulemaking

OCS Outer Continental Shelf

A. 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.

1. Submitting Comments

If you submit a comment, please include the docket number for this rulemaking, 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 at http://www.regulations.gov, or by fax, mail, or hand delivery, but please use only one of these means. If you submit a comment online, 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 telephone 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, type the docket number [USCG-2013-0874] in the “SEARCH” box and click “SEARCH.” Click on “Submit a Comment” on the line associated with this rulemaking.

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 comments 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.

2. 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, type the docket number (USCG-2013-0874) in the “SEARCH” box and click “SEARCH.” Click on Open Docket Folder on the line associated with this rulemaking. 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.

3. 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).

4. Public Meeting

We do not now plan to hold a public meeting. But you may submit a request for one, using one of the methods specified under ADDRESSES. Please explain why you believe a public meeting 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.

B. Basis and Purpose

Under the authority provided in 14 U.S.C. 85, 43 U.S.C. 1333, and Department of Homeland Security Delegation No. 0170.1, Title 33, CFR Part 147 permits the establishment of Start Printed Page 19570safety zones for facilities located on the OCS for the purpose of protecting life, property and the marine environment. Chevron requested that the Coast Guard establish safety zones around four of its facilities located in the deepwater area of the Gulf of Mexico on the OCS. Placing a safety zone around each of these four facilities 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.

For the purpose of safety zones established under 33 CFR Part 147, 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 vicinity of each 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.

C. Discussion of Proposed Rule

Each of the proposed safety zones will extend 500 meters from each point on the facility structure's outermost edge. The location of each facility is as follows:

(1) The Jack & St Malo Semi-Sub Facility is located in Walker Ridge Block 718 with a center point at 26°14′5.94″ N 91°15′39.99″ W;

(2) The Petronius Compliant Tower Facility is located in Viosca Knoll Block 786 with a center point at 28°13′44″ N/−87°47′51″ W;

(3) The Blind Faith Semi-Sub Facility is located in Mississippi Canyon Block 650 with a center point at 28°20′29.5279″ N/−88°15′56.4728″ W; and

(4) The Tahiti SPAR Facility is located in Green Canyon Block 641 with a center point at 27°19′33.3″ N/−90°42′50.9″ W.

The requests for these safety zones were made due to safety concerns for both the personnel aboard the facilities and the environment. Chevron indicated that it is highly likely that any allision with one of these facilities would result in a catastrophic event. In evaluating these requests, the Coast Guard explored relevant safety factors and considered several criteria, including but not limited to, (1) the level of shipping activity around each facility, (2) safety concerns for personnel aboard each facility, (3) concerns for the environment, (4) the likeliness that an allision would result in a catastrophic event based on each facility's proximity to shipping fairways, offloading operations, and production levels, (5) the volume of traffic in the vicinity of each facility and proposed zone, (6) the types of vessels navigating in the vicinity of each facility and proposed zone, and (7) the structural configuration of each facility.

Results from a thorough and comprehensive examination of these criteria, International Maritime Organization guidelines, and existing regulations warrant the establishment of a safety zone around each facility. The proposed safety zones will reduce significantly 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 each zone unless specifically authorized by the Commander, Eighth Coast Guard District or a designated representative.

D. Regulatory Analyses

We developed this proposed rule after considering numerous statutes and executive orders related to rulemaking. Below we summarize our analyses based on a number of these statutes or executive orders.

1. 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, 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 or under section 1 of Executive Order 13563. The Office of Management and Budget has not reviewed it under those Orders. This rule is not a significant regulatory action due to the location of each facility on the OCS and the distance between each facility and both land and fairways. Vessel traffic can pass safely around each safety zone using alternate routes. Exceptions to this proposed rule include vessels measuring less than 100 feet in length overall and not engaged in towing. Deviation to transit through each safety zone may be requested. Such requests will be considered on a case-by-case basis and may be authorized by the Commander, Eighth Coast Guard District or a designated representative.

2. Impact on Small Entities

The Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980 (RFA), 5 U.S.C. 601-612, as amended, requires federal agencies to consider the potential impact of regulations on small entities during rulemaking. 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 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 intending to transit or anchor in; Walker Ridge Block 718; Viosca Knoll Block 786; Mississippi Canyon Block 650; and Green Canyon Block 641.

These safety zones will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities for the following reasons: Vessel traffic can pass safely around each safety zone using alternate routes. Use of alternate routes may cause minimal delay in reaching a final destination, depending on other traffic in the area and vessel speed. Additionally, exceptions to this proposed rule include vessels measuring less than 100 feet in length overall and not engaged in towing. And, vessels may request deviation from this proposed rule to transit through each safety zone. Such requests will be considered on a case-by-case basis and may be authorized by the Commander, Eighth Coast Guard District or a designated representative. Therefore, the Coast Guard expects any impact of this proposed rulemaking establishing safety zones around OCS facilities to be minimal, with no significant economic impact on small entities.

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.

3. Assistance for Small Entities

Under section 213(a) of the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996 (Public Law 104-121), we want to assist small entities in understanding this proposed rule. 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 the person listed in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT, above. The Coast Guard will not retaliate against small entities that question or complain about this Start Printed Page 19571proposed rule or any policy or action of the Coast Guard.

4. Collection of Information

This proposed rule will not call for a new collection of information under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501-3520.).

5. Federalism

A rule has implications for federalism under Executive Order 13132, Federalism, if it has a substantial direct effect on the States, on the relationship between the national government and the States, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities among the various levels of government. We have analyzed this proposed rule under that Order and determined that this rule does not have implications for federalism.

6. Protest Activities

The Coast Guard respects the First Amendment rights of protesters. Protesters are asked to contact the person listed in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section to coordinate protest activities so that your message can be received without jeopardizing the safety or security of people, places or vessels.

7. 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 would not result in such an expenditure, we do discuss the effects of this rule elsewhere in this preamble.

8. Taking of Private Property

This proposed 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.

9. 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.

10. Protection of Children From Environmental Health Risks

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 will not create an environmental risk to health or risk to safety that might disproportionately affect children.

11. 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.

12. Energy Effects

This proposed rule is not a “significant energy action” under Executive Order 13211, Actions Concerning Regulations That Significantly Affect Energy Supply, Distribution, or Use.

13. Technical Standards

This proposed rule does not use technical standards. Therefore, we did not consider the use of voluntary consensus standards.

14. Environment

We have analyzed this proposed rule under Department of Homeland Security Management Directive 023-01 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 made a preliminary determination that this action is one of a category of actions that do not individually or cumulatively have a significant effect on the human environment. This proposed rule involves the establishment of safety zones around OCS Facilities to protect life, property and the marine environment. This rule is categorically excluded from further review under paragraph 34(g) of Figure 2-1 of the Commandant Instruction. Preliminary environmental analysis checklists supporting this determination and Categorical Exclusion Determinations are available in the docket where indicated under ADDRESSES. 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 147

  • Continental shelf
  • Marine safety
  • Navigation (water)
End List of Subjects

For the reasons discussed in the preamble, the Coast Guard proposes to amend 33 CFR part 147 as follows:

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 Authority

Authority: 14 U.S.C. 85; 43 U.S.C. 1333; and Department of Homeland Security Delegation No. 0170.1.

End Authority Start Amendment Part

2. Add §§ 147.851, 147.853, 147.855, and 147.857 to read as follows:

End Amendment Part
Jack & St Malo Semi-Sub Facility Safety Zone.

(a) Description. The Jack & St Malo Semi-Sub facility is in the deepwater area of the Gulf of Mexico at Walker Ridge block 718. The facility is located at 26°14′5.94″ N, 91°15′39.99″ W and the area within 500 meters (1640.4 feet) from each point on the facility structure's outer edge is a safety zone.

(b) Regulation. No vessel may enter or remain in this safety zone except the following:

(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 or a designated representative.

Petronius Compliant Tower Facility Safety Zone.

(a) Description. The Petronius Compliant Tower facility is in the deepwater area of the Gulf of Mexico at Viosca Knoll Block 786. The facility is located at 28°13′44″ N/−87°47′51″ W and the area within 500 meters (1640.4 feet) from each point on the facility structure's outer edge is a safety zone.

(b) Regulation. No vessel may enter or remain in this safety zone except the following:

(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 or a designated representative.

Blind Faith Semi-Sub Facility Safety Zone.

(a) Description. The Blind Faith Semi-Sub facility is in the deepwater area of the Gulf of Mexico at Mississippi Canyon Block 650. The facility is located at 28°20′29.5279″ N/−88°15′56.4728″ W and the area within 500 meters (1640.4 feet) from each point on the facility structure's outer edge is a safety zone.Start Printed Page 19572

(b) Regulation. No vessel may enter or remain in this safety zone except the following:

(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 or a designated representative.

Tahiti SPAR Facility Safety Zone.

(a) Description. The Tahiti SPAR facility is in the deepwater area of the Gulf of Mexico at Tahiti SPAR. The facility is located at 27°19′33.3″; N/−90°42′50.9″ W and the area within 500 meters (1640.4 feet) from each point on the facility structure's outer edge is a safety zone.

(b) Regulation. No vessel may enter or remain in this safety zone except the following:

(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 or a designated representative.

Start Signature

Dated: March 10, 2014.

Kevin S. Cook,

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

End Signature End Supplemental Information

[FR Doc. 2014-07838 Filed 4-8-14; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 9110-04-P