This PDF is the current document as it appeared on Public Inspection on 03/24/2015 at 08:45 am.
Coast Guard, DHS.
Notice of proposed rulemaking.
The Coast Guard proposes a safety zone around the Big Foot Tension Leg Platform (TLP), Walker Ridge 29 on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) in the Gulf of Mexico. The purpose of the safety zone is to protect the facility from all vessels operating outside the normal shipping channels and fairways that are not providing services to or working with the facility. Placing a safety zone around the facility will significantly reduce the threat of allisions, collisions, security breaches, oil spills, releases of natural gas, and thereby protect the safety of life, property, and the environment.
Comments and related material must be received by the Coast Guard on or before April 24, 2015.
You may submit comments identified by docket number USCG-2014-0863 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 instructions on submitting comments. To avoid duplication, please use only one of these four 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, firstname.lastname@example.org. 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
Table of Acronyms
DHS Department of Homeland Security
FR Federal Register
NPRM Notice of Proposed Rulemaking
OCS Outer Continental Shelf
USCG United States Coast Guard
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-2014-0863] 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-2014-0863) 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 by 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, 33 CFR part 147 permits the establishment of safety zones for facilities located on the OCS for the purpose of protecting life, property and the marine environment. The protections included in a safety zone established under 33 CFR part 147 include promoting safety of life and property on the facilities as well as their appurtenances and attending vessels and also for the adjacent waters located in and around each facility. Therefore, a safety zone under 33 CFR part 147 may also include provisions to restrict, prevent, or control certain activities, including access by vessels or persons to maintain safety of life, property and the environment. Chevron North America requested that the Coast Guard establish a safety zone around its facility located in the deepwater area of the Gulf of Mexico on the OCS. Placing a safety zone around this facility will Start Printed Page 15704significantly reduce the threat of allisions, oil spills, and releases of natural gas, and thereby protect the safety of life, property, and the environment.
The safety zone proposed by this rulemaking is on the OCS in the deepwater area of the Gulf of Mexico in Walker Ridge 29 with a center point at N. 26°55′58″, W. 90°31′12″. 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 the 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
Chevron North America requested that the Coast Guard establish a safety zone extending 500 meters from each point on the Big Foot TLP facility structure's outermost edge. The request for the safety zone was made due to safety concerns for both the personnel aboard the facility, including its appurtenances and attending vessels, and the environment. Chevron North America indicated that it is highly likely that any allision with the facility would result in a catastrophic event. In evaluating this request, the Coast Guard explored relevant safety factors and considered several criteria, including but not limited to, (1) the level of shipping activity around the facility, (2) safety concerns for personnel aboard the facility, (3) concerns for the environment, (4) the likeliness that an allision would result in a catastrophic event based on proximity to shipping fairways, offloading operations, production levels, and size of the crew, (5) the volume of traffic in the vicinity of the proposed area, including those vessels providing services to or working with the facility, (6) the types of vessels navigating in the vicinity of the proposed area, both related and unrelated to facility operations, and (7) the structural configuration of the facility.
Results from a thorough and comprehensive examination of the criteria, IMO guidelines, and existing regulations warrant the establishment of a safety zone of 500 meters around the facility. The proposed safety zone would restrict all vessels from entering into, transiting through, remaining in, or anchoring in the safety zone area. Vessels attending to, servicing, or working with the facility would be exempt from the restrictions in this proposed rule. This proposed safety measure reduces significantly the threat of allisions, collisions, oil spills, and releases of natural gas and increases the safety of life, property, and the environment in the Gulf of Mexico. Authorization to deviate from this proposed rule and transit through the safety zone may be requested from the Commander, Eighth Coast Guard District or a designated representative. Such deviation requests would be considered on a case-by-case basis.
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 the Big Foot TLP—on the Outer Continental Shelf—and its distance from both land and safety fairways. Additionally, the area covered by this proposed safety zone is limited in scope as it would encompass only the waters within 500 meters of the outer edges of the facility structure. This is the area where the facility operates and vessels servicing the facility transit and maneuver, presenting the area most vulnerable to risk of allision or collision. Vessels traversing waters near the proposed safety zone will be able to safely travel around the 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 the proposed 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 will 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 within the area extending 500 meters from the outermost edges of the Big Foot TLP facility structure located in Walker Ridge 29 on the OCS.
This safety zone will not have a significant economic impact or a substantial number of small entities for the following reasons: Vessel traffic can pass safely around the safety zone using alternate routes. Based on the limited scope of the safety zone, any delay resulting from using an alternate route is expected to be minimal depending on vessel traffic and speed in the area. Additionally, exceptions to this proposed rule include vessels measuring less than 100 feet in length overall and not engaged in towing. Deviation to transit through the proposed 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.
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 (Pub. L. 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 submit a comment Start Printed Page 15705(see ADDRESSES) explaining why you think it qualifies and how and to what degree this rule would economically affect it.
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.
4. 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 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 have determined that it 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 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.
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 would 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
We have analyzed this proposed rule 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.
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 which do not individually or cumulatively have a significant effect on the human environment. This proposed rule involves the establishment of a safety zone around an OCS facility to protect life, property and the marine environment. This proposed rule is categorical excluded from further review, under figure 2-1, paragraph (34)(g), of the Commandant Instruction. A preliminary environmental analysis checklist supporting this determination and the Categorical Exclusion Determination 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)
For the reasons discussed in the preamble, the Coast Guard proposes to amend 33 CFR part 147 as follows:Start Part
PART 147—SAFETY ZONESEnd Part Start Amendment Part
1. The authority citation for part 147 continues to read as follows:End Amendment Part Start Amendment Part
2. Add § 147.861 to read as follows:End Amendment Part
(a) Description. The Big Foot TLP is in the deepwater area of the Gulf of Mexico at Walker Ridge 29. The facility is located at N. 26°55′58″, W. 90°31′12″, 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.
Dated: February 11, 2015.
Kevin S. Cook,
Rear Admiral, U.S. Coast Guard, Commander, Eighth Coast Guard District.
[FR Doc. 2015-06482 Filed 3-24-15; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-15-P