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Proposed Rule

East Pearl River, Within the Acoustic Buffer Area of the John C. Stennis Space Center, and Adjacent to Lands, in Hancock County, Mississippi; Danger Zone

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U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, DoD.


Notice of proposed rulemaking and request for comments.


The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) is proposing to revise the existing regulations for a danger zone at the Naval Special Warfare Center (NSWC) N31 Branch within the acoustic buffer of the John C. Stennis Space Center on the East Pearl River, in Hancock County, Mississippi. The Navy requested establishment of a danger zone on waterways and tributaries of the Start Printed Page 90293East Pearl that are used by Naval Special Warfare units to conduct riverine training. The purpose of the proposed danger zone is to ensure public safety by restricting access within the danger zone during training events. This amendment to the existing regulation is necessary to minimizing potential conflicts between local populace activities and ongoing military training in the subject area.


Written comments must be submitted on or before January 13, 2017.


You may submit comments, identified by docket number COE-2016-0014, by any of the following methods:

Federal eRulemaking Portal: Follow the instructions for submitting comments.

Email: Include the docket number, COE-2016-0014, in the subject line of the message.

Mail: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Attn: CECW-CO (David B. Olson), 441 G Street NW., Washington, DC 20314-1000.

Hand Delivery/Courier: Due to security requirements, we cannot receive comments by hand delivery or courier.

Instructions: Direct your comments to docket number COE-2016-0014. All comments received will be included in the public docket without change and may be made available on-line at, including any personal information provided, unless the commenter indicates that the comment includes information claimed to be Confidential Business Information (CBI) or other information whose disclosure is restricted by statute. Do not submit information that you consider to be CBI, or otherwise protected, through or email. The Web site is an anonymous access system, which means we will not know your identity or contact information unless you provide it in the body of your comment. If you send an email directly to the Corps without going through, your email address will be automatically captured and included as part of the comment that is placed in the public docket and made available on the Internet. If you submit an electronic comment, we recommend that you include your name and other contact information in the body of your comment and with any disk or CD-ROM you submit. If we cannot read your comment because of technical difficulties and cannot contact you for clarification, we may not be able to consider your comment. Electronic comments should avoid the use of any special characters, any form of encryption, and be free of any defects or viruses.

Docket: For access to the docket to read background documents or comments received, go to All documents in the docket are listed. Although listed in the index, some information is not publicly available, such as CBI or other information whose disclosure is restricted by statute. Certain other material, such as copyrighted material, is not placed on the internet and will be publicly available only in hard copy form.

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Mr. David Olson, Headquarters, Operations and Regulatory Community of Practice, Washington, DC at 202-761-4922 or Ms. Kristi Hall, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Vicksburg District, Regulatory Branch at 601-631-7528.

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Pursuant to its authorities in Section 7 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1917 (40 Stat 266; 33 U.S.C. 1) and Chapter XIX of the Army Appropriations Act of 1919 (40 Stat 892; 33 U.S.C. 3) the Corps is proposing to revise the regulations at 33 CFR part 334 by establishing a danger zone along the East Pearl River. The amendment to this regulation will allow the Commanding Officer of the Naval Construction Battalion Center, Gulfport, MS to restrict passage of persons, watercraft, and vessels in the waters within the danger zone during Department of Defense training for conducting coastal and riverine special operations in support of global military missions. This area is referred to as a danger zone due to the use of short-range tactical ammunition within riverine areas.

Procedural Requirements

a. Review Under Executive Order 12866. The proposed rule is issued with respect to a military function of the Department of Defense and the provisions of Executive Order 12866 do not apply.

b. Review Under the Regulatory Flexibility Act. This proposed rule has been reviewed under the Regulatory Flexibility Act (Pub. L. 96-354). The Regulatory Flexibility Act generally requires an agency to prepare a regulatory flexibility analysis of any rule subject to notice-and-comment rulemaking requirements under the Administrative Procedure Act or any other statute unless the agency certifies that the rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities (i.e., small businesses and small governments). The danger zone is necessary to protect public safety during training exercises. Small entities can utilize navigable waters outside of the danger zone when the danger zone is activated. Unless information is obtained to the contrary during the comment period, the Corps certifies that the proposed rule would have no significant economic impact on the public. After considering the economic impacts of this proposed danger zone regulation on small entities, I certify that this action will not have a significant impact on a substantial number of small entities.

c. Review Under the National Environmental Policy Act. Due to the administrative nature of this action and because there is no intended change in the use of the area, the Corps expects that this regulation, if adopted, will not have a significant impact on the quality of the human environment and, therefore, preparation of an environmental impact statement will not be required. An environmental assessment will be prepared after the public notice period is closed and all comments have been received and considered.

d. Unfunded Mandates Act. This proposed rule does not contain a Federal mandate that may result in expenditures of $100 million or more for State, local, and Tribal governments, in the aggregate, or the private sector in any one year. Therefore, this proposed rule is not subject to the requirements of Sections 202 and 205 of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA). The proposed rule contains no regulatory requirements that might significantly or uniquely affect small governments. Therefore, the proposed rule is not subject to the requirements of Section 203 of UMRA.

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List of Subjects in 33 CFR Part 334

  • Danger zones
  • Navigation (water)
  • Restricted areas
  • Waterways
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For the reasons set out in the preamble, the Corps proposes to amend 33 CFR part 334 as follows:

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1. The authority citation for part 334 continues to read as follows:

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Authority: 40 Stat. 266 (33 U.S.C. 1) and 40 Stat. 892 (33 U.S.C. 3).

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2. Add § 334.784 to read as follows:

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Start Printed Page 90294
East Pearl River, within the acoustic buffer area of the John C. Stennis Space Center, and adjacent to lands, in Hancock County, Mississippi; danger zone.

(a) The area. A danger zone is established in and to the extent of waters of the United States, as defined in 33 CFR part 329, in the following reaches of the East Pearl River south of a point, on the left descending bank, located at latitude 30.4030° N., longitude −89.6815° W., to a point below the confluence of Mikes River, located at latitude 30.3561° N., longitude −89.6514° W. The datum is NAD83.

(b) The regulation. (1) No person, vessel, or other watercraft, other than a vessel owned and operated by the United States, shall enter or remain in the danger zone, or within a portion or portions thereof, when closed to public access, as provided in paragraph (b)(2) of this section, below, except by permission of Commander, Naval Construction Battalion Center, Gulfport or such other person(s) as he or she may designate.

(2) The danger zone, or a portion or portions thereof, will be closed, for riverine, weapons, or other dangerous naval training, by placement of Government picket boats at the northern and southern boundaries in the East Pearl River, or at such other location(s) within the danger zone as may be determined to be sufficient to protect the public. Prior to closure, picket boats will transit the area(s) to be closed, to ensure that no persons, vessels, or other watercraft are present. Once the danger zone, or location(s) within the zone, has been cleared, picket boats will remain in position, upstream and downstream, until it is safe to re-open the area(s) to public access.

(3) Riverine, weapons, and other dangerous naval training may occur on any day of the week, typically, but not exclusively, in periods of two to eight hours, between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. Training may occur at night, in darkness.

(c) Enforcement. The restrictions on public access in this section shall be enforced by Commander, Naval Construction Battalion Center, Gulfport or by such other person(s) as he or she may designate.

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Dated: December 1, 2016.

Susan S. Whittington,

Chief, Operations and Regulatory Division, Directorate of Civil Works.

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[FR Doc. 2016-30013 Filed 12-13-16; 8:45 am]