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Introduction to the Unified Agenda of Federal Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions-Fall 2016

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AGENCY:

Regulatory Information Service Center.

ACTION:

Introduction to the Regulatory Plan and the Unified Agenda of Federal Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions.

SUMMARY:

Publication of the Unified Agenda of Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions and the Regulatory Plan represent key components of the regulatory planning mechanism prescribed in Executive Order 12866, “Regulatory Planning and Review” (58 FR 51735) and incorporated in Executive Order 13563, “Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review” issued on January 18, 2011 (76 FR 3821). The fall editions of the Unified Agenda include the agency regulatory plans required by E.O. 12866, which identify regulatory priorities and provide additional detail about the most important significant regulatory actions that agencies expect to take in the coming year.

In addition, the Regulatory Flexibility Act requires that agencies publish semiannual “regulatory flexibility agendas” describing regulatory actions they are developing that will have significant effects on small businesses and other small entities (5 U.S.C. 602).

The Unified Agenda of Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions (Unified Agenda), published in the fall and spring, helps agencies fulfill all of these requirements. All federal regulatory agencies have chosen to publish their regulatory agendas as part of this publication. The complete Unified Agenda and Regulatory Plan can be found online at http://www.reginfo.gov and a reduced print version can be found in the Federal Register. Information regarding obtaining printed copies can also be found on the Reginfo.gov Web site (or below, VI. How can users get copies of the Plan and the Agenda?).

The fall 2016 Unified Agenda publication appearing in the Federal Register consists of The Regulatory Plan and agency regulatory flexibility agendas, in accordance with the publication requirements of the Regulatory Flexibility Act. Agency regulatory flexibility agendas contain only those Agenda entries for rules that are likely to have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities and entries that have been selected for periodic review under section 610 of the Regulatory Flexibility Act.

The complete fall 2016 Unified Agenda contains the Regulatory Plans of 30 Federal agencies and 60 Federal agency regulatory agendas.

ADDRESSES:

Regulatory Information Service Center (MVE), General Services Administration, 1800 F Street NW., 2219F, Washington, DC 20405.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

For further information about specific regulatory actions, please refer to the agency contact listed for each entry.

To provide comment on or to obtain further information about this publication, contact: John C. Thomas, Executive Director, Regulatory Information Service Center (MVE), U.S. General Services Administration, 1800 F Street NW., 2219F, Washington, DC 20405, (202) 482-7340. You may also send comments to us by email at: risc@gsa.gov.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Table of Contents

Introduction to the Regulatory Plan and the Unified Agenda of Federal Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions

I. What are The Regulatory Plan and the Unified Agenda?

II. Why are The Regulatory Plan and the Unified Agenda published?

III. How are The Regulatory Plan and the Unified Agenda organized?

IV. What information appears for each entry?

V. Abbreviations.

VI. How can users get copies of the Plan and the Agenda?

Introduction to the Fall 2016 Regulatory Plan

AGENCY REGULATORY PLANS

Cabinet Departments

Department of Agriculture

Department of Commerce

Department of Defense

Department of Education

Department of Energy

Department of Health and Human Services

Department of Housing and Urban Development

Department of Interior

Department of Justice

Department of Labor

Department of Transportation

Department of Treasury

Department of Veterans Affairs

Other Executive Agencies

Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board

Environmental Protection Agency

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

General Services Administration

National Aeronautics and Space Administration

National Archives and Records Administration

Office of Personnel Management

Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation

Small Business Administration

Social Security Administration

Federal Acquisition Regulation

Independent Regulatory Agencies

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

Consumer Product Safety Commission

Federal Trade Commission

National Indian Gaming Commission

Nuclear Regulatory Commission

AGENCY REGULATORY FLEXIBILITY AGENDAS

Cabinet Departments

Department of Agriculture

Department of Commerce

Department of Defense

Department of Education

Department of Energy

Department of Health and Human Services

Department of Homeland Security

Department of Housing and Urban Development

Department of Interior

Department of Justice

Department of Labor

Department of Transportation

Department of Treasury

Other Executive Agencies

Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board

Environmental Protection Agency

General Services Administration

National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Small Business Administration

Federal Acquisition Regulation

Independent Agencies

Commodity Futures Trading Commission

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

Consumer Product Safety Commission

Federal Communication Commission

Federal Reserve System

Nuclear Regulatory Commission

Securities and Exchange Commission

Surface Transportation Board

INTRODUCTION TO THE REGULATORY PLAN AND THE UNIFIED AGENDA OF FEDERAL REGULATORY AND DEREGULATORY ACTIONS

I. What are the Regulatory Plan and the Unified Agenda?

The Regulatory Plan serves as a defining statement of the Administration's regulatory and deregulatory policies and priorities. The Plan is part of the fall edition of the Unified Agenda. Each participating agency's regulatory plan contains: (1) A narrative statement of the agency's regulatory and deregulatory priorities, and, for the most part, (2) a description of the most important significant regulatory and deregulatory actions that the agency reasonably expects to issue in proposed or final form during the upcoming fiscal year. This edition includes the regulatory plans of 30 agencies.

The Unified Agenda provides information about regulations that the Start Printed Page 94497Government is considering or reviewing. The Unified Agenda has appeared in the Federal Register twice each year since 1983 and has been available online since 1995. The complete Unified Agenda is available to the public at http://www.reginfo.gov. The online Unified Agenda offers flexible search tools and access to the historic Unified Agenda database to 1995. The complete online edition of the Unified Agenda includes regulatory agendas from 62 Federal agencies. Agencies of the United States Congress are not included.

The fall 2016 Unified Agenda publication appearing in the Federal Register consists of The Regulatory Plan and agency regulatory flexibility agendas, in accordance with the publication requirements of the Regulatory Flexibility Act. Agency regulatory flexibility agendas contain only those Agenda entries for rules that are likely to have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities and entries that have been selected for periodic review under section 610 of the Regulatory Flexibility Act. Printed entries display only the fields required by the Regulatory Flexibility Act. Complete agenda information for those entries appears, in a uniform format, in the online Unified Agenda at http://www.reginfo.gov.

The following agencies have no entries for inclusion in the printed regulatory flexibility agenda. An asterisk (*) indicates agencies that appear in The Regulatory Plan. The regulatory agendas of these agencies are available to the public at http://reginfo.gov.

Cabinet Departments

Department of State

Department of Veterans Affairs *

Other Executive Agencies

Agency for International Development

Commission on Civil Rights

Committee for Purchase From People Who Are Blind or Severely Disabled

Corporation for National and Community ServiceCourt Services and Offender Supervision Agency for the District of Columbia

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission *

National Archives and Records Administration *

National Endowment for the Arts

National Endowment for the Humanities

National Science Foundation

Office of Government Ethics

Office of Management and Budget

Office of Personnel Management *

Office of the United States Trade Representative

Peace Corps

Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation *

Railroad Retirement Board

Social Security Administration *

Independent Agencies

Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency

Farm Credit Administration

Farm Credit System Insurance Corporation

Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

Federal Housing Finance Agency

Federal Maritime Commission

Federal Trade Commission *

Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council

National Credit Union Administration

National Indian Gaming Commission *

National Transportation Safety Board

Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction

Surface Transportation Board

The Regulatory Information Service Center compiles the Unified Agenda for the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA), part of the Office of Management and Budget. OIRA is responsible for overseeing the Federal Government's regulatory, paperwork, and information resource management activities, including implementation of Executive Order 12866 (incorporated in Executive Order 13563). The Center also provides information about Federal regulatory activity to the President and his Executive Office, the Congress, agency officials, and the public.

The activities included in the Agenda are, in general, those that will have a regulatory action within the next 12 months. Agencies may choose to include activities that will have a longer timeframe than 12 months. Agency agendas also show actions or reviews completed or withdrawn since the last Unified Agenda. Executive Order 12866 does not require agencies to include regulations concerning military or foreign affairs functions or regulations related to agency organization, management, or personnel matters. Agencies prepared entries for this publication to give the public notice of their plans to review, propose, and issue regulations. They have tried to predict their activities over the next 12 months as accurately as possible, but dates and schedules are subject to change. Agencies may withdraw some of the regulations now under development, and they may issue or propose other regulations not included in their agendas. Agency actions in the rulemaking process may occur before or after the dates they have listed. The Regulatory Plan and Unified Agenda do not create a legal obligation on agencies to adhere to schedules in this publication or to confine their regulatory activities to those regulations that appear within it.

II. Why are the Regulatory Plan and the Unified Agenda published?

The Regulatory Plan and the Unified Agenda helps agencies comply with their obligations under the Regulatory Flexibility Act and various Executive orders and other statutes.

Regulatory Flexibility Act

The Regulatory Flexibility Act requires agencies to identify those rules that may have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities (5 U.S.C. 602). Agencies meet that requirement by including the information in their submissions for the Unified Agenda. Agencies may also indicate those regulations that they are reviewing as part of their periodic review of existing rules under the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 610). Executive Order 13272, “Proper Consideration of Small Entities in Agency Rulemaking,” signed August 13, 2002 (67 FR 53461), provides additional guidance on compliance with the Act.

Executive Order 12866

Executive Order 12866, “Regulatory Planning and Review,” signed September 30, 1993 (58 FR 51735), requires covered agencies to prepare an agenda of all regulations under development or review. The Order also requires that certain agencies prepare annually a regulatory plan of their “most important significant regulatory actions,” which appears as part of the fall Unified Agenda. Executive Order 13497, signed January 30, 2009 (74 FR 6113), revoked the amendments to Executive Order 12866 that were contained in Executive Order 13258 and Executive Order 13422.

Executive Order 13563

Executive Order 13563, “Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review,” issued on January 18, 2011, supplements and reaffirms the principles, structures, and definitions governing contemporary regulatory review that were established in Executive Order 12866, which includes the general principles of regulation and public participation, and orders integration and innovation in coordination across agencies; flexible approaches where relevant, feasible, and consistent with regulatory approaches; scientific integrity in any scientific or technological information and processes used to support the agencies' regulatory actions; and retrospective analysis of existing regulations.Start Printed Page 94498

Executive Order 13132

Executive Order 13132, “Federalism,” signed August 4, 1999 (64 FR 43255), directs agencies to have an accountable process to ensure meaningful and timely input by State and local officials in the development of regulatory policies that have “federalism implications” as defined in the Order. Under the Order, an agency that is proposing a regulation with federalism implications, which either preempt State law or impose non-statutory unfunded substantial direct compliance costs on State and local governments, must consult with State and local officials early in the process of developing the regulation. In addition, the agency must provide to the Director of the Office of Management and Budget a federalism summary impact statement for such a regulation, which consists of a description of the extent of the agency's prior consultation with State and local officials, a summary of their concerns and the agency's position supporting the need to issue the regulation, and a statement of the extent to which those concerns have been met. As part of this effort, agencies include in their submissions for the Unified Agenda information on whether their regulatory actions may have an effect on the various levels of government and whether those actions have federalism implications.

Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995

The Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (Pub. L. 104-4, title II) requires agencies to prepare written assessments of the costs and benefits of significant regulatory actions “that may result in the expenditure by State, local, and tribal governments, in the aggregate, or by the private sector, of $100,000,000 or more . . . in any 1 year. . . .” The requirement does not apply to independent regulatory agencies, nor does it apply to certain subject areas excluded by section 4 of the Act. Affected agencies identify in the Unified Agenda those regulatory actions they believe are subject to title II of the Act.

Executive Order 13211

Executive Order 13211, “Actions Concerning Regulations That Significantly Affect Energy Supply, Distribution, or Use,” signed May 18, 2001 (66 FR 28355), directs agencies to provide, to the extent possible, information regarding the adverse effects that agency actions may have on the supply, distribution, and use of energy. Under the Order, the agency must prepare and submit a Statement of Energy Effects to the Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Office of Management and Budget, for “those matters identified as significant energy actions.” As part of this effort, agencies may optionally include in their submissions for the Unified Agenda information on whether they have prepared or plan to prepare a Statement of Energy Effects for their regulatory actions.

Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act

The Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act (Pub. L. 104-121, title II) established a procedure for congressional review of rules (5 U.S.C. 801 et seq.), which defers, unless exempted, the effective date of a “major” rule for at least 60 days from the publication of the final rule in the Federal Register. The Act specifies that a rule is “major” if it has resulted, or is likely to result, in an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more or meets other criteria specified in that Act. The Act provides that the Administrator of OIRA will make the final determination as to whether a rule is major.

III. How are the Regulatory Plan and the Unified Agenda organized?

The Regulatory Plan appears in part II in a daily edition of the Federal Register. The Plan is a single document beginning with an introduction, followed by a table of contents, followed by each agency's section of the Plan. Following the Plan in the Federal Register, as separate parts, are the regulatory flexibility agendas for each agency whose agenda includes entries for rules which are likely to have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities or rules that have been selected for periodic review under section 610 of the Regulatory Flexibility Act. Each printed agenda appears as a separate part. The sections of the Plan and the parts of the Unified Agenda are organized alphabetically in four groups: Cabinet departments; other executive agencies; the Federal Acquisition Regulation, a joint authority (Agenda only); and independent regulatory agencies. Agencies may in turn be divided into subagencies. Each printed agency agenda has a table of contents listing the agency's printed entries that follow. Each agency's part of the Agenda contains a preamble providing information specific to that agency. Each printed agency agenda has a table of contents listing the agency's printed entries that follow.

Each agency's section of the Plan contains a narrative statement of regulatory priorities and, for most agencies, a description of the agency's most important significant regulatory and deregulatory actions. Each agency's part of the Agenda contains a preamble providing information specific to that agency plus descriptions of the agency's regulatory and deregulatory actions.

The online, complete Unified Agenda contains the preambles of all participating agencies. Unlike the printed edition, the online Agenda has no fixed ordering. In the online Agenda, users can select the particular agencies' agendas they want to see. Users have broad flexibility to specify the characteristics of the entries of interest to them by choosing the desired responses to individual data fields. To see a listing of all of an agency's entries, a user can select the agency without specifying any particular characteristics of entries.

Each entry in the Agenda is associated with one of five rulemaking stages. The rulemaking stages are:

1. Prerule Stage—actions agencies will undertake to determine whether or how to initiate rulemaking. Such actions occur prior to a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) and may include Advance Notices of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRMs) and reviews of existing regulations.

2. Proposed Rule Stage—actions for which agencies plan to publish a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking as the next step in their rulemaking process or for which the closing date of the NPRM Comment Period is the next step.

3. Final Rule Stage—actions for which agencies plan to publish a final rule or an interim final rule or to take other final action as the next step.

4. Long-Term Actions—items under development but for which the agency does not expect to have a regulatory action within the 12 months after publication of this edition of the Unified Agenda. Some of the entries in this section may contain abbreviated information.

5. Completed Actions—actions or reviews the agency has completed or withdrawn since publishing its last agenda. This section also includes items the agency began and completed between issues of the Agenda.

Long-Term Actions are rulemakings reported during the publication cycle that are outside of the required 12-month reporting period for which the Agenda was intended. Completed Actions in the publication cycle are rulemakings that are ending their lifecycle either by Withdrawal or completion of the rulemaking process. Therefore, the Long-Term and Completed RINs do not represent the ongoing, forward-looking nature Start Printed Page 94499intended for reporting developing rulemakings in the Agenda pursuant to Executive Order 12866, section 4(b) and 4(c). To further differentiate these two stages of rulemaking in the Unified Agenda from active rulemakings, Long-Term and Completed Actions are reported separately from active rulemakings, which can be any of the first three stages of rulemaking listed above. A separate search function is provided on http://reginfo.gov to search for Completed and Long-Term Actions apart from each other and active RINs.

A bullet (•) preceding the title of an entry indicates that the entry is appearing in the Unified Agenda for the first time.

In the printed edition, all entries are numbered sequentially from the beginning to the end of the publication. The sequence number preceding the title of each entry identifies the location of the entry in this edition. The sequence number is used as the reference in the printed table of contents. Sequence numbers are not used in the online Unified Agenda because the unique Regulation Identifier Number (RIN) is able to provide this cross-reference capability.

Editions of the Unified Agenda prior to fall 2007 contained several indexes, which identified entries with various characteristics. These included regulatory actions for which agencies believe that the Regulatory Flexibility Act may require a Regulatory Flexibility Analysis, actions selected for periodic review under section 610(c) of the Regulatory Flexibility Act, and actions that may have federalism implications as defined in Executive Order 13132 or other effects on levels of government. These indexes are no longer compiled, because users of the online Unified Agenda have the flexibility to search for entries with any combination of desired characteristics. The online edition retains the Unified Agenda's subject index based on the Federal Register Thesaurus of Indexing Terms. In addition, online users have the option of searching Agenda text fields for words or phrases.

IV. What information appears for each entry?

All entries in the online Unified Agenda contain uniform data elements including, at a minimum, the following information:

Title of the Regulation—a brief description of the subject of the regulation. In the printed edition, the notation “Section 610 Review” following the title indicates that the agency has selected the rule for its periodic review of existing rules under the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 610(c)). Some agencies have indicated completions of section 610 reviews or rulemaking actions resulting from completed section 610 reviews. In the online edition, these notations appear in a separate field.

Priority—an indication of the significance of the regulation. Agencies assign each entry to one of the following five categories of significance.

(1) Economically Significant

As defined in Executive Order 12866, a rulemaking action that will have an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more or will adversely affect in a material way the economy, a sector of the economy, productivity, competition, jobs, the environment, public health or safety, or State, local, or tribal governments or communities. The definition of an “economically significant” rule is similar but not identical to the definition of a “major” rule under 5 U.S.C. 801 (Pub. L. 104-121). (See below.)

(2) Other Significant

A rulemaking that is not Economically Significant but is considered Significant by the agency. This category includes rules that the agency anticipates will be reviewed under Executive Order 12866 or rules that are a priority of the agency head. These rules may or may not be included in the agency's regulatory plan.

(3) Substantive, Nonsignificant

A rulemaking that has substantive impacts, but is neither Significant, nor Routine and Frequent, nor Informational/Administrative/Other.

(4) Routine and Frequent

A rulemaking that is a specific case of a multiple recurring application of a regulatory program in the Code of Federal Regulations and that does not alter the body of the regulation.

(5) Informational/Administrative/Other

A rulemaking that is primarily informational or pertains to agency matters not central to accomplishing the agency's regulatory mandate but that the agency places in the Unified Agenda to inform the public of the activity.

Major—whether the rule is “major” under 5 U.S.C. 801 (Pub. L. 104-121) because it has resulted or is likely to result in an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more or meets other criteria specified in that Act. The Act provides that the Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs will make the final determination as to whether a rule is major.

Unfunded Mandates—whether the rule is covered by section 202 of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (Pub. L. 104-4). The Act requires that, before issuing an NPRM likely to result in a mandate that may result in expenditures by State, local, and tribal governments, in the aggregate, or by the private sector of more than $100 million in 1 year, agencies, other than independent regulatory agencies, shall prepare a written statement containing an assessment of the anticipated costs and benefits of the Federal mandate.

Legal Authority—the section(s) of the United States Code (U.S.C.) or Public Law (Pub. L.) or the Executive order (E.O.) that authorize(s) the regulatory action. Agencies may provide popular name references to laws in addition to these citations.

CFR Citation—the section(s) of the Code of Federal Regulations that will be affected by the action.

Legal Deadline—whether the action is subject to a statutory or judicial deadline, the date of that deadline, and whether the deadline pertains to an NPRM, a Final Action, or some other action.

Abstract—a brief description of the problem the regulation will address; the need for a Federal solution; to the extent available, alternatives that the agency is considering to address the problem; and potential costs and benefits of the action.

Timetable—the dates and citations (if available) for all past steps and a projected date for at least the next step for the regulatory action. A date displayed in the form 12/00/14 means the agency is predicting the month and year the action will take place but not the day it will occur. In some instances, agencies may indicate what the next action will be, but the date of that action is “To Be Determined.” “Next Action Undetermined” indicates the agency does not know what action it will take next.

Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required—whether an analysis is required by the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.) because the rulemaking action is likely to have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities as defined by the Act.

Small Entities Affected—the types of small entities (businesses, governmental jurisdictions, or organizations) on which the rulemaking action is likely to have an impact as defined by the Regulatory Flexibility Act. Some agencies have chosen to indicate likely effects on small entities even though they believe Start Printed Page 94500that a Regulatory Flexibility Analysis will not be required.

Government Levels Affected—whether the action is expected to affect levels of government and, if so, whether the governments are State, local, tribal, or Federal.

International Impacts—whether the regulation is expected to have international trade and investment effects, or otherwise may be of interest to the Nation's international trading partners.

Federalism—whether the action has “federalism implications” as defined in Executive Order 13132. This term refers to actions “that have substantial direct effects 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.” Independent regulatory agencies are not required to supply this information.

Included in the Regulatory Plan—whether the rulemaking was included in the agency's current regulatory plan published in fall 2015.

Agency Contact—the name and phone number of at least one person in the agency who is knowledgeable about the rulemaking action. The agency may also provide the title, address, fax number, email address, and TDD for each agency contact.

Some agencies have provided the following optional information:

RIN Information URL—the Internet address of a site that provides more information about the entry.

Public Comment URL—the Internet address of a site that will accept public comments on the entry. Alternatively, timely public comments may be submitted at the Governmentwide e-rulemaking site, http://www.regulations.gov.

Additional Information—any information an agency wishes to include that does not have a specific corresponding data element.

Compliance Cost to the Public—the estimated gross compliance cost of the action.

Affected Sectors—the industrial sectors that the action may most affect, either directly or indirectly. Affected sectors are identified by North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) codes.

Energy Effects—an indication of whether the agency has prepared or plans to prepare a Statement of Energy Effects for the action, as required by Executive Order 13211 “Actions Concerning Regulations That Significantly Affect Energy Supply, Distribution, or Use,” signed May 18, 2001 (66 FR 28355).

Related RINs—one or more past or current RIN(s) associated with activity related to this action, such as merged RINs, split RINs, new activity for previously completed RINs, or duplicate RINs.

Statement of Need—a description of the need for the regulatory action.

Summary of the Legal Basis—a description of the legal basis for the action, including whether any aspect of the action is required by statute or court order.

Alternatives—a description of the alternatives the agency has considered or will consider as required by section 4(c)(1)(B) of Executive Order 12866.

Anticipated Costs and Benefits—a description of preliminary estimates of the anticipated costs and benefits of the action.

Risks—a description of the magnitude of the risk the action addresses, the amount by which the agency expects the action to reduce this risk, and the relation of the risk and this risk reduction effort to other risks and risk reduction efforts within the agency's jurisdiction.

V. Abbreviations

The following abbreviations appear throughout this publication:

ANPRM—An Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking is a preliminary notice, published in the Federal Register, announcing that an agency is considering a regulatory action. An agency may issue an ANPRM before it develops a detailed proposed rule. An ANPRM describes the general area that may be subject to regulation and usually asks for public comment on the issues and options being discussed. An ANPRM is issued only when an agency believes it needs to gather more information before proceeding to a notice of proposed rulemaking.

CFR—The Code of Federal Regulations is an annual codification of the general and permanent regulations published in the Federal Register by the agencies of the Federal Government. The Code is divided into 50 titles, each title covering a broad area subject to Federal regulation. The CFR is keyed to and kept up to date by the daily issues of the Federal Register.

EO—An Executive order is a directive from the President to Executive agencies, issued under constitutional or statutory authority. Executive orders are published in the Federal Register and in title 3 of the Code of Federal Regulations.

FR—The Federal Register is a daily Federal Government publication that provides a uniform system for publishing Presidential documents, all proposed and final regulations, notices of meetings, and other official documents issued by Federal agencies.

FY—The Federal fiscal year runs from October 1 to September 30.

  • NPRM—A Notice of Proposed Rulemaking is the document an agency issues and publishes in the Federal Register that describes and solicits public comments on a proposed regulatory action. Under the Administrative Procedure Act (5 U.S.C. 553), an NPRM must include, at a minimum: A statement of the time, place, and nature of the public rulemaking proceeding;
  • A reference to the legal authority under which the rule is proposed; and
  • Either the terms or substance of the proposed rule or a description of the subjects and issues involved.

PL (or Pub. L.)— A public law is a law passed by Congress and signed by the President or enacted over his veto. It has general applicability, unlike a private law that applies only to those persons or entities specifically designated. Public laws are numbered in sequence throughout the 2-year life of each Congress; for example, PL 112-4 is the fourth public law of the 112th Congress.

RFA—A Regulatory Flexibility Analysis is a description and analysis of the impact of a rule on small entities, including small businesses, small governmental jurisdictions, and certain small not-for-profit organizations. The Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.) requires each agency to prepare an initial RFA for public comment when it is required to publish an NPRM and to make available a final RFA when the final rule is published, unless the agency head certifies that the rule would not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities.

RIN—The Regulation Identifier Number is assigned by the Regulatory Information Service Center to identify each regulatory action listed in the Regulatory Plan and the Unified Agenda, as directed by Executive Order 12866 (section 4(b)). Additionally, OMB has asked agencies to include RINs in the headings of their Rule and Proposed Rule documents when publishing them in the Federal Register, to make it easier for the public and agency officials to track the publication history of regulatory actions throughout their development.

Seq. No.—The sequence number identifies the location of an entry in the printed edition of the Regulatory Plan and the Unified Agenda. Note that a specific regulatory action will have the same RIN throughout its development but will generally have different Start Printed Page 94501sequence numbers if it appears in different printed editions of the Unified Agenda. Sequence numbers are not used in the online Unified Agenda.

U.S.C.—The United States Code is a consolidation and codification of all general and permanent laws of the United States. The U.S.C. is divided into 50 titles, each title covering a broad area of Federal law.

VI. How can users get copies of the Plan and the Agenda?

Copies of the Federal Register issue containing the printed edition of The Regulatory Plan and the Unified Agenda (agency regulatory flexibility agendas) are available from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, P.O. Box 371954, Pittsburgh, PA 15250-7954. Telephone: (202) 512-1800 or 1-866-512-1800 (toll-free).

Copies of individual agency materials may be available directly from the agency or may be found on the agency's Web site. Please contact the particular agency for further information.

All editions of The Regulatory Plan and the Unified Agenda of Federal Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions since fall 1995 are available in electronic form at http://reginfo.gov, along with flexible search tools.

The Government Printing Office's GPO FDsys Web site contains copies of the Agendas and Regulatory Plans that have been printed in the Federal Register. These documents are available at http://www.fdsys.gov.

Start Signature

Dated: November 17, 2016.

John C. Thomas,

Executive Director.

End Signature Start Printed Page 94502

INTRODUCTION TO THE 2016 REGULATORY PLAN

Executive Order 12866, issued in 1993, requires the production of a Unified Regulatory Agenda and Regulatory Plan. Executive Order 13563, issued in 2011, reaffirms the requirements of Executive Order 12866.

Consistent with these Executive Orders, the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) is providing the 2016 Unified Regulatory Agenda (Agenda) and the Regulatory Plan (Plan) for public review. The Agenda and Plan are preliminary statements of regulatory and deregulatory policies and priorities under consideration. The Plan provides a list of important regulatory actions that agencies are considering for issuance in proposed or final form during the 2017 fiscal year. In contrast, the Agenda is a more inclusive list that includes numerous ministerial actions and routine rulemakings, as well as long-term initiatives that agencies do not plan to complete in the coming year but on which they are actively working. Changed circumstances, public comment, or applicable legal authorities could affect an agency's decision about whether to go forward with a listed regulatory action.

A central purpose of the Agenda is to involve the public, including State, local, and tribal officials, in Federal regulatory planning. The public examination of the Agenda and Plan will facilitate public participation in a regulatory system that, in the words of Executive Order 13563, protects “public health, welfare, safety, and our environment while promoting economic growth, innovation, competitiveness, and job creation.” We emphasize that rules listed on the Agenda must still undergo significant development and review before agencies can issue them. No regulatory action can become effective until it has gone through the legally required processes, which normally include public notice and comment. Any proposed or final action must also satisfy the requirements of relevant statutes, Executive Orders, and Presidential Memoranda.

Among other information, the Agenda provides an initial classification of whether a rulemaking is “significant” or “economically significant” under the terms of Executive Orders 12866 and 13563. The Agenda might list a rule as “economically significant” within the meaning of Executive Order 12866 (generally, having an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more) because it imposes costs, confers large benefits, affects significant budget resources, or removes costly burdens.

Executive Orders 13563 and 13610: Regulatory Development, and the Retrospective Review of Regulation

Executive Order 13563 reaffirmed the principles, structures, and definitions in Executive Order 12866, which has long governed regulatory review. Executive Order 13563 explicitly points to the need for predictability and certainty in the regulatory system, as well as for use of the least burdensome means to achieving regulatory ends. These Executive Orders include the requirement that, to the extent permitted by law, agencies should not proceed with rulemaking in the absence of a reasoned determination that the benefits justify the costs. They also establish public participation, integration and innovation, flexible approaches, scientific integrity, and retrospective review as areas of emphasis in regulation. In particular, Executive Order 13563 explicitly draws attention to the need to measure and improve “the actual results of regulatory requirements”—a clear reference to the importance of the retrospective review of regulations.

Executive Order 13563 addresses new regulations that are under development, as well as retrospective review of existing regulations that are already in place. With respect to agencies' review of existing regulations, the Executive Order calls for careful reassessment based on empirical analysis. The prospective analysis required by Executive Order 13563 may depend on a degree of prediction and speculation about a rule's likely impacts, and the actual costs and benefits of a regulation may be lower or higher than what was anticipated when the rule was originally developed.

Executive Order 13610, Identifying and Reducing Regulatory Burdens, issued in 2012, institutionalizes the retrospective—or “lookback”—mechanism set out in Executive Order 13563 by requiring agencies to report to the Office of Management and Budget and to the public twice each year (January and July) on the status of their retrospective review efforts. In these reports, agencies are to “describe progress, anticipated accomplishments, and proposed timelines for relevant actions.”

Executive Orders 13563 and 13610 recognize that circumstances may change in a way that requires agencies to reconsider regulatory requirements. The retrospective review process allows agencies to reevaluate existing rules and to streamline, modify, or eliminate those regulations that do not make sense in their current form. The agencies' lookback efforts so far during this Administration have yielded approximately $37 billion in savings for the American public over the next five years. Reflecting that focus, the current Agenda lists numerous actions that retroactively review existing regulatory programs. Since President Obama issued Executive Order 13610, this Administration has worked to institutionalize retrospective review in the federal agencies. In July 2016, agencies submitted to OIRA the latest updates of their retrospective review plans, which are publicly available at: https://www.whitehouse.gov/​omb/​oira/​regulation-reform. Federal agencies will again update their retrospective review plans in January 2017. OIRA has asked agencies to continue to emphasize retrospective reviews in their latest Regulatory Plans.

As agencies advance the regulations detailed in this 2016 Regulatory Plan, OIRA will continue its efforts to ensure that our regulatory system emphasizes, public participation, scientific evidence, innovation, flexible regulatory approaches, and careful consideration of costs and benefits. These considerations are meant to produce a regulatory system that is driven by the best available knowledge and evidence, attentive to real-world impacts, and is suited to the evolving circumstances of the 21st Century.

Department of Agriculture

Sequence No.TitleRegulation Identifier No.Rulemaking stage
1National Organic Program—Organic Aquaculture Standards0581-AD34Proposed Rule Stage.
2NOP; Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices;0581-AD44Final Rule Stage.
3Importation, Interstate Movement, and Release Into the Environment of Certain Genetically Engineered Organisms0579-AE15Proposed Rule Stage.
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4Horse Protection; Licensing of Designated Qualified Persons and Other Amendments0579-AE19Final Rule Stage.
5Tournament Systems and Poultry Growing Arrangements0580-AB26Proposed Rule Stage.
6Unfair Practices and Unreasonable Preference0580-AB27Proposed Rule Stage.
7Clarification of Scope0580-AB25Final Rule Stage.
8Eligibility, Certification, and Employment and Training Provisions0584-AD87Final Rule Stage.
9National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs: Nutrition Standards for All Foods Sold in School, as Required by the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 20100584-AE09Final Rule Stage.
10Enhancing Retailer Eligibility Standards in SNAP0584-AE27Final Rule Stage.
11Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Photo Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) Card Implementation Requirements0584-AE45Final Rule Stage.
12Revision of the Nutrition Facts Panels for Meat and Poultry Products and Updating Certain Reference Amounts Customarily Consumed0583-AD56Proposed Rule Stage.
13Modernization of Swine Slaughter Inspection0583-AD62Proposed Rule Stage.

Department of Commerce

Sequence No.TitleRegulation Identifier No.Rulemaking stage
14Endangered and Threatened Species; Critical Habitat for the Threatened Caribbean Corals0648-BG20Proposed Rule Stage.
15Designation of Critical Habitat for Threatened Indo-Pacific Reef-building Corals0648-BG26Proposed Rule Stage.
16Magnuson-Stevens Fisheries Conservation and Management Act; Seafood Import Monitoring Program0648-BF09Final Rule Stage.
17Designation of Critical Habitat for the Gulf of Maine, New York Bight, and Chesapeake Bay Distinct Population Segments of Atlantic Sturgeon0648-BF28Final Rule Stage.
18Designation of Critical Habitat for the Carolina and South Atlantic Distinct Population Segments of Atlantic Sturgeon0648-BF32Final Rule Stage.

Department of Defense

Sequence No.TitleRegulation Identifier No.Rulemaking stage
19Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Program Procedures0790-AI36Final Rule Stage.
20Identification (ID) Cards for Members of the Uniformed Services, Their Dependents, and Other Eligible Individuals (Adding Subpart D)0790-AJ37Final Rule Stage.
21Sexual Assault Prevention and Response (SAPR) Program0790-AJ40Final Rule Stage.
22TRICARE; Reimbursement of Long Term Care Hospitals and Inpatient Rehabilitation Facilities0720-AB47Final Rule Stage.
23TRICARE: Refills of Maintenance Medications Through Military Treatment Facility Pharmacies or National Mail Order Pharmacy Program0720-AB64Final Rule Stage.

Department of Education

Sequence No.TitleRegulation Identifier No.Rulemaking stage
24Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965—Accountability and State Plans1810-AB27Final Rule Stage.
25Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, as Amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act—Supplement Not Supplant under Title I, Part A1810-AB33Final Rule Stage.

Department of Energy

Sequence No.TitleRegulation Identifier No.Rulemaking stage.
26Energy Conservation Standards for General Service Lamps1904-AD09Proposed Rule Stage.
27Energy Conservation Standards for Residential Non-Weatherized Gas Furnaces and Mobile Home Gas Furnaces1904-AD20Proposed Rule Stage.
28Energy Conservation Standards for Walk-In Coolers and Walk-In Freezers1904-AD59Proposed Rule Stage.
29Energy Conservation Standards for Manufactured Housing1904-AC11Final Rule Stage.
30Energy Conservation Standards for Commercial Packaged Boilers1904-AD01Final Rule Stage.
31Energy Conservation Standards for Commercial Water Heating Equipment1904-AD34Final Rule Stage.
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32Energy Conservation Standards for Dedicated-Purpose Pool Pumps1904-AD52Final Rule Stage.

Department of Health and Human Services

Sequence No.TitleRegulation Identifier No.Rulemaking stage.
33Confidentiality of Substance Use Disorder Patient Records0930-AA21Final Rule Stage.
34Control of Communicable Diseases0920-AA63Final Rule Stage.
35Mammography Quality Standards Act; Regulatory Amendments0910-AH04Proposed Rule Stage.
36Patient Medication Information0910-AH33Proposed Rule Stage.
37340(B) Civil Monetary Penalties for Manufacturers and Ceiling Price Regulations0906-AA89Final Rule Stage.
38Definition of Human Organ Under Section 301 of the National Organ Transplant Act of 19840906-AB02Final Rule Stage.
39340B Program Omnibus Guidelines0906-AB08Final Rule Stage.
40Federal Policy for the Protection of Human Subjects; Final Rules0937-AA02Final Rule Stage.
41Eligibility Notices, Fair Hearing and Appeal Processes for Medicaid, and Other Provisions Related to Eligibility and Enrollment for Medicaid and CHIP (CMS-2334-P2)0938-AS55Proposed Rule Stage.
42FY 2018 Prospective Payment System and Consolidated Billing for Skilled Nursing Facilities (SNFs) (CMS-1679-P)0938-AS96Proposed Rule Stage.
43FY 2018 Inpatient Psychiatric Facilities Prospective Payment System—Rate Update (CMS-1673-P)0938-AS97Proposed Rule Stage.
44FY 2018 Inpatient Rehabilitation Facility (IRF) Prospective Payment System (CMS-1671-P)0938-AS99Proposed Rule Stage.
45FY 2018 Hospice Rate Update (CMS-1675-P)0938-AT00Proposed Rule Stage.
46CY 2018 Hospital Outpatient PPS Policy Changes and Payment Rates and Ambulatory Surgical Center Payment System Policy Changes and Payment Rates (CMS-1678-P)0938-AT03Proposed Rule Stage.
47CY 2018 Changes to the End- Stage. Renal Disease (ESRD) Prospective Payment System, Quality Incentive Program, and Durable Medical Equipment, Prosthetics, Orthotics, and Supplies (DMEPOS) (CMS-1674-P)0938-AT04Proposed Rule Stage.
48Eligibility Notices, Fair Hearing and Appeal Processes for Medicaid, and Other Provisions Related to Eligibility and Enrollment for Medicaid and CHIP (CMS-2334-F2)0938-AS27Final Rule Stage..
49CY 2017 Inpatient Hospital Deductible and Hospital and Extended Care Services Coinsurance Amounts (CMS-8062-N)0938-AS70Final Rule Stage.
50CY 2018 Inpatient Hospital Deductible and Hospital and Extended Care Services Coinsurance Amounts (CMS-8065-N)0938-AT05Final Rule Stage.
51Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS)0970-AC47Final Rule Stage.
52Flexibility, Efficiency, and Modernization of Child Support Enforcement Programs0970-AC50Final Rule Stage.

Department of Homeland Security

Sequence No.TitleRegulation Identifier No.Rulemaking stage.
53Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS)1601-AA69Proposed Rule Stage.
54New Classification for Victims of Criminal Activity; Eligibility for the U Nonimmigrant Status1615-AA67Proposed Rule Stage.
55Requirements for Filing Motions and Administrative Appeals1615-AB98Proposed Rule Stage.
56Improvement of the Employment Creation Immigrant Regulations1615-AC07Proposed Rule Stage.
57Classification for Victims of Severe Forms of Trafficking in Persons; Eligibility for T Nonimmigrant Status1615-AA59Final Rule Stage.
58Special Immigrant Juvenile Petitions1615-AB81Final Rule Stage.
59International Entrepreneur1615-AC04Final Rule Stage.
60Retention of EB-1, EB-2, and EB-3 Immigrant Workers and Program Improvements Affecting Highly-Skilled H-1B Nonimmigrant Workers1615-AC05Final Rule Stage.
61Commercial Fishing Vessels—Implementation of 2010 and 2012 Legislation1625-AB85Proposed Rule Stage.
62Seafarers' Access to Maritime Facilities1625-AC15Final Rule Stage.
63Air Cargo Advance Screening (ACAS)1651-AB04Proposed Rule Stage.
64Definition of Form I-94 to Include Electronic Format1651-AA96Final Rule Stage.
65Surface Transportation Vulnerability Assessments and Security Plans1652-AA56Prerule Stage.
66Security Training for Surface Transportation Employees1652-AA55Proposed Rule Stage.
67Vetting of Certain Surface Transportation Employees1652-AA69Proposed Rule Stage.
68Eligibility Checks of Nominated and Current Designated School Officials of Schools That Enroll F and M Nonimmigrant Students and of Exchange Visitor Program-Designated Sponsors of J Nonimmigrants1653-AA71Proposed Rule Stage.
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69Updates to Floodplain Management and Protection of Wetlands Regulations to Implement Executive Order 13690 and the Federal Flood Risk Management Standard1660-AA85Final Rule Stage.

Department of Housing and Urban Development

Sequence No.TitleRegulation Identifier No.Rulemaking stage
70Floodplain Management and Protection of Wetlands; Minimum Property Standards for Flood Hazard Exposure; Building to the Federal Flood Risk Management Standard (FR-5717)2501-AD62Proposed Rule Stage.
71Notification, Evaluation and Reduction of Lead-Based Paint Hazards in Federally Owned Residential Property and Housing Receiving Federal Assistance; Response to Elevated Blood Lead Level (FR-5816)2501-AD77Final Rule Stage.

Department of Justice

Sequence No.TitleRegulation Identifier No.Rulemaking stage
72Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Disability: Accessibility of Web Information and Services of State and Local Governments1190-AA65Proposed Rule Stage.
73Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Disability; Movie Captioning and Audio Description1190-AA63Final Rule Stage.
74Revision of Standards and Procedures for the Enforcement of Section 274B of the Immigration and Nationality Act1190-AA71Final Rule Stage.
75Motions To Reopen Removal, Deportation, or Exclusion Proceedings Based Upon a Claim of Ineffective Assistance of Counsel1125-AA68Final Rule Stage.
76Recognition of Organizations and Accreditation of Non-Attorney Representatives1125-AA72Final Rule Stage.
77Implementation of the ADA Amendments Act of 2008 Federally Assisted Programs (Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973)1105-AB50Proposed Rule Stage.

Department of Labor

Sequence No.TitleRegulation Identifier No.Rulemaking stage
78Employment of Workers With Disabilities Under Special Certificates1235-AA14Proposed Rule Stage.
79Equal Employment Opportunity in Apprenticeship Amendment of Regulations1205-AB59Final Rule Stage.
80Amendment to Claims Procedure Regulation1210-AB39Final Rule Stage.
81Savings Arrangements Established by Political Subdivisions for Non-Governmental Employees1210-AB76Final Rule Stage.
82Respirable Crystalline Silica1219-AB36Proposed Rule Stage.
83Proximity Detection Systems for Mobile Machines in Underground Mines1219-AB78Proposed Rule Stage.
84Preventing Workplace Violence in Healthcare1218-AD08Prerule Stage.
85Infectious Diseases1218-AC46Proposed Rule Stage.
86Standards Improvement Project IV1218-AC67Proposed Rule Stage.
87Occupational Exposure to Beryllium1218-AB76Final Rule Stage.

Department of Transportation

Sequence No.TitleRegulation Identifier No.Rulemaking stage
88Airport Safety Management System2120-AJ38Proposed Rule Stage.
89Pilot Professional Development2120-AJ87Proposed Rule Stage.
90Revision of Airworthiness Standards for Normal, Utility, Acrobatic, and Commuter Category Airplanes (RRR)2120-AK65Final Rule Stage.
91National Goals and Performance Management Measures 2 (MAP-21)2125-AF53Final Rule Stage.
92National Goals and Performance Management Measures 3 (MAP-21)2125-AF54Final Rule Stage.
93Entry-Level Driver Training2126-AB66Final Rule Stage.
94Tire Fuel Efficiency Consumer Information—Part 22127-AK76Proposed Rule Stage.
95Heavy Vehicle Speed Limiters2127-AK92Proposed Rule Stage.
96Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) 150—Vehicle to Vehicle (V2V) Communication2127-AL55Proposed Rule Stage.
97Locomotive Recording Devices2130-AC51Proposed Rule Stage.
98Risk Reduction Program2130-AC11Final Rule Stage.
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99Pipeline Safety: Safety of Hazardous Liquid Pipelines2137-AE66Final Rule Stage.
100Hazardous Materials: Oil Spill Response Plans and Information Sharing for High-Hazard Flammable Trains2137-AF08Final Rule Stage.

Department of Veterans Affairs

Sequence No.TitleRegulation Identifier No.Rulemaking stage
101Schedule for Rating Disabilities: The Genitourinary Diseases and Conditions2900-AP16Proposed Rule Stage.
102Revise and Streamline VA Acquisition Regulation to Adhere to Federal Acquisition Regulation Principles (VAAR Case 2014-V001, Parts 803, 814, 822)2900-AP50Proposed Rule Stage.
103VA Homeless Providers Grant and Per Diem Program2900-AP54Proposed Rule Stage.
104Revise and Streamline VA Acquisition Regulation to Adhere to Federal Acquisition Regulation Principles (VAAR Case 2014-V005, Parts 812, 813)2900-AP58Proposed Rule Stage.
105Diseases Associated With Exposure to Contaminants in the Water Supply at Camp Lejeune2900-AP66Proposed Rule Stage.
106Revise and Streamline VA Acquisition Regulation to Adhere to Federal Acquisition Regulation Principles VAAR Case 2014-V004 (Parts 811, 832)2900-AP81Proposed Rule Stage.
107Revise and Streamline VA Acquisition Regulation to Adhere to Federal Acquisition Regulation Principles (VAAR Case 2014-V002, Parts 816, 828)2900-AP82Proposed Rule Stage.
108Schedule for Rating Disabilities: The Hematologic and Lymphatic Systems2900-AO19Final Rule Stage.
109Schedule for Rating Disabilities: The Endocrine System2900-AO44Final Rule Stage.
110Fiduciary Activities2900-AO53Final Rule Stage.
111Per Diem Paid to States for Care of Eligible Veterans in State Homes2900-AO88Final Rule Stage.
112Schedule for Rating Disabilities; Dental and Oral Conditions2900-AP08Final Rule Stage.
113Schedule for Rating Disabilities: Gynecological Conditions and Disorders of the Breast2900-AP13Final Rule Stage.
114Schedule for Rating Disabilities: The Organs of Special Sense and Schedule of Ratings—Eye2900-AP14Final Rule Stage.
115Schedule for Rating Disabilities: Skin Conditions2900-AP27Final Rule Stage.
116Tiered Pharmacy Copayments for Medications2900-AP35Final Rule Stage.
117Advanced Practice Registered Nurses2900-AP44Final Rule Stage.
118Expanded Access to Non-VA Care Through the Veterans Choice Program2900-AP60Final Rule Stage.
119Veterans Employment Pay for Success Grant Program2900-AP72Final Rule Stage.

Environmental Protection Agency

Sequence No.TitleRegulation Identifier No.Rulemaking stage
120Federal Baseline Water Quality Standards for Indian Reservations2040-AF62Prerule Stage.
121Renewables Enhancement and Growth Support Rule2060-AS66Proposed Rule Stage.
122Implementation of the 2015 National Ambient Air Quality Standards for Ozone: Nonattainment Area Classifications and State Implementation Plan Requirements2060-AS82Proposed Rule Stage.
123Renewable Fuel Volume Standards for 2018 and Biomass Based Diesel Volume (BBD) for 20192060-AT04Proposed Rule Stage.
124Trichloroethylene (TCE); Rulemaking Under TSCA Section 6(a)2070-AK03Proposed Rule Stage.
125N-Methylpyrrolidone (NMP) and Methylene Chloride; Rulemaking Under TSCA Section 6(a)2070-AK07Proposed Rule Stage.
126Trichloroethylene (TCE); Rulemaking Under TSCA Section 6(a); Vapor Degreasing2070-AK11Proposed Rule Stage.
127Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs); Reassessment of Use Authorizations for PCBs in Small Capacitors in Fluorescent Light Ballasts in Schools and Daycares2070-AK12Proposed Rule Stage.
128Procedures for Evaluating Existing Chemical Risks Under the Toxic Substances Control Act2070-AK20Proposed Rule Stage.
129Procedures for Prioritization of Chemicals for Risk Evaluation Under the Toxic Substances Control Act2070-AK23Proposed Rule Stage.
130Financial Responsibility Requirements Under CERCLA Section 108(b) for Classes of Facilities in the Hardrock Mining Industry2050-AG61Proposed Rule Stage.
131National Primary Drinking Water Regulations for Lead and Copper: Regulatory Revisions2040-AF15Proposed Rule Stage.
132Fees for Water Infrastructure Project Applications Under the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act2040-AF64Proposed Rule Stage.
133National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) Subpart W: Standards for Radon Emissions From Operating Uranium Mill Tailings: Review2060-AP26Final Rule Stage.
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134Revision of 40 CFR 192—Health and Environmental Protection Standards for Uranium and Thorium Mill Tailings and Uranium In Situ Leaching Processing Facilities2060-AP43Final Rule Stage.
135Model Trading Rules for Greenhouse Gas Emissions From Electric Utility Generating Units Constructed on or Before January 8, 20142060-AS47Final Rule Stage.
136Renewable Fuel Volume Standards for 2017 and Biomass Based Diesel Volume (BBD) for 20182060-AS72Final Rule Stage.
137Pesticides; Certification of Pesticide Applicators2070-AJ20Final Rule Stage.
138Modernization of the Accidental Release Prevention Regulations Under Clean Air Act2050-AG82Final Rule Stage.
139Credit Assistance for Water Infrastructure Projects2040-AF63Final Rule Stage.

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

Sequence No.TitleRegulation Identifier No.Rulemaking stage
140Affirmative Action for Individuals With Disabilities in the Federal Government3046-AA94Final Rule. Stage.

Small Business Administration

Sequence No.TitleRegulation Identifier No.Rulemaking stage
141Small Business Innovation Research Program and Small Business Technology Transfer Program Policy Directive3245-AG64Final Rule Stage.
142Small Business Investment Company (SBIC) Program—Impact SBICs3245-AG66Final Rule Stage.

Social Security Administration

Sequence No.TitleRegulation Identifier No.Rulemaking stage
143Revised Medical Criteria for Evaluating Musculoskeletal Disorders (3318P)0960-AG38Proposed Rule Stage.
144Revised Medical Criteria for Evaluating Digestive Disorders (3441P)0960-AG65Proposed Rule Stage.
145Revised Medical Criteria for Evaluating Cardiovascular Disorders (3477P)0960-AG74Proposed Rule Stage.
146Revising the Ticket to Work Program Rules (3780A)0960-AH50Proposed Rule Stage.
147Revisions to Rules Regarding the Evaluation of Medical Evidence0960-AH51Proposed Rule Stage.
148Revised Medical Criteria for Evaluating Hearing Loss and Disturbances of Labyrinthine-Vestibular Function (3806P)0960-AH54Proposed Rule Stage.
149Use of Electronic Payroll Data To Improve Program Administration0960-AH88Proposed Rule Stage.
150Treatment of Earnings Derived From Services0960-AH90Proposed Rule Stage.
151Closure of Unintended Loopholes (Conforming Changes to Regulations on Presumed Filing and Voluntary Suspension)0960-AH93Proposed Rule Stage.
152Revisions to Rules on Representation of Parties (3396F)0960-AG56Final Rule Stage.
153Revised Medical Criteria for Evaluating Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) Infection and for Evaluating Functional Limitations in Immune System Disorders (3466F)0960-AG71Final Rule Stage.
154Amendments to Regulations Regarding Withdrawals of Applications and Voluntary Suspension of Benefits (3573F)0960-AH07Final Rule Stage.
155Revisions to Rules of Conduct and Standards of Responsibility for Appointed Representatives0960-AH63Final Rule Stage.
156Ensuring Program Uniformity at the Hearing and Appeals Council Levels of the Administrative Review Process0960-AH71Final Rule Stage.
157Implementation of the NICS Improvement Amendments Act of 20070960-AH95Final Rule Stage.
158Availability of Information and Records to the Public0960-AI07Final Rule Stage.

Consumer Product Safety Commission

Sequence No.TitleRegulation Identifier No.Rulemaking stage
159Flammability Standard for Upholstered Furniture3041-AB35Proposed Rule Stage.
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National Indian Gaming Commission

Sequence No.TitleRegulation Identifier No.Rulemaking stage
160Class II Minimum Internal Control Standards3141-AA60Proposed Rule Stage.
161Minimum Internal Control Standards3141-AA55Final Rule Stage.

Nuclear Regulatory Commission

Sequence No.TitleRegulation Identifier No.Rulemaking stage
162Modified Small Quantities Protocol [NRC-2015-0263]3150-AJ70Final Rule Stage.

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Fall 2016 Statement of Regulatory Priorities

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) provides leadership on food, agriculture, natural resources, rural development, nutrition, and related issues based on sound public policy, the best available science, and efficient management. The Department touches the lives of almost every American, every day. Our regulatory plan reflects that reality and reinforces our commitment to achieve results for everyone we serve.

The regulatory plan reflects USDA's efforts to implement several important pieces of legislation. The 2014 Farm Bill provides authorization for services and programs that impact every American and millions of people around the world. Under the Farm Bill authorities, USDA will continue to build on historic economic gains in rural America. The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 (HHFKA) provided the authority for USDA to make genuine reforms to the school lunch and breakfast programs by improving the critical nutrition and hunger safety net for millions of children.

To assist the country in addressing today's challenges, USDA has developed a regulatory plan consistent with five strategic goals that articulate the Department's priorities.

1. Assist Rural Communities To Create Prosperity So They Are Self-Sustaining, Re-Populating, and Economically Thriving

Rural America is home to a vibrant economy supported by nearly 50 million Americans. These Americans come from diverse backgrounds and work in a variety of industries, including manufacturing, agriculture, services, government, and trade. Today, the country looks to rural America not only to provide food and fiber, but for crucial emerging economic opportunities such as renewable energy, broadband, and recreation. Many of the Nation's small businesses are located in rural communities and are the engine of job growth and an important source of innovation for the country. The economic vitality and quality of life in rural America depends on a healthy agricultural production system. Farmers and ranchers face a challenging global, technologically advanced, and competitive business environment. USDA works to ensure that producers are prosperous and competitive, have access to new markets, can manage their risks, and receive support in times of economic distress or weather-related disasters. Prosperous rural communities are those with adequate assets to fully support the well-being of community members. USDA helps to strengthen rural assets by building physical, human and social, financial, and natural capital.

Enhance rural prosperity, including leveraging capital markets to increase Government's investment in rural America.

USDA is committed to providing broadband to rural areas. Since 2009, USDA investments have delivered broadband service to over 6 million rural residents. These investments support the USDA goal to create thriving communities where people want to live and raise families. Consistent with these efforts, the Rural Utilities Service (RUS) published a final rule confirming the interim rule entitled “Rural Broadband Access Loans and Loan Guarantees” which published in the Federal Register on June 9, 2016. The final rule implements the statutory changes from the 2014 Farm Bill and facilitates greater deployment of and access to broadband services in rural communities by adjusting certain service area eligibility criteria, establishing new priority considerations, and introducing new reporting sections that require more detailed information gathering and publishing for both the Agency and awardees. For more information about this rule, see RIN 0572-AC34.

USDA also works to increase the effectiveness of the Government's investment in rural America. To this end, Rural Development is developing a rule that will establish program metrics to measure the economic activities created through grants and loans, including any technical assistance provided as a component of the grant or loan program, and to measure the short and long-term viability of award recipients, and any entities to whom recipients provide assistance using the awarded funds. The action is required by section 6209 of the 2014 Farm Bill, and will not change the underlying provisions of the included programs, such as eligibility, applications, scoring, and servicing provisions. For more information about this rule, see RIN 0570-AA95.

Increase agricultural opportunities by ensuring a robust safety net, creating new markets, and supporting a competitive agricultural system.

In another step to increase the effectiveness of the Government's investment in rural America, the Farm Service Agency (FSA) published a final rule on December 16, 2015, on behalf of the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) to specify the requirements for a person to be considered actively engaged in farming for the purpose of payment eligibility for certain FSA and CCC programs. These changes ensure that farm program payments are made to the farmers and farm families that they are intended to help. Specifically, as required by the 2014 Farm Bill, FSA revised the requirements for a significant contribution of active personnel management to a farming operation. These changes are required by the 2014 Farm Bill, and will not apply to persons or entities comprised solely of family members. For more information about this rule, see RIN 0560-AI31.

The Federal Crop Insurance Program mitigates production and revenue losses Start Printed Page 94509from yield or price fluctuations and provides timely indemnity payments. The 2014 Farm Bill improved the Federal Crop Insurance Program by allowing producers to elect coverage for shallow losses, improved options for growers of organic commodities, and the ability for diversified operations to insure their whole-farm under a single policy. To strengthen further the farm financial safety net, the Risk Management Agency (RMA) published a final rule on June 30, 2016, that amended the general administrative regulations governing Catastrophic Risk Protection Endorsement, Area Risk Protection Insurance, and the basic provisions for Common Crop Insurance consistent with the changes mandated by the 2014 Farm Bill. For more information about this rule, see RIN 0563-AC43.

The Packers and Stockyards Program promotes fair business practices and competitive environments to market livestock, meat, and poultry. Accordingly, and consistent with its oversight activities under the Packers and Stockyards Act (P&S Act), the Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA) proposes to establish criteria to be considered in determining whether an undue or unreasonable preference or advantage has occurred during contractual growing arrangements. For more information about this rule, see RIN 0580-AB27. Consistent with the P&S Act, GIPSA also proposes to establish certain requirements when using a “tournament” system for contract poultry growing. For more information about this rule, see RIN 0580-AB26. Finally, GIPSA proposes to issue interim clarifying language on the list of unfair practices between those that do not require a showing of harm to competition and those that violate the P&S Act only with a finding of harm to competition. For more information about this rule, see RIN 0580-AB25

2. Ensure Our National Forests and Private Working Lands Are Conserved, Restored, and Made More Resilient to Climate Change, While Enhancing Our Water Resources

National forests and private working lands provide clean air, clean and abundant water, and wildlife habitat. These lands sustain jobs and produce food, fiber, timber, and bio-based energy. Many of our landscapes are scenic and culturally important and provide Americans a chance to enjoy the outdoors. The 2014 Farm Bill delivered a strong conservation title that made robust investments to conserve and support America's working lands, and consolidated, and streamlined programs to improve efficiency and encourage participation. Farm Bill conservation programs provide America's farmers, ranchers and others with technical and financial assistance to enable conservation of natural resources, while protecting and improving agricultural operations. Seventy percent of the American landscape is privately owned, making private lands conservation critical to the health of our nation's environment and ability to ensure our working lands are productive. To sustain these many benefits, USDA has implemented the authorities provided by the 2014 Farm Bill to protect and enhance 1.3 billion acres of working lands. USDA also manages 193 million acres of national forests and grasslands. Our partners include Federal, Tribal, and State governments; industry; non-governmental organizations, community groups and producers. The Nation's lands face increasing threats that must be addressed. USDA's natural resource-focused regulatory strategies are designed to make substantial contributions in the areas of soil health, resiliency to climate change, and improved water quality.

Improve the health of the Nation's forests, grasslands and working lands by managing our natural resources.

The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) administers the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP), which provides financial and technical assistance to help conserve agricultural lands and wetlands and their related benefits. The 2014 Farm Bill consolidated the Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP), the Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program (FRPP), and the Grassland Reserve Program (GRP) into ACEP. In fiscal year 2015, an estimated 115,233 acres of farmland, grasslands, and wetlands were enrolled into ACEP. Through regulation, NRCS established a comprehensive framework to implement ACEP, and standardized criteria for implementing the program, provided program participants with predictability when they initiate an application and convey an easement. On February 27, 2015, NRCS published an interim rule to implement ACEP. NRCS is currently developing a final rule to implement changes to the administration of ACEP based on public comments received. For more information about this rule, see RIN 0578-AA61.

The Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) also helps the Department ensure that our national forests and private working lands are conserved, restored, and made more resilient to climate change. Through CSP, NRCS provides financial and technical assistance to eligible producers to conserve and enhance soil, water, air, and related natural resources on their land. NRCS makes funding for CSP available nationwide on a continuous application basis. In fiscal year 2014, NRCS enrolled about 9.6 million acres and now CSP enrollment exceeds 60 million acres, about the size of Iowa and Indiana combined. On March 10, 2016, NRCS published a final rule to implement provisions of the 2014 Farm Bill that amended CSP. For more information about this rule, see RIN 0578-AA63.

The Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) is another voluntary conservation program that helps agricultural producers in a manner that promotes agricultural production and environmental quality as compatible goals. Through EQIP, agricultural producers receive financial and technical assistance to implement structural and management conservation practices that optimize environmental benefits on working agricultural land. Through EQIP, producers addressed their conservation needs on over 11 million acres in fiscal year 2014. EQIP has been instrumental in helping communities respond to drought. On June 3, 2016, NRCS published a final rule that implemented changes mandated by 2014 Farm Bill and addressed key discretionary provisions, including adding waiver authority to irrigation history requirements, incorporation of Tribal Conservation Advisory Councils where appropriate, and clarifying provisions related to Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plans (CNMP) associated with Animal Feeding Operations (AFO). For more information about this rule, see RIN 0578-AA62.

Contribute to clean and abundant water by protecting and enhancing water resources on national forests and working lands.

The 2014 Farm Bill relinked highly erodible land conservation and wetland conservation compliance with eligibility for premium support paid under the federal crop insurance program. The Farm Service Agency implemented these provisions through an interim rule published on April, 24, 2015. Since publication of the interim rule, more than 98.2 percent of producers met the requirement to certify conservation compliance to qualify for crop insurance premium support payments. Implementing these provisions for conservation compliance is expected to extend conservation provisions for an additional 1.5 million acres of highly Start Printed Page 94510erodible lands and 1.1 million acres of wetlands, which will reduce soil erosion, enhance water quality, and create wildlife habitat. Through this action, NRCS modified the existing wetlands Mitigation Banking Program to remove the requirement that USDA hold easements in the mitigation program. This allows entities recognized by USDA to hold mitigation banking easements granted by a person who wishes to maintain payment eligibility under the wetland conservation provision. FSA is currently developing a final rule to implement changes to the interim rule based on public comments received. For more information about this rule, see RIN 0560-AI26.

3. Help America Promote Agricultural Production and Biotechnology Exports as America Works To Increase Food Security

Food security is important for sustainable economic growth of developing nations and the long-term economic prosperity and security of the United States. Unfortunately, global food insecurity is expected to rise in the next five years. Food security means having a reliable source of nutritious and safe food and sufficient resources to purchase it. USDA has a role in curbing this distressing trend through programs such as Food for Progress and President Obama's Feed the Future Initiative and through new technology-based solutions, such as the development of genetically engineered plants that improves yields and reduces post-harvest loss.

Ensure U.S. agricultural resources contribute to enhanced global food security.

The Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) published a final rule for the Local and Regional procurement (LRP) Program on July 1, 2016 as authorized in section 3207 of the 2014 Farm Bill. USDA implemented a successful LRP pilot program under the authorities of the 2008 Farm Bill. LRP ties to the President's 2014 Trade Policy Agenda and works with developing nations to alleviate poverty and foster economic growth to provide better markets for U.S. exporters. LRP is expected to help alleviate hunger for millions of individuals in food insecure countries. LRP supports development activities that strengthen the capacity of food-insecure developing countries, and build resilience and address the causes of chronic food insecurity while also supporting USDA's other food assistance programs, including the McGovern Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition Program (McGovern-Dole). In addition, the program can be used to fill food availability gaps generated by unexpected emergencies. For more information about this rule, see RIN 0551-AA87.

Enhance America's ability to develop and trade agricultural products derived from new and emerging technologies.

USDA uses science-based regulatory systems to allow for the safe development, use, and trade of products derived from new agricultural technologies. USDA continues to regulate the importation, interstate movement, and field-testing of newly developed genetically engineered (GE) organisms that qualify as “regulated articles” to ensure they do not pose a threat to plant health before they can be commercialized. These science-based evaluations facilitate the safe introduction of new agricultural production options and enhance public and international confidence in these products. As a part of this effort, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) will publish a proposed rule to revise its regulations and align them with current authorizations by incorporating the noxious weed authority and regulate GE organisms that pose plant pest or weed risks in a manner that balances oversight and risk, and that is based on the best available science. The regulatory framework being developed will enable more focused, risk-based regulation of GE organisms that pose plant pest or noxious weed risks and will implement regulatory requirements only to the extent necessary to achieve the APHIS protection goal. For more information about this rule, see RIN 0579-AE15.

As part of an Act to reauthorize and amend the National Sea Grant College Program Act (Act), the President signed a bill to amend the Agricultural Marketing Act of 1946 to include subtitle E, the National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard (Pub. L. 114-216). The legislation requires that the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) establish a mandatory national bioengineered food disclosure standard and the procedures necessary to implement the national standard within two years of the enactment of the Act. Throughout the process, AMS will engage consumers and industry stakeholders to ensure that the final program is established effectively and with the utmost transparency. AMS is currently preparing an advance notice of proposed rulemaking to begin the rulemaking process for implementing the national bioengineered food disclosure standards. For more information about this action, see RIN 0581-AD54.

The AMS National Organic Program establishes national standards governing the marketing of organically produced agricultural products. These standards do not currently include organic farmed aquatic animals in the United States which means that seafood currently sold as organic in the United States is imported from other countries and certified to private standards or other countries' standards. Accordingly, and based on recommendations from the National Organic Standards Board, USDA is proposing to establish standards for organic farmed aquatic animals and their products. This would allow U.S. producers to compete in the organic seafood market and may expand trade partnerships. For more information about this rule, see RIN 0581-AD34.

4. Ensure That All of America's Children Have Access to Safe, Nutritious, and Balanced Meals

A plentiful supply of safe and nutritious food is essential to the well-being of every family and the healthy development of every child in America. Science has established strong links between diet, health, and productivity. Even small improvements in the average diet, fostered by USDA, may yield significant health and economic benefits. However, foodborne illness is still a common, costly-yet largely preventable-public health problem, even though the U.S. food supply system is one of the safest in the world. USDA is committed to ensuring that Americans have access to safe food through a farm-to-table approach to reduce and prevent foodborne illness. To help ensure a plentiful supply of food, the Department detects and quickly responds to new invasive species and emerging agricultural and public health situations.

Improve access to nutritious food.

USDA's domestic nutrition assistance programs serve one in four Americans annually. The Department is committed to making benefits available to every eligible person who wishes to participate in the major nutrition assistance programs, including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the cornerstone of the nutrition assistance safety net, which helped over 45 million Americans, more than half of whom were children, the elderly, or individuals with disabilities, put food on the table in 2015. The Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) plans to publish a final rule that works with States interested in implementing photos on SNAP Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards to ensure that the issuance of photo EBT cards does not Start Printed Page 94511inhibit access to this critical nutrition assistance program. For more information about this rule, see RIN 0584-AE09.

Additionally, FNS plans to issue a final rule codifying 2008 Farm Bill changes addressing SNAP eligibility, certification, and employment and training provisions. While the ultimate objective is for economic opportunities to make nutrition assistance unnecessary for as many families as possible, we will ensure that these vital programs remain ready to serve all eligible people who need them. For more information about this rule, see RIN 0584-AD87.

Promote healthy diet and physical activity behaviors.

The Administration has set a goal to solve the problem of childhood obesity within a generation so that children born today will reach adulthood at a healthy weight. This objective represents FNS's efforts to ensure that program benefits meet appropriate standards to effectively improve nutrition for program participants, to improve the diets of its clients through nutrition education, and to support the national effort to reduce obesity by promoting healthy eating and physical activity. The Department will finalize changes to eligibility requirements for SNAP retail food stores to ensure access to nutritious foods for home preparation and consumption for the families most vulnerable to food insecurity. The final rule will consider the balance of ensuring participant access to retail food stores with enhanced stocking requirements. For more information about this rule, see RIN 0584-AE27.

FNS published a final rule on July 27, 2016, for Nutrition Standards for All Foods Sold in School, as required by HHFKA. Section 208 requires the Secretary to promulgate regulations to establish science-based nutrition standards for all foods sold in schools, outside the school meal programs, on the school campus, and at any time during the school day. For more information about this rule, see RIN 0584-AE09.

FNS published the final rule, Meal Pattern Revisions Related to the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, on July 8, 2016, to implement section 221 of the HHFKA. This section requires USDA to review and update, no less frequently than once every 10 years, requirements for meals served under the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) to ensure that meals are consistent with the most recent Dietary Guidelines for Americans and relevant nutrition science. For more information about this rule, see RIN 0584-AE18.

FNS published a final rule, Local School Wellness Policy Implementation and School Nutrition Environment Information, on July 27, 2016, to implement section 204 of the HHFKA. As a result of meal pattern changes in the school meals programs, students are now eating 16 percent more vegetables and there was a 23 percent increase in the selection of fruit at lunch. This Act requires each local educational agency participating in Federal child nutrition programs to establish, for all schools under its jurisdiction, a local school wellness policy to maintain this momentum. The HHFKA requires that the wellness policy include goals for nutrition, nutrition education, physical activity, and other school-based activities that promote student wellness. In addition, the HHFKA requires that local educational agencies ensure stakeholder participation in development of local school wellness policies; periodically assess compliance with the policies; and disclose information about the policies to the public. For more information about this rule, see RIN 0584-AE25.

The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) continues to ensure that meat and poultry products are properly marked, labeled, and packaged, and prohibits the distribution in-commerce of meat or poultry products that are adulterated or misbranded. FSIS is planning to publish a proposed rule that would amend the nutrition labeling requirements for meat and poultry products to better reflect scientific research and dietary recommendations and to improve the presentation of nutrition information to assist consumers in maintaining healthy dietary practices. This rule will be consistent with the recent changes that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) finalized for other food products. This rule will ensure that nutrition information is presented consistently across the food supply. For more information about this rule, see RIN 0583-AD56.

Protect agricultural health by minimizing major diseases and pests to ensure access to safe, plentiful, and nutritious food.

The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) continue to enforce and improve compliance with the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act. FSIS published a final rule on July 18, 2016, requiring non-ambulatory disabled veal calves that are offered for slaughter to be condemned and promptly euthanized. This rule will improve compliance with the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act by encouraging improved treatment of veal calves, as well as improve inspection efficiency by allowing FSIS inspection program personnel to devote more time to activities related to food safety. For more information about this rule, see RIN 0583-AD54.

FSIS is also proposing to amend the Federal meat inspection regulations to improve the effectiveness of swine slaughter inspection by establishing a new inspection system for swine slaughter establishments. The proposed New Swine Slaughter Inspection System would facilitate pathogen reduction in pork products by permitting FSIS to conduct more offline inspection activities that are more effective in ensuring food safety; improving animal welfare and compliance with the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act; and making better use of FSIS resources. For more information about this rule, see RIN 0583-AD62.

5. Create a USDA for the 21st Century That Is High Performing, Efficient, and Adaptable

USDA has been a leader in the Federal government at implementing innovative practices to rein in costs and increase efficiencies. By taking steps to find efficiencies and cut costs, USDA employees have achieved savings and cost avoidances of over $1.4 billion in recent years. Some of these results came from relatively smaller, common-sense initiatives such as the $1 million saved by streamlining the mail handling at one of the USDA mailrooms or the consolidation of the Department's cell phone contracts, which is saving taxpayers over $5 million per year. Other results have come from larger-scale activities, such as the focus on reducing non-essential travel that has yielded over $400 million in efficiencies. Overall, these results have allowed us to do more with less during a time when such stewardship of resources has been critical to meeting the needs of those that we serve.

While these proactive steps have given USDA the tools to carry out our mission-critical work, ensuring that USDA's millions of customers receive stronger service, they are matters relating to agency management, personnel, public property, and/or contracts, and as such they are not subject to the notice and comment requirements for rulemaking codified at 5 U.S.C. 553. Consequently, they are not included in the Department's regulatory agenda. For more information about the USDA efforts to cut costs and modernize operations via the Blueprint for Stronger Service Initiative, see http://www.usda.gov/​wps/​portal/​usda/​usdahome?​contentidonly=​true&​Start Printed Page 94512contentid=​blueprint_​for_​stronger_​service.html.

Retrospective Review of Existing Regulations

In accordance with Executive Order 13563, “Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review,” and Executive Order 13610, “Identifying and Reducing Regulatory Burdens,” USDA continues to review its existing regulations and information collections to evaluate the continued effectiveness in addressing the circumstances for which the regulations were implemented. As part of this ongoing review to maximize the cost-effectiveness of its regulatory programs, USDA will publish a Federal Register notice inviting public comment to assist in analyzing its existing significant regulations to determine whether any should be modified, streamlined, expanded, or repealed.

USDA has identified the following regulatory actions as associated with retrospective review and analysis. Some of the regulatory actions on the below list are completed actions, which do not appear in the Regulatory Agenda. You can find more information about these completed rulemakings in past publications of the Unified Agenda (search the Completed Actions sections) on www.reginfo.gov. Other entries on this list are still in development and have not yet appeared in the Regulatory Agenda. You can read more about these entries and the Department's strategy for regulation reform at http://www.usda.gov/​wps/​portal/​usda/​usdahome?​navid=​USDA_​OPEN.

AgencyTitleRIN
Food Safety & Inspection Service (FSIS)Requirements for the Disposition of Non-Ambulatory Disabled Veal Calves0583-AD54.
Animal Plant Health & Inspection Service (APHIS)Participation in the International Trade Data System (ITDS) via the Automated Commercial Environment (ACE)TBD.
FSISElectronic Export Application and Certification Fee0583-AD41.
Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS)Input Export Form Numbers Into the Automated Export SystemTBD.
AMSRevisions to the Electronic Submission of the Import Request of Shell Eggs0581-AD40.
APHISForms for Declaration Mandated by 2008 Farm Bill (Lacey Act Amendments)0579-AD99.
Farm Service Agency (FSA) and Risk Management AgencyAcreage and Crop Reporting Streamlining Initiative0563-0084.
FSAEnvironmental Policies and Procedures; Compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act and Related Authorities0560-AH02.
Natural Resources Conservation ServiceConservation Delivery Streamlining Initiative (CDSI)—Conservation Client Gateway (CCG)TBD.
Rural Business Services (RBS)Business and Industry Loan Guaranteed Program0570-AA85.
Rural Housing ServiceCommunity Facilities Loan and Grants0575-AC91.
FNSSimplified Cost Accounting and Other Actions to Reduce Paperwork in the Summer Food Service Program0584-AD84.
Rural Business Services (RBS)Biorefinery, Renewable Chemical, and Biobased Product Manufacturing Assistance0570-AA73, 0570-0065.
RBSRural Energy for America Program0570-AA76.

USDA—AGRICULTURAL MARKETING SERVICE (AMS)

Proposed Rule Stage

1. National Organic Program—Organic Aquaculture Standards

Priority: Other Significant.

Legal Authority: 7 U.S.C. 6501 to 6522

CFR Citation: 7 CFR 205.

Legal Deadline: None.

Abstract: This action proposes to establish standards for organic production and certification of farmed aquatic animals and their products in the USDA organic regulations. This action would also add aquatic animals as a scope of certification and accreditation under the National Organic Program (NOP).

Statement of Need: This action is necessary to establish standards for organic farmed aquatic animals and their products which would allow U.S. producers to compete in the organic seafood market. This action is also necessary to address multiple recommendations provided to USDA by the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB). From 2007 through 2009, the NOSB made five recommendations to establish standards for the certification of organic farmed aquatic animals and their products. Finally, the U.S. currently has organic standards equivalence arrangements with Canada and the European Union (EU). Both Canada and the EU established standards for organic aquaculture products. Because the U.S.does not have organic aquaculture standards, the U.S. is unable to include aquaculture in the scope of these arrangements. Establishing U.S. organic aquaculture may provide a basis for expanding those trade partnerships.

Summary of Legal Basis: AMS National Organic Program is authorized by the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990 (OFPA) to establish national standards governing the marketing of organically produced agricultural products (7 U.S.C. 6501-6522). The USDA organic regulations set the requirements for the organic certification of agricultural products (7 CFR part 205).

Alternatives: An alternative to providing organic aquatic animal standards would be to not publish such standards and allow aquatic animal products to continue to be sold as organic based on private standards or other countries' standards.

Anticipated Cost and Benefits: The cost for existing conventional aquaculture operations to convert and participate in this voluntary marketing program generally would be incurred in the cost of changing management practices, increased feed costs, and obtaining organic certification. There also would be some costs to certifying agents who would need to add aquaculture to their areas of accreditation under the USDA organic regulations. These costs include application fees and expanded audits to ensure certifying agents meet the accreditation requirements needed to provide certification services to aquaculture operations. By providing organic standards for organic aquatic animal products, producers will be able to sell certified organic aquatic animal products for a premium above the price of conventionally produced seafood. Organic consumers will be assured that organic aquatic animal products comply with the USDA organic regulations.Start Printed Page 94513

Risks: There are no known risks to providing these additional standards for certification of organic products.

Timetable:

ActionDateFR Cite
NPRM11/00/16

Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: Yes.

Small Entities Affected: Businesses.

Government Levels Affected: None.

International Impacts: This regulatory action will be likely to have international trade and investment effects, or otherwise be of international interest.

Agency Contact: Miles V. McEvoy, Deputy Administrator, USDA National Organic Program, Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Marketing Service, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20250, Phone: 202 720-3252.

RIN: 0581-AD34

USDA—AMS

Final Rule Stage

2. NOP; Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices

Priority: Other Significant.

Legal Authority: 7 U.S.C. 6501 to 6522

CFR Citation: 7 CFR 205.

Legal Deadline: None.

Abstract: This action would establish standards that support additional practice standards for organic livestock and poultry production. This action would add provisions to the USDA organic regulations to address and clarify livestock and poultry living conditions (for example, outdoor access, housing environment and stocking densities), health care practices (for example physical alterations, administering medical treatment, euthanasia), and animal handling and transport to and during slaughter.

Statement of Need: This action would establish standards that support additional practice standards for organic livestock and poultry production. This action would add provisions to the USDA organic regulations to address and clarify livestock and poultry living conditions (for example, outdoor access, housing environment and stocking densities), health care practices (for example physical alterations, administering medical treatment, euthanasia), and animal handling and transport to and during slaughter.

Summary of Legal Basis: This action is necessary to augment the USDA organic livestock and poultry production regulations with robust and clear provisions to fulfill an objective of the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990 (OFPA): To assure consumers that organically-produced products meet a consistent and uniform standard (7 U.S.C. 6501). OFPA mandates that detailed livestock and poultry regulations be developed through notice and comment rulemaking and intends for National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) involvement in that process (7 U.S.C. 6508(g)).

Alternatives: The alternative is that consumers will not have the assurance that organically-produced products meet a consistent and uniform standard as there will be continued inconsistency among organic livestock producers. Nor will certifying agents be able to make consistent certification decisions and facilitate fairness and transparency for the organic producers and consumers that participate in the market.

Anticipated Cost and Benefits: AMS expects this rule to maintain consumer confidence in the high standards represented by the USDA organic seal. This action would promote consistency among certifying agents to uniformly verify and enforce clear requirements for organic livestock. AMS estimates that annualized benefits for increased or sustained demand for organic products is $14.5 to $34 million per year. The cost of implementing the rule would fall primarily on organic poultry operations that may need to purchase and transition additional land to organic production and modify existing poultry structures to come into compliance with this rule. AMS estimates that the annualized cost to the organic industry for this rule is $13 to 15.6 million per year.

Risks: AMS expects that a few provisions among the numerous proposed will be contentious.

Timetable:

ActionDateFR Cite
NPRM04/13/1681 FR 21955
NPRM Comment Period End06/13/16
Final Action12/00/16

Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: Yes.

Small Entities Affected: Businesses.

Government Levels Affected: None.

Agency Contact: Miles V. McEvoy, Deputy Administrator, USDA National Organic Program, Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Marketing Service, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20250, Phone: 202 720-3252.

RIN: 0581-AD44

USDA—ANIMAL AND PLANT HEALTH INSPECTION SERVICE (APHIS)

Proposed Rule Stage

3. Importation, Interstate Movement, and Release Into the Environment of Certain Genetically Engineered Organisms

Priority: Other Significant.

Legal Authority: 7 U.S.C. 7701 to 7772; 7 U.S.C. 7781 to 7786; 31 U.S.C. 9701

CFR Citation: 7 CFR 340.

Legal Deadline: None.

Abstract: USDA uses science-based regulatory systems to allow for the safe development, use, and trade of products derived from new agricultural technologies. USDA continues to regulate the importation, interstate movement, and field-testing of newly developed genetically engineered (GE) organisms that qualify as “regulated articles” to ensure they do not pose a threat to plant health before they can be commercialized. These science-based evaluations facilitate the safe introduction of new agricultural production options and enhance public and international confidence in these products. As a part of this effort, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) will publish a proposed rule to revise its regulations regarding the regulation of GE organisms.

Statement of Need: This rule is necessary in order to respond to advances in genetic engineering and APHIS' understanding of the pest risks posed by genetically engineered organisms, to evaluate genetically engineered plants for noxious weed risk (an evaluation that is not part of the current regulations), to respond to two Office of Inspector General audits regarding APHIS' regulation of genetically engineered organisms, and to respond to the requirements of the 2008 Farm Bill.

Summary of Legal Basis: The Plant Protection Act of 200, as amended (7 U.S.C. 7701 et seq.).

Alternatives: Alternatives that we considered were (1) to leave the regulations unchanged; (2) to regulate all GE organisms as presenting a possible plant pest or noxious weed risk, without exception, and with no means of granting nonregulated status; or (3) to withdraw APHIS regulations governing biotechnology and instead implement a voluntary program under which developers would present genetically engineered organisms to APHIS for an evaluation of their plant pest and noxious weed risk, and organisms determined to be plant pests and/or noxious weeds would be Start Printed Page 94514regulated under other APHIS regulations.

Anticipated Cost and Benefits: Not yet determined.

Risks: Unless we issue this proposal, we may not be able to regulate a genetically engineered plant that does not pose a plant pest risk, but does pose a noxious weed risk. Additionally, as noted above, the current regulations do not incorporate recommendations of two OIG audits, and do not respond to the requirements of the 2008 Farm Bill, particularly regarding APHIS oversight of field trials and environmental releases of genetically engineered organisms.

Timetable:

ActionDateFR Cite
NPRM12/00/16
NPRM Comment Period End02/00/17

Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: Undetermined.

Small Entities Affected: Businesses, Organizations.

Government Levels Affected: Local, State.

International Impacts: This regulatory action will be likely to have international trade and investment effects, or otherwise be of international interest.

Additional Information: Additional information about APHIS and its programs is available on the Internet at http://www.aphis.usda.gov.

Agency Contact: Gwendolyn Burnett, Agriculturalist, BRS, Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, 4700 River Road, Unit 147, Riverdale, MD 20737-1236, Phone: 301 851-3893.

RIN: 0579-AE15

USDA—APHIS

Final Rule Stage

4. Horse Protection; Licensing of Designated Qualified Persons and Other Amendments

Priority: Other Significant.

Legal Authority: 15 U.S.C. 1823 to 1825; 15 U.S.C. 1828

CFR Citation: 9 CFR 11.

Legal Deadline: None.

Abstract: This rulemaking will amend training and licensing requirements mandated by the horse protection regulations. We are also making several changes to the responsibilities of show management of horse shows, horse exhibitions, horse sales, and horse auctions, as well as changes to the list of devices, equipment, substances, and practices that can cause soring or are otherwise prohibited under the Horse Protection Act and regulations. Additionally, we are amending the inspection procedures. These actions are intended to strengthen existing requirements intended to eliminate soring and promote enforcement of Horse Protection Act and regulations.

Statement of Need: Soring, the act of deliberately inducing pain in a horse's feet to produce an exaggerated show gait, has been a persistent practice within the Tennessee Walking Horse industry despite regulations prohibiting it. Third party inspectors are currently trained and licensed by horse industry organizations and conduct inspections of horses at horse shows and exhibitions. In response to public concerns about the ability of the Horse Protection Program to prevent soring, the United States Department of Agriculture's (USDA's) Office of the Inspector General (OIG) initiated an audit of APHIS' oversight of the Horse Protection program and concluded that APHIS' inspection program for inspecting gaited horses is not adequate to ensure that horses are not being sored for the purposes of enhanced performance. OIG recommended that APHIS eliminate the horse inspection program in its current form and assume a direct involvement in the accreditation and monitoring of inspectors and inspection procedures. Under the proposed rule, all training and licensing of inspectors would be conducted only by APHIS, and devices used to cause soring would be further restricted or prohibited. APHIS is in agreement with these recommendations but needs to amend the regulations through rulemaking in order to adopt it.

Summary of Legal Basis: Section 4 of the Horse Protection Act, as amended (15 U.S.C. 1823), requires the Secretary of Agriculture to prescribe by regulation requirements for the appointment by the management of a horse show, exhibition, sale, or auction (referred to below as show management) of persons qualified to detect and diagnose a horse which is sore or to otherwise inspect horses for the purpose of enforcing the Act. Section 9 (15 U.S.C. 1828) authorizes the Secretary of Agriculture to issue such rules and regulations as deemed necessary to carry out the provisions of the Act.

Alternatives: In following the recommendations of the USDA OIG Audit, we believe the changes we proposed in this rulemaking represent the best alternative option that would accomplish the stated objectives and minimize impacts on small entities. In the proposed rule, we welcomed comments from the public on other options, in particular the viability of alternative approaches that would continue to rely on the horse industry organization concept, and what the governance of such an organization should be like.

Anticipated Cost and Benefits: The benefits of the proposed rule are expected to justify the costs. The proposed changes to the horse protection regulations would promote the humane treatment of walking and racking horses by more effectively ensuring that those horses that participate in exhibitions, sales, shows, or auctions are not sored. This benefit is an unquantifiable animal welfare enhancement. The proposed rule is not expected to adversely impact communities in which shows are held since walking and racking horse shows are expected to continue.

Risks: This rulemaking is intended to reduce the risk of horses suffering pain and injury from the practice of soring without restricting the activities of horse owners and organizations that have no history of soring and for which the USDA does not consider soring to be a concern.

Timetable:

ActionDateFR Cite
NPRM07/26/1681 FR 49111
NPRM Comment Period End09/26/16
Final Rule01/00/17

Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: Undetermined.

Small Entities Affected: Businesses, Organizations.

Government Levels Affected: None.

Additional Information: Additional information about APHIS and its programs is available on the Internet at http://www.aphis.usda.gov.

Agency Contact: Rachel Cezar, Supervisory Veterinary Medical Officer, Horse Protection Coordinator, Animal Care, Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, 4700 River Road, Unit 84, Riverdale, MD 20737, Phone: 301 851-3746.

RIN: 0579-AE19

USDA—GRAIN INSPECTION, PACKERS AND STOCKYARDS ADMINISTRATION (GIPSA)

Proposed Rule Stage

5. Tournament Systems and Poultry Growing Arrangements

Priority: Other Significant. Start Printed Page 94515

Legal Authority: 7 U.S.C. 181 to 229c

CFR Citation: 9 CFR 201.

Legal Deadline: None.

Abstract: The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA) plans to propose amending part 201 of the Regulations under the Packers and Stockyards Act (P&S Act) (7 U.S.C. 181-229c) to address the use of tournament systems as a method of payment and settlement grouping for poultry growers under contract in poultry growing arrangements with live poultry dealers. The proposed regulation would establish certain requirements to which a live poultry dealer must comply if a tournament system is going to be utilized to determine grower payment. A live poultry dealer's failure to comply would be deemed an unfair, unjustly discriminatory and deceptive practice according to factors outlined in the proposed rule.

Statement of Need: This proposed section 201.214 will establish criteria that the Secretary may consider when determining whether a live poultry dealer has used a poultry grower ranking system to compensate poultry grower in an unfair, unjustly discriminatory, or deceptive manner, or in a way that gives an undue or unreasonable prejudice or disadvantage. Proposed section 201.210(10) will link the criteria to an unfair practice in violation of section 202(a) of the P&S Act. These provisions are needed to protect poultry growers from unfair, unjustly discriminatory or deceptive practices and devices and from undue or unreasonable prejudice or disadvantage. SUMMARY OF LEGAL BASIS: Section 407 of the P&S Act provides that [t]he Secretary may make such rules, regulations, and orders as may be necessary to carry out the provisions of this Act. This rule is necessary to carry out the provisions of Section 202(a) and (b) of the P&S Act.

Summary of Legal Basis: GIPSA considered three regulatory alternatives: Maintain the status quo and not propose the regulation; propose a revised version of the proposed rule published in 2010; and propose a revised version that would be phased in as existing contracts expire, are replaced, or modified.

Alternatives:

Anticipated Cost and Benefits: GIPSA estimates the annualized costs of proposed regulation 201.211 to be less than $11 million. GIPSA estimates the costs to be greater than $100 million annually. GIPSA was unable to quantify the benefits of the regulations. However, the primary benefit of regulation 201.214 is the increased ability to protect poultry growers from unfair practices associated with the use of poultry grower ranking systems. GIPSA also expects that the regulation will improve efficiencies and reduce market failures, by increasing the amount of relevant information available to poultry growers and reducing information asymmetries. Potential poultry growers will make better informed business decisions regarding whether to enter the industry and established poultry growers will make better informed decisions regarding additional capital investments.

Risks: The risk addressed by this rulemaking is the present uncertainty that poultry growers face regarding treatment in a poultry grower ranking system and the inefficient allocation of resources due to incomplete information needed for business decisions.

Timetable:

ActionDateFR Cite
Proposed Rule12/00/16

Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: No.

Government Levels Affected: None.

Agency Contact: Raymond Dexter Thomas II, Lead Regulatory Analyst, Department of Agriculture, Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., Room 2530-South, Washington, DC 20250, Phone: 202 720-6529, Fax: 202 690-2173, Email: r.dexter.thomas@usda.gov.

RIN: 0580-AB26

USDA—GIPSA

6. Unfair Practices and Unreasonable Preference

Priority: Other Significant.

Legal Authority: Pub. L. 110-246; 7 U.S.C. 181-229c

CFR Citation: 9 CFR 201.

Legal Deadline: None.

Abstract: Title XI of the 2008 Farm Bill required the Secretary of Agriculture to issue a number of regulations under the P&S Act. Among these instructions, the 2008 Farm Bill directed the Secretary to identify criteria to be considered in determining whether an undue or unreasonable preference or advantage has occurred in violation of the P&S Act. In June of 2010, the Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA) published a proposed rule addressing this statutory requirement along with several other rules required by the 2008 Farm Bill. Proposed 201.211 to the regulations under the P&S Act would have established criteria that the Secretary may consider in determining if conduct would violate section 202(b) of the P&S Act (undue or unreasonable preference or advantage). While many commenters provided examples of similarly situated poultry growers and livestock producers receiving different treatment, other commenters were concerned about the impacts of the provision on marketing arrangements and other beneficial contractual agreements. Beginning with the FY 2012 appropriations act, USDA was precluded from working on certain proposed regulatory provisions related to the P&S Act, including criteria in this proposal regarding undue or unreasonable preferences or advantages. Consequently, GIPSA did not finalize this rule in 2011. The prohibitions are not included in the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2016. This rulemaking is necessary to fulfill statutory requirements. Section 201.210 will illustrate by way of examples types of conduct GIPSA would consider unfair, unjustly discriminatory, or deceptive.

Statement of Need: This proposed rulemaking will establish a list of practices that violate section 202(a) of the P&S Act without a showing of harm to completion and establish criteria that the Secretary will consider when determining whether a packer, swine contractor, or live poultry dealer has engaged in conduct or action that constitutes an undue or unreasonable preference or advantage in violation of section 202(b) of the P&S Act. These provisions are needed to protect livestock producers and poultry growers from unfair, unjustly discriminatory or deceptive practices and devices and from undue or unreasonable prejudice or disadvantage or undue or unreasonable preference or advantage. The 2008 Farm Bill directed the Secretary of Agriculture to establish criteria that the Secretary will consider in determining whether a live poultry dealer has provided reasonable notice to poultry growers of any suspension of the delivery of birds under a poultry growing arrangement; when a requirement of additional capital investments over the life of a poultry growing arrangement or swine production contract constitutes a violation of the P&S Act; and if a live poultry dealer or swine contractor has provided a reasonable period of time for a poultry grower or a swine production contract grower to remedy a breach of contract that could lead to termination of the poultry growing arrangement or swine production contract. GIPSA published final rules establishing the Start Printed Page 94516required criteria in December 2011. These regulations will link the regulatory criteria to a violation of the P&S Act.

Summary of Legal Basis: Section 11006 of the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (Pub. L. 110-246) (2008 Farm Bill) required GIPSA to establish criteria regarding: Undue or unreasonable preference or advantage; suspension of delivery of birds under a poultry growing arrangement; additional capital investments for poultry or swine contracts; and reasonable period of time to remedy a breach of contract. GIPSA issued final regulations for three of the four required criteria on December 9, 2011. Section 201.210 of this rule, will link the criteria to a violation of the section 202(a) of the Packers and Stockyards Act. In addition, section 201.210 will identify other conduct that GIPSA considers to be unfair, unjustly discriminatory, or deceptive and a violation of section 202(a) of the P&S Act without a showing of harm to competition. Section 201.211 will establish criteria for the remaining area undue or unreasonable preference or advantage. Together, the regulations will complete the unfinished work from the 2008 Farm Bill. Section 407 of the P&S Act provides that [t]he Secretary may make such rules, regulations, and orders as may be necessary to carry out the provisions of this Act. This rule is necessary to carry out the provisions of section 202(a) and (b) of the P&S Act.

Alternatives: GIPSA considered three regulatory alternatives: Maintain the status quo and not issue the regulations; issuing revised versions of the proposed rule published in 2010 as proposed rules; and proposing regulations that would be phased in as existing contracts expire.

Anticipated Cost and Benefits: GIPSA estimates the cost to be greater than $100 million annually. GIPSA was unable to quantify the benefits of the regulations. However, the primary benefit of regulations 201.210 and 201.211 is the increased ability to protect producers and growers through enforcement of the P&S Act for violations of section 202(a) and/or (b) that do not result in harm or the likelihood of harm to competition.

Risks: The risk addressed by this rulemaking is the present uncertainty that limits enforcement of section 202(a) or (b) of the P&S Act. The clarification provided by this rulemaking will allow the linkage of the regulatory criteria to a violation of the P&S Act, which is a substantial portion of the GIPSA Packers and Stockyards Program's mission.

Timetable:

ActionDateFR Cite
Proposed Rule12/00/16

Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: Yes.

Small Entities Affected: Businesses.

Government Levels Affected: None.

Agency Contact: Raymond Dexter Thomas II, Lead Regulatory Analyst, Department of Agriculture, Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., Room 2530-South, Washington, DC 20250, Phone: 202 720-6529, Fax: 202 690-2173, Email: r.dexter.thomas@usda.gov.

RIN: 0580-AB27

USDA—GIPSA

Final Rule Stage

7. Clarification of Scope

Priority: Economically Significant. Major under 5 U.S.C. 801.

Legal Authority: Pub. L. 110-246; 7 U.S.C. 181 to 229c

CFR Citation: 9 CFR 201.

Legal Deadline: None.

Abstract: In June of 2010, GIPSA published a proposal to amend section 201.3 of the regulations issued under the Packers and Stockyards Act (P&S Act), 1921, as amended. This proposed change responds to guidance from the courts. The courts, in addressing litigation brought by poultry growers alleging harm, have said that GIPSA's statements regarding the appropriate application of subsections 202(a) and 202(b) are not entitled to deference in the absence of regulation addressing whether the P&S Act prohibits all unfair practices, or only those causing harm or a likelihood of harm to competition. The amendment to 201.3 will establish GIPSA's interpretation of the statute which will then be entitled to judicial deference.

Statement of Need: This rulemaking will clarify the long held position of the Department of Agriculture that it is not necessary in all cases to demonstrate harm or likely harm to competition in order to establish a violation of either Section 202(a) or (b) of the P&S Act. Several U.S. Courts of Appeals have held that it was necessary for plaintiffs to prove harm or likely harm to competition in cases alleging unfair practices in violation of the P&S Act. The 2008 Farm Bill directed the Secretary of Agriculture to establish criteria that the Secretary will consider in determining whether a live poultry dealer has provided reasonable notice to poultry growers of any suspension of the delivery of birds under a poultry growing arrangement; when a requirement of additional capital investments over the life of a poultry growing arrangement or swine production contract constitutes a violation of the P&S Act; and if a live poultry dealer or swine contractor has provided a reasonable period of time for a poultry grower or a swine production contract grower to remedy a breach of contract that could lead to termination of the poultry growing arrangement or swine production contract. GIPSA published final rules establishing the required criteria in December 2011. However, to link the regulatory criteria and a violation of the P&S Act, requires the interpretation that it is not necessary to show harm to competition in order to prove that a packer, swine contractor, or live poultry dealer has committed an unfair practice in violation of the P&S Act.

Summary of Legal Basis: Section 407 of the P&S Act provides that [t]he Secretary may make such rules, regulations, and orders as may be necessary to carry out the provisions of this Act. This rule is necessary to carry out the provisions of section 202(a) and (b) of the P&S Act.

Alternatives: GIPSA considered three regulatory alternatives: Maintain the status quo and not issue the regulation; issuing regulation as an interim final regulation; and issuing the regulation as an interim final regulation but exempting small businesses.

Anticipated Cost and Benefits: GIPSA estimates the costs to be greater than $100 million annually. GIPSA was unable to quantify the benefits of the regulation. However, the primary benefit of regulation 201.3 is the increased ability to protect producers and growers through enforcement of the P&S Act for violations of section 202(a) and/or (b) that do not result in harm or the likelihood of harm to competition.

Risks: The risk addressed by this rulemaking is the present uncertainty that limits enforcement of section 202(a) or (b) of the P&S Act. The clarification provided by this rulemaking will allow the linkage of the regulatory criteria to a violation of the P&S Act, which is a substantial portion of the GIPSA Packers and Stockyards Program's mission.

Timetable:

ActionDateFR Cite
NPRM06/22/1075 FR 35338
NPRM Comment Period End11/22/10
Interim Final Rule12/00/16
Start Printed Page 94517

Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: Yes.

Small Entities Affected: Businesses.

Government Levels Affected: None.

Agency Contact: Raymond Dexter Thomas II, Lead Regulatory Analyst, Department of Agriculture, Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., Room 2530-South, Washington, DC 20250, Phone: 202 720-6529, Fax: 202 690-2173, Email: r.dexter.thomas@usda.gov.

RIN: 0580-AB25

USDA—FOOD AND NUTRITION SERVICE (FNS)

Final Rule Stage

8. Eligibility, Certification, and Employment and Training Provisions

Priority: Economically Significant. Major under 5 U.S.C. 801.

Legal Authority: Pub. L. 110-246; Pub. L. 104-121

CFR Citation: 7 CFR 273.

Legal Deadline: None.

Abstract: This final rule amends the regulations governing the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to codify provisions from the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (Pub. L. 110-246) (FCEA) concerning the eligibility and certification of SNAP applicants and participants and SNAP employment and training.

Statement of Need: This rule amends the regulations governing SNAP to implement provisions from the FCEA concerning the eligibility and certification of SNAP applicants and participants and SNAP employment and training. In addition, this rule revises the SNAP regulations throughout 7 CFR part 273 to change the program name from the Food Stamp Program to SNAP and to make other nomenclature changes as mandated by the FCEA. The statutory effective date of these provisions was October 1, 2008. The Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) is also implementing two discretionary revisions to SNAP regulations to provide State agencies options that are available currently only through waivers. These provisions allow State agencies to average student work hours and to provide telephone interviews in lieu of face-to-face interviews. FNS anticipates that this rule will impact the associated paperwork burdens.

Summary of Legal Basis: Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (Pub. L. 110-246).

Alternatives: Most aspects of the rule are non-discretionary and tied to specific requirements for SNAP in the FCEA, and others were new program options the FCEA created that State agencies may include in their administration of the program. FNS did consider alternatives within these mandatory and optional FCEA provisions addressed in the rule. For example, under the new optional provision implementing section 4119 of the FCEA, Telephonic Signature Systems, FNS considered what specific conditions must be satisfied for a signature to be considered a spoken signature.

Anticipated Cost and Benefits: The proposed rule estimated total SNAP costs to the Government of the FCEA provisions proposed in the rule to be $831 million in fiscal 2010 and $5.619 billion over the five years of fiscal year 2010 through fiscal year 2014. The final rule will present a revised cost analysis. There are many potential societal benefits of this rule, including that certain provisions in the rule will reduce the administrative burden for households and State agencies.

Risks: The statutory and discretionary changes under consideration would streamline program operations. The changes are expected to reduce the risk of inefficient operations.

Timetable:

ActionDateFR Cite
NPRM05/04/1176 FR 25414
NPRM Comment Period End07/05/11
Final Action11/00/16

Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: No.

Government Levels Affected: Local, State.

Agency Contact: Charles H. Watford, Regulatory Review Specialist, Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service, 3101 Park Center Drive, Alexandria, VA 22302, Phone: 703 605-0800, Email: charles.watford@fns.usda.gov.

Lynnette M. Thomas, Chief, Planning and Regulatory Affairs Branch, Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service, 3101 Park Center Drive, Alexandria, VA 22302, Phone: 703 605-4782, Email: lynnette.thomas@fns.usda.gov.

RIN: 0584-AD87

USDA—FNS

9. National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs: Nutrition Standards for All Foods Sold in School, as Required by the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010

Priority: Economically Significant. Major under 5 U.S.C. 801.

Unfunded Mandates: This action may affect State, local or tribal governments.

Legal Authority: Pub. L. 111-296

CFR Citation: 7 CFR 210; 7 CFR 220.

Legal Deadline: None.

Abstract: This rule codifies a provision of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act (Pub. L. 111-296; the Act) under 7 CFR parts 210 and 220. Section 208 requires the Secretary to promulgate regulations to establish science-based nutrition standards for all foods sold in schools. The nutrition standards apply to all food sold outside the school meal programs, on the school campus, and at any time during the school day.

Statement of Need: This rule codifies the two provisions of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act (Pub. L. 111-296; the Act) under 7 CFR parts 210 and 220. Section 203 requires schools participating in the National School Lunch Program to make available to children free of charge, as nutritionally appropriate, potable water for consumption in the place where meals are served during meal service. Section 208 requires the Secretary to promulgate regulations to establish science-based nutrition standards for all foods sold in schools not later than December 13, 2011. The nutrition standards apply to all food sold outside the school meal programs, on the school campus, and at any time during the school day.

Summary of Legal Basis: There is no existing regulatory requirement to make water available where meals are served. Regulations at 7 CFR parts 210.11 direct State agencies and school food authorities to establish regulations necessary to control the sale of foods in competition with lunches served under the NSLP, and prohibit the sale of foods of minimal nutritional value in the food service areas during the lunch periods. The sale of other competitive foods may, at the discretion of the State agency and school food authority, be allowed in the food service area during the lunch period only if all income from the sale of such foods accrues to the benefit of the nonprofit school food service or the school or student organizations approved by the school. State agencies and school food authorities may impose additional restrictions on the sale of and income from all foods sold at any time throughout schools participating in the Program.Start Printed Page 94518

Alternatives: Several alternatives were considered in the proposed rule that were not incorporated into the final rule. Alternatives included different options for the treatment of entrees and side dishes that are served as part of a reimburseable meal, options for establishing limits on the frequency of exempt fundraisers, options for public comment on lower-calorie beverages for high school students, and an option that considered prohibiting the sale of beverages with added caffeine to high school students.

Anticipated Cost and Benefits: Expected Costs Analysis and Budgetary Effects Statement: We expect that these provisions would incur no Federal costs.

Although the complexity of factors that influence overall food consumption and obesity prevent us from defining a level of dietary change or disease or cost reduction that is attributable to the rule, there is evidence that standards like those in the rule will positively influence and perhaps directly improve food choices and consumption patterns that contribute to students' long-term health and well-being, and reduce their risk for obesity.

Any rule-induced benefit of healthier eating by school children would be accompanied by costs, at least in the short term. Healthier food may be more expensive than unhealthy food either in raw materials, preparation, or both and this greater expense would be distributed among students, schools, and the food industry.

Risks: None known.

Timetable:

ActionDateFR Cite
NPRM02/08/1378 FR 9530
NPRM Comment Period End04/09/13
Interim Final Rule06/28/1378 FR 39067
Interim Final Rule Effective08/27/13
Interim Final Rule Comment Period End10/28/13
Final & Interim Final Rule07/29/1681 FR 50131
Final Action03/00/17

Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: Yes.

Small Entities Affected: Governmental Jurisdictions.

Government Levels Affected: Local, State.

Federalism: This action may have federalism implications as defined in E.O. 13132.

Agency Contact: Charles H. Watford, Regulatory Review Specialist, Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service, 3101 Park Center Drive, Alexandria, VA 22302, Phone: 703 605-0800, Email: charles.watford@fns.usda.gov.

Lynnette M. Thomas, Chief, Planning and Regulatory Affairs Branch, Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service, 3101 Park Center Drive, Alexandria, VA 22302, Phone: 703 605-4782, Email: lynnette.thomas@fns.usda.gov.

RIN: 0584-AE09

USDA—FNS

10. Enhancing Retailer Eligibility Standards in SNAP

Priority: Other Significant.

Legal Authority: 3 U.S.C. 2012; 9 U.S.C. 2018

CFR Citation: 7 CFR 271.2; 7 CFR 278.1.

Legal Deadline: None.

Abstract: The final rule will address the criteria used to authorize retail food stores for redemption of SNAP benefits.

Statement of Need: The Agricultural Act 2014 (2014 Farm Bill) amended the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008 to increase the required amount of food that certain SNAP authorized retail food stores have available on a continual basis from at least three varieties of items in each of four staple food categories to a mandatory minimum of seven varieties. The 2014 Farm Bill also amended the Act to increase the minimum number of categories in which perishable foods are required from two to three. This rule codifies these mandatory requirements. Further, the rulemaking addresses depth of stock, redefines staple and accessory foods, and amends the definition of retail food store to clarify when a retailer is a restaurant rather than a retail food store.

Summary of Legal Basis: Section 3(k) of the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008 (the Act) generally (with limited exception) (1) requires that food purchased with SNAP benefits be meant for home consumption and (2) prohibits the purchase of hot foods with SNAP benefits. The intent of those statutory requirements can be circumvented by selling cold foods, which may be purchased with SNAP benefits, and offering onsite heating or cooking of those same foods, either for free or at an additional cost. In addition, section 9 of the Act provides for approval of retail food stores and wholesale food concerns based on their ability to effectuate the purposes of the Program.

Alternatives: Alternative approaches to several discretionary provisions are being considered based on commenter feedback on the proposed rule.

Anticipated Cost and Benefits: The changes will allow FNS to improve access to healthy food choices for SNAP participants and to ensure that participating retailers effectuate the purposes of the Program. FNS anticipates that these provisions will have no significant costs to States.

Risks: None identified.

Timetable:

ActionDateFR Cite
NPRM02/17/1681 FR 8015
NPRM Comment Period End05/18/16
Final Action11/00/16

Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: No.

Government Levels Affected: State.

Agency Contact: Charles H. Watford, Regulatory Review Specialist, Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service, 3101 Park Center Drive, Alexandria, VA 22302, Phone: 703 605-0800, Email: charles.watford@fns.usda.gov.

Lynnette M. Thomas, Chief, Planning and Regulatory Affairs Branch, Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service, 3101 Park Center Drive, Alexandria, VA 22302, Phone: 703 605-4782, Email: lynnette.thomas@fns.usda.gov.

RIN: 0584-AE27

USDA—FNS

11. Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Photo Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) Card Implementation Requirements

Priority: Other Significant.

Legal Authority: Pub. L. 104-193

CFR Citation: 7 CFR 273; 7 CFR 274; 7 CFR 278.

Legal Deadline: None.

Abstract: Under section 7(h)(9) of the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008 (the Act), as amended [7 U.S.C. 2016(h)(9)], States have the option to require the SNAP Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card contain a photo of one or more household members. The final rule would incorporate into regulation and provide additional clarity on the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) guidance developed for State agencies wishing to implement the photo EBT card option.

Statement of Need: The regulation would create a clearer structure for those States wishing to exercise the option of placing a photo on EBT cards and ensure uniform accessibility for participants in all States.Start Printed Page 94519

Summary of Legal Basis: The Food and Nutrition Act of 2008, 7 U.S.C. 2011 et seq., requires that any States choosing to issue a photo on the EBT card establish procedures to ensure that all other household members or any authorized representative of the household may utilize the card. Furthermore, applying this option must also preserve client rights and responsibilities afforded by the Act to ensure that all household members are able to maintain uninterrupted access to benefits, that non-applicants applying on behalf of eligible household members are not negatively impacted, and that SNAP recipients using photo EBT cards are treated equitably in accordance with Federal law when purchasing food at authorized retailers.

Alternatives: The final rule would mostly codify guidance issued in December 2014. The Department considered not issuing any regulation on photo EBT cards.

Anticipated Cost and Benefits: The changes are not expected to create serious inconsistencies or otherwise interfere with actions taken or planned by another agency or materially alter the budgetary impacts of entitlements, grants, user fees, or loan programs or the rights and obligations of recipients thereof. The requirements will not raise novel or legal policy issues.

As a result of this rule, States that exercise the option to implement photos on EBT cards would incur costs associated with development of an implementation plan, State staff training, client training, and retailer training. It is expected that providing guidance or oversight of these requirements would fall under the standard purview of these agencies and could be absorbed by existing staff. State Agencies are responsible for approximately 50% of SNAP administration costs, which would include the costs associated with implementing and maintaining photo EBT cards.

Risks: This rule will promulgate and expand on current program guidance to provide clarification and more detailed guidance to States implementing the photo EBT option and ensure program access is protected.

Timetable:

ActionDateFR Cite
NPRM01/06/1681 FR 398
NPRM Comment Period End03/07/16
Final Action12/00/16

Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: No.

Small Entities Affected: No.

Government Levels Affected: Local, State.

Agency Contact: Charles H. Watford, Regulatory Review Specialist, Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service, 3101 Park Center Drive, Alexandria, VA 22302, Phone: 703 605-0800, Email: charles.watford@fns.usda.gov.

RIN: 0584-AE45

USDA—FOOD SAFETY AND INSPECTION SERVICE (FSIS)

Proposed Rule Stage

12. Revision of the Nutrition Facts Panels for Meat and Poultry Products and Updating Certain Reference Amounts Customarily Consumed

Priority: Other Significant.

Legal Authority: Federal Meat Inspection Act (21 U.S.C. 601 et seq.); Poultry Products Inspection Act (21 U.S.C. 451 et seq.)

CFR Citation: 9 CFR 317; 9 CFR 381; 9 CFR 413.

Legal Deadline: None.

Abstract: Consistent with the recent changes that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) finalized, the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is proposing to amend the Federal meat and poultry products inspection regulations to update and revise the nutrition labeling requirements for meat and poultry products to reflect recent scientific research and dietary recommendations and to improve the presentation of nutrition information to assist consumers in maintaining healthy dietary practices. FSIS is proposing to (1) update the list of nutrients that are required or permitted to be declared; (2) provide updated Daily Reference Values (DRV) and Reference Daily Intake (RDI) values that are based on current dietary recommendations from consensus reports; and (3) amend the requirements for foods represented or purported to be specifically for children under the age of four years and pregnant and lactating women and establish nutrient reference values specifically for these population subgroups. FSIS is also proposing to revise the format and appearance of the Nutrition Facts Panel; amend the definition of a single-serving container; require dual-column labeling for certain containers; and update and modify several reference amounts customarily consumed (RACCs or reference amounts). FSIS also is proposing to consolidate the nutrition labeling regulations for meat and poultry products into a new Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) part.

Statement of Need: On May 27, 2016, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) published two final rules: (1) “Food Labeling: Revision of the Nutrition and Supplement Facts Labels” (81 FR 33742); and (2) “Food Labeling: Serving Sizes of Foods that Can Reasonably be Consumed at One Eating Occasion; Dual-Column Labeling; Updating, Modifying, and Establishing Certain Reference Amounts Customarily Consumed; Serving Size for Breath Mints; and Technical Amendments” (81 FR 34000). FDA finalized these rules to update the Nutrition Facts label to reflect new nutrition and public health research, to reflect recent dietary recommendations from expert groups, and to improve the presentation of nutrition information to help consumers make more informed choices and maintain healthy dietary practices. FSIS has reviewed FDA's analysis and, to ensure that nutrition information is presented consistently across the food supply, FSIS will propose to amend the nutrition labeling regulations for meat and poultry products to parallel, to the extent possible, FDA's regulations. This approach will help increase clarity of information to consumers and will improve efficiency in the marketplace.

Summary of Legal Basis: The Federal Meat Inspection Act (21 U.S.C. 601 et seq.) and the Poultry Products Inspection Act (21 U.S.C. 451 et seq.).

Alternatives: FSIS is considering different alternatives for presentation of nutrition information on the Nutrition Facts Panel.

Anticipated Cost and Benefits: These proposed regulations are expected to benefit consumers by increasing and improving dietary information available in the market. An estimate of the monetary benefits from these market improvements can be obtained by calculating the medical cost savings generated by linking information use to improved consumer diets. In addition, FSIS believes that the public would be better served by having the regulations governing nutrition labeling consolidated in one part of title 9. Rather than searching through two separate parts of title 9, CFR parts 317 and 381, to find the nutrition labeling regulations, interested parties would only have to survey one, part 413, to be able to apply nutrition panels to their meat and poultry products. The proposed actions would necessitate the majority of products to be relabeled. Firms would incur a one-time cost for relabeling, recordkeeping costs, and costs associated with voluntary reformulation.Start Printed Page 94520

Risks: None.

Timetable:

ActionDateFR Cite
NPRM11/00/16

Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: No.

Small Entities Affected: Businesses.

Government Levels Affected: None.

Agency Contact: Dr. Daniel L. Engeljohn, Assistant Administrator, Office of Policy and Program Development, Department of Agriculture, Food Safety and Inspection Service, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., 349-E JWB, Washington, DC 20250, Phone: 202 205-0495, Fax: 202 720-2025, Email: daniel.engeljohn@fsis.usda.gov.

RIN: 0583-AD56

USDA—FSIS

13. • Modernization of Swine Slaughter Inspection

Priority: Other Significant.

Legal Authority: 21 U.S.C. 601 et seq.

CFR Citation: 9 CFR 301, 309, 310, and 314.

Legal Deadline: None.

Abstract: The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is proposing to amend the Federal meat inspection regulations to establish a new inspection system for swine slaughter establishments demonstrated to provide greater public health protection than the existing inspection system. The Agency is also proposing several changes to the regulations that would affect all establishments that slaughter swine, regardless of the inspection system under which they operate.

Statement of Need: The proposed action is necessary to improve food safety; improve compliance with the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act; improve the effectiveness of market hog slaughter inspection; make better use of the Agency's resources; and remove unnecessary regulatory obstacles to innovation.

Summary of Legal Basis: 21 U.S.C. 601 et seq.

Alternatives: The Agency is considering alternatives such as: (1) A mandatory New Swine Slaughter Inspection System (NSIS) for market hog slaughter establishments and (2) a voluntary NSIS for market hog establishments, under which FSIS would conduct the same offline inspection activities as traditional inspection.

Anticipated Cost and Benefits: The estimated total annualized value of all mandatory costs to industry is approximately $0.74 million, while total annualized value of all voluntary costs to industry is approximately $11.66 million, assuming a 10 year annualization and a 3 percent discount rate. Estimated combined the total annualized costs to industry is approximately $12.40 million ($0.77 + $11.66), assuming a 10 year annualization and a 3 percent discount rate. FSIS estimates industry-wide adoption of the NSIS would reduce the number of human illness attributed to products derived from market hog by an average of about 2,621 Salmonella illnesses, which represents potential savings of approximately $9.56 million annually. The Agency's budget is expected to be impacted by changes to personnel and training requirements. The estimated annualized value of the combined changes to the Agency's budget is a net reduction of roughly $8.77 million, over 10 years assuming a 3 percent discount rate. With the expected impact on the Agency's budget included, and assuming all large and small exclusively market hog establishments convert to NSIS, the rule is anticipated to have a net benefit of approximately $4.97 million a year, annualized over 10 years assuming a 3 percent discount rate.

Risks: None.

Timetable:

ActionDateFR Cite
NPRM03/00/17

Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: No.

Small Entities Affected: Businesses.

Government Levels Affected: None.

Agency Contact: Charles Williams, Director, Issuances Staff (IS), Department of Agriculture, Food Safety and Inspection Service, Office of Policy and Program Development, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., Room 6065, South Building, Washington, DC 20250-3700, Phone: 202 720-5627, Fax: 202 690-0486, Email: charles.williams@fsis.usda.gov.

RIN: 0583-AD62

DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE (DOC)

Statement of Regulatory and Deregulatory Priorities

Established in 1903, the Department of Commerce (Commerce) is one of the oldest Cabinet-level agencies in the Federal Government. Commerce's mission is to create the conditions for economic growth and opportunity by promoting innovation, entrepreneurship, competitiveness, and environmental stewardship. Commerce has 12 operating units, which are responsible for managing a diverse portfolio of programs and services, ranging from trade promotion and economic development assistance to broadband and the National Weather Service.

Commerce touches Americans daily, in many ways—making possible the daily weather reports and survey research; facilitating technology that all of us use in the workplace and in the home each day; supporting the development, gathering, and transmission of information essential to competitive business; enabling the diversity of companies and goods found in America's and the world's marketplace; and supporting environmental and economic health for the communities in which Americans live.

Commerce has a clear and compelling vision for itself, for its role in the Federal Government, and for its roles supporting the American people, now and in the future. To achieve this vision, Commerce works in partnership with businesses, universities, communities, and workers to:

  • Innovate by creating new ideas through cutting-edge science and technology from advances in nanotechnology, to ocean exploration, to broadband deployment, and by protecting American innovations through the patent and trademark system;
  • Support entrepreneurship and commercialization by enabling community development and strengthening minority businesses and small manufacturers;
  • Maintain U.S. economic competitiveness in the global marketplace by promoting exports, ensuring a level playing field for U.S. businesses, and ensuring that technology transfer is consistent with our nation's economic and security interests;
  • Provide effective management and stewardship of our nation's resources and assets to ensure sustainable economic opportunities; and
  • Make informed policy decisions and enable better understanding of the economy by providing accurate economic and demographic data.

Commerce is a vital resource base, a tireless advocate, and Cabinet-level voice for job creation.

The Regulatory Plan tracks the most important regulations that implement these policy and program priorities, Start Printed Page 94521several of which involve regulation of the private sector by Commerce.

Responding to the Administration's Regulatory Philosophy and Principles

The vast majority of the Commerce's programs and activities do not involve regulation. Of Commerce's 12 primary operating units, only the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) will be planning actions that are considered the “most important” significant pre-regulatory or regulatory actions for FY 2017. During the next year, NOAA plans to publish five rulemaking actions that are designated as Regulatory Plan actions. The Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) may also publish rulemaking actions designated as Regulatory Plan actions. Further information on these actions is provided below.

Commerce has a long-standing policy to prohibit the issuance of any regulation that discriminates on the basis of race, religion, gender, or any other suspect category and requires that all regulations be written so as to be understandable to those affected by them. The Secretary also requires that Commerce afford the public the maximum possible opportunity to participate in Departmental rulemakings, even where public participation is not required by law.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

NOAA establishes and administers Federal policy for the conservation and management of the Nation's oceanic, coastal, and atmospheric resources. It provides a variety of essential environmental and climate services vital to public safety and to the Nation's economy, such as weather forecasts, drought forecasts, and storm warnings. It is a source of objective information on the state of the environment. NOAA plays the lead role in achieving Commerce's goal of promoting stewardship by providing assessments of the global environment.

Recognizing that economic growth must go hand-in-hand with environmental stewardship, Commerce, through NOAA, conducts programs designed to provide a better understanding of the connections between environmental health, economics, and national security. Commerce's emphasis on “sustainable fisheries” is designed to boost long-term economic growth in a vital sector of the U.S. economy while conserving the resources in the public trust and minimizing any economic dislocation necessary to ensure long-term economic growth. Commerce is where business and environmental interests intersect, and the classic debate on the use of natural resources is transformed into a “win-win” situation for the environment and the economy.

Three of NOAA's major components, the National Marine Fisheries Services (NMFS), the National Ocean Service (NOS), and the National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service (NESDIS), exercise regulatory authority.

NMFS oversees the management and conservation of the Nation's marine fisheries, protects threatened and endangered marine and anadromous species and marine mammals, and promotes economic development of the U.S. fishing industry. NOS assists the coastal States in their management of land and ocean resources in their coastal zones, including estuarine research reserves; manages the national marine sanctuaries; monitors marine pollution; and directs the national program for deep-seabed minerals and ocean thermal energy. NESDIS administers the civilian weather satellite program and licenses private organizations to operate commercial land-remote sensing satellite systems.

Commerce, through NOAA, has a unique role in promoting stewardship of the global environment through effective management of the Nation's marine and coastal resources and in monitoring and predicting changes in the Earth's environment, thus linking trade, development, and technology with environmental issues. NOAA has the primary Federal responsibility for providing sound scientific observations, assessments, and forecasts of environmental phenomena on which resource management, adaptation, and other societal decisions can be made.

In the environmental stewardship area, NOAA's goals include: Rebuilding and maintaining strong U.S. fisheries by using market-based tools and ecosystem approaches to management; increasing the populations of depleted, threatened, or endangered species and marine mammals by implementing recovery plans that provide for their recovery while still allowing for economic and recreational opportunities; promoting healthy coastal ecosystems by ensuring that economic development is managed in ways that maintain biodiversity and long-term productivity for sustained use; and modernizing navigation and positioning services. In the environmental assessment and prediction area, goals include: Understanding climate change science and impacts, and communicating that understanding to government and private sector stakeholders enabling them to adapt; continually improving the National Weather Service; implementing reliable seasonal and interannual climate forecasts to guide economic planning; providing science-based policy advice on options to deal with very long-term (decadal to centennial) changes in the environment; and advancing and improving short-term warning and forecast services for the entire environment.

Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act

Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act) rulemakings concern the conservation and management of fishery resources in the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone (generally 3-200 nautical miles). Among the several hundred rulemakings that NOAA plans to issue in FY 2017, a number of the preregulatory and regulatory actions will be significant. The exact number of such rulemakings is unknown, since they are usually initiated by the actions of eight regional Fishery Management Councils (FMCs) that are responsible for preparing fishery management plans (FMPs) and FMP amendments, and for drafting implementing regulations for each managed fishery. NOAA issues regulations to implement FMPs and FMP amendments. Once a rulemaking is triggered by an FMC, the Magnuson-Stevens Act places stringent deadlines upon NOAA by which it must exercise its rulemaking responsibilities. FMPs and FMP amendments for Atlantic highly migratory species, such as bluefin tuna, swordfish, and sharks, are developed directly by NOAA, not by FMCs.

FMPs address a variety of issues including maximizing fishing opportunities on healthy stocks, rebuilding overfished stocks, and addressing gear conflicts. One of the problems that FMPs may address is preventing overcapitalization (preventing excess fishing capacity) of fisheries. This may be resolved by market-based systems such as catch shares, which permit shareholders to harvest a quantity of fish and which can be traded on the open market. Harvest limits based on the best available scientific information, whether as a total fishing limit for a species in a fishery or as a share assigned to each vessel participant, enable stressed stocks to rebuild. Other measures include staggering fishing seasons or limiting gear types to avoid gear conflicts on the fishing grounds and establishing seasonal and area closures to protect fishery stocks.Start Printed Page 94522

The FMCs provide a forum for public debate and, using the best scientific information available, make the judgments needed to determine optimum yield on a fishery-by-fishery basis. Optional management measures are examined and selected in accordance with the national standards set forth in the Magnuson-Stevens Act. This process, including the selection of the preferred management measures, constitutes the development, in simplified form, of an FMP. The FMP, together with draft implementing regulations and supporting documentation, is submitted to NMFS for review against the national standards set forth in the Magnuson-Stevens Act, in other provisions of the Act, and other applicable laws. The same process applies to amending an existing approved FMP.

Marine Mammal Protection Act

The Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972 (MMPA) provides the authority for the conservation and management of marine mammals under U.S. jurisdiction. It expressly prohibits, with certain exceptions, the take of marine mammals. The MMPA allows NMFS to permit the collection of wild animals for scientific research or public display or to enhance the survival of a species or stock. NMFS initiates rulemakings under the MMPA to establish a management regime to reduce marine mammal mortalities and injuries as a result of interactions with fisheries. The MMPA also established the Marine Mammal Commission, which makes recommendations to the Secretaries of the Departments of Commerce and the Interior and other Federal officials on protecting and conserving marine mammals. The Act underwent significant changes in 1994 to allow for takings incidental to commercial fishing operations, to provide certain exemptions for subsistence and scientific uses, and to require the preparation of stock assessments for all marine mammal stocks in waters under U.S. jurisdiction.

Endangered Species Act

The Endangered Species Act of 1973 (ESA) provides for the conservation of species that are determined to be “endangered” or “threatened,” and the conservation of the ecosystems on which these species depend. The ESA authorizes both NMFS and the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to jointly administer the provisions of the ESA. NMFS manages marine and “anadromous” species, and FWS manages land and freshwater species. Together, NMFS and FWS work to protect critically imperiled species from extinction. Of the approximately 1,300 listed species found in part or entirely in the United States and its waters, NMFS has jurisdiction over approximately 60 species. NMFS' rulemaking actions are focused on determining whether any species under its responsibility is an endangered or threatened species and whether those species must be added to the list of protected species. NMFS is also responsible for designating, reviewing, and revising critical habitat for any listed species. In addition, under the ESA's procedural framework, Federal agencies consult with NMFS on any proposed action authorized, funded, or carried out by that agency that may affect one of the listed species or designated critical habitat, or is likely to jeopardize proposed species or adversely modify proposed critical habitat that is under NMFS' jurisdiction.

NOAA's Regulatory Plan Actions

While most of the rulemakings undertaken by NOAA do not rise to the level necessary to be included in Commerce's regulatory plan, NMFS is undertaking five actions that rise to the level of “most important” of Commerce's significant regulatory actions and thus are included in this year's regulatory plan. A description of the five regulatory plan actions is provided below.

1. Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act; Seafood Import Monitoring Program (0648-BF09): The Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act prohibits the importation and trade in interstate commerce of fishery products from fish caught in in violation of any foreign law or regulation.

2. Final Rule to Designate Critical Habitat for the Gulf of Maine, New York Bight, and Chesapeake Bay Distinct Population Segments of Atlantic Sturgeon (0648-BF28): The National Marine Fisheries Service listed four distinct population segments of Atlantic sturgeon as endangered—and one distinct population of Atlantic sturgeon as threatened—under the Endangered Species Act on February 6, 2012. This rule would designate critical habitat for the Gulf of Maine, New York Bight, and Chesapeake Bay Distinct Population Segments of Atlantic sturgeon.

3. Final Rule to Designate Critical Habitat for the Carolina and South Atlantic Distinct Population Segments of Atlantic Sturgeon (0648-BF32): The National Marine Fisheries Service listed four distinct population segments of Atlantic sturgeon as endangered—and one distinct population of Atlantic sturgeon as threatened—under the Endangered Species Act on February 6, 2012. This action would designate critical habitat for the Carolina and South Atlantic Distinct Population Segments of Atlantic sturgeon, both listed as endangered.

4. Proposed Rule to Designate Critical Habitat for Threatened Caribbean Corals (0648-BG20): On September 10, 2014, the National Marine Fisheries Service listed 5 corals in the Caribbean as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. With this action, the National Marine Fisheries Service proposes to designate critical habitat for the 5 Caribbean corals (Dendrogyra cylindrus, Orbicella annularis, Orbicella faveolata, Orbicella franksi, and Mycetophyllia ferox) and revises critical habitat for the previously-listed corals Acropora palmata and Acropora cervicornis. The proposed designation would cover coral reef habitat containing essential features that support reproduction, growth, and survival of the listed coral species.

5. Proposed Rule to Designate Critical Habitat for Threatened Indo-Pacific Corals (0648-BG26): On September 10, 2014, the National Marine Fisheries Service listed 15 species of reef-building corals in the Indo-Pacific as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. Of the 15 Indo-Pacific species listed, seven occur in U.S. waters of the Pacific Islands Region, including in American Samoa, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Mariana Islands, and the Pacific Remote Island Areas. With this action, the National Marine Fisheries Service proposes to designate critical habitat for the seven species in U.S. waters (Acropora globiceps, Acropora jacquelineae, Acropora retusa, Acropora speciosa, Euphyllia paradivisa, Isopora crateriformis, and Seriatopora aculeata). The proposed designation would cover coral reef habitat containing essential features that support reproduction, growth, and survival of the listed coral species.

Bureau of Industry and Security

The Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) advances U.S. national security, foreign policy, and economic objectives by maintaining and strengthening adaptable, efficient, and effective export control and treaty compliance systems as well as by administering programs to prioritize certain contracts to promote the national defense and to protect and enhance the defense industrial base.

Major Programs and Activities

BIS administers four sets of regulations. The Export Administration Regulations (EAR) regulate exports and Start Printed Page 94523reexports to protect national security, foreign policy, and short supply interests. The EAR also regulates U.S. persons' participation in certain boycotts administered by foreign governments. The National Security Industrial Base Regulations provide for prioritization of certain contracts and allocations of resources to promote the national defense, require reporting of foreign Government-imposed offsets in defense sales, provide for surveys to assess the capabilities of the industrial base to support the national defense and address the effect of imports on the defense industrial base. The Chemical Weapons Convention Regulations implement declaration, reporting, and on-site inspection requirements in the private sector necessary to meet United States treaty obligations under the Chemical Weapons Convention treaty. The Additional Protocol Regulations implement similar requirements with respect to an agreement between the United States and the International Atomic Energy Agency.

BIS also has an enforcement component with nine offices covering the United States. BIS export control officers are also stationed at several U.S. embassies and consulates abroad. BIS works with other U.S. Government agencies to promote coordinated U.S. Government efforts in export controls and other programs. BIS participates in U.S. Government efforts to strengthen multilateral export control regimes and to promote effective export controls through cooperation with other Governments.

BIS' Regulatory Plan Actions

In August 2009, the President directed a broad-based interagency review of the U.S. export control system with the goal of strengthening national security and the competitiveness of key U.S. manufacturing and technology sectors by focusing on the current threats and adapting to the changing economic and technological landscape. In August 2010, the President outlined an approach, known as the Export Control Reform Initiative (ECRI), under which agencies that administer export controls will apply new criteria for determining what items need to be controlled and a common set of policies for determining when an export license is required. The control list criteria are to be based on transparent rules, which will reduce the uncertainty faced by our Allies, U.S. industry and its foreign customers, and will allow the Government to erect higher walls around the most sensitive export items in order to enhance national security.

Under the President's approach, agencies are to apply the criteria and revise the lists of munitions and dual-use items that are controlled for export so that they:

  • Distinguish the transactions that should be subject to stricter levels of control from those where more permissive levels of control are appropriate;
  • Create a “bright line” between the two current control lists to clarify jurisdictional determinations and reduce Government and industry uncertainty about whether particular items are subject to the control of the State Department or the Commerce Department; and
  • Are structurally aligned so that they potentially can be combined into a single list of controlled items.

BIS' current regulatory plan action is designed to implement the initial phase of the President's directive, which will add to BIS' export control purview, military related items that the President determines no longer warrant control under rules administered by the State Department.

As the agency responsible for leading the administration and enforcement of U.S. export controls on dual-use and other items warranting controls but not under the provisions of export control regulations administered by other departments, BIS plays a central role in the Administration's efforts to reform the export control system. Changing what we control, how we control it and how we enforce and manage our controls will help strengthen our national security by focusing our efforts on controlling the most critical products and technologies, and by enhancing the competitiveness of key U.S. manufacturing and technology sectors.

In FY 2011, BIS began implementing the ECRI with a final rule (76 FR 35275, June 16, 2011) implementing a license exception that authorizes exports, reexports and transfers to destinations that do not pose a national security concern, provided certain safeguards against diversion to other destinations are taken. Additionally, BIS began publishing proposed rules to add to its Commerce Control List (CCL), military items the President determined no longer warranted control by the Department of State. BIS continued to publish such proposed rules in FY 2012.

In FY 2013, BIS crossed an important milestone with publication of two final rules that began to put ECRI policies into place. An Initial Implementation rule (78 FR 22660, April 16, 2013) set in place the structure under which items the President determines no longer warrant control on the United States Munitions List are controlled on the Commerce Control List. It also revised license exceptions and regulatory definitions, including the definition of “specially designed” to make those exceptions and definitions clearer and to more closely align them with the International Traffic in Arms Regulations, and added to the CCL certain military aircraft, gas turbine engines and related items. A second final rule (78 FR 40892, July 8, 2012) followed on by adding to the CCL military vehicles, vessels of war, submersible vessels, and auxiliary military equipment that President determined no longer warrant control on the USML.

BIS continued its ECRI efforts and by the end of fiscal year 2016 had published final rules adding to the CCL additional items that the President determined no longer warrant control under rules administered by the State Department in the following categories: Military training equipment; Explosives and energetic materials; Personal protective equipment; Launch vehicles and rockets; Spacecraft; Military Electronics; Toxicological agents; and Directed energy weapons. During fiscal year 2015, BIS published a proposed rule that would add to the CCL items related to: Fire control, range finder, optical and guidance and control equipment, followed by a second proposed rule in fiscal year 2016.

During fiscal year 2015, BIS initiated a process of evaluating the effectiveness of its ECRI efforts by seeking public input on whether the regulations are clear; do not inadvertently control, as military items, items in normal commercial use; account for technological developments; and properly implement the national security and foreign policy objectives of the reform effort. The first review addressed the first two categories of items added to the CCL by ECRI: Military aircraft and gas turbine engines. After reviewing public comments, BIS completed this review by publishing a final rule in fiscal year 2016. In fiscal year 2016, BIS continued this review process with a notice seeking public comment on implementation of ECRI with respect to military vehicles, vessels of war, submersible vessels, oceanographic equipment, and auxiliary and miscellaneous military equipment. BIS anticipates continuing this series of notices after the public has had time to develop experience with each regulation that added categories of items to the CCL.Start Printed Page 94524

Promoting International Regulatory Cooperation

As the President noted in Executive Order 13609, “international regulatory cooperation, consistent with domestic law and prerogatives and U.S. trade policy, can be an important means of promoting” public health, welfare, safety, and our environment as well as economic growth, innovation, competitiveness, and job creation. Accordingly, in E.O. 13609, the President requires each executive agency to include in its Regulatory Plan a summary of its international regulatory cooperation activities that are reasonably anticipated to lead to significant regulations.

The Department of Commerce engages with numerous international bodies in various forums to promote the Department's priorities and foster regulations that do not “impair the ability of American business to export and compete internationally.” E.O. 13609(a). For example, the United States Patent and Trademark Office is working with the European Patent Office to develop a new classification system for both offices' use. The Bureau of Industry and Security, along with the Department of State and Department of Defense, engages with other countries in the Wassenaar Arrangement, through which the international community develops a common list of items that should be subject to export controls because they are conventional arms or items that have both military and civil uses. Other multilateral export control regimes include the Missile Technology Control Regime, the Nuclear Suppliers Group, and the Australia Group, which lists items controlled for chemical and biological weapon nonproliferation purposes. In addition, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration works with other countries' regulatory bodies through regional fishery management organizations to develop fair and internationally-agreed-to fishery standards for the High Seas.

BIS is also engaged, in partnership with the Departments of State and Defense, in revising the regulatory framework for export control, through the President's Export Control Reform Initiative (ECRI). Through this effort, the United States Government has moved certain items currently controlled by the United States Military List (USML) to the Commerce Control List (CCL) in BIS' Export Administration Regulations. The objective of ECRI is to improve interoperability of U.S. military forces with those of allied countries, strengthen the U.S. industrial base by, among other things, reducing incentives for foreign manufacturers to design out and avoid U.S.-origin content and services, and allow export control officials to focus Government resources on transactions that pose greater concern. The new export control framework also will benefit companies in the United States seeking to export items through more flexible and less burdensome export controls. The system, however, requires ongoing review and maintenance for it to accomplish these objectives. Some technologies are modified and become more sensitive or are applied to more sensitive uses; others become more commercially available and warrant fewer controls. The approach is novel and will require regular refinement to further the objective of increasing interoperability with allies and reducing unnecessary regulatory burdens.

Retrospective Review of Existing Regulations

Pursuant to section 6 of Executive Order 13563 “Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review” (Jan. 18, 2011), the Department has identified several rulemakings as being associated with retrospective review and analysis in the Department's final retrospective review of regulations plan. Accordingly, the Agency is reviewing these rules to determine whether action under E.O. 13563 is appropriate. Some of these entries on this list may be completed actions, which do not appear in the Regulatory Plan. However, more information can be found about these completed rulemakings in past publications of the Unified Agenda on Reginfo.gov in the Completed Actions section for the Agency. These rulemakings can also be found on Regulations.gov.

Two rulemakings that are the product of the Agency's retrospective review are from BIS and NOAA. BIS published a rule effective in September 2015 that removed the Special Comprehensive License provisions from the EAR. These provisions had been rendered obsolete by liberalizations to the individual licensing process, and their removal not only streamlined the EAR but also achieved paperwork burden reductions. More significantly, BIS, working with its colleagues in the State Department, substantially updated and revised the key structural definitions within the export control regulations. The effort is not yet completed and substantial additional work is needed to harmonize, update, and simplify the regulatory structure of the existing export control system, which has been in place for decades without material modification.

NOAA continues to demonstrate great success in fishery sustainability managed under the Magnuson-Stevens Act, with near-record landings and revenue accomplished while rebuilding stocks across the country and preventing overfishing. Since the Magnuson-Stevens Act reauthorization in 2007, NMFS and the Regional Fishery Management Councils have implemented annual catch limits and accountability measures in every fishery management plan under National Standard One of the act. Informed by a robust public process that gained input through a public summit (Managing our Nation's Fisheries), visits to each region and Council and multiple public hearings, NMFS took the experience gained from 8 years of implementation of National Standard One and has proposed multiple substantive, technical changes to the National Standard One rule that will improve implementation and continue to support healthy fisheries.

For more information, the most recent E.O. 13563 progress report for the Department can be found here: http://open.commerce.gov/​news/​2016/​04/​05/​commerce-plan-retrospective-analysis-existing-rules.

DOC—NATIONAL OCEANIC AND ATMOSPHERIC ADMINISTRATION (NOAA)

Proposed Rule Stage

14. • Endangered and Threatened Species; Critical Habitat for the Threatened Caribbean Corals

Priority: Other Significant.

Legal Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.

CFR Citation: 50 CFR 226.

Legal Deadline: None.

Abstract: The National Marine Fisheries Service listed five Caribbean corals in the Southeast Region as threatened under the Endangered Species Act on October 10, 2014. Critical habitat shall be specified to the maximum extent prudent and determinable at the time a species is proposed for listing. We concluded that critical habitat was not determinable for the five corals at the time of listing. However, we anticipated that critical habitat would be determinable in the future given on-going research. We, therefore, announced in the final listing rules that we would propose critical habitat in separate rulemakings. This rule proposes to designate critical habitat for the 5 newly-listed corals and revises critical habitat for the previously-listed corals Acropora palmata and Acropora cervicornis. A Start Printed Page 94525separate rule is being prepared that would propose to designate critical habitat for the 15 Indo-Pacific corals listed as threatened in the same rule as the five Caribbean corals.

Statement of Need: This action would designate new critical habitat for five corals (Dendrogyra cylindrus, Orbicella annularis, O. faveolata, O. franksi, and Mycetophyllia ferox) and revise the 2008 critical habitat designation for two corals (Acropora palmata and A. cervicornis) in accordance with section 4 of the Endangered Species Act. This action follows from the listing of the five new species.

Summary of Legal Basis: Endangered Species Act.

Alternatives: NMFS evaluated alternatives including the impacts of designating all and any parts of 38 (one for each species in each US jurisdiction in which it occurs) units as critical habitat. Units 1 for each species are the waters offshore Florida (generally Martin, Palm Beach, Broward, Miami-Dade, and Monroe counties). Units 2 are the waters surrounding the islands of Puerto Rico. Units 3 are the waters surround the islands of St. Thomas and St. John, US Virgin Islands. Units 4 are the waters surrounding the island of St. Croix, US Virgin Islands. Units 5 are the waters surrounding the island of Navassa. Units 6 are the waters within the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary, approximately 100 miles offshore of Texas in the Gulf of Mexico. NMFS analyzed the economic, national security, and other relevant impacts of designating critical habitat. NMFS will further consider these impacts based on any relevant public and peer reviewer comments regarding this proposed designation.

Anticipated Cost and Benefits: The primary benefit of designation is the protection afforded under section 7 of the Endangered Species Act, requiring all Federal agencies to insure their actions are not likely to destroy or adversely modify designated critical habitat. In addition to these protections, the designation may also result in other forms of benefits including, but not limited to: Educational awareness and outreach benefits, benefits to tourism and recreation, and improved or sustained habitat quality. Costs specifically associated with the designation of critical habitat stem mainly from Federal agencies requirement to consult with NMFS, under section 7 of the Endangered Species Act, to insure that any action they carry out, permit (authorize), or fund will not result in the destruction or adverse modification of critical habitat of a listed species.

Risks: If critical habitat is not designated, listed corals will not be protected to the extent provided for in the ESA, posing a legal risk to the agency and a risk to the species continued existence and recovery.

Timetable:

ActionDateFR Cite
NPRM12/00/16

Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: Yes.

Small Entities Affected: Businesses, Governmental Jurisdictions.

Government Levels Affected: None.

Agency Contact: Donna Wieting, Director, Office of Protected Resources, Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Marine Fisheries Service, 1315 East-West Highway, Silver Spring, MD 20910, Phone: 301 427-8400

RIN: 0648-BG20

DOC—NOAA

15. • Designation of Critical Habitat for Threatened Indo-Pacific Reef-Building Corals

Priority: Other Significant.

Legal Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.

CFR Citation: 50 CFR 226.

Legal Deadline: Final, Statutory, September 10, 2016, Statutory deadline for final critical habitat designation of listed Indo-Pacific corals.

Abstract: On September 10, 2014, the National Marine Fisheries Service listed 20 species of reef-building corals as threatened under the Endangered Species Act, 15 in the Indo-Pacific and five in the Caribbean. Of the 15 Indo-Pacific species, seven occur in U.S. waters of the Pacific Islands Region, including in American Samoa, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Mariana Islands, and the Pacific Remote Island Areas. This proposed rule would designate critical habitat for the seven species in U.S. waters (Acropora globiceps, Acropora jacquelineae, Acropora retusa, Acropora speciosa, Euphyllia paradivisa, Isopora crateriformis, and Seriatopora aculeata). A separate proposed rule is being prepared to designate critical habitat for the listed Caribbean coral species. The proposed designation would cover coral reef habitat around 13 island or atoll units in the Pacific Islands Region, including three in American Samoa, one in Guam, seven in the Commonwealth of the Mariana Islands, and two in Pacific Remote Island Areas, containing essential features that support reproduction, growth, and survival of the listed coral species.

Statement of Need: This action would designate new critical habitat for seven corals (Acropora globiceps, Acropora jacquelineae, Acropora retusa, Acropora speciosa, Euphyllia paradivisa, Isopora crateriformis, and Seriatopora aculeata) in accordance with section 4 of the Endangered Species Act. This action follows from the listing of the seven new species.

Summary of Legal Basis: Endangered Species Act.

Alternatives: NMFS evaluated alternatives including the impacts of designating all and any parts of 19 islands within the U.S. jurisdictions of American Samoa, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and the Pacific Remote Island Areas as units of proposed critical habitat for the seven listed corals, including: (1) Tutuila & Offshore Banks; (2) Ofu & Olosega; (3) Ta'u; (4) Rose Atoll; (5) Guam & Offshore Banks; (6) Rota; (7) Aguijan; (8) Tinian and Tatsumi Reef; (9) Saipan and Garapan Bank; (10) Farallon de Medinilla; (11) Anatahan; (12) Pagan; (13) Maug Islands & Supply Reef; (14) Howland Island; (15) Palmyra Atoll; (16) Kingman Reef; (17) Johnston Atoll; (18) Wake Atoll; and (19) Jarvis Island. NMFS analyzed the economic, national security, and other relevant impacts of designating critical habitat. NMFS will further consider these impacts based on any relevant public and peer reviewer comments regarding this proposed designation.

Anticipated Cost and Benefits: The primary benefit of designation is the protection afforded under section 7 of the Endangered Species Act, requiring all Federal agencies to insure their actions are not likely to destroy or adversely modify designated critical habitat. In addition to these protections, the designation may also result in other forms of benefits including, but not limited to: Educational awareness and outreach benefits, benefits to tourism and recreation, and improved or sustained habitat quality. Costs specifically associated with the designation of critical habitat stem mainly from Federal agencies requirement to consult with NMFS, under section 7 of the Endangered Species Act, to insure that any action they carry out, permit (authorize), or fund will not result in the destruction or adverse modification of critical habitat of a listed species.

Risks: If critical habitat is not designated, listed corals will not be protected to the extent provided for in the ESA, posing a legal risk to the Start Printed Page 94526agency and a risk to the species continued existence and recovery.

Timetable:

ActionDateFR Cite
NPRM12/00/16

Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: Undetermined.

Government Levels Affected: Federal.

Agency Contact: Donna Wieting, Director, Office of Protected Resources, Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Marine Fisheries Service, 1315 East-West Highway, Silver Spring, MD 20910, Phone: 301 427-8400.

RIN: 0648-BG26

DOC—NOAA

Final Rule Stage

16. Magnuson-Stevens Fisheries Conservation and Management Act; Seafood Import Monitoring Program

Priority: Other Significant.

Legal Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1857

CFR Citation: 50 CFR 300; 50 CFR 600.

Legal Deadline: None.

Abstract: On March 15, 2015, the Presidential Task Force on Combating Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated Fishing and Seafood Fraud (Task Force), co-chaired by the Departments of Commerce and State, published its action plan to implement Task Force recommendations for a comprehensive framework of integrated programs to combat illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing and seafood fraud. The plan identifies actions that will strengthen enforcement, create and expand partnerships with state and local governments, industry, and non-governmental organizations, and create a traceability program to track seafood from harvest to entry into U.S. commerce, including the use of existing traceability mechanisms. As part of that plan, the National Marine Fisheries Service proposes regulatory changes to improve the administration of the Magnuson-Stevens Fisheries Conservation and Management Act prohibition on the entry into interstate or foreign commerce of any fish taken in violation of any foreign law or regulation. The rule includes adjustments to permitting and reporting requirements to provide for traceability of seafood products offered for entry into the U.S. supply chain, and to ensure that these products were lawfully acquired and are properly labeled. Requirements for an international trade permit and reporting on the origin of certain imported or exported fishery products were previously established by regulations applicable to a number of specified fishery products. This rulemaking would extend those existing permitting and reporting requirements to additional fish species and seafood products.

Statement of Need: The Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act prohibits the importation and trade in interstate commerce of fishery products from fish caught in violation of any foreign law or regulation.

Summary of Legal Basis: Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act.

Alternatives: An alternative to this rulemaking that would diminish the incentives for illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing would be through cooperation and assistance programs. While the U.S. has developed effective fisheries management and enforcement techniques and applied these in many fisheries, there is no guarantee that these methods will be widely adopted in foreign fisheries. Technical and financial assistance for the development and implementation of monitoring, control and surveillance measures would not be precluded by this rulemaking, but market access incentives will increase the likelihood of action by harvesting nations exporting to the U.S.

Anticipated Cost and Benefits: Potential benefits of this rulemaking include: An incentive for exporting nations to adopt and implement fisheries regulatory and enforcement standards, including monitoring, control and surveillance measures that are comparable to the U.S. as a condition for access to the U.S. seafood market, enhanced fisheries conservation for shared and transboundary stocks, especially high seas stocks, and a safe and sustainable seafood supply for the U.S. market. Anticipated costs include: Increased administrative costs to the U.S. government for monitoring U.S. imports and making determinations about lawful acquisition of fisheries products; increased requests for international cooperation and assistance to implement fisheries monitoring, control and surveillance measures. Additionally, U.S. importers and fish processors may incur incremental costs for recordkeeping and reporting.

Risks: Prohibiting imports from seafood exporting nations for which lawful acquisition cannot be established will diminish the risk of further declines in global fisheries stocks that are affected by illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing activities.

Timetable:

ActionDateFR Cite
NPRM02/05/1681 FR 6210
NPRM Comment Period End04/05/16
Final Action11/00/16

Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: Yes.

Small Entities Affected: Businesses.

Government Levels Affected: None.

International Impacts: This regulatory action will be likely to have international trade and investment effects, or otherwise be of international interest.

Agency Contact: John Henderschedt, Director, Office for International Affairs and Seafood Inspection, Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 1315 East West Highway, Room 10362, Silver Spring, MD 20910, Phone: 301 427-8314, Email: john.henderschedt@noaa.gov.

Related RIN: Related to 0648-AX63

RIN: 0648-BF09

DOC—NOAA

17. Designation of Critical Habitat for the Gulf of Maine, New York Bight, and Chesapeake Bay Distinct Population Segments of Atlantic Sturgeon

Priority: Other Significant.

Legal Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.

CFR Citation: 50 CFR 226.

Legal Deadline: NPRM, Judicial, May 30, 2016, per consent decree entered December 3, 2014, and modified by a November 9, 2015, order.

Following a complaint from the Natural Resources Defense Council and Delaware Riverkeeper Network, we agreed to submit this proposed rule to the Federal Register by November 30, 2015 for publication.

Abstract: The National Marine Fisheries Service listed four distinct population segments of Atlantic sturgeon as endangered and one distinct population of Atlantic sturgeon as threatened under the Endangered Species Act on February 6, 2012. This rule would designate critical habitat for the Gulf of Maine, New York Bight, and Chesapeake Bay Distinct Population Segments of Atlantic sturgeon. A separate rule would designate critical habitat for the Carolina and South Atlantic distinct population segments of Atlantic sturgeon.

Statement of Need: The Gulf of Maine, New York Bight, and Start Printed Page 94527Chesapeake Bay distinct population segments (DPSs) of Atlantic sturgeon were listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) in February 2012. Section 4 of the ESA requires that critical habitat be specified to the maximum extent prudent and determinable at the time a species is listed (16 U.S.C. 1533(b)(6)(C)). The ESA also requires that we publish final critical habitat rules within one year of proposed rules. At the time the Atlantic sturgeon DPSs were listed, we were unable to determine what areas met the statutory definition of critical habitat. We subsequently published a proposed rule to designate critical habitat for these DPSs on June 3, 2016. Under an existing court-ordered settlement agreement, we are required to publish final critical habitat designations by June 3, 2017—one year from the date of publication of the proposed rules.

Summary of Legal Basis: Endangered Species Act and court-ordered settlement agreement.

Alternatives: During the formulation of the final rule, pursuant to section 4(b)(2) of the ESA, we will evaluate the impacts of designating all and any parts of the proposed critical habitat. We are required to analyze the economic, national security, and other relevant impacts of designating critical habitat. Through this process, we have discretion to exclude areas from the final designation as long as such exclusions do not result in the extinction of Atlantic sturgeon DPSs. Based on our draft impacts analysis supporting the proposed rule, we did not exclude any portions of the proposed critical habitat. We also completed an Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis and analyzed a no action alternative, an alternative in which some of the identified critical habitat areas are designated, and an alternative in which all critical habitat areas identified for the Gulf of Maine, New York Bight, and Chesapeake Bay DPSs of Atlantic sturgeon are designated.

Anticipated Cost and Benefits: The primary benefit of critical habitat designation is the protection afforded under section 7 of the ESA, which requires all Federal agencies to insure their actions are not likely to destroy or adversely modify designated critical habitat. In addition to these protections, the designation may also result in other forms of benefits including, but not limited to: educational awareness and outreach benefits, benefits to tourism and recreation, and improved or sustained habitat quality. Costs specifically associated with the designation of critical habitat stem mainly from the requirement that Federal agencies consult with NMFS, under section 7 of the ESA, to insure that any action they carry out, permit (authorize), or fund will not result in the destruction or adverse modification of critical habitat of a listed species.

Risks: If critical habitat is not designated, listed Atlantic sturgeon will not be protected to the extent provided for in the ESA, posing a legal risk to the agency and a risk to the species continued existence and recovery.

Timetable:

ActionDateFR Cite
NPRM06/03/1681 FR 35701
NPRM Comment Period End09/01/16
NPRM Comment Period Reopened09/29/1681 FR 66911
Comment Period End10/14/16
Final Action06/00/17

Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: Yes.

Small Entities Affected: Businesses.

Government Levels Affected: Federal, Local, State.

Agency Contact: Donna Wieting, Director, Office of Protected Resources, Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Marine Fisheries Service, 1315 East-West Highway, Silver Spring, MD 20910, Phone: 301 427-8400.

RIN: 0648-BF28

DOC—NOAA

18. Designation of Critical Habitat for the Carolina and South Atlantic Distinct Population Segments of Atlantic Sturgeon

Priority: Other Significant.

Legal Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.

CFR Citation: 50 CFR 226.

Legal Deadline: NPRM, Judicial, May 30, 2016, Per consent decree entered December 3, 2014, and modified by a November 9, 2015, order.

Abstract: The National Marine Fisheries Service listed four distinct population segments of Atlantic sturgeon as endangered—and one distinct population of Atlantic sturgeon as threatened—under the Endangered Species Act on February 6, 2012. This action proposes to designate critical habitat for the Carolina and South Atlantic Distinct Population Segments of Atlantic sturgeon, both listed as endangered.

Statement of Need: The Carolina and south Atlantic distinct population segments (DPSs) of Atlantic sturgeon were listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) in February 2012. Section 4 of the ESA requires that critical habitat be specified to the maximum extent prudent and determinable at the time a species is listed (16 U.S.C. 1533(b)(6)(C)). The ESA also requires that we publish final critical habitat rules within one year of proposed rules. At the time the Atlantic sturgeon DPSs were listed, we were unable to determine what areas met the statutory definition of critical habitat. We subsequently published a proposed rule to designate critical habitat for these DPSs on June 3, 2016. Under an existing court-ordered settlement agreement, we are required to publish final critical habitat designations by June 3, 2017—one year from the date of publication of the proposed rules.

Summary of Legal Basis: Endangered Species Act and court-ordered settlement agreement.

Alternatives: During the formulation of the final rule, pursuant to section 4(b)(2) of the ESA, we will evaluate the impacts of designating all and any parts of the proposed critical habitat. We are required to analyze the economic, national security, and other relevant impacts of designating critical habitat. Through this process, we have discretion to exclude areas from the final designation as long as such exclusions do not result in the extinction of Atlantic sturgeon DPSs. Based on our draft impacts analysis supporting the proposed rule, we did not exclude any portions of the proposed critical habitat. We also completed an Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis and analyzed a no action alternative, an alternative in which some of the identified critical habitat areas are designated, and an alternative in which all critical habitat areas identified for the Carolina and south Atlantic DPSs of Atlantic sturgeon are designated.

Anticipated Cost and Benefits: The primary benefit of critical habitat designation is the protection afforded under section 7 of the ESA, which requires all Federal agencies to insure their actions are not likely to destroy or adversely modify designated critical habitat. In addition to these protections, the designation may also result in other forms of benefits including, but not limited to: Educational awareness and outreach benefits, benefits to tourism and recreation, and improved or sustained habitat quality. Costs specifically associated with the designation of critical habitat stem mainly from the requirement that Federal agencies consult with NMFS, Start Printed Page 94528under section 7 of the ESA, to insure that any action they carry out, permit (authorize), or fund will not result in the destruction or adverse modification of critical habitat of a listed species.

Risks: If critical habitat is not designated, listed Atlantic sturgeon will not be protected to the extent provided for in the ESA, posing a legal risk to the agency and a risk to the species continued existence and recovery.

Timetable:

ActionDateFR Cite
NPRM06/03/1681 FR 36077
Correction06/28/1681 FR 41926
NPRM Comment Period End09/01/16
NPRM Comment Period Reopened09/29/1681 FR 66911
Comment Period End10/14/16
Final Action06/00/17

Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: Yes.

Small Entities Affected: Businesses.

Government Levels Affected: Federal, Local, State.

Agency Contact: Donna Wieting, Director, Office of Protected Resources, Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Marine Fisheries Service, 1315 East-West Highway, Silver Spring, MD 20910, Phone: 301 427-8400.

RIN: 0648-BF32

DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE

Statement of Regulatory Priorities

Background

The Department of Defense (DoD) is the largest Federal department consisting of three Military departments (Army, Navy, and Air Force), nine Unified Combatant Commands, 17 Defense Agencies, and ten DoD Field Activities. It has 1,329,949 military personnel and 878,527 civilians assigned as of June 30, 2016, and over 200 large and medium installations in the continental United States, U.S. territories, and foreign countries. The overall size, composition, and dispersion of DoD, coupled with an innovative regulatory program, present a challenge to the management of the Defense regulatory efforts under Executive Order (E.O.) 12866 “Regulatory Planning and Review” of September 30, 1993.

Because of its diversified nature, DoD is affected by the regulations issued by regulatory agencies such as the Departments of Commerce, Energy, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, Labor, State, Transportation, and the Environmental Protection Agency. In order to develop the best possible regulations that embody the principles and objectives embedded in Executive Order 12866, there must be coordination of proposed regulations among the regulatory agencies and the affected DoD components. Coordinating the proposed regulations in advance throughout an organization as large as DoD is a straightforward, yet formidable, undertaking.

DoD issues regulations that have an effect on the public and that can be significant as defined in Executive Order 12866. In addition, some of DoD's regulations may affect other agencies. DoD, as an integral part of its program, not only receives coordinating actions from other agencies, but coordinates with the agencies that are affected by its regulations as well.

Overall Priorities

The Department needs to function at a reasonable cost, while ensuring that it does not impose ineffective and unnecessarily burdensome regulations on the public. The rulemaking process should be responsive, efficient, cost-effective, and both fair and perceived as fair. This is being done in DoD while reacting to the contradictory pressures of providing more services in a constrained fiscal environment. DoD, as a matter of overall priority for its regulatory program, fully incorporates the provisions of the President's priorities and objectives under Executive Order 12866.

International Regulatory Cooperation

As the President noted in Executive Order 13609, “Promoting International Regulatory Cooperation” of May 1, 2012, “international regulatory cooperation, consistent with domestic law and prerogatives and U.S. trade policy, can be an important means of promoting” public health, welfare, safety, and our environment as well as economic growth, innovation, competitiveness, and job creation. Accordingly, in Executive Order 13609, the President requires each executive agency to include in its Regulatory Plan a summary of its international regulatory cooperation activities that are reasonably anticipated to lead to significant regulations.

The Department of Defense, along with the Departments of State and Commerce, engages with other countries in the Wassenaar Arrangement, Nuclear Suppliers Group, Australia Group, and Missile Technology Control Regime through which the international community develops a common list of items that should be subject to export controls. DoD has been a key participant in the Administration's Export Control Reform effort that resulted in a complete overhaul of the U.S. Munitions List and fundamental changes to the Commerce Control List. New controls have facilitated transfers of goods and technologies to allies and partners while helping prevent transfers to countries of national security and proliferation concern. DoD will continue to assess new and emerging technologies to ensure items that provide critical military and intelligence capabilities are properly controlled on international export control regime lists.

Retrospective Review of Existing Regulations

Pursuant to section 6 of Executive Order 13563 “Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review” (January 18, 2011), the following Regulatory Identification Numbers (RINs) have been identified as associated with retrospective review and analysis in the Department's final retrospective review of regulations plan. Several are of particular interest to small businesses. The entries on this list are completed actions, which do not appear in The Regulatory Plan. However, more information can be found about these completed rulemakings in past publications of the Unified Agenda on reginfo.gov in the Completed Actions section for DoD. These rulemakings can also be found on regulations.gov. We will continue to identify retrospective review regulations as they are published and report on the progress of the overall plan biannually. DoD's final agency plan and all updates to the plan can be found at: http://www.regulations.gov/​#!docketDetail;​D=​DOD-2011-OS-0036.

RINRule title (*expected to significantly reduce burdens on small businesses)
0702-AA71Army Privacy Program
Start Printed Page 94529
0703-AA90Guidelines for Archaeological Investigation Permits and Other Research on Sunken Military Craft and Terrestrial Military Craft Under the Jurisdiction of the Department of the Navy
0703-AA92Professional Conduct of Attorneys Practicing Under the Cognizance and Supervision of the Judge Advocate General
0710-AA66Civil Monetary Penalty Inflation Adjustment Rule
0710-AA60Nationwide Permit Program Regulations*
0750-AG47Safeguarding Unclassified Controlled Technical Information (DFARS Case 2011-D039)
0750-AG62Patents, Data, and Copyrights (DFARS Case 2010-D001)
0750-AH11Only One Offer (DFARS Case 2011-D013)
0750-AH19Accelerated Payments to Small Business (DFARS Case 2011-D008)
0750-AH54Performance-Based Payments (DFARS Case 2011-D045)
0750-AH70Defense Trade Cooperation Treaty With Australia and the United Kingdom (DFARS Case 2012-D034)
0750-AH86Forward Pricing Rate Proposal Adequacy Checklist (DFARS Case 2012-D035)
0750-AH87System for Award Management Name Changes, Phase 1 Implementation (DFARS Case 2012-D053)
0750-AH90Clauses With Alternates—Transportation (DFARS Case 2012-D057)
0750-AH94Clauses with Alternates—Foreign Acquisition (DFARS Case 2013-D005)
0750-AH95Clauses with Alternates—Quality Assurance (DFARS Case 2013-D004)
0750-AI02Clauses with Alternates—Contract Financing (DFARS Case 2013-D014)
0750-AI10Clauses with Alternates—Research and Development Contracting (DFARS Case 2013-D026)
0750-AI19Clauses with Alternates—Taxes (DFARS Case 2013-D025)
0750-AI27Clauses with Alternates—Special Contracting Methods, Major System Acquisition, and Service Contracting (DFARS Case 2014-D004)
0750-AI03Approval of Rental Waiver Requests (DFARS Case 2013-D006)
0750-AI07Storage, Treatment, and Disposal of Toxic or Hazardous Materials—Statutory Update (DFARS Case 2013-D013)
0750-AI18Photovoltaic Devices (DFARS Case 2014-D006)
0750-AI34State Sponsors of Terrorism (DFARS Case 2014-D014)
0750-AI43Inflation Adjustment of Acquisition-Related Thresholds (DFARS Case 2014-D025)
0750-AI58Detection and Avoidance of Counterfeit Electronic Parts—Further Implementation (DFARS Case 2014-D005)
0750-AI76Duty-Free Entry Threshold (DFARS Case 2015-D036)
0750-AI85Prohibition on Requiring the Use of Fire-Resistant Rayon Fiber (DFARS Case 2016-D012)
0790-AI19Service Academies
0790-AI42Personnel Security Program
0790-AI54Defense Support of Civilian Law Enforcement Agencies
0790-AI63Alternative Dispute Resolution
0790-AI77Provision of Early Intervention and Special Education Services to Eligible DoD Dependents
0790-AI86Defense Logistics Agency Privacy Program
0790-AI87Defense Logistics Agency Freedom of Information Act Program
0790-AI88Shelter for the Homeless
0790-AI90DoD Assistance to Non-Government, Entertainment-Oriented Media Productions
0790-AI94Public Affairs Liaison with Industry
0790-AI98Professional U.S. Scouting Organizations Operating at U.S. Military Installations Overseas
0790-AJ00Civilian Employment and Reemployment Rights of Applicants for, and Service Members and Former Service Members of, the Uniformed Services
0790-AJ03DoD Privacy Program
0790-AJ06Voluntary Education Programs
0790-AJ07Historical Research in the Files of the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD)
0790-AJ10Enhancement of Protections on Consumer Credit for Members of the Armed Forces and Their Dependents
0790-AJ11Defense Materiel Disposition
0790-AJ19Background Checks on Individuals in DoD Child Care Services Programs
0790-AJ28National Language Service Corps (NLSC)
Pursuant to Executive Order 13563, DoD also removed 32 CFR part 513, “Indebtedness of Military Personnel,” because the part is obsolete and the governing policy is now codified at 32 CFR part 112.

Administration Priorities

1. Rulemakings that are expected to have high net benefits well in excess of costs.

The Department plans to finalize the following Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (DFARS) rule:

  • Network Penetration Reporting and Contracting for Cloud Services (DFARS case 2013-D018). This final rule implements section 941 of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for FY 2013 and section 1632 of the NDAA for FY 2015. Section 941 requires cleared defense contractors to report penetrations of networks and information systems and allows DoD personnel access to equipment and information to assess the impact of reported penetrations. Section 1632 requires that a contractor designated as operationally critical must report each time a cyber-incident occurs on that contractor's network or information systems. Ultimately, DoD anticipates significant savings to taxpayers as a result of this rule, by improving information security for DoD information that resides in or transits through contractor systems and a cloud environment. Recent high-profile breaches of Federal information show the need to ensure that information security protections are clearly, effectively, and consistently addressed in contracts. This rule will help protect covered defense information or other Government data from compromise and protect against the loss of operationally critical support capabilities, which could directly impact national security.

The Department plans to propose the following DFARS rule:

  • Use of the Government Property Clause (DFARS Case 2015-D035). This rule amends the DFARS to expand the prescription for use of Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) clause 52.245-1, Government Property. This clause requires contractors to comply with basic property receipt and record Start Printed Page 94530keeping requirements in order for the Government to track, report, and manage Government-furnished property. Currently, this clause is not required for use in purchase orders for repair when the unit acquisition cost of Government property to be repaired does not exceed the simplified acquisition threshold (SAT). However, acquisition value alone is not an indicator of the criticality or sensitivity of Government property items. For example, firearms, body armor, night vision equipment, computers or crypto-logical devices may individually all be below the SAT, but accountability of these items is of vital importance. Lack of the use of the Government property clause in these instances significantly increases the risk of misuse or loss of Government property. In order to strengthen the management and accountability of Government-furnished property (GFP), this rule proposes to amend the DFARS to require use of the Government property clause in these instances, regardless of the acquisition value.

2. Rulemakings that promote open Government and use disclosure as a regulatory tool.

The Department plans to finalize the following DFARS rule:

  • Promoting Voluntary Post-Award Disclosure of Defective Pricing (DFARS Case 2015-D030). In response to the Better Buying Power 2.0 initiative on “Eliminating Requirements Imposed on Industry where Costs Outweigh Benefits,” contractors recommended that DoD clarify policy guidance to reduce repeated submissions of certified cost or pricing data. Frequent submissions of such data are used as a defense against defective pricing claims by DoD after contract award, since data that are frequently updated are less likely to be considered outdated or inaccurate and, therefore, defective. Better Buying Power 3.0 called for a revision of regulatory guidance regarding the requirement for contracting officers to request an audit, even if a contractor voluntarily discloses defective pricing after contract award. This rule amends the DFARS to stipulate that DoD contracting officers shall request a limited-scope audit when a contractor voluntarily discloses defective pricing after contract award, unless a full-scope audit is appropriate for the circumstances.

3. Rulemakings of particular interest to small businesses.

The Department plans to propose the following DFARS rules—

  • Temporary Extension of Test Program for Comprehensive Small Business Subcontracting Plans (DFARS Case 2015-D013). This rule amends the DFARS to implement section 821 of the NDAA for FY 2015 regarding the Test Program for Comprehensive Small Business Subcontracting Plans. The Test Program was established under section 834 of the NDAAs for FYs 1990 and 1991 to determine whether the negotiation and administration of comprehensive small business subcontracting plans would result in an increase of opportunities provided for small business concerns under DoD contracts. A comprehensive subcontracting plan (CSP) can be negotiated on a corporate, division, or sector level, rather than contract by contract. This rule will amend the DFARS to: (1) Extend the Test Program through December 31, 2017; (2) implement new reporting requirements for program participants; (3) require contracting officers to consider an offerors failure to make a good faith effort to comply with its CSP in past performance evaluations; and (4) establish procedures for the assessment of liquidated damages. This rule is of particular interest to small businesses because it holds prime contractors that are participating in the program accountable for the small business goals established in their CSP, resulting in increased business opportunities for small business subcontractors.
  • Amendment to Mentor-Protégé Program (DFARS Case 2016-D011). This rule amends the DFARS to implement section 861 of the NDAA for FY 2016 (Pub. L. 114-92), which provides amendments to the Pilot Mentor-Protégé Program (“the Program”). Specifically, section 861 requires mentor firms participating in the Program to report additional information on the assistance they have provided to their protégé firms, the success this assistance has had in addressing the protégé firm's developmental needs, the impact on DoD contracts, and any problems encountered. The new reporting requirements apply retroactively to mentor-protégé agreements entered into before, on, or after the date of enactment of the NDAA for FY 2016 (enacted November 25, 2015). DoD's OSBP will use the information reported by mentors to support decisions regarding continuation of particular mentor-protégé agreements. In addition, section 861 adds new eligibility criteria for mentor and protégé firms; limits the period of time a protégé firm can participate in the Program; limits the number of mentor-protégé agreements to which a protégé can be a party; and extends the Program for three years. This rule amends DFARS to implement the new reporting requirements and other Program amendments.

The Department plans to reissue the Nationwide Permits—

  • Department of the Army (DA) permits are required for discharges of dredged or fill material into waters of the United States and any structures or other work that affect the course, location, or condition of navigable waters of the United States. Small businesses proposing to discharge dredged or fill material into waters of the United States and/or install structures or do work in navigable waters of the United States must obtain DA permits to conduct those activities, unless a particular activity is exempt from those permit requirements. Individual permits and general permits can be issued by the Corps to satisfy the permit requirements of these two statutes. Nationwide permits (NWPs) are a form of general permit issued by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) that authorize activities that have no more than minimal individual and cumulative adverse environmental effects. The NWPs provide a streamline authorization process for small businesses to fulfill DA permit requirements. Nationwide permits can only be issued for a period of no more than five years. The issuance and reissuance of NWPs must be done every five years to continue the NWP program. Currently, there are 50 NWPs, and those NWPs expire on March 18, 2017. In addition to proposing to reissue all of the 50 existing NWPs, the Corps is also proposing to issue two new NWPs. The Corps plans on issuing the final NWP rule before the current NWPs expire so that NWPs will continue to be available to small businesses and other regulated entities.

4. Rulemakings that streamline regulations, reduce unjustified burdens, and minimize burdens on small businesses.

The Department plans to propose the following DFARS rule—

  • Pilot Program for Streamlining Awards for Innovative Technology Projects (DFARS Case 2016-D016). This rule proposes to amend the DFARS to implement section 873 of the NDAA for FY 2016 (Pub. L. 114-92). Section 873 provides the following exception from certified cost and pricing data requirements for contracts, subcontracts, or modifications of contracts or subcontracts valued at less than $7.5 million awarded to a small business or nontraditional defense contractor pursuant to a technical, merit-based selection procedure (e.g., broad agency announcement) or the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program. In Start Printed Page 94531addition, section 873 provides an exception from the records examination requirement at 10 U.S.C. 2313 for contracts valued at less than $7.5 million awarded to a small business or nontraditional defense contractor pursuant to a technical, merit-based selection procedure (e.g., broad agency announcement) or the SBIR Program. However, section 873 also provides authority in certain circumstances to determine that submission of cost and pricing data or auditing of records should be required based on past performance of the specific small business or nontraditional defense contractor or analysis of other information specific to the award. These exceptions end on October 1, 2020.

The Department plans to reissue the Nationwide Permits—

  • As discussed above, nationwide permits (NWPs) are a form of general permit issued by the Corps that authorizes activities that require DA authorization and have no more than minimal individual and cumulative adverse environmental effects. The Corps plans to reissue the 50 existing NWPs and issue two new NWPs. Unlike individual permits, NWPs authorize activities without the requirement for public notice and comment on each proposed activity, which reduces burdens on small businesses and streamlines the authorization process. In FY 2015, the Corps issued approximately 31,700 NWP verifications, with an average processing time of 41 days. In FY 2015, the Corps issued approximately 1,700 standard individual permits, with an average processing time of 211 days. The proposed NWPs were published in the Federal Register on June 1, 2016, for a 60-day comment period. The Corps plans on finalizing the NWPs before the current NWPs expire on March 18, 2017. The costs for obtaining authorization under an NWP are low compared to the standard individual permit process, both in terms of financial costs and the time it takes to obtain the required authorization.

5. Rules to be modified, streamlined, expanded, or repealed to make the agency's regulatory program more effective or less burdensome in achieving the regulatory objectives.

The Department plans to finalize the following DFARS rule—

  • Enhancing Independent Research and Development Efforts (DFARS Case 2016-D002). This rule will amend the DFARS to improve the effectiveness of independent research and development (IR&D) investments by the defense industrial base that are reimbursed as allowable costs. Specifically, DoD is revising DFARS 231.205-18, Independent Research and Development and Bid and Proposal Costs, to require that proposed new independent research and development (IR&D) efforts be communicated to appropriate DoD personnel prior to the initiation of these investments, and that results from these investments should also be shared with appropriate DoD personnel. IR&D investments need to meet the complementary goals of providing defense companies an opportunity to exercise independent judgement on investments in promising technologies that will provide a competitive advantage, including the creation of intellectual property, while at the same time pursuing technologies that may improve the military capability of the United States. These efforts can have the best payoff, both for DoD and for individual performing companies, when the Government is well informed of the investments that companies are making, and when companies are well informed about related investments being made elsewhere in the Government's research and development portfolios and about Government plans for potential future acquisitions where this IR&D may be relevant.

Specific DoD Priorities: For this regulatory plan, there are six specific DoD priorities, all of which reflect the established regulatory principles. DoD has focused its regulatory resources on the most serious health and safety risks. Perhaps most significant is that each of the priorities described below promulgates regulations to offset the resource impacts of Federal decisions on the public or to improve the quality of public life, such as those regulations concerning acquisition, health affairs, personnel benefits, and cyber security.

1. Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics/Defense Procurement and Acquisition Policy (DPAP), Department of Defense

DPAP continuously reviews the DFARS and continues to lead Government efforts to—

  • Improve the presentation, clarity, and streamlining of the regulation by, for example: (1) Implementing the new convention to construct clauses with alternates in a manner whereby the alternate clauses are included in full-text; and (2) removing obsolete reporting or other requirements imposed on contractors. Such improvements ensure that contracting officers, contractors, and offerors have a clear understanding of the rules for doing business with the Department.
  • Obtain early engagement with industry on procurement topics of high public interest by, for example: (1) Utilizing the DPAP Defense Acquisition Regulation System Web site to obtain early public feedback on newly enacted legislation that impacts the Department's acquisition regulations, prior to initiating rulemaking to draft the implementing rules; and (2) holding public meetings to solicit industry feedback on proposed rulemakings.
  • Employ methods to facilitate and improve efficiency of the contracting process, such as (1) updating certain evaluation thresholds based on the consumer price index; (2) allowing contractors to display one DoD Inspector General hotline poster instead of three; and (3) revising the DD Form 1547, Record of Weighted Guidelines, to provide a more transparent means of documenting costs incurred during the undefinitized period of an undefinitized contract action.

2. Health Affairs, Department of Defense

The Department of Defense is able to meet its dual mission of wartime readiness and peacetime health care for those entitled to DoD medical care and benefits by operating an extensive network of military medical treatment facilities supplemented by services furnished by civilian health care providers and facilities through the TRICARE program as administered under DoD contracts. TRICARE is a major health care program designed to improve the management and integration of DoD's health care delivery system.

The Department of Defense's Military Health System (MHS) continues to meet the challenge of providing the world's finest combat medicine and aeromedical evacuation, while supporting peacetime health care for those entitled to DoD medical care and benefits at home and abroad. The MHS brings together the worldwide health care resources of the Uniformed Services (often referred to as “direct care,” usually within military treatment facilities) and supplements this capability with services furnished by network and non-network civilian health care professionals, institutions, pharmacies, and suppliers, through the TRICARE program as administered under DoD contracts, to provide access to high quality health care services while maintaining the capability to support military operations. The TRICARE program serves 9.5 million Active Duty Service Members, National Guard and Reserve members, retirees, their families, survivors, and certain former spouses worldwide. TRICARE continues to offer an increasingly integrated and comprehensive health Start Printed Page 94532care plan, refining and enhancing both benefits and programs in a manner consistent with the law, industry standard of care, and best practices, to meet the changing needs of its beneficiaries. The program's goal is to increase access to health care services, improve health care quality, and control health care costs.

The Defense Health Agency plans to publish the following rules—

  • Final Rule: Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Uniformed Services (CHAMPUS)/TRICARE: Refills of Maintenance Medications Through Military Treatment Facility Pharmacies or National Mail Order Pharmacy Program. This final rule implements Section 702(c) of the Carl Levin and Howard P. “Buck” McKeon National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2015 which states that beginning October 1, 2015; the pharmacy benefits program shall require eligible covered beneficiaries generally to refill non-generic prescription maintenance medications through military treatment facility pharmacies or the national mail-order pharmacy program. Section 702(c) of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2015 also terminates the TRICARE For Life Pilot Program on September 30, 2015. The TRICARE For Life Pilot Program described in Section 716(f) of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013, was a pilot program which began in March 2014 requiring TRICARE For Life beneficiaries to refill non-generic prescription maintenance medications through military treatment facility pharmacies or the national mail-order pharmacy program. TRICARE for Life beneficiaries are those enrolled in the Medicare wraparound coverage option of the TRICARE program. This rule includes procedures to assist beneficiaries in transferring covered prescriptions to the mail order pharmacy program. This rule has been identified as an economically significant rule. DoD anticipates publishing the final rule in the first quarter of FY 2017.
  • Final Rule: TRICARE; Reimbursement of Long Term Care Hospitals and Inpatient Rehabilitation Facilities. The Department of Defense, Defense Health Agency, is revising its reimbursement of Long Term Care Hospitals (LTCHs) and Inpatient Rehabilitation Facilities (IRFs). Revisions are in accordance with the statutory provision at title 10, United States Code (U.S.C.), section 1079(i)(2) that requires TRICARE payment methods for institutional care be determined, to the extent practicable, in accordance with the same reimbursement rules as apply to payments to providers of services of the same type under Medicare. 32 CFR 199.2 includes a definition for “Hospital, long-term (tuberculosis, chronic care, or rehabilitation).” This rule deletes this definition and creates separate definitions for “Long Term Care Hospital” and “Inpatient Rehabilitation Facility” in accordance with Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) classification criteria. Under TRICARE, LTCHs and IRFs (both freestanding rehabilitation hospitals and rehabilitation hospital units) are currently paid the lower of a negotiated rate (if they are a network provider) or billed charges (if they are a non-network provider). Although Medicare's reimbursement methods for LTCHs and IRFs are different, it is prudent to adopt both the Medicare LTCH and IRF Prospective Payment System (PPS) methods simultaneously to align with our statutory requirement to reimburse like Medicare. This rule sets forth the proposed regulation modifications necessary for TRICARE to adopt Medicare's LTCH and IRF Prospective Payment Systems and rates applicable for inpatient services provided by LTCHs and IRFs to TRICARE beneficiaries. This rule has been identified as an economically significant rule. DoD anticipates publishing the final rule in the third quarter of FY 2017.

3. Personnel and Readiness, Department of Defense

The Department of Defense plans to publish the following rules—

  • Final Rule; Amendment: Sexual Assault Prevention and Response (SAPR) Program. The purpose of this rule is to implement DoD policy and assign responsibilities for the SAPR Program on prevention, response, and oversight of sexual assault. The goal is for DoD to establish a culture free of sexual assault through an environment of prevention, education and training, response capability, victim support, reporting procedures, and appropriate accountability that enhances the safety and well-being of all persons. DoD anticipates publishing the final rule in the third quarter of FY 2017.
  • Final Rule: Sexual Assault Prevention and Response (SAPR) Program Procedures. This rule establishes policy, assigns responsibilities, and provides guidance and procedures for the SAPR Program. It establishes processes and procedures for the Sexual Assault Forensic Examination Kit, the multidisciplinary Case Management Group, and guidance on how to handle sexual assault reports, SAPR minimum program standards, SAPR training requirements, and SAPR requirements for the DoD Annual Report on Sexual Assault in the Military. The DoD goal is a culture free of sexual assault through an environment of prevention, education and training, response capability, victim support, reporting procedures, and appropriate accountability that enhances the safety and well-being of all persons. DoD anticipates publishing the final rule in the third quarter of FY 2017.
  • Final Rule: Identification (ID) Cards for Members of the Uniformed Services, Their Dependents, and Other Eligible Individuals. Among the Obama Administration regulatory priorities are rules which extend fairness and tolerance to all Americans. The Department of Defense (DoD) previously published an interim final rule that extended benefits to all eligible dependents of uniformed Service members and eligible DoD civilians. It was necessary to publish an amended interim final rule to ensure the issuance of ID cards and extension of benefits aligns with current Federal and DoD policy, and to include an additional implementing manual addressing eligibility documentation requirements. The final rule incorporates all comments received during the public comment process that were adjudicated by the Department as necessary changes to the rule. DoD anticipates publishing the final rule in the third quarter of FY 2017.

4. Chief Information Officer, Department of Defense

The Department of Defense plans to publish the final rule for the Defense Industrial Base (DIB) Cybersecurity (CS) Activities that implements statutory requirements for mandatory cyber incident reporting while maintaining the voluntary cyber threat information sharing program.

  • Interim Final Rule: Defense Industrial Base (DIB) Cyber Security (CS) Activities. The DoD-DIB CS Activities regulation mandates reporting of cyber incidents that result in an actual or potentially adverse effect on a covered contractor information system or covered defense information residing therein, or on a contractor's ability to provide operationally critical support. This interim final rule will modify eligibility criteria to permit greater participation in the voluntary DoD-DIB CS information sharing program. Expanding participation in the DoD-DIB CS information sharing program is part of DoD's comprehensive approach to counter cyber threats through information sharing between the Government and DIB participants. The Start Printed Page 94533DoD-DIB CS information sharing program allows eligible DIB participants to receive Government furnished information (GFI) and cyber threat information from other DIB participants, thereby providing greater insights into adversarial activity targeting the DIB. DoD anticipates publishing the interim final rule in the third quarter of FY 2017.

DOD—OFFICE OF THE SECRETARY (OS)

Final Rule Stage

19. Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Program Procedures

Priority: Other Significant.

Legal Authority: Pub. L. 112-239; Pub. L. 113-66; Pub. L. 113-291; Pub. L. 114-92

CFR Citation: 32 CFR 105.

Legal Deadline: None.

Abstract: This rule will provide sexual assault victims the ability to get a fresh start through an Expedited Transfer policy aimed at removing the stigma associated with victimization. It will also allow sexual assault victims to be notified of the protections and support that come with individual legal representation as they navigate the criminal justice process. With this rule Reserve Component and National Guard members who are victims of sexual assault would receive the same SAPR advocacy regardless of when the sexual assault incident occurred, similar to the advocate support afforded their active duty counterparts. The goal of this rule is to ensure victims of sexual assault receive improved victim advocacy support, quality health care service, appropriate and sensitive command involvement, individualized legal support, and a military culture better informed on the issue of sexual assault. This rule establishes the SAFE Helpline as the sole DoD hotline for crisis intervention; establishes requirements for a sexual assault victim safety assessment and the execution of a high-risk team to monitor cases where the sexual assault victim's life and safety may be in jeopardy; and incorporates several requirements of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) relating to sexual assault in the military.

Statement of Need: Issue this part to:

(1) Implement 32 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) 103 and assign responsibilities and provide guidance and procedures for the SAPR Program;

(2) Establish SAPR minimum program standards, SAPR training requirements, and SAPR requirements for the Department of Defense (DoD) Annual Report on Sexual Assault in the Military; and consistent with title 10, United States Code (Reference (d)) the DoD Task Force Report on Care for Victims of Sexual Assault (Reference (e)) and pursuant to References (b) and (c), and Public Law 106-65, 108-375, 109-163, 109-364, 110-417, 111-84, 111-383, 112-81, 112-239, 113-66, 113-291, and 114-92;

(3) Provide of the preemption of state and local laws mandating reporting of an adult sexual assault incident;

(4) Protect from retaliation, coercion, and reprisal due to reporting a sexual assault;

(5) Provide for individualized legal representation from a Special Victims' Counsel (SVC) or Victims' Legal Counsel (VLC);

(6) Provide for the opportunity to request an Expedited Transfer as a means to getting a fresh start to support victim recovery;

(7) Establish the multidisciplinary Case Management Group as the oversight body of an Unrestricted sexual assault report.

Summary of Legal Basis: This regulation is pursued under the authorities of all applicable congressional mandates from section 113 of title 10, United States Code (U.S.C.), and Public Law 106-65, 108-375, 109-163, 109-364, 110-417, 111-84, 112-81, 113-66; 113-291, 114-92.

Alternatives: The DoD will not have current guidance relating to the provisions of law enacted by Congress critical to the implementation of sexual assault prevention and response (SAPR), SAPR training standards, victim support, and reporting procedures.

Anticipated Cost and Benefits: Fiscal year 2016 estimate of the anticipated cost associated with this rule is approximately $15 million. Additionally, each of the Military Services establishes its own SAPR budget for the programmatic costs arising from the implementation of the training, prevention, reporting, response, and oversight requirements established by this rule. These costs are less than those of other alternative benefits and include:

(1) A complete SAPR Policy consisting of this part and 32 CFR 103, to include comprehensive SAPR procedures to implement the DoD Directive 6495.01, Sexual Assault Prevention and Response (SAPR) Program, which is the DoD policy on prevention and response to sexual assaults involving members of the U.S. Armed Forces.

(2) Guidance and procedures with which the DoD may establish a culture free of sexual assault, through an environment of prevention, education and training, response capability, victim support, reporting procedures, and appropriate accountability that enhances the safety and well-being of all persons covered by this part and 32 CFR 103.

(3) Requirement that medical care and SAPR services are gender-responsive, culturally competent, and recovery-oriented. A 24 hour, 7 day per week sexual assault response capability for all locations, including deployed areas for persons covered in this part.

(4) Creating Command sexual assault awareness and prevention programs and DoD law enforcement procedures that enable persons to be held appropriately accountable for their actions.

(5) Standardized SAPR requirements, terminology, guidelines, protocols, and guidelines for training materials focus on awareness, prevention, and response at all levels, as appropriate.

(6) Requiring Sexual Assault Response Coordinators (SARC), SAPR Victim Advocates (VA), and other responders to assist sexual assault victims regardless of Service affiliation.

(7) Procedures for informing victims at the time of making the report, or as soon as practicable, of the option to request a temporary or permanent expedited transfer from their assigned command or installation, or to a different location within their assigned command or installation, in accordance with the procedures for commanders in 105.9 of this part.

(8) Protections from reprisal, or threat of reprisal, for filing a report of sexual assault.

(9) Reporting options for Service members and military dependents 18 years and older who have been sexually assaulted.

(10) Providing support to an active duty Military Service member regardless of when or where the sexual assault took place.

(11) Establishing a DoD-wide certification program with a national accreditor to ensure all sexual assault victims are offered the assistance of a SARC or SAPR VA who has obtained this certification.

(12) Implementing training standards that cover general SAPR training for Service members, and contain specific standards for: Accessions, annual, professional military education and leadership development training, pre- and post-deployment, pre-command, General and Field Officers and SES, military recruiters, civilians who supervise military, and responders trainings.

(13) Requiring Military Departments to establish procedures for supporting Start Printed Page 94534the DoD Safe Helpline in accordance with Guidelines for the DoD Safe Helpline for the referral database, provide timely response to victim feedback, publicize the DoD Safe Helpline to SARCs and Service members and at military confinement facilities.

(14) Directing additional responsibilities for the DoD SAPRO Director (develop metrics for measuring effectiveness, act as liaison between DoD and other agencies with regard to SAPR, oversee development of strategic program guidance and joint planning objectives, quarterly include Military Service Academies as a SAPR IPT standard agenda item, semi-annually meet with the Superintendents of the Military Service Academies, and develop and administer standardized and voluntary surveys for survivors of sexual assault to comply with 1726 of NDAA FY 14.

(15) Providing for the Preemption of state and local laws requiring disclosure of personally identifiable information of the service member (or adult military dependent) victim or alleged perpetrator to state or local law enforcement agencies, unless such reporting is necessary to prevent or mitigate a serious and imminent threat to the health and safety of an individual, as determined by an authorized Department of Defense official.

Risks: The degree of risk to Service member is that sexual assault victims will not be able to access support services or understand the availability of resources to assist them, such as: the opportunity to receive an Expedited Transfer as a means to getting a fresh start to support recovery; inability to request a Restricted Report in mandatory reporting jurisdiction; and failure to capture and preserve forensic evidence associated with sexual assault cases.

Timetable:

ActionDateFR Cite
Interim Final Rule04/11/1378 FR 21715
Interim Final Rule Effective04/11/13
Interim Final Rule Comment Period End06/10/13
Interim Final Rule11/00/16

Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: No.

Small Entities Affected: No.

Government Levels Affected: None.

Additional Information: DoD Instruction 6495.02, “Sexual Assault Prevention and Response (SAPR) Program Procedures”.

Agency Contact: Diana Rangoussis, Department of Defense, Office of the Secretary, Defense Pentagon, Washington, DC 20301, Phone: 703 696-9422.

RIN: 0790-AI36

DOD—OS

20. Identification (ID) Cards for Members of the Uniformed Services, Their Dependents, and Other Eligible Individuals (Adding Subpart D)

Priority: Other Significant.

Legal Authority: 10 U.S.C. 1061; 10 U.S.C. 1062; 10 U.S.C. 1063; 10 U.S.C. 1064; 10 U.S.C. 1072; 10 U.S.C. 1073; 10 U.S.C. 1074; 10 U.S.C. 1074(a); 10 U.S.C. 1074(b); 10 U.S.C. 1074(c); 10 U.S.C. 1076; 10 U.S.C. 1076(a); 10 U.S.C. 1077; 10 U.S.C. 1095(k)(2); 18 U.S.C. 499; 18 U.S.C. 506; 18 U.S.C. 509; 18 U.S.C. 701; 18 U.S.C. 1001

CFR Citation: 32 CFR 161.

Legal Deadline: None.

Abstract: Among the Obama Administration regulatory priorities are rules which extend fairness and tolerance to all Americans. The Department of Defense (DoD) previously published an interim final rule that establishes policy, assigns responsibilities, and provides procedures for the issuing of distinct DoD ID cards. The ID cards are issued to uniformed service members, their dependents, and other eligible individuals and are used as proof of identity and DoD affiliation, and facilitate the extension of DoD benefits. The interim final rule extended benefits to all eligible dependents of Uniformed Service members and eligible DoD civilians. It was necessary to amend the interim final rule to ensure the issuance of ID cards and extension of benefits aligns with current Federal and DoD policy, and to include an additional implementing manual addressing eligibility documentation requirements. The revisions to this rule will be reported in future status updates as part of DoD's retrospective plan under Executive Order 13563, completed in August 2011. DoD's full plan can be accessed at: http://www.regulations.gov/​#!docketDetail;​D=​DOD-2011-OS-0036.

Statement of Need: Many changes have occurred since DoD previously issued ID card policy in 1997 that require regulation and policy to be updated, which include but are not limited to Obama administration priorities of extending fairness and tolerance to all Americans. Supreme Court decisions within the last five years, required DoD to ensure that ID card policy was inclusive of same-sex spouse and transgender retiree and dependent populations. Additionally, the length of the previous document combined with additional information necessary to make the document current, required separation into an overarching instruction with supporting subject matter specific manuals.

Summary of Legal Basis: This regulation is pursued under the authorities of title 5, title 10 and title 18 U.S.C.

Alternatives: DoD does not have any alternatives to address the issuing of distinct DoD ID cards.

Anticipated Cost and Benefits: There are no costs to the public. There are no capital or start-up costs associated with the issuance of this rule. ID cards cost the Department approximately $28.3 million annually.

Risks: There is no risk to the public.

Timetable:

ActionDateFR Cite
Interim Final Rule10/27/1681 FR 74874
Interim Final Rule Effective10/27/16
Interim Final Rule Comment Period End12/27/16
Final Action05/00/17

Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: No.

Small Entities Affected: No.

Government Levels Affected: None.

Additional Information: DoD Instruction 1000.13, “Identification (ID) Cards for Members of the Uniformed Services, Their Dependents, and Other Eligible Individuals”; DoD Manual 1000.13, Volume 1, “DoD Identification (ID) Cards: ID Card Life-Cycle”; DoD Manual 1000.13, Volume 2, “DoD Identification (ID) Cards: Benefits for Members of the Uniformed Services, Their Dependents, and Other Eligible Individuals”; DoD Manual 1000.13, Volume 3, “DoD Identification (ID) Cards: Eligibility Documentation Required for Defense Enrollment Eligibility (DEERS) Enrollment, Record Management, and ID Card Issuance”

Agency Contact: Robert Eves, Department of Defense, Office of the Secretary, Defense Pentagon, Washington, DC 20301, Phone: 571 372-1956, Email: robert.c.eves.civ@mail.mil.

Related RIN: Related to 0790-AI61

RIN: 0790-AJ37

DOD—OS

21. Sexual Assault Prevention and Response (SAPR) Program

Priority: Other Significant. Start Printed Page 94535

Legal Authority: 10 U.S.C. 113; Pub. L. 112-81; Pub. L. 113-66; Pub. L. 114-92

CFR Citation: 32 CFR 103.

Legal Deadline: None.

Abstract: This interim final rule establishes that victims of sexual assault perpetrated by a spouse or intimate partner, or military dependent under the age of 18 is a Family Advocate Program (FAP) matter and does not fall within the SAPR program. However to ensure FAP involvement, this interim final rule requires the installation SARC and installation FAP to coordinate together when a sexual assault occurs as a result of domestic violence or involves child abuse. The rule requires sexual assault victims be informed of the availability of legal assistance and the right to consult with a Special Victims' Counsel and Victims' Legal Counsel and gives military members who are sexually assaulted the ability to request an Expedited Transfer as a means to getting a fresh start” while escaping the stigma associated with sexual assault. Finally, the rule mandates the establishment and implementation of a SAPR program within National Guard Bureau. The Department of Defense is publishing this rule as interim to maintain and enhance the current SAPR program which elucidates the prevention, response, and oversight of sexual assaults involving members of the U.S. Armed Forces and Reserve Component, to include the National Guard.

Statement of Need: The purpose of this rule is to:

(1) Establish and implement a complete SAPR program which focuses on prevention, training, and response to sexual assaults involving members of the U.S. Armed Forces.

(2) Establish a culture free of sexual assault, through an environment of prevention, education and training, response capability, victim support, reporting procedures, and appropriate accountability that enhances the safety and well-being of all persons covered.

(3) Focus on the victim and on doing what is necessary and appropriate to support victim recovery.

(4) Establish SAPR minimum program standards to include training requirements, oversight responsibilities, data collection, and reports.

Summary of Legal Basis: This regulation is established pursuant to all applicable congressional mandates from section 113 of title 10, United States Code (U.S.C.), and Public Laws 106-65, 108-375, 109-163, 109-364, 110-417, 111-84, 112-81, 113-66.

Alternatives: The DoD will not have current guidance relating to the implementation of the provisions of law enacted by Congress critical to sexual assault prevention and response (SAPR), SAPR training standards, victim support, and reporting procedures.

Anticipated Cost and Benefits: Fiscal Year 2015 Operation and Maintenance funding for DoD SAPRO was $24.3 million with an additional Congressional allocation of $25.0 million designated for the Special Victims' Counsel program and the Special Victims' Investigation and Prosecution capability that was reprogrammed to the Military Services and the National Guard Bureau. Additionally, each of the Military Services establishes its own SAPR budget for the programmatic costs arising from the implementation of the training, prevention, reporting, response, and oversight requirements established by this rule. These costs are less than those of other alternative benefits and include:

(1) A complete and up-to-date SAPR Policy consisting of this part and 32 CFR 105, to include comprehensive SAPR policy guidance on the prevention and response to sexual assaults involving members of the U.S. Armed Forces.

(2) Guidance and policy with which the DoD may establish a culture free of sexual assault, through an environment of prevention, education and training, response capability, victim support, reporting procedures, and appropriate accountability that enhances the safety and well-being of all persons covered by this part and 32 CFR 105.

(3) Requirement to provide care that is gender-responsive, culturally competent, and recovery-oriented.

(4) Standardized SAPR requirements, terminology, guidelines, protocols, and guidelines for training materials shall focus on awareness, prevention, and response at all levels, as appropriate.

(5) An immediate, trained sexual assault response capability for each report of sexual assault in all locations, including in deployed locations.

(6) Victims of sexual assault shall be protected from coercion, retaliation, and reprisal.

Risks: The rule does not intend physical or mental harm to individuals of the public. The rule intends to enable military readiness by establishing a culture free of sexual assault. Sexual assault poses a serious threat to military readiness because the potential costs and consequences are extremely high: chronic psychological consequences may include depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and substance abuse. In the U.S. Armed Forces, sexual assault not only degrades individual resilience but also may erode unit integrity. An effective fighting force cannot tolerate sexual assault within its ranks. Sexual assault is incompatible with military culture and mission readiness, and the risks to mission accomplishments are unbearable. This rule aims to mitigate this risk to mission readiness.

Timetable:

ActionDateFR Cite
Interim Final Rule11/00/16

Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: No.

Small Entities Affected: No.

Government Levels Affected: None.

Additional Information: DoD Directive 6495.01, “Sexual Assault Prevention and Response (SAPR) Program”.

Agency Contact: Diana Rangoussis, Department of Defense, Office of the Secretary, Defense Pentagon, Washington, DC 20301, Phone: 703 696-9422.

RIN: 0790-AJ40

DOD—OFFICE OF ASSISTANT SECRETARY FOR HEALTH AFFAIRS (DODOASHA)

Final Rule Stage

22. TRICARE; Reimbursement of Long Term Care Hospitals and Inpatient Rehabilitation Facilities

Priority: Economically Significant. Major under 5 U.S.C. 801.

Legal Authority: 5 U.S.C. 301; 10 U.S.C. ch 55

CFR Citation: 32 CFR 199.

Legal Deadline: None.

Abstract: The Department of Defense, Defense Health Agency, is proposing to revise its reimbursement of Long Term Care Hospitals (LTCHs) and Inpatient Rehabilitation Facilities (IRFs). Proposed revisions are in accordance with the statutory provision at title 10, United States Code (U.S.C.), section 1079(i)(2) that requires TRICARE payment methods for institutional care be determined, to the extent practicable, in accordance with the same reimbursement rules as apply to payments to providers of services of the same type under Medicare. 32 CFR 199.2 includes a definition for “Hospital, long-term (tuberculosis, chronic care, or rehabilitation).” This rule proposes to delete this definition and create separate definitions for “Long Term Care Hospital” and “Inpatient Rehabilitation Facility” in accordance with Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) classification criteria. Under TRICARE, LTCHs and IRFs (both freestanding Start Printed Page 94536rehabilitation hospitals and rehabilitation hospital units) are currently paid the lower of a negotiated rate (if they are a network provider) or billed charges (if they are a non-network provider). Although Medicare's reimbursement methods for LTCHs and IRFs are different, it is prudent to propose adopting both the Medicare LTCH and IRF Prospective Payment System (PPS) methods simultaneously to align with our statutory requirement to reimburse like Medicare.This proposed rule sets forth the proposed regulation modifications necessary for TRICARE to adopt Medicare's LTCH and IRF Prospective Payment Systems and rates applicable for inpatient services provided by LTCHs and IRFs to TRICARE beneficiaries. The revisions to this rule will be reported in future status updates as part of DoD's retrospective plan under Executive Order 13563, completed in August 2011. DoD's full plan can be accessed at: http://www.regulations.gov/​#!docketDetail;​D=​DOD-2011-OS-0036.

Statement of Need: The rule is necessary to meet the statutory provision to use Medicare reimbursement rules to the extent practicable.

Summary of Legal Basis: Congress established enabling legislation under section 707 of the National Defense Authorization Act of Fiscal Year 2002 (NDAA-02), Public Law 107-107 (Dec. 28, 2001) changing the statutory authorization in 10 U.S.C. 1079 (j)(2) that TRICARE payment methods for institutional care shall be determined to the extent practicable, in accordance with the same reimbursement rules used by Medicare.

Alternatives: This rule implements statutorily required provisions for adoption and implementation of Medicare institutional reimbursement rules which are consistent with well established congressional objectives. No other alternative is applicable.

Anticipated Cost and Benefits: It is projected that implementation of this rule in Fiscal Year (FY) 17 will result in a health care savings of $77 million for LTCHs and $53 million for IRFs.

Risks: The rule implements statutorily required provisions for adoption and implementation of Medicare institutional reimbursement systems which are consistent with well established Congressional objectives. No risk to the public is applicable.

Timetable:

ActionDateFR Cite
NPRM01/26/1580 FR 3926
NPRM Comment Period End03/27/15
Second NPRM08/31/1681 FR 59934
Second NPRM Comment Period End10/31/16
Final Action06/00/17

Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: Yes.

Small Entities Affected: Businesses.

Government Levels Affected: Federal.

Agency Contact: Ann N. Fazzini, Department of Defense, Office of Assistant Secretary for Health Affairs, 1200 Defense Pentagon, Washington, DC 20301, Phone: 303 676-3803.

RIN: 0720-AB47

DOD—DODOASHA

23. TRICARE: Refills of Maintenance Medications Through Military Treatment Facility Pharmacies or National Mail Order Pharmacy Program

Priority: Other Significant.

Legal Authority: 10 U.S.C. ch 55; 5 U.S.C. 301

CFR Citation: 32 CFR 199.

Legal Deadline: Other, Statutory, October 1, 2015, section 702(c) of the NDAA 2015. Section 702(c) of the Carl Levin and Howard P. Buck McKeon National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2015 states that beginning October 1, 2015, the pharmacy benefits program shall require eligible covered beneficiaries generally to refill non-generic prescription maintenance medications through military treatment facility pharmacies or the national mail-order pharmacy program. Section 702(c) also terminates the TRICARE For Life Pilot Program on September 30, 2015.

Abstract: This final rule implements section 702(c) of the Carl Levin and Howard P. Buck” McKeon National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2015 which states that beginning October 1, 2015, the pharmacy benefits program shall require eligible covered beneficiaries generally to refill non-generic prescription maintenance medications through military treatment facility pharmacies or the national mail-order pharmacy program. Section 702(c) of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2015 also terminates the TRICARE For Life Pilot Program on September 30, 2015. The TRICARE For Life Pilot Program described in section 716(f) of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013, was a pilot program which began in March 2014 requiring TRICARE For Life beneficiaries to refill non-generic prescription maintenance medications through military treatment facility pharmacies or the national mail-order pharmacy program. TRICARE for Life beneficiaries are those enrolled in the Medicare wraparound coverage option of the TRICARE program. This rule includes procedures to assist beneficiaries in transferring covered prescriptions to the mail order pharmacy program.

Statement of Need: The DoD interim rule established processes for the new program of refills of maintenance medications for all non-active duty TRICARE beneficiaries through military treatment facility pharmacies and the mail order pharmacy program.

Summary of Legal Basis: This regulation is established under the authorities of 5 U.S.C. 301; 10 U.S.C. ch 55; 32 CFR 199.21.

Alternatives: The rule fulfills a statutory requirement, therefore there are no alternatives.

Anticipated Cost and Benefits: The effect of the statutory requirement, implemented by this rule, is to shift a volume of prescriptions from retail pharmacies to the most cost-effective point-of-service venues of military treatment facility pharmacies and the mail order pharmacy program. This will produce savings to the Department of approximately $88 million per year, and savings to beneficiaries of approximately $16.5 million per year in reduced copayments. Updated and more in-depth economic data will be provided with the final rule.

Risks: Not finalizing this rule would risk a loss of savings to both the Department and beneficiaries. There is no risk to the public.

Timetable:

ActionDateFR Cite
Interim Final Rule08/06/1580 FR 46796
Interim Final Rule Effective08/06/15
Interim Final Rule Comment Period End10/05/15
Final Action11/00/16

Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: No.

Small Entities Affected: No.

Government Levels Affected: None.

Agency Contact: George Jones, Department of Defense, Office of Assistant Secretary for Health Affairs, Defense Pentagon, Washington, DC 20301, Phone: 703 681-2890.

RIN: 0720-AB64

Start Printed Page 94537

DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION

Statement of Regulatory Priorities

I. Introduction

The U.S. Department of Education (Department) supports States, local communities, institutions of higher education, and others in improving education and other services nationwide in order to ensure that all Americans, including those with disabilities, receive a high-quality education and are prepared for high-quality employment. We provide leadership and financial assistance pertaining to education and related services at all levels to a wide range of stakeholders and individuals, including State educational and other agencies, local school districts, providers of early learning programs, elementary and secondary schools, institutions of higher education, career and technical schools, nonprofit organizations, postsecondary students, members of the public, families, and many others. These efforts are helping to ensure that all children and students from pre-kindergarten through grade 12 will be ready for, and succeed in, postsecondary education or employment, and that students attending postsecondary institutions are prepared for a profession or career.

We also vigorously monitor and enforce the implementation of Federal civil rights laws in educational programs and activities that receive Federal financial assistance, and support innovative programs, research and evaluation activities, technical assistance, and the dissemination of research and evaluation findings to improve the quality of education.

Overall, the laws, regulations, and programs that the Department administers will affect nearly every American during his or her life. Indeed, in the 2016-2017 school year, about 56 million students will attend an estimated 132,000 elementary and secondary schools in approximately 13,500 districts, and about 21 million students will enroll in degree-granting postsecondary schools. All of these students may benefit from some degree of financial assistance or support from the Department.

In developing and implementing regulations, guidance, technical assistance, and monitoring related to our programs, we are committed to working closely with affected persons and groups. Specifically, we work with a broad range of interested parties and the general public, including families, students, and educators; State, local, and tribal governments; other Federal agencies; and neighborhood groups, community-based early learning programs, elementary and secondary schools, colleges, rehabilitation service providers, adult education providers, professional associations, advocacy organizations, businesses, and labor organizations.

If we determine that it is necessary to develop regulations, we seek public participation at the key stages in the rulemaking process. We invite the public to submit comments on all proposed regulations through the Internet or by regular mail. We also continue to seek greater public participation in our rulemaking activities through the use of transparent and interactive rulemaking procedures and new technologies.

To facilitate the public's involvement, we participate in the Federal Docketing Management System (FDMS), an electronic single Government-wide access point (www.regulations.gov) that enables the public to submit comments on different types of Federal regulatory documents and read and respond to comments submitted by other members of the public during the public comment period. This system provides the public with the opportunity to submit comments electronically on any notice of proposed rulemaking or interim final regulations open for comment, as well as read and print any supporting regulatory documents.

We are continuing to streamline information collections, reduce the burden on information providers involved in our programs, and make information easily accessible to the public.

II. Regulatory Priorities

A. Every Student Succeeds Act

President Obama signed the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) into law on December 10, 2015. ESSA reauthorized the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 with provisions aimed at helping to ensure success for students and schools. The law:

  • Advances equity by upholding critical protections for America's disadvantaged and high-need students.
  • Requires—for the first time—that all students in America be taught to high academic standards that will prepare them to succeed in college and careers.
  • Ensures that vital information is provided to educators, families, students, and communities through annual statewide assessments that measure students' progress toward those high standards.
  • Helps to support and grow local innovations—including evidence-based and place-based interventions developed by local leaders and educators—consistent with our Investing in Innovation and Promise Neighborhoods grant programs.
  • Sustains and expands this administration's historic investments in increasing access to high-quality preschool.
  • Maintains an expectation that there will be accountability and action to effect positive change in our lowest-performing schools, where groups of students are not making progress, and where graduation rates are low over extended periods of time.

The Department issued two notices of proposed rulemaking (NPRMs) that would amend existing regulations pertaining to accountability and State plans, and the innovative assessment demonstration authority. We also, following the completion of negotiated rulemaking, issued an NPRM proposing to amend regulations on academic assessments, and plan to publish an NPRM on the supplement not supplant provision in September 2016. We intend to issue final rules in all of these areas by January 2017.

B. Higher Education Act of 1965, as Amended

Congress is currently considering reauthorization of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended (HEA). When enacted, the HEA's reauthorization will likely require the Department to promulgate conforming regulations. In the meantime, we have identified several regulatory activities for Fiscal Year 2017 under the Title IV Federal Student Aid programs to improve protections for students and safeguard Federal dollars invested in postsecondary education.

C. Perkins Act

Congress is currently considering reauthorization of the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006 (Perkins Act), which focuses on increasing the quality of technical education. The priorities for reauthorization include:

  • Effective alignment with today's labor market, including clear expectations for high-quality programs;
  • Stronger collaboration among secondary and postsecondary institutions, employers, and industry partners;
  • Meaningful accountability to improve academic and employment outcomes for students; and
  • Local and State innovation in CTE, particularly the development and replication of innovative CTE models.Start Printed Page 94538

We anticipate regulatory activity in response to the reauthorization of the Perkins Act.

IV. Principles for Regulating

Over the next year, we may need to issue other regulations because of new legislation or programmatic changes. In doing so, we will follow the Principles for Regulating, which determine when and how we will regulate. Through consistent application of those principles, we have eliminated unnecessary regulations and identified situations in which major programs could be implemented without regulations or with limited regulatory action.

In deciding when to regulate, we consider the following:

  • Whether regulations are essential to promote quality and equality of opportunity in education.
  • Whether a demonstrated problem cannot be resolved without regulation.
  • Whether regulations are necessary to provide a legally binding interpretation to resolve ambiguity.
  • Whether entities or situations subject to regulation are similar enough that a uniform approach through regulation would be meaningful and do more good than harm.
  • Whether regulations are needed to protect the Federal interest, that is, to ensure that Federal funds are used for their intended purpose and to eliminate fraud, waste, and abuse.

In deciding how to regulate, we are mindful of the following principles:

  • Regulate no more than necessary.
  • Minimize burden to the extent possible, and promote multiple approaches to meeting statutory requirements if possible.
  • Encourage coordination of federally funded activities with State and local reform activities.
  • Ensure that the benefits justify the costs of regulating.
  • To the extent possible, establish performance objectives rather than specify compliance behavior.
  • Encourage flexibility, to the extent possible and as needed to enable institutional forces to achieve desired results.

ED—OFFICE OF ELEMENTARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION (OESE)

Final Rule Stage

24. Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965—Accountability and State Plans

Priority: Economically Significant. Major under 5 U.S.C. 801.

Legal Authority: 20 U.S.C. 1001, 1111, 1221e-3, 6303, 6311, 6394, 6601, 6611(d), 6823, 7113(c), 7801, 7842, 7844, 7845, and 8302; 42 U.S.C. 11432(g)

CFR Citation: 34 CFR 200.

Legal Deadline: None.

Abstract: The Secretary will amend the regulations implementing programs under title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA) to implement changes to the ESEA by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) enacted on December 10, 2015. The Secretary also will update the current ESEA general regulations to include the requirements for the submission of State plans under ESEA programs, including optional consolidated State plans.

Statement of Need: These regulations are necessary to implement changes to the ESEA by the ESSA.

Summary of Legal Basis: These regulations are necessary to implement changes to the ESEA by the ESSA.

Alternatives: These will be discussed in the final regulations.

Anticipated Cost and Benefits: These will be discussed in the final regulations.

Risks: These will be discussed in the final regulations.

Timetable:

ActionDateFR Cite
NPRM05/31/1681 FR 34539
NPRM Comment Period End08/01/16
Final Action11/00/16

Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: No.

Government Levels Affected: State.

URL For Public Comments: www.regulations.gov.

Agency Contact: Meredith Miller, Department of Education, Office of Elementary and Secondary Education, 400 Maryland Avenue SW., 3C106, Washington, DC 20202, Phone: 202 401-8368, Email: meredith.miller@ed.gov.

RIN: 1810-AB27

ED—OESE

25. • Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, as Amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act—Supplement Not Supplant Under Title I, Part A

Priority: Economically Significant. Major under 5 U.S.C. 801.

Legal Authority: 20 U.S.C. 6321(b)

CFR Citation: 34 CFR 200.

Legal Deadline: None.

Abstract: The Secretary proposes to establish regulations governing programs administered under title I, part A of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA), as amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). These proposed regulations are needed to implement recent changes to the supplement not supplant requirement of title I of the ESEA made by the ESSA.

Statement of Need: These proposed regulations are needed to implement recent changes to the supplement not supplant requirement of title I of the ESEA made by the ESSA.

Summary of Legal Basis: These proposed regulations are needed to implement recent changes to the supplement not supplant requirement of title I of the ESEA made by the ESSA.

Alternatives: These will be discussed in the final regulations.

Anticipated Cost and Benefits: These will be discussed in the final regulations.

Risks: These will be discussed in the final regulations.

Timetable:

ActionDateFR Cite
NPRM09/16/1681 FR 61148
NPRM Comment Period End11/07/16
Final Action12/00/16

Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: No.

Small Entities Affected: No.

Government Levels Affected: State.

URL For Public Comments: www.regulations.gov.

Agency Contact: James Butler, Department of Education, Office of Elementary and Secondary Education, Room 3E108, 400 Maryland Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20202, Phone: 202 260-2274, Email: james.butler@ed.gov.

RIN: 1810-AB33

DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY

Statement of Regulatory and Deregulatory Priorities

The Department of Energy (Department or DOE) makes vital contributions to the Nation's welfare through its activities focused on improving national security, energy supply, energy efficiency, environmental remediation, and energy research. The Department's mission is to:

  • Promote dependable, affordable and environmentally sound production and distribution of energy;
  • Advance energy efficiency and conservation;Start Printed Page 94539
  • Provide responsible stewardship of the Nation's nuclear weapons;
  • Provide a responsible resolution to the environmental legacy of nuclear weapons production; and
  • Strengthen U.S. scientific discovery, economic competitiveness, and improve quality of life through innovations in science and technology.

The Department's regulatory activities are essential to achieving its critical mission and to implementing major initiatives of the President's National Energy Policy. Among other things, the Regulatory Plan and the Unified Agenda contain the rulemakings the Department will be engaged in during the coming year to fulfill the Department's commitment to meeting deadlines for issuance of energy conservation standards and related test procedures. The Regulatory Plan and Unified Agenda also reflect the Department's continuing commitment to cut costs, reduce regulatory burden, and increase responsiveness to the public.

Retrospective Review of Existing Regulations

Pursuant to section 6 of Executive Order 13563 “Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review” (Jan. 18, 2011), several regulations have been identified as associated with retrospective review and analysis in the Department's retrospective review of regulations plan. Some of the entries on this list may be completed actions, which do not appear in the Regulatory Plan. However, more information can be found about these completed rulemakings in past publications of the Unified Agenda on www.reginfo.gov in the Completed Actions section. These rulemakings can also be found on www.regulations.gov. The final agency plan can be found at https://www.whitehouse.gov/​sites/​default/​files/​other/​2011-regulatory-action-plans/​departmentofenergyregulatoryreformplanaugust2011.pdf. DOE has published a number of retrospective review update reports that are available at http://www.energy.gov/​gc/​services/​open-government/​restrospective-regulatory-review.

Energy Efficiency Program for Consumer Products and Commercial Equipment

The Energy Policy and Conservation Act (EPCA) requires DOE to set appliance efficiency standards at levels that achieve the maximum improvement in energy efficiency that is technologically feasible and economically justified. The Department continues to follow its schedule for setting new appliance efficiency standards. These rulemakings are expected to save American consumers billions of dollars in energy costs.

Estimate of Combined Aggregate Costs and Benefits

In 2015, the Department published final rules that adopted new or amended energy conservation standards for 13 different products, including, commercial air-cooled air conditioners and heat pumps, ceiling fan light kits, commercial pre-rinse spray valves, and beverage vending machines. The 13 standards finalized in 2015 are estimated to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by over 429 million metric tons and save American families and businesses $84 billion in electricity bills through 2030.

Since 2009, the Energy Department has finalized new efficiency standards for more than 45 household and commercial products, including dishwashers, refrigerators and water heaters, which are estimated to save consumers $540 billion through 2030. To build on this momentum, the Department is committed to continuing to establish new efficiency standards that—when combined with the progress already made through previously finalized standards—will reduce carbon pollution by approximately 3 billion metric tons in total by 2030, equal to more than a year's carbon pollution from the entire U.S. electricity system.

As part of the President's Climate Action Plan, the Energy Department has committed to an ambitious goal of finalizing at least 14 additional energy efficiency standards by the end of 2016. The overall plan for implementing the schedule is contained in the Report to Congress pursuant to section 141 of EPACT 2005, which was released on January 31, 2006. This plan was last updated in the August 2016 report to Congress and now includes the requirements of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA 2007), the American Energy Manufacturing Technical Corrections Act (AEMTCA), and the Energy Efficiency Improvement Act of 2015. The reports to Congress are posted at: http://energy.gov/​eere/​buildings/​reports-and-publications. While each of these high priority rules will build on the progress made to date, and will continue to move the U.S. closer to a low carbon future, DOE believes that seven rulemakings are the most important of its significant regulatory actions and, therefore, comprise the Department's Regulatory Plan.

  • Walk-In Coolers and Walk-In Freezers (1904-AD59)
  • Residential Non-Weatherized Gas Furnaces and Mobile Home Gas Furnaces (1904-AD20)
  • Commercial Water Heaters (1904-AD34)
  • Commercial Packaged Boilers (1904-AD01)
  • General Service Fluorescent Lamps (1904-AD09)
  • Dedicated Purpose Pool Pumps (1904-AD52)
  • Manufactured Housing (1904-AC11)

For walk-in coolers and freezers, DOE estimates that energy savings from electricity will be 0.90 quads over 30 years and the net benefit to the Nation will be between $1.8 billion and $4.3 billion. For non-weatherized gas furnaces and mobile home gas furnaces, DOE estimates that energy savings will be 2.78 quads over 30 years and the net benefit to the Nation will be between $3.1 billion and $16.1 billion. For commercial water heaters, DOE estimates that energy savings for combined natural gas and electricity will be 1.8 quads over 30 years and the net benefit to the Nation will be between $2.26 billion and $6.75 billion. For commercial packaged boilers, DOE estimates that energy savings will be 0.349 quads over 30 years and the net benefits to the Nation will be between $0,414 billion and $1,687 billion. For general service fluorescent lamps, DOE estimates that energy savings will be 0.85 quads over 30 years and the net benefit to the nation will be between $4.4 billion and $9.1 billion. For manufactured housing, DOE estimates that energy savings will be 0.884 quads (Single-section) and 1.428 quads (Multi-section) over 30 years and the net benefit to the Nation will be between $1.26 billion (Single-section) and $2.18 billion (Multi-section) and $4.03 billion (Single-section) and $6.75 billion (Multi-section). For dedicated purpose pool pumps, DOE has not yet proposed candidate standard levels and therefore, cannot provide an estimate of combined aggregate costs and benefits for this action. DOE will, however, in compliance with all applicable law, issue standards that provide the maximum improvement in energy efficiency that is technologically feasible and economically justified. Estimates of energy savings will be provided when DOE issues the notice of proposed rulemaking for dedicated purpose pool pumps.

Start Printed Page 94540

DOE—ENERGY EFFICIENCY AND RENEWABLE ENERGY (EE)

Proposed Rule Stage

26. Energy Conservation Standards for General Service Lamps

Priority: Economically Significant. Major under 5 U.S.C. 801.

Unfunded Mandates: This action may affect the private sector under Public Law 104-4.

Legal Authority: 42 U.S.C. 6295(i)(6)(A) and (B)

CFR Citation: 10 CFR 429; 10 CFR 430.

Legal Deadline: Final, Statutory, January 1, 2017.

Abstract: Amendments to Energy Policy and Conservation Act (EPCA) in the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 direct DOE to conduct two rulemaking cycles to evaluate energy conservation standards for GSLs, the first of which must be initiated no later than January 1, 2014 (42 U.S.C. 6295(i)(6)(A)-(B)). EPCA specifically states that the scope of the rulemaking is not limited to incandescent lamp technologies. EPCA also states that DOE must consider in the first rulemaking cycle the minimum backstop requirement of 45 lumens per watt for general service lamps (GSLs) effective January 1, 2020. This rulemaking constitutes DOE's first rulemaking cycle.

Statement of Need: DOE is directed under EPCA to establish standards for GSL's, and that DOE complete the rulemaking by January 1, 2017.

Summary of Legal Basis: Amendments to EPCA in the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA) directed DOE to conduct two rulemaking cycles to evaluate energy conservation standards got GSL's (42 U.S.C. 6295(i)(6)(A)-(B)). Furthermore, pursuant to EPCA, any new or amended energy conservation standard that the Department of Energy (DOE) prescribes for certain products, such as general service lamps, shall be designed to achieve the maximum improvement in energy efficiency that is technologically feasible and economically justified (42 U.S.C. 6295(o)(2)(A)) and result in a significant conservation of energy (42 U.S.C. 6295(o)(3)(B)).

Alternatives: The statute requires DOE to conduct rulemakings to review standards and to revise standards to achieve the maximum improvement in energy efficiency that the Secretary determines is technologically feasible and economically justified. In making this determination, DOE conducts a thorough analysis of the alternative standard levels, including the existing standard, based on the criteria specified in the statute.

Anticipated Cost and Benefits: DOE finds that the benefits to the Nation of the proposed energy standards for General Service Lamps outweigh the burdens. DOE estimates that energy savings will be .85 quads over 30 years and the net benefit to the Nation will be between $4.4 billion and $9.1 billion.

Risks:

Timetable:

ActionDateFR Cite
Framework Document Availability; Notice of Public Meeting12/09/1378 FR 73737
Framework Document Comment Period End01/23/14
Framework Document Comment Period Extended01/23/1479 FR 3742
Framework Document Comment Period Extended End02/07/14
Preliminary Analysis; Notice of Public Meeting12/11/1479 FR 73503
Preliminary Analysis Comment Period End02/09/15
Preliminary Analysis Comment Period Extended01/30/1580 FR 5052
Preliminary Analysis Comment Period Extended End02/23/15
Notice of Public Meeting; Webinar03/15/1681 FR 13763
NPRM03/17/1681 FR 14528
NPRM Comment Period End05/16/16
Notice of Public Meeting; Webinar10/05/1681 FR 69009
Proposed Definition and Data Availability10/18/1681 FR 71794
Proposed Definition and Data Availability Comment Period End11/08/16

Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: Yes.

Small Entities Affected: Businesses.

Government Levels Affected: None.

International Impacts: This regulatory action will be likely to have international trade and investment effects, or otherwise be of international interest.

URL for More Information: www1.eere.energy.gov/​buildings/​appliance_​standards/​rulemaking.aspx?​ruleid=​83.

URL for Public Comments: www.regulations.gov/​#!docketDetail;​D=​EERE-2013-BT-STD-0051.

Agency Contact: Lucy DeButts, Office of Buildings Technologies Program, EE-5B, Department of Energy, Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, 1000 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20585, Phone: 202 287-1604, Email: lucy.debutts@ee.doe.gov.

RIN: 1904-AD09

DOE—EE

27. Energy Conservation Standards for Residential Non-Weatherized Gas Furnaces and Mobile Home Gas Furnaces

Priority: Economically Significant. Major under 5 U.S.C. 801.

Unfunded Mandates: This action may affect the private sector under Public Law 104-4.

Legal Authority: 42 U.S.C. 6295(f)(4)(C); 42 U.S.C. 6295(m)(1); 42 U.S.C. 6295(gg)(3)

CFR Citation: 10 CFR 430.

Legal Deadline: NPRM, Judicial, April 24, 2015, The later of 4/24/2016 or one year after the issuance of the proposed rule. Final, Judicial, April 24, 2016.

Abstract: The Energy Policy and Conservation Act of 1975 (EPCA), as amended, prescribes energy conservation standards for various consumer products and certain commercial and industrial equipment, including residential furnaces. EPCA also requires the DOE to periodically determine every six years whether more-stringent amended standards would be technologically feasible and economically justified and would save a significant amount of energy. DOE is considering amendments to its energy conservation standards for residential non-weatherized gas furnaces and mobile home gas furnaces in partial fulfillment of a court-ordered remand of DOE's 2011 rulemaking for these products.

Statement of Need: EPCA requires minimum energy efficiency standards for certain appliances and commercial equipment, including residential furnaces

Summary of Legal Basis: Title III of the Energy Policy and Conservation Act of 1975 (EPCA), Public Law 94-163 (42 U.S.C. 6291-6300, as codified), established the Energy Conservation Program for Consumer Products Other Than Automobiles. Pursuant to EPCA, any new or amended energy conservation standard that the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) prescribes Start Printed Page 94541for certain products, such as residential furnaces, shall be designed to achieve the maximum improvement in energy efficiency that is technologically feasible and economically justified (42 U.S.C. 6295(o)(2)(A)) and result in a significant conservation of energy (42 U.S.C. 6295(o)(3)(B)).

Alternatives: The statute requires DOE to conduct rulemakings to review standards and to revise standards to achieve the maximum improvement in energy efficiency that the Secretary determines is technologically feasible and economically justified. In making this determination, DOE conducts a thorough analysis of the alternative standard levels, including the existing standard, based on the criteria specified in the statute.

Anticipated Cost and Benefits: DOE finds that the benefits to the Nation of the proposed energy standards for Residential Non-Weatherized Gas Furnaces and Mobile Home Gas Furnaces (such as energy savings, consumer average lifecycle cost savings, an increase in national net present value, and emission reductions) outweigh the burdens (such as loss of industry net present value). For non-weatherized gas furnaces and mobile home gas furnaces, DOE estimates that energy savings will be 2.78 quads over 30 years and the net benefit to the Nation will be between $3.1 billion and $16.1 billion.

Risks:

Timetable:

ActionDateFR Cite
Notice of Public Meeting10/30/1479 FR 64517
NPRM and Notice of Public Meeting03/12/1580 FR 13120
NPRM Comment Period Extended05/20/1580 FR 28851
NPRM Comment Period Extended End07/10/15
Notice of Data Availability (NODA)09/14/1580 FR 55038
NODA Comment Period End10/14/15
NODA Comment Period Reopened10/23/1580 FR 64370
NODA Comment Period Reopened End11/23/15
Supplemental NPRM and Notice of Public Meeting09/23/1681 FR 65720
Supplemental NPRM Comment Period End11/22/16

Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: Yes.

Small Entities Affected: Businesses.

Government Levels Affected: None.

URL for More Information: www1.eere.energy.gov/​buildings/​appliance_​standards/​product.aspx/​productid/​72.

URL for Public Comments: www.regulations.gov/​#!docketDetail;​D=​EERE-2014-BT-STD-0031.

Agency Contact: John Cymbalsky, Office of Building Technologies Program, EE-5B, Department of Energy, Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, 1000 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20585, Phone: 202 287-1692, Email: john.cymbalsky@ee.doe.gov.

RIN: 1904-AD20

DOE—EE

28. Energy Conservation Standards for Walk-In Coolers and Walk-In Freezers

Priority: Economically Significant. Major under 5 U.S.C. 801.

Unfunded Mandates: This action may affect the private sector under Public Law 104-4.

Legal Authority: 42 U.S.C. 6311; 42 U.S.C. 6313(f)

CFR Citation: 10 CFR 431.306.

Legal Deadline: Final, Judicial, Best efforts to complete the rulemaking by 12/01/2016.

Abstract: In 2014, the Department of Energy (DOE) issued a rule setting performance-based energy conservation standards for a variety of walk-in cooler and freezer (walk-in) components. See 79 FR 32050 (June 3, 2014). That rule was challenged by a group of walk-in refrigeration system manufacturers and walk-in installers, which led to a settlement agreement regarding certain refrigeration equipment classes addressed in that 2014 rule and certain aspects related to that rule's analysis. See Lennox Int'l v. DOE, Case No. 14-60535 (5th Cir. 2014). Consistent with the settlement agreement, and in accordance with the Federal Advisory Committee Act, a working group was established under the Appliance Standards and Rulemaking Advisory Committee (ASRAC) to engage in a negotiated rulemaking to develop energy conservation standards to replace those that had been vacated by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. As a result of those negotiations, a Term Sheet was produced containing a series of recommendations to ASRAC for its approval and submission to DOE for the agency's further consideration. Using the Term Sheet's recommendations, DOE is proposing to establish energy conservation standards for the six equipment classes of walk-in coolers and walk-in freezers that were vacated by the Fifth Circuit and remanded to DOE for further action. Those standards at issue involve: (1) The two standards applicable to multiplex condensing refrigeration systems operating at medium and low temperatures; and (2) the four standards applicable to dedicated condensing refrigeration systems operating at low temperatures. Also consistent with the settlement agreement, DOE will consider any comments (including any accompanying data) regarding any potential impacts of these six standards on installers. DOE will also consider and substantively address any potential impacts of these six standards on installers in its Manufacturer Impact Analysis, consistent with its regulatory definition of “manufacturer,” and, as appropriate, in its analysis of impacts on small entities under the Regulatory Flexibility Act. As part of this rulemaking (and consistent with its obligations under the settlement agreement), DOE will provide an opportunity for all interested parties to submit comments concerning any proposed standards. DOE will use its best efforts to issue a final rule establishing the remanded standards by December 1, 2016.

Statement of Need: DOE is required under 42 U.S.C. 6313(f) to establish performance-based energy conservation standards for walk-in coolers and freezers. This rulemaking is being conducted to satisfy that requirement by setting standards related to certain classes of refrigeration systems used in walk-in applications.

Summary of Legal Basis: This rulemaking is being conducted under DOE's authority pursuant to 42 U.S.C. 6311, which establishes the agency's legal authority over walk-in coolers and freezers as one type of covered equipment that DOE may regulate, and 42 U.S.C. 6313(f), which requires DOE to conduct a rulemaking to establish performance-based energy conservation standards for this equipment.

Alternatives: The statute requires DOE to conduct rulemakings to review standards and to revise standards to achieve the maximum improvement in energy efficiency that the Secretary determines is technologically feasible Start Printed Page 94542and economically justified. In making this determination, DOE conducts a thorough analysis of the alternative standard levels, including the existing standard, based on the criteria specified by statute.

Anticipated Cost and Benefits: DOE finds that the benefits to the Nation of the proposed energy standards for walk-in coolers and freezers (such as energy savings, consumer average lifecycle cost savings, an increase in national net present value, and emission reductions) outweigh the burdens (such as loss of industry net present value). DOE estimates that energy savings from electricity will be 0.90 quads over 30 years and the net benefit to the Nation will be between $1.8 billion to $4.3 billion.

Risks:

Timetable:

ActionDateFR Cite
NPRM and Notice of Public Meeting09/13/1681 FR 62980
NPRM Comment Period End11/14/16

Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: Yes.

Small Entities Affected: Businesses.

Government Levels Affected: None.

URL for More Information: www1.eere.energy.gov/​buildings/​appliance_​standards/​standards.aspx?​productid=​56&​action=​viewlive.

Agency Contact: John Cymbalsky, Office of Building Technologies Program, EE-5B, Department of Energy, Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, 1000 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20585, Phone: 202 287-1692, Email: john.cymbalsky@ee.doe.gov.

RIN: 1904-AD59

DOE—EE

Final Rule Stage

29. Energy Conservation Standards for Manufactured Housing

Priority: Other Significant.

Legal Authority: 42 U.S.C. 17071

CFR Citation: 10 CFR 460.

Legal Deadline: Final, Statutory, December 19, 2011.

Abstract: Section 413 of EISA requires that DOE establish energy conservation standards for manufactured housing. See 42 U.S.C. 17071(a)(1). DOE is directed to base the energy efficiency standards on the most recent version of the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC), except where DOE finds that the IECC is not cost effective, or a more stringent standard would be more cost effective, based on the impact of the IECC on the purchase price of manufactured housing and on total life-cycle construction and operating costs. DOE undertook a successful negotiated rulemaking under the Appliance Standards and Rulemaking Federal Advisory Committee in accordance with the Federal Advisory Committee Act and the Negotiated Rulemaking Act to negotiate proposed Federal standards for the energy efficiency of manufactured homes. As part of the consensus reached, the negotiating group recommended that DOE conduct additional analysis to inform the selection of solar heat gain coefficient requirements in certain climate zones and seek information regarding window fenestration pertaining to manufactured housing. A request for information was issued on these topics.

Statement of Need: Section 413 of EISA requires that DOE establish energy conservation standards for manufactured housing.

Summary of Legal Basis: Section 413 of EISA requires that DOE establish energy conservation standards for manufactured housing. See 42 U.S.C. 17071(a)(1).

Alternatives: DOE is directed to base the energy conservation standards on the most recent version of the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC), except where DOE finds that the IECC is not cost effective, or a more stringent standard would be more cost effective, based on the impact of the IECC on the purchase price of manufactured housing and on total life-cycle construction and operating costs.

Anticipated Cost and Benefits: DOE finds that the benefits to the Nation of the proposed energy conservation standards for manufactured housing outweigh the burdens. For manufactured housing, DOE estimates that energy savings will be 0.884 quads (Single-section) and 1.428 quads (Multi-section) over 30 years and the net benefit to the Nation will be between $1.26 billion (Single-section) and $2.18 billion (Multi-section) and $4.03 billion (Single-section) and $6.75 billion (Multi-section).

Risks:

Timetable:

ActionDateFR Cite
ANPRM02/22/1075 FR 7556
ANPRM Comment Period End03/24/10
Request for Information06/25/1378 FR 37995
RFI Comment Period End07/25/13
Extension of Term; Notice of Public Meeting10/01/1479 FR 59154
Request for Information02/11/1580 FR 7550
RFI Comment Period End03/13/15
NPRM06/17/1681 FR 39756
NPRM Comment Period End08/16/16
Final Action11/00/16

Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: Undetermined.

Government Levels Affected: None.

URL for More Information: www1.eere.energy.gov/​buildings/​appliance_​standards/​rulemaking.aspx?​ruleid=​97.

URL for Public Comments: www.regulations.gov/​#!docketDetail;​D=​EERE-2009-BT-BC-0021.

Agency Contact: Joseph Hagerman, Office of Building Technologies, EE-2J, Department of Energy, Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, 1000 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20585, Phone: 202 586-4549, Email: joseph.hagerman@ee.doe.gov.

RIN: 1904-AC11

DOE—EE

30. Energy Conservation Standards for Commercial Packaged Boilers

Priority: Economically Significant. Major under 5 U.S.C. 801.

Unfunded Mandates: This action may affect the private sector under Public Law 104-4.

Legal Authority: 42 U.S.C. 6313(a)(6)(C); 42 U.S.C. 6311(11)(B)

CFR Citation: 10 CFR 431.87(B).

Legal Deadline: NPRM, Statutory, July 22, 2015, Either propose rule or determination.

Abstract: EPCA, as amended by AEMTCA, requires the Secretary to determine whether updating the statutory energy conservation standards for commercial packaged boilers is technically feasible and economically justified and would save a significant amount of energy. If justified, the Secretary will issue amended energy conservation standards for such equipment.

Statement of Need: DOE is required to conduct an evaluation of its standards for commercial packaged boilers every 6 years and to publish either a notice of determination that such standards do not need to be amended or a NOPR including proposed amended standards, Start Printed Page 9454342 U.S.C. 6313(a)(6)(C)(i). This rulemaking fulfills that requirement. Accordingly, DOE is proposing amended energy conservation standards for commercial packaged boilers.

Summary of Legal Basis: This rulemaking is being conducted pursuant to DOE's authority under 42 U.S.C. 6313(a)(6)(C)(i).

Alternatives: The statute requires DOE to conduct rulemakings to review standards and to amend standards to achieve the maximum improvement in energy efficiency that the Secretary determines is technologically feasible and economically justified. In making this determination, DOE conducts a thorough analysis of the alternative standard levels, including the existing standard, based on the criteria specified by statute.

Anticipated Cost and Benefits: DOE finds that the benefits to the Nation of the proposed energy conservation standards for commercial packaged boilers (such as energy savings, consumer average lifecycle cost savings, an increase in national net present value, and emission reductions) outweigh the burdens (such as loss of industry net present value). DOE estimates that energy savings will be 0.39 quads over 30 years and the net benefits to the Nation will be between $0.414 billion and $1.687 billion.

Risks:

Timetable:

ActionDateFR Cite
Notice of Proposed Determination (NOPD)08/13/1378 FR 49202
NOPD Comment Period End09/12/13
Notice of Public Meeting and Framework Document Availability09/03/1378 FR 54197
Framework Document Comment Period End10/18/13
Notice of Public Meeting and Preliminary Analysis11/20/1479 FR 69066
Preliminary Analysis Comment Period End01/20/15
Withdrawal of NOPD08/25/1580 FR 51487
NPRM03/24/1681 FR 15836
NPRM Comment Period End05/23/16
NPRM Comment Period Extended05/04/1681 FR 26747
NPRM Comment Period Extended End06/22/16
Final Action12/00/16

Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: Yes.

Small Entities Affected: Businesses.

Government Levels Affected: None.

URL for More Information: www1.eere.energy.gov/​buildings/​appliance_​standards/​rulemaking.aspx/​ruleid/​79.

Agency Contact: James Raba, Office of Building Technologies Program, EE-5B, Department of Energy, Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, 1000 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20585, Phone: 202 586-8654, Email: jim.raba@ee.doe.gov.

RIN: 1904-AD01

DOE—EE

31. Energy Conservation Standards for Commercial Water Heating Equipment

Priority: Economically Significant. Major under 5 U.S.C. 801.

Unfunded Mandates: This action may affect the private sector under Public Law 104-4.

Legal Authority: 42 U.S.C. 6313(a)(6)(C)(i) and (vi)

CFR Citation: 10 CFR 431.

Legal Deadline: NPRM, Statutory, December 31, 2013, Either proposed rule or determination not to amend standards.

Abstract: Once completed, this rulemaking will fulfill DOE's statutory obligation under EPCA to either propose amended energy conservation standards for commercial water heaters, hot water supply boilers, and unfired hot water storage tanks or determine that the existing standards do not need to be amended. DOE must determine whether national standards more stringent than those that are currently in place would result in a significant additional amount of energy savings and whether such amended national standards would be technologically feasible and economically justified.

Statement of Need: DOE is required under 42 U.S.C. 6313(a)(6)(C) to establish performance-based energy conservation standards for commercial water heaters. This rulemaking is being conducted to satisfy that requirement by setting standards related to certain classes of commercial water heating equipment.

Summary of Legal Basis: This rulemaking is being conducted under DOE's authority pursuant to 42 U.S.C. 6311, which establishes the agency's legal authority over water heaters as one type of covered equipment that DOE may regulate, and 42 U.S.C. 6313(a)(6)(C), which requires DOE to conduct a rulemaking to establish performance-based energy conservation Standards for this equipment.

Alternatives: Under EPCA, DOE shall either establish an amended uniform national standard for this equipment at the minimum level specified in the amended ASHRAE/IES Standard 90.1, unless the Secretary determines, by rule published in the Federal Register, and supported by clear and convincing evidence, that adoption of a uniform national standard more stringent than the amended ASHRAE/IES Standard 90.1 for this equipment would result in significant additional conservation of energy and is technologically feasible and economically justified (42 U.S.C. 6313(a)(6)(A)-(C)).

Anticipated Cost and Benefits: DOE finds that the benefits to the Nation of the proposed energy conservation standards for commercial water heating equipment outweighs the burdens. DOE estimates that energy savings for combined natural gas and electricity will be 1.8 quads over 30 years and the net benefit to the Nation will be between $2.26 billion and $6.75 billion.

Risks:

Timetable:

ActionDateFR Cite
Request for Information (RFI)10/21/1479 FR 62899
RFI Comment Period End11/20/14
NPRM05/31/1681 FR 34440
NPRM Comment Period End08/01/16
NPRM Comment Period Reopened08/05/1681 FR 51812
Comment Period End08/30/16
Final Action12/00/16

Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: Yes.

Small Entities Affected: Businesses.

Government Levels Affected: None.

URL for More Information: www1.eere.energy.gov/​buildings/​appliance_​standards/​product.aspx/​productid/​51.

URL for Public Comments: www.regulations.gov/​#!docketDetail;​D=​EERE-2014-BT-STD-0042.

Agency Contact: Ashley Armstrong, General Engineer, EE-5B, Department of Energy, Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, 1000 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20585, Phone: 202 586-6590, Email: ashley.armstrong@ee.doe.gov. Start Printed Page 94544

RIN: 1904-AD34

DOE—EE

32. Energy Conservation Standards for Dedicated-Purpose Pool Pumps

Priority: Economically Significant. Major status under 5 U.S.C. 801 is undetermined.

Unfunded Mandates: Undetermined.

Legal Authority: 42 U.S.C. 6311(1)(A)

CFR Citation: 10 CFR 431.

Legal Deadline: None.

Abstract: Under the Energy Policy and Conservation Act, DOE may set energy conservation standards for types of pumps, including dedicated-purpose pool pumps (42 U.S.C. 3211(1)(A)). On August 8, 2015, DOE announced its intention to establish a negotiated rulemaking working group to negotiate proposed federal standards for dedicated-purpose pool pumps. The working group presented a final term sheet to the Appliance Standards and Rulemaking Advisory Committee (ASRAC) on December 8, 2015.

Statement of Need: Under 42 U.S.C. 6311(a), DOE has established performance-based energy conservation standards for general-purpose pumps and created a separate category for dedicated-purpose pool pumps. DOE is now conducting this rulemaking to set energy conservation standards for dedicated-purpose pool pumps.

Summary of Legal Basis: This rulemaking is being conducted under DOE's authority pursuant to 42 U.S.C. 6311, which establishes the agency's legal authority over pumps as one type of covered equipment that DOE may regulate, and 42 U.S.C. 6311(a), which allows DOE to conduct a rulemaking to establish performance-based energy conservation standards for this equipment.

Alternatives: The statute requires DOE to conduct rulemakings to review standards and to revise standards to achieve the maximum improvement in energy efficiency that the Secretary determines is technologically feasible and economically justified. In making this determination, DOE is conducting a full analysis by evaluating a range of standard levels to determine whether potential standards for dedicated-purpose pool pumps would save energy and whether such standards would be technologically feasible and economically justified.

Anticipated Cost and Benefits: DOE has not yet proposed candidate standard levels for dedicated purpose pool pumps and therefore, cannot provide an estimate of combined aggregated costs and benefits for this action. DOE will, however, in compliance with all applicable law, issue standards that provide the maximum improvement in energy efficiency that is technologically feasible and economically justified.

Risks:

Timetable:

ActionDateFR Cite
Request for information (RFI)05/08/1580 FR 26475
RFI Comment Period End06/22/15
RFI Comment Period Reopened07/02/1580 FR 38032
RFI Comment Period Reopened End08/17/15
Notice of Intent to Start Negotiated Rulemaking Working Group08/25/1580 FR 51483
Notice of Public Meetings for DPPP Working Group10/15/1580 FR 61996
Notice of Public Meetings for DPPP Working Group02/29/1681 FR 10152
Notice of Public Meetings for DPPP Working Group04/18/1681 FR 22548
Direct Final Rule12/00/16

Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: Undetermined.

Government Levels Affected: Undetermined.

Federalism: Undetermined.

URL for More Information: www1.eere.energy.gov/​buildings/​appliance_​standards/​standards.aspx?​productid=​41&​action=​viewlive.

Agency Contact: John Cymbalsky, Office of Building Technologies Program, EE-5B, Department of Energy, Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, 1000 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20585, Phone: 202 287-1692, Email: john.cymbalsky@ee.doe.gov.

RIN: 1904-AD52

DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES

Statement of Regulatory Priorities for Fiscal Year 2017

As the Federal agency with principal responsibility for protecting the health of all Americans and for providing essential human services, especially to those least able to help themselves, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) implements programs that strengthen the health care system; advance scientific knowledge and innovation; and improve the health, safety, and well-being of the American people.

The Department's regulatory priorities for Fiscal Year 2017 reflect this complex mission through planned rulemakings structured to implement the Department's six arcs for implementation of its strategic plan: Leaving the Department Stronger; Keeping People Healthy and Safe; Reducing the Number of Uninsured and Providing Access to Affordable Quality Care; Leading in Science and Innovation; Delivering High Quality Care and Spending Our Health Care Dollars More Wisely; and, Ensuring the Building Blocks for Success at Every Stage of Life. This overview highlights forthcoming rulemakings exemplifying these priorities.

I. Leaving the Department Stronger

The Department's work to improve its efficiency and accountability includes its innovation agenda, program integrity and key human resources initiatives. In particular, the Department plans to issue a final regulation revising administrative appeal procedures for Medicare claims appeals to increase efficiency in the Medicare claims review and appeals process. Additionally, consistent with the President's Executive Order 13563, “Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review,” the Department remains committed to reducing regulatory burden on States, health care providers and suppliers, and other regulated entities by updating current rules to align them with emerging health and safety standards, and by eliminating outdated procedural provisions. A full listing of HHS's retrospective review initiatives can be found at http://www.hhs.gov/​retrospectivereview.

II. Keeping People Healthy and Safe

This HHS strategic priority encompasses the Department's work to enhance health, wellness and prevention; detect and respond to a potential disease outbreak or public health emergency; and prevent the spread of disease across borders.

Preventing and Reducing Tobacco-Related Death and Disease

In 2009, Congress enacted the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, authorizing the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) to regulate the manufacture, marketing, and distribution of tobacco products, to protect the public health and to reduce tobacco use by minors. Over the past Start Printed Page 94545year, FDA finalized the regulation deeming other tobacco products that meet the statutory definition of “tobacco product” to also be subject to the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act). This final regulation, known as the “deeming rule,” affords FDA the authority to regulate additional products which include hookah, electronic cigarettes, cigars, pipe tobacco, other novel tobacco products, and future tobacco products. Over the next year, FDA plans to issue further procedural and substantive augmentation of that landmark regulation, designed to both clarify the regulatory landscape for tobacco products and enhance information available to consumers on the health risks of tobacco use.

Preventing the Spread of Disease Across Borders

Over the next year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) plans to finalize amendments to the foreign and interstate quarantine regulations to more efficiently and effectively respond to communicable disease threats to the public's health. The regulation adds requirements for the collection of passenger and crew information, allows for the public health screening of travelers, and revises and adds relevant definitions.

Drugs and Medical Devices

FDA plans to issue a proposed rule addressing medication guide regulations to require a new form of patient labeling, Patient Medication Information, for submission to and review by FDA for human prescription drug products used, dispensed, or administered on an outpatient basis. The proposed rule would include requirements for Patient Medication Information development, consumer testing, and distribution. The proposed rule would require clear and concise written prescription drug product information presented in a consistent and easily understood format to help patients use their prescription drug products safely and effectively. FDA is also proposing to amend its regulations governing mammography. The amendments would update the Mammography Quality Standards Act of 1992. FDA is taking this action to address changes in mammography technology and mammography processes that have occurred since the regulations were published in 1997 and to address breast density reporting to patient and health care providers.

Improving Substance Use Treatment and Research Opportunities

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is working to finalize changes to 42 CFR 2, the Confidentiality of Substance Use Disorder Patient Records. The part 2 regulation protects the confidentiality of records that are maintained in connection with any federally assisted program or activity related to substance abuse education, prevention, training, treatment, rehabilitation, or research. Under the part 2 statute and current regulations, a federally assisted substance abuse program may only release patient identifying information related to substance abuse treatment services with the individual's written consent; pursuant to a court order; or under a few other limited exceptions. These protections are more stringent than most other privacy laws, including HIPAA. SAMHSA is updating the part 2 rule in order to make it more compatible with new models of integrated care, which are based on information sharing, participation of multiple healthcare providers, and the development of an electronic infrastructure for managing and exchanging patient data. Part 2 has restricted the exchange of some of this data, to the detriment of patient care and research.

III. Reducing the Number of Uninsured and Providing Access to Affordable Quality Care

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) expands access to health insurance through improvements in Medicaid, the establishment of Affordable Insurance Exchanges, and coordination between Medicaid, the Children's Health Insurance Program, and the Exchanges. In implementing the ACA over the next fiscal year, HHS will pursue regulations transforming the way our nation delivers care. This includes creating better ways to pay providers, incentivize quality of care and distribute information to build a health care system that is better, smarter and healthier with an engaged, educated, and empowered consumer at the center.

Streamlining Medicaid Eligibility Determinations

Forthcoming proposed and final rules will bring to completion regulatory provisions that support our efforts to assist states in implementing Medicaid eligibility and enrollment provisions stemming from the Affordable Care Act. These changes provide states more flexibility to coordinate Medicaid and CHIP eligibility notices, appeals, and other related administrative procedures with similar procedures used by the Exchanges.

Updating Organ Donation Authorities

The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) is undertaking a regulation to improve and streamline the process for human organ donation. HRSA is proposing a final rule that clarifies that peripheral blood stem cells are included in the definition of bone marrow under section 30 of the National Organ Transplantation Act of 1984.

IV. Leading in Science and Innovation

HHS continues to expand on early successes of a number of initiatives, including the Precision Medicine Initiative, BRAIN Initiative, and the Vice President's Cancer Moonshot, specifically by updating the rules that govern research with human participants. In particular, HHS plans to finalize revisions to existing rules governing research with human subjects, often referred to as the Common Rule. This rule would apply to institutions and researchers supported by HHS as well as researchers throughout much of the Federal government who are conducting research involving human subjects. The final rule will aim to better protect human subjects while facilitating research, and also reducing burden, delay, and ambiguity for investigators.

Patient-Centered Improvements to Health Technology

HHS plans to undertake regulations designed to enhance both security and interoperability of electronic and other health records to improve access to care. These initiatives include an update to the regulations regarding confidentiality of substance abuse treatment records to align with advances in health information technology (health IT) while maintaining appropriate patient privacy protections.

V. Delivering High Quality Care and Spending Our Health Care Dollars More Wisely

HHS continues work to build a health care delivery system that results in better care, smarter spending, and healthier people by finding better ways to pay providers, deliver care, and distribute information all while keeping the individual patient at the center. In the coming fiscal year, the department will complete a number of regulations to accomplish this strategic objective:

Medicare Payment Rules

Nine Medicare payment rules will be updated to better reflect the current Start Printed Page 94546state of medical practice and to respond to feedback from providers seeking financial predictability and flexibility to better serve patients. In particular, the annual Hospital Inpatient Prospective Payment System for Acute Care Hospitals and the Long-Term Care Hospital Prospective Payment System and FY 2018 Rates proposed rule revises the Medicare hospital inpatient and long-term care hospital prospective payment systems for operating and capital-related costs. This proposed rule would implement changes arising from our continuing experience with these systems.

Improving the 340B Program

HRSA plans to issue two regulations intended to improve transparency and operation of its 340B Drug Pricing Program. These regulations include:

  • 340B Drug Pricing Program Ceiling Price and Manufacturer Civil Monetary Penalties Regulation: HRSA plans to finalize this rule, which defines standards and methodology for the calculation of ceiling process for purposes of the 340B Program and imposes monetary sanctions on drug manufacturers who intentionally charge a covered entity a price above the ceiling price established for the 340B Program; and
  • 340B Drug Pricing Program Omnibus Guidance: This guidance, when finalized, sets forth the responsibilities of 340B covered entities and drug manufacturers to ensure compliance with the statute establishing the 340B Program.

VI. Ensuring the Building Blocks for Success at Every Stage of Life

Over the coming year, the Department will continue its support at critical stages of people's lives, from infancy to old age, and its support of topics including early learning, Alzheimer's and dementia. ACF plans to finalize a regulation making child support program operations and enforcement procedures more efficient by recognizing advancements in technology and the move toward electronic communications and document management. An additional Administration for Children and Families rule, when finalized, amends the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting Systems by modifying requirements for foster care agencies to collect and report data on children in out-of-home care and children under adoption or guardianship agreements with child welfare agencies.

HHS—SUBSTANCE ABUSE AND MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES ADMINISTRATION (SAMHSA)

Final Rule Stage

33. Confidentiality of Substance Use Disorder Patient Records

Priority: Other Significant.

Legal Authority: 42 U.S.C. 290dd-2

CFR Citation: 42 CFR 2.

Legal Deadline: None.

Abstract: The final rule will amend 42 CFR part 2 to update the regulations for the modern health care context with respect to health information technology and new health care models. The goal of this rule is to balance the need for information exchange in new health care models and applications with appropriate privacy protections for those undergoing treatment for substance use disorders. The revisions to the regulations would remain consistent with 42 U.S.C. 290dd-2 (confidentiality of records).

Statement of Need: The last substantive update to these regulations was in 1987. Over the last 29 years, significant changes have occurred within the U.S. health care system that were not envisioned by the current regulations, including new models of integrated care that are built on a foundation of information sharing to support coordination of patient care, the development of an electronic infrastructure for managing and exchanging patient information, and a new focus on performance measurement within the health care system. SAMHSA wants to ensure that patients with substance use disorders have the ability to participate in, and benefit from new integrated health care models without fear of putting themselves at risk of adverse consequences. These new integrated models are foundational to HHS's triple aim of improving health care quality, improving population health, and reducing unnecessary health care costs.

Summary of Legal Basis: The statutory authority for the part 2 regulation is based on 42 U.S.C. 290dd-2, which protects the confidentiality of records with respect to the identity, diagnosis, prognosis, or treatment of any patient records that are maintained in connection with the performance of any federally assisted program or activity relating to substance abuse education, prevention, training, treatment, rehabilitation, or research. [1] Under the part 2 statute and current regulations, a federally assisted substance abuse program may only release patient identifying information related to substance abuse treatment services with the individual's written consent; pursuant to a court order; or under a few other limited exceptions.

Alternatives: Failure to finalize the rule would result in the existing regulations staying in place, with none of the changes proposed being adopted.

Anticipated Cost and Benefits: Over the 10-year period of 2016-2025, the total undiscounted cost of the part 2 changes will be about $241 million in 2016 dollars. When future costs are discounted at 3 percent or 7 percent per year, the total costs become approximately $217,586,000 or $193,098,000, respectively. The benefits would be improvements in the integration and coordination of substance use disorder treatment with the broader health system and improved use of data to inform the development improvement of the substance use disorder treatment system.

Risks: If this rule is not finalized, it will result in significant scrutiny from a variety of stakeholders, who have been pushing for an update to the rule. It would also inhibit integrated care for substance use disorders and prevent the use of some data in research related to substance use disorder treatment at a time when the issue is a key priority to the Department as a result of the opioid crisis.

Timetable:

ActionDateFR Cite
NPRM02/09/1681 FR 6987
NPRM Comment Period End04/11/16
Final Action11/00/16

Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: No.

Small Entities Affected: No.

Government Levels Affected: None.

Agency Contact: Kate Tipping, Public Health Advisor, Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 1 Choke Cherry Road, Rockville, MD 20850, Phone: 240 276-1652.

RIN: 0930-AA21

HHS—CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION (CDC)

Final Rule Stage

34. Control of Communicable Diseases

Priority: Other Significant. Major under 5 U.S.C. 801.

Legal Authority: Sec. 361 of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 264 to 265)

CFR Citation: 42 CFR 70; 42 CFR 71.Start Printed Page 94547

Legal Deadline: None.

Abstract: This rule clarifies data collection requirements for airline passengers and crew, codifies current practice, clarifies HHS/CDC's authority to implement non-invasive public health screenings at U.S. ports of entry and other U.S. locations; and adds appeal provisions for persons served with a Federal public health order (e.g., quarantine) with due process, including clarification of reasons, processes, and reassessments.

Statement of Need: The need for this proposed rulemaking was reinforced during HHS/CDC's response to the largest outbreak of Ebola virus disease (Ebola) on record, followed by the recent outbreak of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) in South Korea, both quarantinable communicable diseases, and repeated outbreaks and responses to measles, a non-quarantinable communicable disease of public health concern, in the United States. The provisions contained within this proposal will enhance HHS/CDC's ability to prevent the further importation and spread of communicable diseases into the United States and interstate by clarifying and providing greater transparency regarding its response capabilities and practices.

Summary of Legal Basis: The primary legal authority supporting this rulemaking is sections 361 and 362 of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 264, 265).

Alternatives: None. The main impact of the proposals within this rule is to strengthen our regulations by codifying statutory language to describe HHS/CDC's authority to prevent the introduction, transmission, and spread of communicable diseases. The intent of these proposed updates is to best protect U.S. public health and to inform the regulated community of these updates.

Anticipated Cost and Benefits: The analysis of estimated costs and benefits of this rule has 4 components: (1) Costs and benefits for submitting passenger and crew information to CDC; (2) costs and benefits associated with improved transparency of how HHS/CDC uses its regulatory authorities to protect public health; (3) transfer payments by HHS/CDC for treatment and care; and (4) the impact of the proposed provision suspending the entry of animals, articles, or things from designated foreign countries and places into the United States.

Risks: If this regulation is not published, HHS/CDC's ability to prevent the further importation and spread of communicable diseases into the United States and interstate will be limited; current regulatory language will not be clarified; and there will be less transparency to the public regarding HHS/CDC's response capabilities and practices.

Timetable:

ActionDateFR Cite
NPRM08/15/1681 FR 54230
NPRM Comment Period End10/14/16
Final Rule12/00/16

Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: No.

Small Entities Affected: No.

Government Levels Affected: Federal.

International Impacts: This regulatory action will be likely to have international trade and investment effects, or otherwise be of international interest.

Agency Contact: Ashley Marrone, Public Health Analyst, Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1600 Clifton Road NE., MS-E03, Atlanta, GA 30329, Phone: 404 498-1600, Email: amarrone@cdc.gov.

RIN: 0920-AA63

HHS—FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION (FDA)

Proposed Rule Stage

35. Mammography Quality Standards Act; Regulatory Amendments

Priority: Other Significant.

Legal Authority: 21 U.S.C. 360i; 21 U.S.C. 360nn; 21 U.S.C. 374(e); 42 U.S.C. 263b

CFR Citation: 21 CFR 900.

Legal Deadline: None.

Abstract: FDA is proposing to amend its regulations governing mammography. The amendments would update the regulations issued under the Mammography Quality Standards Act of 1992 (MQSA). FDA is taking this action to address changes in mammography technology and mammography processes that have occurred since the regulations were published in 1997 and to address breast density reporting to patient and health care providers.

Statement of Need: FDA is proposing to update the mammography regulations that were issued under the Mammography Quality Standards Act of 1992 (MQSA) and the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act). FDA is taking this action to address changes in mammography technology and mammography processes, such as breast density reporting, that have occurred since the regulations were published in 1997.

FDA is also proposing updates to modernize the regulations by incorporating current science and mammography best practices. These updates are intended to improve the delivery of mammography services.

Summary of Legal Basis: Mammography is an X-ray imaging examination device that is regulated under the authority of the FD&C Act. FDA is proposing these amendments to the mammography regulations (set forth in 21 CFR part 900) under section 354 of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 263b), and sections 519, 537, and 704(e) of the FD&C Act (21 U.S.C. 360i, 360nn, and 374(e)).

Alternatives: The Agency will consider different options so that the health benefits to patients are maximized and the economic burdens to mammography facilities are minimized.

Anticipated Cost and Benefits: The primary public health benefits of the rule will come from the potential for earlier breast cancer detection, improved morbidity and mortality, resulting in reductions in cancer treatment costs. The primary costs of the rule will come from industry labor costs and costs associated with supplemental testing and biopsies.

Risks: If a final regulation does not publish, the potential reduction in fatalities and earlier breast cancer detection, resulting in reduction in cancer treatment costs, will not materialize to the detriment of public health

Timetable:

ActionDateFR Cite
NPRM02/00/17

Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: Yes.

Small Entities Affected: Businesses.

Government Levels Affected: State.

Federalism: This action may have federalism implications as defined in E.O. 13132.

Agency Contact: Nancy Pirt, Regulatory Counsel, Department of Health and Human Services, Food and Drug Administration, Center for Devices and Radiological Health, WO 66, Room 4438, 10903 New Hampshire Avenue, Silver Spring, MD 20993, Phone: 301 796-6248, Fax: 301 847-8145, Email: nancy.pirt@fda.hhs.gov.

RIN: 0910-AH04

Start Printed Page 94548

HHS—FDA

36. Patient Medication Information

Priority: Economically Significant. Major status under 5 U.S.C. 801 is undetermined.

Legal Authority: 21 U.S.C. 321 et seq.; 42 U.S.C. 262; 42 U.S.C. 264

CFR Citation: 21 CFR 208; 21 CFR 310.501 and 310.515; 21 CFR 201.57(a)(18); 21 CFR 201.80(f)(2); 21 CFR 314.70(b)(2)(v)(B); 21 CFR 610.60(a)(7); 21 CFR 201.100; . . .

Legal Deadline: None.

Abstract: The proposed rule would amend FDA medication guide regulations to require a new form of patient labeling, Patient Medication Information, for submission to and review by the FDA for human prescription drug products used, dispensed, or administered on an outpatient basis. The proposed rule would include requirements for Patient Medication Information development, consumer testing, and distribution. The proposed rule would require clear and concise written prescription drug product information presented in a consistent and easily understood format to help patients use their prescription drug products safely and effectively.

Statement of Need: Patients may currently receive one or more types of written patient information regarding prescription drug products. That information is frequently duplicative, incomplete, conflicting, or difficult to read and understand and is not sufficient to meet the needs of patients. Patient Medication Information is a new type of one-page Medication Guide that FDA is proposing to require for certain prescription drug products. Patient Medication Information is intended to improve public health by providing clear, concise, accessible, and useful written prescription drug product information, delivered in a consistent and easily understood format, to help patients use prescription drug products safely and effectively and potentially reduce preventable adverse drug reactions and improve health outcomes.

Summary of Legal Basis: FDA's proposed revisions to the regulations regarding format and content requirements for prescription drug labeling are authorized by the FD&C Act (21 U.S.C. 321 et seq.) and by the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 262 and 264).

Risks: The current system does not consistently provide patients with useful written information to help them use their prescription drug products safely and effectively. The proposed rule would require consumer-tested and FDA-approved Patient Medication Information for certain prescription drug products used, dispensed, or administered on an outpatient basis.

Alternatives: FDA evaluated various formats for patient medication information.

Anticipated Cost and Benefits: The monetary benefit of the proposed rule stems from an increase in medication adherence due to patients having more complete information about their prescription drug products. The proposed rule would impose costs that stem from developing, testing, and approving Patient Medication Information.

Risks: The current system does not consistently provide patients with useful written information to help them use their prescription drug products safely and effectively. The proposed rule would require consumer-tested and FDA-approved Patient Medication Information for certain prescription drug products used, dispensed, or administered on an outpatient basis.

Timetable:

ActionDateFR Cite
NPRM02/00/17

Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: Undetermined.

Small Entities Affected: Businesses.

Government Levels Affected: None.

Agency Contact: Elisabeth Walther, Health Policy Analyst, Department of Health and Human Services, Food and Drug Administration, Building 50 Room 6312, 10903 New Hampshire Ave., Silver Spring, MD 20993, Phone: 301 796-3913, Fax: 301 847-3529, Email: elisabeth.walther@fda.hhs.gov.

RIN: 0910-AH33

HHS—HEALTH RESOURCES AND SERVICES ADMINISTRATION (HRSA)

Final Rule Stage

37. 340(B) Civil Monetary Penalties for Manufacturers and Ceiling Price Regulations

Priority: Other Significant.

Legal Authority: Sec. 7102 of the Affordable Care Act; Pub. L. 111-148, amending subsec(d); sec. 340(B) of the PHS Act

CFR Citation: None.

Legal Deadline: Other, Statutory, September 20, 2010, ANPRM met deadline for Civil Monetary Penalties for Manufacturers.

Abstract: This final rule is required under the Affordable Care Act. It amends section 340(B) of the Public Health Service Act to impose monetary sanctions (not to exceed $5,000 per instance) on drug manufacturers who intentionally charge a covered entity a price above the ceiling price established under the procedures of the 340(B) Program and also define standards and methodology for the calculation of ceiling prices for purposes of the 340(B) Program.

Statement of Need: The final rule provides a critical enforcement mechanism for the Department when drug manufacturers intentionally charge a covered entity a price above the ceiling price established under the procedures of the 340B Program. The rule also defines the standards and methodology for the calculation of ceiling prices for purposes of the 340B Program.

Summary of Legal Basis: Sections 340B(d)(1)(B)(vi) and 340B(d)(1)(B)(i)(I) of the Public Health Service Act.

Alternatives: None. This rule implements a statutory requirement.

Anticipated Cost and Benefits: None.

Risks: This final rule enables the Department to meet its statutory obligation under the Affordable Care Act to finalize regulations in these areas, which is expected to enhance the integrity of the 340B Program.

Timetable:

ActionDateFR Cite
ANPRM09/20/1075 FR 57230
ANPRM Comment Period End11/19/10
NPRM06/17/1580 FR 34583
NPRM Comment Period End08/17/15
Final Rule11/00/16

Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: Undetermined.

Government Levels Affected: None.

Agency Contact: CAPT Krista Pedley, Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration, Phone: 301 443-5294, Email: krista.pedley@hrsa.hhs.gov.

Related RIN: Merged with 0906-AA92

RIN: 0906-AA89

HHS—HRSA

38. Definition of Human Organ Under Section 301 of the National Organ Transplant Act of 1984

Priority: Other Significant.

Legal Authority: Pub. L. 109-129; Stem Cell Therapeutic and Research Act of 2005, as amended in 2010 by Pub. L. 111-264

CFR Citation: Not Yet Determined.

Legal Deadline: Final, Statutory, December 18, 2016, Congressional deadline.Start Printed Page 94549

On December 18, 2015, Public Law 114-104 was enacted and required the Secretary to issue a determination no later than December 18, 2016, as to whether peripheral blood stem cells and umbilical cord blood are “human organs” subject to NOTA section 301.

Abstract: This final rule clarifies that peripheral blood stem cells are included in the definition of bone marrow under section 301 of the National Organ Transplantation Act of 1984, as amended and codified in 42 U.S.C. 274e.

Statement of Need:

  • There are currently two methods to collect hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) from a donor: bone marrow aspiration, and apheresis following a drug regimen. In the second category, granulocyte-colony-stimulating factors are administered over 4-5 days to stimulate the donor to produce and release HSCs from the bone marrow into the peripheral (circulating) blood, where they are collected by apheresis in one or two sessions for a total of 8 hours.
  • A panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has held that HSCs collected from peripheral blood are not human organs subject to the prohibition against transfer for valuable consideration established in section 301 of the National Organ Transplant Act of 1984 (NOTA).

Should donors begin to be compensated, that decision creates the potential for disparate compensation practices for HSCs collected by bone marrow aspiration and HSCs collected from peripheral blood. The disparity could lead to fewer donations of HSCs by bone marrow aspiration, despite clear clinical preferences for such HSCs for certain patients and conditions. It could also lead to a foreclosure of access to international donor registries, which continue to provide matched donors for patients in the United States.

Summary of Legal Basis: In 2011, a panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals held that HSCs from peripheral blood are not bone marrow under the prohibition in NOTA section 301. Under this ruling, the transfer of HSCs in bone marrow would be subject to the prohibition in NOTA section 301, while HSCs obtained by mobilizing the donor to release HSCs from the bone marrow into the blood stream so that they may be recovered within days from the donor's peripheral blood would not be subject to the prohibition. The court further observed that, although NOTA section 301 authorized the Secretary to issue a regulation identifying additional human organs subject to that provision, HHS had not yet exercised its authority to identify peripheral blood stem cells as section 301 authorizes. Flynn v. Holder, 684 F.3d 852 (9th Cir. 2012). On December 18, 2015, Public Law 114-104 was enacted, which required the Secretary to issue a determination as to whether peripheral blood stem cells and umbilical cord blood are human organs subject to NOTA section 301 no later than December 18, 2016.

Alternatives:

Anticipated Cost and Benefits: This proposed rule is not expected to have significant cost implications.

Risks: Although the registry for HSC donors administered under statute as the C.W. Bill Young Cell Transplantation Program has continued to advise registrants that they will not be compensated for registering or donating their HSCs, compensation may become more common if we do not complete this rulemaking. The implementation of payment for donors of peripheral blood stem cells could adversely affect the safety of donors who may proceed with donation even when they have concerns about the risks, as well as the safety of patients, if the lure of compensation leads donors to hide information about their communicable disease risks. In addition, it may make donors less willing to donate HSCs by bone marrow aspiration, if by doing so they would forego compensation for donating of peripheral blood stem cells. It could also foreclose access to international donors. Such access is currently provided by reciprocal agreements with foreign registries, which require that donors of HSCs be uncompensated volunteers.

In addition, disapproval of this action would mean that HHS would not meet the December 18, 2016, deadline Congress set for completion. As drafted, the proposed rule elicited a few comments about the inclusion of umbilical cord blood within the scope of the proposed rule. On December 18, 2015, Public Law 114-104 was enacted, which required the Secretary to issue a determination as to whether peripheral blood stem cells and umbilical cord blood are human organs subject to NOTA section 301 no later than December 18, 2016.

Timetable:

ActionDateFR Cite
NPRM10/02/1378 FR 60810
NPRM Comment Period End12/02/13
Final Rule11/00/16

Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: No.

Small Entities Affected: No.

Government Levels Affected: Undetermined.

Agency Contact: Dr. James Bowman, Medical Director, Division of Transplantation, Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration, 5600 Fishers Lane, Room 12C-06, Rockville, MD 20857, Phone: 301 443-4861.

RIN: 0906-AB02

HHS—HRSA

39. 340B Program Omnibus Guidelines

Priority: Other Significant.

Legal Authority: Not Yet Determined

CFR Citation: None.

Legal Deadline: None.

Abstract: This guidance addresses key policy issues raised by stakeholders for which HHS does not have statutory rulemaking authority.

Statement of Need: The Omnibus Guidance addresses key policy issues raised by various stakeholders committed to ensuring the integrity of the 340B Program and assisted covered entities and manufacturers in their ability to satisfy 340B Program requirements and expectations.

Summary of Legal Basis: HHS is interpreting section 340B of the Public Health Service Act and issuing final guidance in critical areas.

Alternatives: None.

Anticipated Cost and Benefits: Some covered entities and manufacturers may increase spending on 340B Program compliance efforts, including assessments of patients eligible for 340B drugs. HRSA does not expect any such costs to be significant.

Risks: Not issuing the final guidance will result in a lack of clarity in some 340B areas.

Timetable:

ActionDateFR Cite
Notice08/28/1580 FR 52300
Notice Comment Period End10/27/15
Final Guidance Action12/00/16

Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: No.

Small Entities Affected: No.

Government Levels Affected: None.

Agency Contact: Krista Pedley, Director, Office of Pharmacy Affairs, Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration, Healthcare Systems Bureau, 5600 Fishers Lane, Rockville, MD 20857, Phone: 301 443-5294, Email: krista.pedley@hrsa.hhs.gov.

RIN: 0906-AB08

Start Printed Page 94550

HHS—OFFICE OF ASSISTANT SECRETARY FOR HEALTH (OASH)

Final Rule Stage

40. Federal Policy for the Protection of Human Subjects; Final Rules

Priority: Economically Significant. Major under 5 U.S.C. 801.

Unfunded Mandates: This action may affect the private sector under PL 104-4.

Legal Authority: 21 U.S.C. 289

CFR Citation: 45 CFR 46.

Legal Deadline: None.

Abstract: The final rules would revise current human subjects regulations in order to strengthen protections for research subjects while facilitating valuable research and reducing burden, delay, and ambiguity for investigators.

Statement of Need: Since the Federal Policy for the Protection of Human Subjects (often referred to as the Common Rule) was promulgated by 15 U.S. Federal departments and agencies in 1991, the volume and landscape of research involving human subjects have changed considerably. Research with human subjects has grown in scale and become more diverse. Examples of developments include: An expansion in the number and type of clinical trials, as well as observational studies and cohort studies; a diversification of the types of social and behavioral research being used in human subjects research; increased use of sophisticated analytic techniques for use with human biospecimens; and the growing use of electronic health data and other digital records to enable very large data sets to be analyzed and combined in novel ways. Yet these developments have not been accompanied by major change in the human subjects research oversight system, which has remained largely unchanged over the last two decades. The proposed revisions are needed to modernize, strengthen, and make more effective the Federal Policy for the Protection of Human Subjects.

Summary of Legal Basis: None.

Alternatives: None.

Anticipated Cost and Benefits: The quantified and non-quantified benefits and costs of all proposed changes to the Common Rule are the following: (1) Over the 2016-2025 period, present value benefits of $2,629 million and annualized benefits of $308 million are estimated using a 3 percent discount rate; and, present value benefits of $2,047 million and annualized benefits of $291 million are estimated using a 7 percent discount rate; (2) present value costs of $13,342 million and annualized costs of $1,564 million are estimated using a 3 percent discount rate; and, present value costs of $9,605 million and annualized costs of $1,367 million are estimated using a 7 percent discount rate.

Risks: If this regulation is not published, the rules overseeing federally funded or conducted human subjects research will not be modernized, strengthened or made more effective.

Timetable:

ActionDateFR Cite
ANPRM07/26/1176 FR 44512
ANPRM Comment Period End10/26/11
NPRM09/08/1580 FR 53931
NPRM Comment Period End12/07/15
Final Action12/00/16

Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: Undetermined.

Government Levels Affected: Undetermined.

Additional Information: Includes Retrospective Review under E.O. 13563.

Agency Contact: Jerry Menikoff, Director, Office for Human Research Protections, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health, Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Assistant Secretary for Health, 200 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20201, Phone: 240 453-6900, Email: jerry.menikoff@hhs.gov.

RIN: 0937-AA02

HHS—CENTERS FOR MEDICARE & MEDICAID SERVICES (CMS)

Proposed Rule Stage

41. Eligibility Notices, Fair Hearing and Appeal Processes for Medicaid, and Other Provisions Related to Eligibility and Enrollment for Medicaid and CHIP (CMS-2334-P2)

Priority: Other Significant.

Legal Authority: 42 U.S.C. 1302; Pub. L. 111-148

CFR Citation: 42 CFR 430; 42 CFR 431; 42 CFR 433; 42 CFR 435; 42 CFR 457.

Legal Deadline: None.

Abstract: This proposed rule proposes to implement provisions of the Medicaid statute pertaining to Medicaid eligibility and appeals. This proposed rule continues our efforts to provide guidance to assist States in implementing Medicaid and CHIP eligibility, appeals, and enrollment changes required by the Affordable Care Act.

Statement of Need: On January 22, 2013, we published a proposed rule entitled “Essential Health Benefits in Alternative Benefit Plans, Eligibility Notices, Fair Hearing and Appeal Processes for Medicaid and Exchange Eligibility Appeals and Other Provisions Related to Eligibility and Enrollment for Exchanges, Medicaid and CHIP, and Medicaid Premiums and Cost Sharing” that proposed changes to provide states more flexibility to coordinate Medicaid and CHIP procedures related to eligibility notices, appeals, and other related administrative actions with similar procedures used by other health coverage programs authorized under the Affordable Care Act. We received a number of public comments on the proposed rule suggesting alternatives that we had not originally considered and did not propose. To give the public the opportunity to comment on those options, we are now proposing revisions related to those comments. In addition, we propose to make other corrections and modifications related to delegations of eligibility determinations and appeals, and appeals procedures. We have developed these proposals through our experiences working with states and Exchanges, and Exchange appeals entities operationalizing fair hearings.

Summary of Legal Basis: The Affordable Care Act extends and simplifies Medicaid eligibility. The rule proposes alternatives not included in the previously published January 22, 2013 proposed rule, based on public comments received.

Alternatives: The majority of Medicaid and CHIP eligibility provisions proposed in this rule serve to implement the Affordable Care Act. Therefore, alternatives considered for this rule were constrained due to the statutory provisions.

Anticipated Cost and Benefits: While states will likely incur short-term increases in administrative costs, we do not anticipate that this proposed rule would have significant financial effects on state Medicaid programs. The extent of these initial costs will depend on current state policy and practices, as many states have already adopted the administrative simplifications addressed in the rule. In addition, the administrative simplifications proposed in this rule may lead to savings as states streamline their fair hearing processes, consistent with the processes used by the Marketplace, and implement timeliness and performance standards.

Risks: None. Delaying publication of this rule delays states from moving forward with implementing changes to Medicaid and CHIP, and aligning operations between Medicaid, CHIP and the Exchanges.

Timetable: Start Printed Page 94551

ActionDateFR Cite
NPRM11/00/16

Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: No.

Government Levels Affected: State.

Agency Contact: Judith Cash, Division Director, Division of Eligibility, Enrollment & Outreach, Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, Center for Medicaid and CHIP Services, Mail Stop S2-01-16, 7500 Security Boulevard, Baltimore, MD 21244, Phone: 410 786-4473, Email: judith.cash@cms.hhs.gov.

Related RIN: Split from 0938-AS27

RIN: 0938-AS55

HHS—CMS

42. • FY 2018 Prospective Payment System and Consolidated Billing For Skilled Nursing Facilities (SNFS) (CMS-1679-P)

Priority: Economically Significant. Major under 5 U.S.C. 801.

Unfunded Mandates: Undetermined.

Legal Authority: 42 U.S.C. 1302; 42 U.S.C. 1395hh

CFR Citation: 42 CFR 483.

Legal Deadline: Final, Statutory, July 31, 2017.

Abstract: This annual proposed rule would update the payment rates used under the prospective payment system for SNFs for fiscal year 2018.

Statement of Need: This proposed rule would update the SNF prospective payment rates as required under the Social Security Act (the Act). The Act requires the Secretary to provide, before the August 1 that precedes the start of each FY, the unadjusted federal per diem rates, the case-mix classification system, and the factors to be applied in making the area wage adjustment.

Summary of Legal Basis: In accordance with sections 1888(e)(4)(E)(ii)(IV) and 1888(e)(5) of the Act, the federal rates in this proposed rule would reflect an update to the rates that we published in the SNF PPS final rule for FY 2017, which reflects the SNF market basket index, as adjusted by the multifactor productivity (MFP) adjustment for FY 2018. These changes would be applicable to services furnished on or after October 1, 2017.

Alternatives: None. This is a statutory requirement.

Anticipated Cost and Benefits: Total expenditures will be adjusted for FY 2018.

Risks: If this regulation is not published timely, SNF services will not be paid appropriately beginning October 1, 2017.

Timetable:

ActionDateFR Cite
NPRM04/00/17

Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: Undetermined.

Government Levels Affected: Undetermined.

Agency Contact: Bill Ullman, Technical Advisor, Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, Center for Medicare, MS: C5-06-27, 7500 Security Boulevard, Baltimore, MD 21244, Phone: 410 786-5667, Fax: 410 786-0765, Email: william.ullman@cms.hhs.gov.

RIN: 0938-AS96

HHS—CMS

43. • FY 2018 Inpatient Psychiatric Facilities Prospective Payment System—Rate Update (CMS-1673-P)

Priority: Economically Significant. Major status under 5 U.S.C. 801 is undetermined.

Legal Authority: 42 U.S.C. 1302; 42 U.S.C. 1395hh

CFR Citation: 42 CFR 412.

Legal Deadline: Final, Statutory, August 1, 2017.

Abstract: This annual proposed rule would update the prospective payment rates for inpatient psychiatric facilities with discharges beginning on October 1, 2017.

Statement of Need: This rule is required to update the prospective payment rates and wage index values for Medicare inpatient hospital services provided by inpatient psychiatric facilities (IPFs), which include freestanding IPFs and psychiatric units of an acute care hospital or critical access hospital.

Summary of Legal Basis: Under section 1886 of the Act, rates are adjusted based on the market basket update. These changes would be applicable to services furnished on or after October 1, 2017.

Alternatives: None. This is a statutory requirement.

Anticipated Cost and Benefits: Total expenditures will be adjusted for FY 2018.

Risks: If this regulation is not published timely, IPFs will not receive accurate Medicare payments for furnishing inpatient psychiatric services to beneficiaries in IPFs in FY 2018.

Timetable:

ActionDateFR Cite
NPRM04/00/17

Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: Undetermined.

Government Levels Affected: Federal, State.

Agency Contact: Jana Lindquist, Director, Division of Chronic Care Management, Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, Center for Medicare, MS: C5-05-27, 7500 Security Boulevard, Baltimore, MD 21244, Phone: 410 786-9374, Email: jana.lindquist@cms.hhs.gov.

RIN: 0938-AS97

HHS—CMS

44. • FY 2018 Inpatient Rehabilitation Facility (IRF) Prospective Payment System (CMS-1671-P)

Priority: Economically Significant. Major under 5 U.S.C. 801.

Unfunded Mandates: Undetermined.

Legal Authority: 42 U.S.C. 1302; 42 U.S.C. 1395hh

CFR Citation: 42 CFR 412.

Legal Deadline: Final, Statutory, August 1, 2017.

Abstract: This annual proposed rule would update the prospective payment rates for inpatient rehabilitation facilities (IRFs) for fiscal year 2018.

Statement of Need: This proposed rule would update the prospective payment rates for IRFs for as required under the Social Security Act (the Act). As required by the Act, this rule includes the classification and weighting factors for the IRF PPS's case-mix groups and a description of the methodologies and data used in computing the prospective payment rates for FY 2018. This rule also proposes revisions and updates to the quality measures and reporting requirements under the IRF QRP.

Summary of Legal Basis: The IRF prospective payment rates are updated as required under section 1886(j)(3)(C) of the Act. It responds to section 1886(j)(5) of the Act, which requires the Secretary to, on or before the August 1 that precedes the start of each fiscal year, publish the classification and weighting factors for the IRF PPS's case-mix groups and a description of the methodology and data used in computing the prospective payment rates for that fiscal year.

Alternatives: None. This is a statutory requirement.

Anticipated Cost and Benefits: Total expenditures will be adjusted for FY 2018.Start Printed Page 94552

Risks: If this regulation is not published timely, IRF services will not be paid appropriately beginning October 1, 2017.

Timetable:

ActionDateFR Cite
NPRM04/00/17

Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: Undetermined.

Government Levels Affected: Undetermined.

Agency Contact: Gwendolyn Johnson, Health Insurance Specialist, Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, Center for Medicare, MS: C5-06-27, 7500 Security Boulevard, Baltimore, MD 21244, Phone: 410 786-6954, Email: gwendolyn.johnson@cms.hhs.gov.

RIN: 0938-AS99

HHS—CMS

45. • FY 2018 Hospice Rate Update (CMS-1675-P)

Priority: Economically Significant. Major under 5 U.S.C. 801.

Unfunded Mandates: Undetermined.

Legal Authority: 42 U.S.C. 1302

CFR Citation: 42 CFR 418.

Legal Deadline: Final, Statutory, August 1, 2017.

Abstract: This annual proposed rule would update the hospice payment rates and the wage index for fiscal year 2018.

Statement of Need: We are required to annually issue the hospice wage index based on the most current available CMS hospital wage data, including any changes to the definitions of Core-Based Statistical Areas (CBSAs) or previously used Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs).

Summary of Legal Basis: This rule proposes updates to the hospice payment rates for fiscal year as required under section 1814(i) of the Social Security Act (the Act). This rule also proposes new quality measures and provides an update on the hospice quality reporting program (HQRP) consistent with the requirements of section 1814(i)(5) of the Act, as added by section 3004(c) of the Affordable Care Act.

Alternatives: None. This is a statutory requirement.

Anticipated Cost and Benefits: Total expenditures will be adjusted for FY 2018.

Risks: If this regulation is not published timely, Hospice services will not be paid appropriately beginning October 1, 2017.

Timetable:

ActionDateFR Cite
NPRM04/00/17

Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: Undetermined.

Government Levels Affected: Undetermined.

Agency Contact: Hillary Loeffler, Director, Division of Home Health and Hospice, Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, Center for Medicare, MS: C5-07-22, 7500 Security Boulevard, Baltimore, MD 21244, Phone: 410 786-0456, Email: hillary.loeffler@cms.hhs.gov.

RIN: 0938-AT00

HHS—CMS

46. • CY 2018 Hospital Outpatient PPS Policy Changes and Payment Rates and Ambulatory Surgical Center Payment System Policy Changes and Payment Rates (CMS-1678-P) (Section 610 Review)

Priority: Economically Significant. Major under 5 U.S.C. 801.

Unfunded Mandates: Undetermined.

Legal Authority: 42 U.S.C. 1302; 42 U.S.C. 1395hh

CFR Citation: 42 CFR 416; 42 CFR 419.

Legal Deadline: Final, Statutory, November 1, 2017.

Abstract: This annual proposed rule would revise the Medicare hospital outpatient prospective payment system to implement statutory requirements and changes arising from our continuing experience with this system. The proposed rule describes changes to the amounts and factors used to determine payment rates for services. In addition, the rule proposes changes to the ambulatory surgical center payment system list of services and rates.

Statement of Need: Medicare pays over 4,000 hospitals for outpatient department services under the hospital outpatient prospective payment system (OPPS). The OPPS is based on groups of clinically similar services called ambulatory payment classification groups (APCs). CMS annually revises the APC payment amounts based on the most recent claims data, proposes new payment policies, and updates the payments for inflation using the hospital operating market basket. Medicare pays roughly 5,000 Ambulatory Surgical Centers (ASCs) under the ASC payment system. CMS annually revises the payment under the ASC payment system, proposes new policies, and updates payments for inflation. CMS will issue a final rule containing the payment rates for the 2018 OPPS and ASC payment system at least 60 days before January 1, 2018.

Summary of Legal Basis: Section 1833 of the Social Security Act establishes Medicare payment for hospital outpatient services and ASC services. The rule revises the Medicare hospital OPPS and ASC payment system to implement applicable statutory requirements. In addition, the rule describes changes to the outpatient APC system, relative payment weights, outlier adjustments, and other amounts and factors used to determine the payment rates for Medicare hospital outpatient services paid under the prospective payment system as well as changes to the rates and services paid under the ASC payment system. These changes would be applicable to services furnished on or after January 1, 2018.

Alternatives: None. This is a statutory requirement.

Anticipated Cost and Benefits: Total expenditures will be adjusted for CY 2018.

Risks: If this regulation is not published timely, outpatient hospital and ASC services will not be paid appropriately beginning January 1, 2018.

Timetable:

ActionDateFR Cite
NPRM06/00/17

Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: Yes.

Small Entities Affected: Businesses.

Government Levels Affected: Undetermined.

Agency Contact: Lela Strong, Health Insurance Specialist, Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, Center for Medicare, MS: C4-05-13, 7500 Security Boulevard, Baltimore, MD 21244, Phone: 410 786-3213, Email: lela.strong@cms.hhs.gov.

RIN: 0938-AT03

HHS—CMS

47. • CY 2018 Changes to the End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) Prospective Payment System, Quality Incentive Program, and Durable Medical Equipment, Prosthetics, Orthotics, and Supplies (DMEPOS) (CMS-1674-P)

Priority: Economically Significant. Major under 5 U.S.C. 801.

Unfunded Mandates: Undetermined.

Legal Authority: 42 U.S.C. 1302; 42 U.S.C. 1395d(d); 42 U.S.C. 1395f(b); 42 U.S.C. 1395g; . . .Start Printed Page 94553

CFR Citation: 42 CFR 413.

Legal Deadline: Final, Statutory, November 1, 2017.

Abstract: This annual proposed rule would update the bundled payment system for ESRD facilities by January 1, 2018. The rule would also update the quality incentives in the ESRD program and implement changes to the DMEPOS competitive bidding program.

Statement of Need: On January 1, 2011, CMS implemented the ESRD prospective payment system (PPS), a case-mix adjusted, bundled prospective payment system for renal dialysis services furnished by ESRD facilities. Annually, we update and make revisions to the ESRD PPS and requirements for the ESRD Quality Incentive Program (QIP). The ESRD QIP is the most recent step in fostering improved patient outcomes by establishing incentives for dialysis facilities to meet or exceed performance standards established by CMS. Additionally, we annually adjust the methodology for adjusting DMEPOS fee schedule amounts.

Summary of Legal Basis: Section 1881(b)(14) of the Social Security Act (the Act), as added by section 153(b) of the Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act of 2008 (MIPPA) (Public Law 110-275), and section 1881(b)(14)(F) of the Act, as added by section 153(b) of MIPPA and amended by section 3401(h) of the Affordable Care Act Public Law 111-148), established that beginning CY 2012, and each subsequent year, the Secretary will annually increase payment amounts by an ESRD market basket increase factor, reduced by the productivity adjustment described in section 1886(b)(3)(B)(xi)(II) of the Act. Additionally, the QIP program is authorized under section 1881(h) of the Social Security Act (the Act).

Alternatives: None. This is a statutory requirement.

Anticipated Cost and Benefits: Total expenditures will be adjusted for CY 2018.

Risks: If this regulation is not published timely, ESRD facilities will not receive accurate Medicare payment amounts for furnishing outpatient maintenance dialysis treatments beginning January 1, 2018.

Timetable:

ActionDateFR Cite
NPRM06/00/17

Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: Undetermined.

Government Levels Affected: Undetermined.

Agency Contact: Michelle Cruse, Health Insurance Specialist, Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, Center for Medicare, MS: C5-05-27, 7500 Security Boulevard, Baltimore, MD 21244.

Phone: 410 786-7540.

Email: michelle.cruse@cms.hhs.gov.

RIN: 0938-AT04

HHS—CMS

Final Rule Stage

48. Eligibility Notices, Fair Hearing and Appeal Processes for Medicaid, and Other Provisions Related to Eligibility and Enrollment for Medicaid and CHIP (CMS-2334-F2)

Priority: Economically Significant. Major under 5 U.S.C. 801.

Legal Authority: Pub. L. 111-148, secs 1411, 1413, 1557, 1943, 2102, 2201, 2004, 2303, et al.

CFR Citation: 42 CFR 430; 42 CFR 431; 42 CFR 433; 42 CFR 435; 42 CFR 457.

Legal Deadline: None.

Abstract: This final rule implements provisions of the Affordable Care Act that expand access to health coverage through improvements in Medicaid and coordination between Medicaid, Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and Exchanges. This rule finalizes the remaining provisions from the Medicaid, Children's Health Insurance Programs, and Exchanges: Essential Health Benefits in Alternative Benefit Plans, Eligibility Notices, Fair Hearing and Appeal Processes for Medicaid and Exchange Eligibility Appeals and Other Provisions Related to Eligibility and Enrollment for Exchanges, Medicaid and CHIP, and Medicaid Premiums and Cost Sharing; Proposed Rule that we published in the January 22, 2013, Federal Register. This final rule continues our efforts to provide guidance to assist States in implementing Medicaid and CHIP eligibility, appeals, and enrollment changes required by the Affordable Care Act.

Statement of Need: This final rule will implement provisions of the Affordable Care Act and the Children's Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2009 (CHIPRA). This rule reflects new statutory eligibility provisions; changes to provide States more flexibility to coordinate Medicaid and CHIP eligibility notices, appeals, and other related administrative procedures with similar procedures used by other health coverage programs authorized under the Affordable Care Act; modernizes and streamlines existing rules, eliminates obsolete rules, and updates provisions to reflect Medicaid eligibility pathways; implements other CHIPRA eligibility-related provisions, including eligibility for newborns whose mothers were eligible for and receiving Medicaid or CHIP coverage at the time of birth. With publication of this final rule, we desire to make our implementing regulations available to States and the public as soon as possible to facilitate continued efficient operation of the State flexibility authorized under section 1937 of the Act.

Summary of Legal Basis: The Affordable Care Act extends and simplifies Medicaid eligibility. In the July 15, 2013, Federal Register, we issued the “Medicaid and Children's Health Insurance Programs: Essential Health Benefits in Alternative Benefit Plans, Eligibility Notices, Fair Hearing and Appeal Processes, and Premiums and Cost Sharing; Exchanges: Eligibility and Enrollment” final rule that finalized certain key Medicaid and CHIP eligibility provisions included in the January 22, 2013, proposed rule. In this final rule, we are addressing the remaining provisions of the January 22, 2013, proposed rule.

Alternatives: The majority of Medicaid and CHIP eligibility provisions proposed in this rule serve to implement the Affordable Care Act. All of the provisions in this final rule are a result of the passage of the Affordable Care Act and are largely self-implementing. Therefore, alternatives considered for this final rule were constrained due to the statutory provisions.

Anticipated Cost and Benefits: The March 23, 2012, Medicaid eligibility final rule detailed the impact of the Medicaid eligibility changes related to implementation of the Affordable Care Act. The majority of provisions included in this final rule were described in detail in that rule, but in summary, we estimate a total savings of $465 million over 5 years, including $280 million in cost savings to the Federal Government and $185 million in savings to States.

Risks: None. Delaying publication of this final rule delays States from moving forward with implementing changes to Medicaid and CHIP, and aligning operations between Medicaid, CHIP, and the Exchanges.

Timetable:

ActionDateFR Cite
Final Action11/00/16
Start Printed Page 94554

Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: No.

Small Entities Affected: No.

Government Levels Affected: Federal, Local, State, Tribal.

Agency Contact: Sarah DeLone, Health Insurance Specialist, Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, Mail Stop S2-01-16, 7500 Security Boulevard, Baltimore, MD 21244, Phone: 410 786-0615, Email: sarah.delone@cms.hhs.gov.

Related RIN: Related to 0938-AR04

RIN: 0938-AS27

HHS—CMS

49. CY 2017 Inpatient Hospital Deductible and Hospital and Extended Care Services Coinsurance Amounts (CMS-8062-N)

Priority: Economically Significant. Major under 5 U.S.C. 801.

Legal Authority: 42 U.S.C. 1395e-2(b)(2); Social Security Act, sec. 1813(b)(2)

CFR Citation: None.

Legal Deadline: Final, Statutory, September 15, 2016.

Abstract: This annual notice announces the inpatient hospital deductible and the hospital and extended care services coinsurance amounts for services furnished in calendar year 2017 under Medicare's Hospital Insurance program (Medicare Part A). The Medicare statute specifies the formula used to determine these amounts.

Statement of Need: The Social Security Act (the Act) requires the Secretary to publish annually the amounts of the inpatient hospital deductible and hospital and extended care services coinsurance applicable for services furnished in the following CY.

Summary of Legal Basis: Section 1813 of the Act provides for an inpatient hospital deductible to be subtracted from the amount payable by Medicare for inpatient hospital services furnished to a beneficiary. It also provides for certain coinsurance amounts to be subtracted from the amounts payable by Medicare for inpatient hospital and extended care services. Section 1813(b)(2) of the Act requires us to determine and publish each year the amount of the inpatient hospital deductible and the hospital and extended care services coinsurance amounts applicable for services furnished in the following calendar year (CY).

Alternatives: None. This notice implements a statutory requirement.

Anticipated Cost and Benefits: Total costs will be adjusted for CY 2017.

Risks: None. Notice informs the public of the 2017 premium.

Timetable:

ActionDateFR Cite
Final Action11/00/16

Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: No.

Small Entities Affected: No.

Government Levels Affected: None.

Agency Contact: Clare McFarland, Deputy Director, Medicare and Medicaid Cost Estimates Group, Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, Office of the Actuary, MS: N3-26-00, 7500 Security Boulevard, Baltimore, MD 21244, Phone: 410 786-6390, Email: clare.mcfarland@cms.hhs.gov.

RIN: 0938-AS70

HHS—CMS

50. • CY 2018 Inpatient Hospital Deductible and Hospital and Extended Care Services Coinsurance Amounts (CMS-8065-N)

Priority: Economically Significant. Major under 5 U.S.C. 801.

Legal Authority: 42 U.S.C. 1395e-2(b)(2); Social Security Act, sec. 1813 (b)(2)

CFR Citation: None.

Legal Deadline: Final, Statutory, September 15, 2017.

Abstract: This annual notice announces the inpatient hospital deductible and the hospital and extended care services coinsurance amounts for services furnished in calendar year 2018 under Medicare's Hospital Insurance program (Medicare Part A). The Medicare statute specifies the formula used to determine these amounts.

Statement of Need: The Social Security Act (the Act) requires the Secretary to publish, in September each year, the amounts of the inpatient hospital deductible and hospital and extended care services coinsurance applicable for services furnished in the following CY.

Summary of Legal Basis: Section 1813 of the Act provides for an inpatient hospital deductible to be subtracted from the amount payable by Medicare for inpatient hospital services furnished to a beneficiary. It also provides for certain coinsurance amounts to be subtracted from the amounts payable by Medicare for inpatient hospital and extended care services. Section 1813(b)(2) of the Act requires us to determine and publish each year the amount of the inpatient hospital deductible and the hospital and extended care services coinsurance amounts applicable for services furnished in the following calendar year (CY).

Alternatives: None. This notice implements a statutory requirement.

Anticipated Cost and Benefits: Total costs will be adjusted for CY 2018.

Risks: None. Notice informs the public of the 2018 premium.

Timetable:

ActionDateFR Cite
Final Action09/00/17

Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: No.

Government Levels Affected: None.

Agency Contact: Clare McFarland, Deputy Director, Medicare and Medicaid Cost Estimates Group, Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, Office of the Actuary, MS: N3-26-00, 7500 Security Boulevard, Baltimore, MD 21244, Phone: 410 786-6390, Email: clare.mcfarland@cms.hhs.gov.

RIN: 0938-AT05

HHS—ADMINISTRATION FOR CHILDREN AND FAMILIES (ACF)

Final Rule Stage

51. Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS)

Priority: Other Significant.

Legal Authority: 42 U.S.C. 620 et seq.; 42 U.S.C. 670 et seq.; 42 U.S.C. 1302

CFR Citation: 45 CFR 1355.

Legal Deadline: None.

Abstract: This rule will amend the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting Systems (AFCARS). It will modify requirements for title IV-E foster care agencies to collect and report data on children in out-of-home care and children under title IV-E adoption or guardianship agreements with the title IV-E agency.

Statement of Need: This rule will amend the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting Systems (AFCARS). It will modify requirements for title IV-E foster care agencies to collect and report data on children in out-of-home care and children under title IV-E adoption or guardianship agreements with the title IV-E agency.

Summary of Legal Basis: Section 479 of the Social Security Act (the Act) mandates HHS regulate a data collection Start Printed Page 94555system for national adoption and foster care data. Section 474(f) of the Act requires HHS to impose penalties for non-compliant AFCARS data. Section 1102 of the Act instructs the Secretary to promulgate regulations necessary for the effective administration of the functions for which HHS is responsible under the Act.

Alternatives:

1. ACF considered whether other existing data sets could yield similar information. ACF determined that AFCARS is the only comprehensive case-level data set on the incidence and experiences of children who are in out-of-home care under the placement and care of the title IV-E agency or who are adopted under a title IV-E adoption assistance agreement.

2. We also received state comments to the 2016 SNPRM citing they have few Indian children in foster care, if any. ACF considered alternatives to collecting ICWA-related data through AFCARS, such as providing an exemption from reporting but alternative approaches are not feasible due to:

  • AFCARS data must be comprehensive per section 479(c)(3) of the Act and exempting some states from reporting the ICWA-related data elements is not consistent with this statutory mandate, and would render it difficult to use this data for development of national policies.
  • Section 474(f) of the Act provides for mandatory penalties on the title IVE agency for non-compliance on AFCARS data that is based on the total amount expended by the title IV-E agency for administration of foster care activities. Therefore, we are not authorized to permit some states to be subject to a penalty and not others. In addition, allowing states an alternate submission process would complicate and/or prevent the assessment of penalties per 1355.47, including penalties for failure to submit data files free of cross-file errors, missing, invalid, or internally inconsistent data, or tardy transactions for each data element of applicable records.

Anticipated Cost and Benefits: We estimate that costs for the final rule will be approximately $36 million. Benefits are that we will have an updated AFCARS regulation for the first time since 1993 and we will have national data on Indian children as defined in ICWA.

Risks: If we do not implement this final rule, agencies will continue to report information to AFCARS that is not up to date with revisions to the statute over the years. Further, without regulations, we are unable to implement the statutory penalty provisions. In addition, we will not collect comprehensive national data on the status of American Indian/Alaska Native children to whom the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) applies and historical data on children in foster care. We can expect criticisms from federally recognized Indian tribes and other stakeholders that the absence of ICWA data prevents understanding both how ICWA is implemented and how to address and reduce the disproportionate number of American Indian/Alaska Native children in foster care nationally.

Timetable:

ActionDateFR Cite
NPRM02/09/1580 FR 7131
NPRM Comment Period End04/10/15
Final Action12/00/16

Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: No.

Small Entities Affected: No.

Government Levels Affected: State, Tribal.

Agency Contact: Joe Bock, Deputy Associate Commissioner, CB, Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, 330 C Street SW., Washington, DC 20201, Phone: 202 205-8618, Email: jbock@acf.hhs.gov.

RIN: 0970-AC47

HHS—ACF

52. Flexibility, Efficiency, and Modernization of Child Support Enforcement Programs

Priority: Other Significant.

Legal Authority: Sec. 1102 of the Social Security Act

CFR Citation: 45 CFR 301 to 305; 45 CFR 307.

Legal Deadline: None.

Abstract: This regulation will make child support program operations and enforcement procedures more flexible and more efficient by recognizing advancements in technology and the move toward electronic communications and document management. The regulation will improve and simplify program operations, remove outmoded limitations to program innovation to better serve families, and clarify and correct technical provisions in existing regulations.

Statement of Need: This regulation will make child support program operations and enforcement procedures more flexible and more efficient by recognizing advancements in technology and the move toward electronic communications and document management. The regulation will improve and simplify program operations, remove outmoded limitations to program innovation to better serve families, and clarify and correct technical provisions in existing regulations.

Summary of Legal Basis: This final rule is published under the authority granted to the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services by section 1102 of the Social Security Act (Act), 42 U.S.C. 1302. Section 1102 of the Act authorizes the Secretary to publish regulations, not inconsistent with the Act, which may be necessary for the efficient administration of the functions for which the Secretary is responsible under the Act.

Additionally, the Secretary has authority under section 452(a)(1) of the Act to establish such standards for State programs for locating noncustodial parents, establishing paternity, and obtaining child support as he[she] determines to be necessary to assure that such programs will be effective. Rules promulgated under section 452(a)(1) must meet two conditions. First, the Secretary's designee must find that the rule meets one of the statutory objectives of locating noncustodial parents, establishing paternity, and obtaining child support. Second, the Secretary's designee must determine that the rule is necessary to assure that such programs will be effective.

Section 454(13) requires a State plan to provide that the State will comply with such other requirements and standards as the Secretary determines to be necessary to the establishment of an effective program for locating noncustodial parents, establishing paternity, obtaining support orders, and collecting support payments and provide that information requests by parents who are residents of other States be treated with the same priority as requests by parents who are residents of the State submitting the plan.

Alternatives: None.

Anticipated Cost and Benefits: While there are some costs associated with these regulations, they are not economically significant as defined under E.O. 12866. However, the regulation is significant and has been reviewed by OMB.

An area with associated Federal costs is modifying the child support statewide automated system for onetime system enhancements to accommodate new requirements such as notices, applications, and identifying noncustodial parents receiving SSI. This Start Printed Page 94556has a cost of approximate $26,484,000. There is a cost of $26,460,000 to modify statewide IVD systems for the 54 States or Territories at a cost of $100 an hour (with an assumption that 27 States will implement the optional requirements). A cost of $35,044 is designated to CMS' costs for State plan amendments and cooperative agreements. Another area associated with Federal costs is that of job services. We allow FFP for certain job services for noncustodial parents responsible for paying child support. The estimated total average annual net cost (over the first five years) of the job services proposal is $26,096,596 with $18,592,939 as the Federal cost. Thus, the total net cost of the final rule is $52,591,640, and the total Federal costs is $36,074,061. These regulations will improve the delivery of child support services, support the efforts of noncustodial parents to provide for their children, and improve the efficiency of operations.

Risks:

Timetable:

ActionDateFR Cite
Final Action12/00/16

Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: No.

Small Entities Affected: No.

Government Levels Affected: Federal, Local, State.

Additional Information: Includes Retrospective Review under E.O. 13563.

Agency Contact: Yvette Riddick, Director, Division of Policy, OCSE, Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, 330 C Street SW., Washington, DC 20201, Phone: 202 401-4885, Email: yvette.riddick@acf.hhs.gov.

RIN: 0970-AC50.

DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY (DHS)

Fall 2016 Statement of Regulatory Priorities

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS or Department) was created in 2003 pursuant to the Homeland Security Act of 2002, Public Law 107-296. The DHS mission statement provides the following: “With honor and integrity, we will safeguard the American people, our homeland, and our values.” Fulfilling this mission requires the dedication of more than 225,000 employees in jobs that range from aviation and border security to emergency response, from cybersecurity analyst to chemical facility inspector. Our duties are wide-ranging, but our goal is clear—keeping America safe.

Leading a unified national effort, DHS has five core missions: (1) Prevent terrorism and enhance security, (2) secure and manage our borders, (3) enforce and administer our immigration laws, (4) safeguard and secure cyberspace, and (5) ensure resilience to disasters. In addition, we must specifically focus on maturing and strengthening the homeland security enterprise itself.

In achieving these goals, we are continually strengthening our partnerships with communities, first responders, law enforcement, and Government agencies—at the State, local, tribal, Federal, and international levels. We are accelerating the deployment of science, technology, and innovation in order to make America more secure, and we are becoming leaner, smarter, and more efficient, ensuring that every security resource is used as effectively as possible. For a further discussion of our mission, see the DHS Web site at http://www.dhs.gov/​our-mission.

The regulations we have summarized below in the Department's fall 2016 regulatory plan and agenda support the Department's responsibility areas. These regulations will improve the Department's ability to accomplish its mission. Also, the regulations we have identified in this year's regulatory plan continue to address legislative initiatives such as the Implementing Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Act of 2007 (9/11 Act), Public Law 110-53 (Aug. 3, 2007).

DHS strives for organizational excellence and uses a centralized and unified approach in managing its regulatory resources. The Office of the General Counsel manages the Department's regulatory program, including the agenda and regulatory plan. In addition, DHS senior leadership reviews each significant regulatory project to ensure that the project fosters and supports the Department's mission.

The Department is committed to ensuring that all of its regulatory initiatives are aligned with its guiding principles to protect civil rights and civil liberties, integrate our actions, build coalitions and partnerships, develop human resources, innovate, and be accountable to the American public.

DHS is also committed to the principles described in Executive Orders 13563 and 12866 (as amended). Both Executive orders direct agencies to assess the costs and benefits of available regulatory alternatives and, if regulation is necessary, to select regulatory approaches that maximize net benefits (including potential economic, environmental, public health and safety effects, distributive impacts, and equity). Executive Order 13563 emphasizes the importance of quantifying both costs and benefits, of reducing costs, of harmonizing rules, and of promoting flexibility.

Finally, the Department values public involvement in the development of its regulatory plan, agenda, and regulations, and takes particular concern with the impact its regulations have on small businesses. DHS and its components continue to emphasize the use of plain language in our regulatory documents to promote a better understanding of regulations and to promote increased public participation in the Department's regulations.

Retrospective Review of Existing Regulations

Pursuant to Executive Order 13563 “Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review” (Jan. 18, 2011), DHS identified the following regulatory actions as associated with retrospective review and analysis. Some of the regulatory actions on the below list may be completed actions, which do not appear in the regulatory plan. You can find more information about these completed rulemakings in past publications of the agenda (search the Completed Actions sections) on www.reginfo.gov. Some of the entries on this list, however, are active rulemakings. You can find entries for these rulemakings on www.regulations.gov.

RINRule
1615-AB95Immigration Benefits Business Transformation, Increment II; Nonimmigrants Classes.
1615-AC00Enhancing Opportunities for H-1B1, CW-1, and E-3 Nonimmigrants and EB-1 Immigrants.
1615-AC03Expansion of Provisional Unlawful Presence Waivers of Inadmissibility.
1625-AB80Revision to Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) Requirements for Mariners.
1625-AC15Seafarers' Access to Maritime Facilities.
1651-AA96Definition of Form I-94 to Include Electronic Format.
Start Printed Page 94557
1651-AB05Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Procedures.

Promoting International Regulatory Cooperation

Pursuant to sections 3 and 4(b) of Executive Order 13609 “Promoting International Regulatory Cooperation” (May 1, 2012), DHS identified the following regulatory actions that have significant international impacts. Some of the regulatory actions on the below list may be completed actions. You can find more information about these completed rulemakings in past publications of the agenda (search the Completed Actions sections) on www.reginfo.gov. Some of the entries on this list, however, are active rulemakings. You can find entries for these rulemakings on www.regulations.gov.

RINRule
1625-AB38Updates to Maritime Security.
1651-AA70Importer Security Filing and Additional Carrier Requirements.
1651-AA98Amendments to Importer Security Filing and Additional Carrier Requirements.
1651-AA96Definition of Form I-94 to Include Electronic Format.

DHS participates in some international regulatory cooperation activities that are reasonably anticipated to lead to significant regulations. For example, the U.S. Coast Guard is the primary U.S. representative to the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and plays a major leadership role in establishing international standards in the global maritime community. IMO's work to establish international standards for maritime safety, security, and environmental protection closely aligns with the U.S. Coast Guard regulations. As an IMO member nation, the U.S. is obliged to incorporate IMO treaty provisions not already part of U.S. domestic policy into regulations for those vessels affected by the international standards. Consequently, the U.S. Coast Guard initiates rulemakings to harmonize with IMO international standards such as treaty provisions and the codes, conventions, resolutions, and circulars that supplement them.

Also, President Obama and Prime Minister Harper created the Canada-U.S. Regulatory Cooperation Council (RCC) in February 2011. The RCC is an initiative between both Federal Governments aimed at pursuing greater alignment in regulation, increasing mutual recognition of regulatory practices and establishing smarter, more effective, and less burdensome regulations in specific sectors. The Canada-U.S. RCC initiative arose out of the recognition that high level, focused, and sustained effort would be required to reach a more substantive level of regulatory cooperation. Since its creation in early 2011, the U.S. Coast Guard has participated in stakeholder consultations with their Transport Canada counterparts and the public, drafted items for inclusion in the RCC Action Plan, and detailed work plans for each included Action Plan item.

The fall 2016 regulatory plan for DHS includes regulations from several DHS components, including U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the U.S. Coast Guard (Coast Guard), U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the National Protection and Programs Directorate (NPPD), and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). Below is a discussion of the regulations that comprise the DHS fall 2016 regulatory plan.

United States Citizenship and Immigration Services

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) administers immigration benefits and services while protecting and securing our homeland. USCIS has a strong commitment to welcoming individuals who seek entry through the U.S. immigration system, providing clear and useful information regarding the immigration process, promoting the values of citizenship, and assisting those in need of humanitarian protection. In the coming year, USCIS will promulgate several regulations that directly support these commitments and goals.

Regulations To Facilitate Innovation and Employment Creation

International Entrepreneurs. USCIS has proposed to establish a program that would allow for consideration of parole into the United States, on case-by-case basis, of certain inventors, researchers, and entrepreneurs who will establish a U.S. start-up entity, and who have been awarded substantial U.S. investor financing or otherwise hold the promise of innovation and job creation through the development of new technologies or the pursuit of cutting edge research. Based on investment, job-creation, and other factors, the entrepreneur may be eligible for temporary parole. Upon reviewing the public comments received in response to the notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM), USCIS will develop a final rule.

Employment Creation (EB-5) Immigrant Regulations DHS will propose to amend its regulations governing the employment-based, fifth preference (EB-5) immigrant investor category and EB-5 regional centers to modernize the EB-5 program based on current economic realities and to reflect statutory changes made to the program. DHS will propose to update the regulations to include the following areas: Priority date retention, increases to the required investment amounts, revision of the Targeted Employment Area requirements, clarification of the regional center designation and continued program participation requirements, and further definition of grounds for terminating regional centers.

Improvements to the Immigration System

Requirements for Filing Motions and Administrative Appeals. USCIS will propose to revise the procedural regulations governing appeals and motions to reopen or reconsider before its Administrative Appeals Office. The rule will also propose to require that applicants and petitioners exhaust administrative remedies before seeking judicial review of an unfavorable decision. This rule will streamline the procedures before the Administrative Appeals Office and improve the efficiency of the adjudication process.Start Printed Page 94558

Regulatory Changes Involving Humanitarian Benefits

“T” and “U” Nonimmigrants. USCIS is working on regulatory initiatives related to T nonimmigrants (victims of trafficking) and U nonimmigrants (victims of criminal activity). Through these initiatives, USCIS hopes to provide greater consistency in eligibility, application, and procedural requirements for these vulnerable groups, their advocates, and the community. These regulations will contain provisions to adjust documentary requirements for this vulnerable population and provide greater clarity to the law enforcement community.

Special Immigrant Juvenile Petitions. This final rule makes procedural changes and resolves interpretive issues following the amendments mandated by Congress. It will enable child aliens who have been abused, neglected, or abandoned and placed under the jurisdiction of a juvenile court or placed with an individual or entity, to obtain classification as Special Immigrant Juvenile. Such classification can regularize immigration status for these aliens and allow for adjustment of status to lawful permanent resident.

United States Coast Guard

The U.S. Coast Guard (Coast Guard) is a military, multi-mission, maritime service of the United States and the only military organization within DHS. It is the principal Federal agency responsible for maritime safety, security, and stewardship and delivers daily value to the nation through multi-mission resources, authorities, and capabilities.

Effective governance in the maritime domain hinges upon an integrated approach to safety, security, and stewardship. The Coast Guard's policies and capabilities are integrated and interdependent, delivering results through a network of enduring partnerships. The Coast Guard's ability to field versatile capabilities and highly-trained personnel is one of the U.S. Government's most significant and important strengths in the maritime environment.

America is a maritime nation, and our security, resilience, and economic prosperity are intrinsically linked to the oceans. Safety, efficient waterways, and freedom of transit on the high seas are essential to our well-being. The Coast Guard is leaning forward, poised to meet the demands of the modern maritime environment. The Coast Guard creates value for the public through solid prevention and response efforts. Activities involving oversight and regulation, enforcement, maritime presence, and public and private partnership foster increased maritime safety, security, and stewardship.

The statutory responsibilities of the Coast Guard include ensuring marine safety and security, preserving maritime mobility, protecting the marine environment, enforcing U.S. laws and international treaties, and performing search and rescue. The Coast Guard supports the Department's overarching goals of mobilizing and organizing our Nation to secure the homeland from terrorist attacks, natural disasters, and other emergencies. The regulatory projects in this fall 2016 regulatory plan and in the agenda contribute to the fulfillment of those responsibilities.

Seafarers' Access to Maritime Facilities. This regulatory action is necessary to implement section 811 of the Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2010, which requires facility owners and operators to ensure shore access for seafarers and other individuals. This regulation applies to owners and operators of facilities regulated by the Coast Guard under the Maritime Transportation Safety Act of 2002. This regulation helps ensure that owners and operators provide seafarers assigned to vessels moored at the facility, pilots, and representatives of seamen's welfare and labor organizations with the ability to board and depart vessels to access the shore through the facility in a timely manner and at no cost to the seafarer.

Commercial Fishing Vessels—Implementation of 2010 and 2012 Legislation. The Coast Guard is working to improve safety in the commercial fishing industry, which remains one of the most hazardous occupations in the United States. In 2016, the Coast Guard withdrew a rulemaking effort that had been superseded by statute, and instead proposed a rule to implement relevant mandatory provisions of the Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2010 and Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Act of 2012. The proposed rule would add new requirements for safety equipment, vessel examinations, vessel safety standards, the documentation of maintenance, and the termination of unsafe operations. These requirements would affect an estimated 36,115 existing commercial fishing vessels. This rule is intended to reduce the risk of future fishing vessel casualties and, if a casualty does occur, to minimize the adverse impacts to crew and enable them to have the maximum opportunity to survive and to be rescued. he Coast Guard provided a public comment period of 180 days, ending in December 2016, and will consider all comments when developing the final rule.

United States Customs and Border Protection

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is the Federal agency principally responsible for the security of our Nation's borders, both at and between the ports of entry and at official crossings into the United States. CBP must accomplish its border security and enforcement mission without stifling the flow of legitimate trade and travel. The primary mission of CBP is its homeland security mission, that is, to prevent terrorists and terrorist weapons from entering the United States. An important aspect of this priority mission involves improving security at our borders and ports of entry, but it also means extending our zone of security beyond our physical borders.

CBP is also responsible for administering laws concerning the importation into the United States of goods, and enforcing the laws concerning the entry of persons into the United States. This includes regulating and facilitating international trade; collecting import duties; enforcing U.S. trade, immigration and other laws of the United States at our borders; inspecting imports, overseeing the activities of persons and businesses engaged in importing; enforcing the laws concerning smuggling and trafficking in contraband; apprehending individuals attempting to enter the United States illegally; protecting our agriculture and economic interests from harmful pests and diseases; servicing all people, vehicles, and cargo entering the United States; maintaining export controls; and protecting U.S. businesses from theft of their intellectual property.

In carrying out its priority mission, CBP's goal is to facilitate the processing of legitimate trade and people efficiently without compromising security. Consistent with its primary mission of homeland security, CBP intends to issue several regulations during the next fiscal year that are intended to improve security at our borders and ports of entry. CBP is also automating some procedures that increase efficiencies and reduce the costs and burdens to travelers. We have highlighted two of these regulations below.

Air Cargo Advance Screening (ACAS). The Trade Act of 2002, as amended, authorizes the Secretary of Homeland Security to promulgate regulations providing for the transmission, through an electronic data interchange system, of information to CBP pertaining to cargo to be brought into the United States or to be sent from the United Start Printed Page 94559States prior to the arrival or departure of the cargo. The cargo information required is that which the Secretary determines to be reasonably necessary to ensure cargo safety and security. CBP's current Trade Act regulations pertaining to air cargo require the electronic submission of various advance data to CBP no later than either the time of departure of the aircraft for the United States (from specified locations) or four hours prior to arrival in the United States for all other locations. CBP intends to propose amendments to these regulations to implement the Air Cargo Advance Screening (ACAS) program. To improve CBP's risk assessment and targeting capabilities and to enable CBP to target, and identify, risky cargo prior to departure of the aircraft to the United States, ACAS would require the submission of certain of the advance electronic information for air cargo earlier in the process. In most cases, the information would have to be submitted as early as practicable but no later than prior to the loading of cargo onto an aircraft at the last foreign port of departure to the United States. CBP, in conjunction with TSA, has been operating ACAS as a voluntary pilot program since 2010 and intends to publish a notice of proposed rulemaking in the next fiscal year to implement ACAS as a regulatory program.

Definition of Form I-94 to Include Electronic Format. DHS issues the Form I-94 to certain aliens and uses the Form I-94 for various purposes such as documenting status in the United States, the approved length of stay, and departure. DHS generally issues the Form I-94 to aliens at the time they lawfully enter the United States. On March 27, 2013, CBP published an interim final rule amending existing regulations to add a new definition of the term “Form I-94.” The new definition includes the collection of arrival/departure and admission or parole information by DHS, whether in paper or electronic format. The definition also clarified various terms that are associated with the use of the Form I-94 to accommodate an electronic version of the Form I-94. The rule also added a valid, unexpired nonimmigrant DHS admission or parole stamp in a foreign passport to the list of documents designated as evidence of alien registration. These revisions enabled DHS to transition to an automated process whereby DHS creates a Form I-94 in an electronic format based on passenger, passport and visa information that DHS obtains electronically from air and sea carriers and the Department of State as well as through the inspection process. CBP intends to publish a final rule during the next fiscal year.

In addition to the regulations that CBP issues to promote DHS's mission, CBP also issues regulations related to the mission of the Department of the Treasury. Under section 403(1) of the Homeland Security Act of 2002, the former-U.S. Customs Service, including functions of the Secretary of the Treasury relating thereto, transferred to the Secretary of Homeland Security. As part of the initial organization of DHS, the Customs Service inspection and trade functions were combined with the immigration and agricultural inspection functions and the Border Patrol and transferred into CBP. The Department of the Treasury retained certain regulatory authority of the U.S. Customs Service relating to customs revenue function (see the Department of the Treasury Regulatory Plan). In addition to its plans to continue issuing regulations to enhance border security, CBP, in the coming year, expects to continue to issue regulatory documents that will facilitate legitimate trade and implement trade benefit programs. For a discussion of CBP regulations regarding the customs revenue function, see the regulatory plan of the Department of the Treasury.

Federal Emergency Management Agency

The Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA's) mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a Nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from and mitigate all hazards. FEMA's ethos is to serve the Nation by helping its people and first responders, especially when they are most in need. FEMA will promulgate several rulemakings to support its mission, one of which we highlight below.

Updates to Floodplain Management and Protection of Wetlands Regulations to Implement Executive Order 13690 and the Federal Flood Risk Management Standard (FFRMS). The rule proposes to amend existing FEMA regulations to implement Executive Order 13690, “Establishing a Federal Flood Risk Management Standard and a Process for Further Soliciting and Considering Stakeholder Input.” FEMA is also proposing a supplementary policy that would further clarify how FEMA applies the FFRMS. FEMA published a notice of proposed rulemaking on August 22, 2016 and will work on finalizing that rule in the coming fiscal year.

Federal Law Enforcement Training Center

The Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) does not have any significant regulatory actions planned for fiscal year 2017.

United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is the principal criminal investigative arm of DHS and one of the three Department components charged with the civil enforcement of the Nation's immigration laws. Its primary mission is to protect national security, public safety, and the integrity of our borders through the criminal and civil enforcement of Federal law governing border control, customs, trade, and immigration. During the coming year, ICE will focus its rulemaking efforts on increasing security in the area of student and exchange visitor programs.

Eligibility Checks of Nominated and Current Designated School Officials of Schools That Enroll F and M Nonimmigrant Students and of Exchange Visitor Program-Designated Sponsors of J Nonimmigrants

DHS will issue a rule proposing to strengthen the mechanism for approving user access to one of its data-management systems, the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). DHS and the Department of State, rely on principal designated school officials, designated school officials, responsible officers, and alternate responsible officers (collectively, P/DSOs, DSOs and ROs/AROs) as key links in the process to mitigate potential threats to national security and to ensure compliance with immigration law by aliens admitted into the United States in F, J, or M nonimmigrant status. Through this rule, DHS would require that anyone nominated to serve as a P/DSO, DSO, or RO/ARO receive a favorable SEVIS Access Approval Process assessment prior to their appointment and subsequent approval for access to SEVIS. The primary benefit of this rule would be to reduce the potential for fraud.

National Protection and Programs Directorate

The National Protection and Programs Directorate's (NPPD) vision is a safe, secure, and resilient infrastructure where the American way of life can thrive. NPPD leads the national effort to Start Printed Page 94560protect and enhance the resilience of the Nation's physical and cyber infrastructure.

Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards. Recognizing both the importance of the Nation's chemical facilities to the American way of life and the need to secure high-risk chemical facilities against terrorist attacks, in December 2014 Congress passed, and the President signed into law, the Protecting and Securing Chemical Facilities from Terrorist Attacks Act of 2014, Pub. L. 113-254. This legislation provides the Department continuing authority to implement the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) regulatory program, a program mandating that high-risk chemical facilities in the United States develop and implement security plans satisfying risk-based performance standards established by DHS.

The CFATS regulations have been in effect since 2007. On August 18, 2014, the Department published an advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM) seeking public comment on ways to make the program more effective. The Department will continue this rulemaking effort and intends to publish a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM). The NPRM will propose modifications to CFATS based on the public comments received in response to the ANPRM and on program implementation experience. The NPRM will also propose modifications to CFATS in order to align the existing regulation with the requirements of the 2014 legislation. Through the rule, NPPD seeks to harmonize the regulation with its statutory authority and to make the CFATS program more efficient and effective.

Transportation Security Administration

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) protects the Nation's transportation systems to ensure freedom of movement for people and commerce. TSA is committed to continuously setting the standard for excellence in transportation security through its people, processes, and technology as we work to meet the immediate and long-term needs of the transportation sector.

For the coming fiscal year, TSA is prioritizing regulations related to requirements for surface transportation included in the 9/11 Act. These rulemakings will include the following ones:

Security Training for Surface Transportation Employees. TSA will propose regulations requiring higher-risk public transportation agencies (including rail mass transit and bus systems), railroad carriers (freight and passenger), and over-the-road bus (OTRB) owner/operators to conduct security training for frontline employees. This regulation will implement sections 1408 (public transportation), 1517 (railroads), and 1531(e) and 1534 (OTRBs) of the 9/11 Act. In compliance with the definitions of frontline employees in the pertinent provisions of the 9/11 Act, the notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) will include identification of which employees are required to receive security training and the content of that training. The NPRM will also propose definitions for transportation security-sensitive materials, as required by section 1501 of the 9/11 Act.

Surface Transportation Vulnerability Assessments and Security Plans. TSA will publish an advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM) regarding a future rulemaking that will propose requiring higher-risk public transportation agencies (including rail mass transit and bus systems), railroads (freight and passenger), and OTRB owner/operators to conduct vulnerability assessments and develop/implement security plans. This regulation will propose to implement sections 1405 (public transportation), 1512 (railroads), and 1531 (OTRBs) of the 9/11 Act.

Vetting of Certain Surface Transportation Employees. TSA will propose regulations requiring security threat assessments for security coordinators and other frontline employees of certain public transportation agencies (including rail mass transit and bus systems), railroads (freight and passenger), and OTRB owner/operators. The NPRM will also include proposed provisions to implement TSA's statutory requirement to recover its cost of vetting through user fees. This regulation will implement sections 1414 (public transportation), 1522 (railroads), and 1531(e)(2) (over-the-road buses) of the 9/11 Act.

United States Secret Service

The United States Secret Service does not have any significant regulatory actions planned for fiscal year 2017.

DHS Regulatory Plan for Fiscal Year 2017

A more detailed description of the priority regulations that comprise the DHS fall regulatory plan follows.

DHS—OFFICE OF THE SECRETARY (OS)

Proposed Rule Stage

53. Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS)

Priority: Other Significant.

Legal Authority: Sec. 550 of the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act of 2007 Pub. L. 109-295, as amended

CFR Citation: 6 CFR 27.

Legal Deadline: None.

Abstract: The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) previously invited public comment on an advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM) for potential revisions to the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) regulations. The ANPRM provided an opportunity for the public to provide recommendations for possible program changes. DHS is reviewing the public comments received in response to the ANPRM, after which DHS intends to publish a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking.

Statement of Need: DHS intends to propose several potential program changes to the CFATS regulation. These changes have been identified in the nine years since program implementation. In addition, in December 2014, a new law (the Protecting and Securing Chemical Facilities From Terrorist Attacks Act of 2014) was enacted which provides DHS continuing authority to implement CFATS. DHS must make several modifications and additions to conform the CFATS regulation with the new law.

Summary of Legal Basis: The Protecting and Securing Chemical Facilities from Terrorist Attacks Act of 2014 (Pub. L. 113-254) added Title XXI to the Homeland Security Act of 2002 (HSA) to authorize in permanent law a Chemical Facility Anti-terrorism Standards (CFATS) program. See 6 U.S.C. 621 et seq. Title XXI supersedes section 550 of the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act of 2007, Pub. L. 109-295, under which the CFATS program was originally established in April 2007. Section 2107(a) of the HSA specifically authorizes DHS to “promulgate regulations or amend existing CFATS regulations to implement the provisions under [Title XXI]. 6 U.S.C. 627(a). In addition, section 2107(b)(2) of the HSA requires DHS to repeal any existing CFATS regulation that [DHS] determines is duplicative of, or conflicts with, [Title XXI]. 6 U.S.C. 627(b)(2).

Alternatives:

Anticipated Cost and Benefits: The ANPRM provided an opportunity for the public to provide recommendations for Start Printed Page 94561possible program changes. DHS is reviewing the public comments received in response to the ANPRM, after which DHS intends to publish a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM).

Risks:

Timetable:

ActionDateFR Cite
ANPRM08/18/1479 FR 48693
ANPRM Comment Period End10/17/14
NPRM12/00/16

Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: Yes.

Small Entities Affected: Businesses.

Government Levels Affected: Federal, Local, State.

URL for More Information: www.regulations.gov.

URL for Public Comments: www.regulations.gov.

Agency Contact: Jon MacLaren, Chief, Rulemaking Section, Department of Homeland Security, National Protection and Programs Directorate, Infrastructure Security Compliance Division (NPPD/ISCD), 245 Murray Lane, Mail Stop 0610, Arlington, VA 20528-0610, Phone: 703 235-5263, Fax: 703 603-4935, Email: jon.m.maclaren@hq.dhs.gov.

RIN: 1601-AA69

DHS—U.S. CITIZENSHIP AND IMMIGRATION SERVICES (USCIS)

Proposed Rule Stage

54. New Classification for Victims of Criminal Activity; Eligibility for the U Nonimmigrant Status

Priority: Other Significant.

Legal Authority: 5 U.S.C. 552; 5 U.S.C. 552a; 8 U.S.C. 1101; 8 U.S.C. 1101 (note); 8 U.S.C. 1102; Pub. L. 113-4

CFR Citation: 8 CFR 103; 8 CFR 204; 8 CFR 212; 8 CFR 214; 8 CFR 299.

Legal Deadline: None.

Abstract: This rule proposes new application and eligibility requirements for U nonimmigrant status. The U classification is for non-U.S. citizen/lawful permanent resident victims of certain crimes who cooperate with an investigation or prosecution of those crimes. There is a limit of 10,000 principals per fiscal year. This rule would propose to establish new procedures to be followed to petition for the U nonimmigrant classifications. Specifically, the rule would address the essential elements that must be demonstrated to receive the nonimmigrant classification, procedures that must be followed to file a petition and evidentiary guidance to assist in the petitioning process. Eligible victims would be allowed to remain in the United States if granted U nonimmigrant status. The Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008, Public Law 110-457, and the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act (VAWA) of 2013, Public Law 113-4, made amendments to the U nonimmigrant status provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act. The Department of Homeland Security had issued an interim final rule in 2007.

Statement of Need: This regulation is necessary to allow alien victims of certain crimes to petition for U nonimmigrant status. U nonimmigrant status is available to eligible victims of certain qualifying criminal activity who: (1) Have suffered substantial physical or mental abuse as a result of the qualifying criminal activity; (2) the alien possesses information about the crime; (3) the alien has been, is being, or is likely to be helpful in the investigation or prosecution of the crime; and (4) the criminal activity took place in the United States, including military installations and Indian country, or the territories or possessions of the United States. This rule addresses the eligibility requirements that must be met for classification as a U nonimmigrant alien and implements statutory amendments to these requirements, streamlines the procedures to petition for U nonimmigrant status, and provides evidentiary guidance to assist in the petition process.

Summary of Legal Basis: Congress created the U nonimmigrant classification in the Battered Immigrant Women Protection Act of 2000 (BIWPA) to provide immigration relief for alien victims of certain qualifying criminal activity and who are helpful to law enforcement in the investigation or prosecution of these crimes.

Alternatives: To provide victims with immigration benefits and services and keeping in mind the purpose of the U visa as a law enforcement tool, DHS is considering and using suggestions from stakeholders in developing this regulation. These suggestions came in the form of public comment from the 2007 interim final rule as well as USCIS' six years of experience with the U nonimmigrant status program, including regular meetings and outreach events with stakeholders and law enforcement.

Anticipated Cost and Benefits: DHS estimated the total annual cost of the interim rule to petitioners to be $6.2 million in the interim final rule published in 2007. This cost included the biometric services fee, the opportunity cost of time needed to submit the required forms, the opportunity cost of time required and cost of traveling to visit a USCIS Application Support Center. DHS is currently in the process of updating our cost estimates since U nonimmigrant visa petitioners are no longer required to pay the biometric services fee. The anticipated benefits of these expenditures include assistance to victims of qualifying criminal activity and their families and increases in arrests and prosecutions of criminals nationwide. Additional benefits include heightened awareness by law enforcement of victimization of aliens in their community, and streamlining the petitioning process so that victims may benefit from this immigration relief.

Risks: There is a statutory cap of 10,000 principal U nonimmigrant visas that may be granted per fiscal year at 8 U.S.C. 1184(p)(2). Eligible petitioners who are not granted principal U-1 nonimmigrant status due solely to the numerical limit will be placed on a waiting list maintained by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). To protect U-1 petitioners and their families, USCIS will use various means to prevent the removal of U-1 petitioners and their eligible family members on the waiting list, including exercising its authority to allow deferred action, parole, and stays of removal, in cooperation with other DHS components.

Timetable:

ActionDateFR Cite
Interim Final Rule09/17/0772 FR 53013
Interim Final Rule Effective10/17/07
Interim Final Rule Comment Period End11/17/07
NPRM08/00/17

Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: No.

Small Entities Affected: No.

Government Levels Affected: Federal, Local, State.

Additional Information: Transferred from RIN 1115-AG39.

URL for More Information: www.regulations.gov.

URL for Public Comments: www.regulations.gov.

Agency Contact: Maureen A. Dunn, Chief, Family Immigration and Victim Protection Division, Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Office of Policy and Strategy, Suite 1200, 20 Massachusetts Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20529, Phone: 202 272-1470, Fax: 202 272-1480, Email: maureen.a.dunn@uscis.dhs.gov.Start Printed Page 94562

RIN: 1615-AA67

DHS—USCIS

55. Requirements for Filing Motions and Administrative Appeals

Priority: Other Significant.

Legal Authority: 5 U.S.C. 552; 5 U.S.C. 552a; 8 U.S.C. 1101; 8 U.S.C. 1103; 8 U.S.C. 1304; 6 U.S.C. 112

CFR Citation: 8 CFR 103; 8 CFR 204; 8 CFR 205; 8 CFR 210; 8 CFR 214; 8 CFR 245a; 8 CFR 320; 8 CFR 105 (new); . . .

Legal Deadline: None.

Abstract: This proposed rule proposes to revise the requirements and procedures for the filing of motions and appeals before the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), and its Administrative Appeals Office (AAO). The proposed changes are intended to streamline the existing processes for filing motions and appeals and will reduce delays in the review and appellate process. This rule also proposes additional changes necessitated by the establishment of DHS and its components. The proposed changes are intended to promote simplicity, accessibility, and efficiency in the administration of USCIS appeals. The Department also solicits public comment on proposed changes to the AAO's appellate jurisdiction.

Statement of Need: This rule proposes to make numerous changes to streamline the current appeal and motion processes which: (1) Will result in cost savings to the Government, applicants, and petitioners; and (2) will provide for a more efficient use of USCIS officer and clerical staff time, as well as more uniformity with Board of Immigration Appeals appeal and motion processes.

Summary of Legal Basis: 5 U.S.C. 301; 5 U.S.C. 552; 5 U.S.C. 552a; 8 U.S.C. 1101 and notes 1102, 1103, 1151, 1153, 1154, 1182, 1184, 1185 note (sec. 7209 of Pub. L. 108-458; title VII of Pub. L. 110-229), 1186a, 1187, 1221, 1223, 1225 to 1227, 1255a, and 1255a note, 1281, 1282, 1301 to 1305, 1324a, 1356, 1372, 1379, 1409(c), 1443 to 1444, 1448, 1452, 1455, 1641, 1731 to 1732; 31 U.S.C. 9701; 48 U.S.C. 1901, 1931 note; section 643, Public Law 104-208, 110, Stat. 3009-708; section 141 of the Compacts of Free Association with the Federated States of Micronesia and the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and with the Government of Palau; title VII of Public Law 110-229; Public Law 107-296, 116 Stat. 2135 (6 U.S.C. 1 et seq.); Public Law 82-414, 66 Stat. 173, 238, 254, 264; title VII of Public Law 110-229; Executive Order 12356.

Alternatives: The alternative to this rule would be to continue under the current process without change.

Anticipated Cost and Benefits: As a result of streamlining the appeal and motion process, DHS anticipates quantitative and qualitative benefits to DHS and the public. We also anticipate cost savings to DHS and applicants as a result of the proposed changes.

Risks:

Timetable:

ActionDateFR Cite
NPRM06/00/17

Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: Yes.

Small Entities Affected: Governmental Jurisdictions.

Government Levels Affected: None.

Additional Information: Previously 1615-AB29 (CIS 2311-04), which was withdrawn in 2007.

Agency Contact: Charles “Locky” Nimick, Deputy Chief, Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Administrative Appeals Office, 20 Massachusetts Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20529-2090, Phone: 703 224-4501, Email: charles.nimick@usics.dhs.gov.

Related RIN: Duplicate of 1615-AB29

RIN: 1615-AB98

DHS—USCIS

56. Improvement of the Employment Creation Immigrant Regulations

Priority: Other Significant. Major status under 5 U.S.C. 801 is undetermined.

Legal Authority: 8 U.S.C. 1153(b)(5)

CFR Citation: 8 CFR 204.6.

Legal Deadline: None.

Abstract: DHS proposes to amend its regulations governing the employment-based, fifth preference (EB-5) immigrant entrepreneur category and EB-5 regional centers to modernize the EB-5 program based on current economic realities and to reflect statutory changes made to the program. DHS is proposing to update the regulations to include the following areas: Priority date retention, increases to the required investment amounts, revision of the Targeted Employment Area requirements, clarification of the regional center designation and continued program participation requirements, and further definition of grounds for terminating regional centers.

Statement of Need: The proposed regulatory changes are necessary to reflect statutory changes and codify existing policies, more accurately reflect existing and future economic realities, improve operational efficiencies to provide stakeholders with a higher level of predictability and transparency in the adjudication process, and enhance program integrity by clarifying key eligibility requirements for program participation and further detailing the processes required. Given the complexities involved in adjudicating benefit requests in the EB-5 program, along with continued program integrity concerns and increasing adjudication processing times, DHS has decided to revise the existing regulations to modernize key areas of the program.

Summary of Legal Basis: The Immigration Act (INA) authorizes the Secretary of Homeland Security (Secretary) to administer and enforce the immigration and nationality laws including establishing regulations deemed necessary to carry out his authority, and section 102 of the Homeland Security Act, 6 U.S.C. 112, authorizes the Secretary to issue regulations. 8 U.S.C. 1103(a), INA section 103(a). INA section 203(b)(5), 8 U.S.C. 1153(b)(5), also provides the Secretary with authority to make visas available to immigrants seeking to engage in a new commercial enterprise in which the immigrant has invested and which will benefit the United States economy and create full-time employment for not fewer than 10 U.S. workers. Further, section 610 of Public Law 102-395 (8 U.S.C. 1153 note) created the Immigrant Investor Pilot Program and authorized the Secretary to set aside visas for individuals who invest in regional centers created for the purpose of concentrating pooled investment in defined economic zones, and was last amended by Public Law 107-273.

Alternatives:

Anticipated Cost and Benefits: As a result of these amendments and resulting modernized program, DHS believes that regional centers, entrepreneurs, and the Federal each benefit. This rule would benefit regional centers by clarifying the requirements for designation and continued participation in the EB-5 program, making the application process more transparent for regional centers and streamlined to improve DHS operational efficiencies. The rule would benefit entrepreneurs seeking to participate in the program by providing the opportunity to mitigate the harsh consequences of unexpected changes to business conditions through priority date retention in limited circumstances. This rule would also provide a more transparent process for entrepreneurs Start Printed Page 94563seeking to participate in the regional center program by providing increased consistency and predictability of adjudications through the clarified regional center continued program participation requirements. These changes will also streamline the adjudication process and improve DHS operational efficiencies, resulting in improved adjudication times. Finally, the Federal Government will benefit from clarifications and enhancements to the EB-5 program to strengthen program integrity, reducing the risk of fraud and national security concerns in the program, as well as improving operational efficiencies to reduce overall program costs.

Risks:

Timetable:

ActionDateFR Cite
NPRM01/00/17

Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: No.

Small Entities Affected: No.

Government Levels Affected: None.

Agency Contact: Lori S. MacKenzie, Division Chief, Operations Policy & Performance, Immigrant Investor Program, Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, 131 M Street NE., Washington, DC 20529-2200, Phone: 202 357-9214, Email: lori.s.mackenzie@uscis.dhs.gov.

Related RIN: Related to 1205-AB69

RIN: 1615-AC07

DHS—USCIS

Final Rule Stage

57. Classification for Victims of Severe Forms of Trafficking in Persons; Eligibility for T Nonimmigrant Status

Priority: Other Significant.

Legal Authority: 5 U.S.C. 552; 5 U.S.C. 552a; 8 U.S.C. 1101 to 1104; 8 U.S.C. 1182; 8 U.S.C. 1184; 8 U.S.C. 1187; 8 U.S.C. 1201; 8 U.S.C. 1224 to 1227; 8 U.S.C. 1252 to 1252a; 22 U.S.C. 7101; 22 U.S.C. 7105; Pub. L. 113-4

CFR Citation: 8 CFR 103; 8 CFR 212; 8 CFR 214; 8 CFR 274a; 8 CFR 299.

Legal Deadline: None.

Abstract: The T nonimmigrant classification was created by the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000, Public Law 106-386. The classification was designed for eligible victims of severe forms of trafficking in persons who aid law enforcement with their investigation or prosecution of the traffickers, and who can establish that they would suffer extreme hardship involving unusual and severe harm if they were removed from the United States. The rule streamlines application procedures and responsibilities for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and provides guidance to the public on how to meet certain requirements to obtain T nonimmigrant status. Several reauthorizations, including the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013, Public Law 113-4, have made amendments to the T nonimmigrant status provisions in the Immigration and Nationality Act. This rule implements those amendments.

Statement of Need: This rule addresses the essential elements that must be demonstrated for classification as a T nonimmigrant alien and implements statutory amendments to these elements, streamlines the procedures to be followed by applicants to apply for T nonimmigrant status, and provides evidentiary guidance to assist in the application process.

Summary of Legal Basis: Section 107(e) of the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000 Public Law 106-386, as amended, established the T classification to provide immigration relief for certain eligible victims of severe forms of trafficking in persons who assist law enforcement authorities in investigating and prosecuting the perpetrators of these crimes.

Alternatives: To provide victims with immigration benefits and services, keeping in mind the purpose of the T visa to also serve as a law enforcement tool, DHS is considering and using suggestions from stakeholders in developing this regulation. These suggestions came in the form of public comment to the 2002 interim final rule, as well as from over 10 years of experience with the T nonimmigrant status program, including regular meetings with stakeholders and regular outreach events.

Anticipated Cost and Benefits: Applicants for T nonimmigrant status do not pay application or biometric fees. The anticipated benefits of this rule include: Assistance to trafficked victims and their families; an increase in the number of cases brought forward for investigation and/or prosecution of traffickers in persons; heightened awareness by the law enforcement community of trafficking in persons; and streamlining the application process for victims.

Risks: There is a 5,000-person limit to the number of individuals who can be granted T-1 status per fiscal year. Eligible applicants who are not granted T-1 status due solely to the numerical limit will be placed on a waiting list maintained by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). To protect T-1 applicants and their families, USCIS will use various means to prevent the removal of T-1 applicants on the waiting list, and their family members who are eligible for derivative T status, including its existing authority to grant deferred action, parole, and stays of removal, in cooperation with other DHS components.

Timetable:

ActionDateFR Cite
Interim Final Rule01/31/0267 FR 4784
Interim Final Rule Effective03/04/02
Interim Final Rule Comment Period End04/01/02
Interim Final Rule01/00/17

Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: No.

Small Entities Affected: No.

Government Levels Affected: Federal, Local, State.

Additional Information: Transferred from RIN 1115-AG19.

URL for More Information: www.regulations.gov.

URL for Public Comments: www.regulations.gov.

Agency Contact: Maureen A. Dunn, Chief, Family Immigration and Victim Protection Division, Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Office of Policy and Strategy, Suite 1200, 20 Massachusetts Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20529, Phone: 202 272-1470, Fax: 202 272-1480, Email: maureen.a.dunn@uscis.dhs.gov.

RIN: 1615-AA59

DHS—USCIS

58. Special Immigrant Juvenile Petitions

Priority: Other Significant.

Legal Authority: 8 U.S.C. 1101; 8 U.S.C. 1103; 8 U.S.C. 1151; 8 U.S.C. 1153; 8 U.S.C. 1154

CFR Citation: 8 CFR 204; 8 CFR 205; 8 CFR 245.

Legal Deadline: None.

Abstract: The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is amending its regulations governing the Special Immigrant Juvenile (SIJ) classification and related applications for adjustment of status to permanent resident. Special Immigrant Juvenile classification is a humanitarian-based immigration protection for children who cannot be reunified with one or both parents because of abuse, neglect, abandonment, Start Printed Page 94564or a similar basis found under State law. This final rule implements updates to eligibility requirements and other changes made by the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008, Pub. L. 110-457. DHS received comments on the proposed rule in 2011 and intends to issue a final rule in the coming year.

Statement of Need: This rule would address the eligibility requirements that must be met for SIJ classification and related adjustment of status, implement statutory amendments to these requirements, and provide procedural and evidentiary guidance to assist in the petition process.

Summary of Legal Basis: Congress established the SIJ classification in the Immigration Act of 1990 (IMMACT). The 1998 Appropriations Act amended the SIJ classification by limiting eligibility to children declared dependent on a juvenile court because of abuse, abandonment, or neglect and creating consent functions. The Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008 made many changes to the SIJ classification including: (1) Creating a requirement that the petitioner's reunification with one or both parents not be viable due to abuse, abandonment, neglect, or a similar basis under State law; (2) expanding the population of children who may be eligible to include those placed by a juvenile court with an individual or entity; (3) modifying the consent functions; (4) providing age-out protection; and (5) creating a timeframe for adjudications.

Alternatives: DHS is considering and using suggestions from stakeholders to keep in mind the vulnerable nature of abused, abandoned and neglected children in developing this regulation. These suggestions came in the form of public comment from the 2011 proposed rule.

Anticipated Cost and Benefits: In the 2011 proposed rule, DHS estimated there would be no additional regulatory compliance costs for petitioning individuals or any program costs for the Government as a result of the proposed amendments. Qualitatively, DHS estimated that the proposed rule would codify the practices and procedures currently implemented via internal policy directives issued by USCIS, thereby establishing clear guidance for petitioners. DHS is currently in the process of updating our final cost and benefit estimates.

Risks: The failure to promulgate a final rule in this area presents significant risk of further inconsistency and confusion in the law. The Government's interests in fair, efficient, and consistent adjudications would be compromised.

Timetable:

ActionDateFR Cite
NPRM09/06/1176 FR 54978
NPRM Comment Period End11/07/11
Final Rule05/00/17

Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: No.

Small Entities Affected: No.

Government Levels Affected: Federal, State.

URL for More Information: www.regulations.gov.

URL for Public Comments: www.regulations.gov.

Agency Contact: Maureen A. Dunn, Chief, Family Immigration and Victim Protection Division, Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Office of Policy and Strategy, Suite 1200, 20 Massachusetts Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20529, Phone: 202 272-1470, Fax: 202 272-1480, Email: maureen.a.dunn@uscis.dhs.gov.

RIN: 1615-AB81

DHS—USCIS

59. International Entrepreneur

Priority: Other Significant.

Legal Authority: 8 U.S.C. 1182(d)(5)(A)

CFR Citation: 8 CFR 212.5.

Legal Deadline: None.

Abstract: The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) proposed to amend its regulations implementing the Secretary of Homeland Security's discretionary parole authority to increase and enhance entrepreneurship, innovation, and job creation in the United States. The rule would add new regulatory provisions guiding the use of parole on a case-by-case basis with respect to entrepreneurs of start-up entities whose entry into the United States would provide a significant public benefit through the substantial and demonstrated potential for rapid business growth and job creation. Such potential would be indicated by, among other things, the receipt of significant capital investment from U.S. investors with established records of successful investments, or obtaining significant awards or grants from certain Federal, State or local government entities.

Statement of Need: The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) authorizes the Secretary, in the exercise of discretion, to parole arriving aliens into the United States on a case-by-case basis for urgent humanitarian reasons or significant public benefit. INA section 212(d)(5), 8 U.S.C. 1182(d)(5). This regulation explains and clarifies how DHS determines what provides, per the INA, a significant public benefit to the U.S. economy with respect to entrepreneur parolees.

This regulation focuses specifically on the significant economic public benefit provided by foreign entrepreneurs because of the particular benefit they bring to the U.S. economy. However, the full potential of foreign entrepreneurs to benefit the U.S. economy is limited by the fact that many foreign entrepreneurs do not qualify under existing nonimmigrant and immigrant classifications. Given the technical nature of entrepreneurship, and the limited guidance to date on what constitutes a significant public benefit, DHS believes that it is necessary to establish the conditions of such an economically-based significant public benefit parole by regulation. Combined with a unique application process, the goal is to ensure that the high standard set by the statute authorizing significant public benefit parole is uniformly met across adjudications.

In this rule, DHS is proposing to establish the conditions for significant public benefit parole with respect to certain entrepreneurs and start-up founders backed by U.S. investors or grants. DHS believes that this proposal, once implemented, would encourage entrepreneurs to create and develop start-up entities in the United States with high growth potential to create jobs for U.S. workers and benefit the U.S. economy. U.S. competitiveness would increase by attracting more entrepreneurs to the United States. This proposal provides a fair, transparent, and predictable framework by which DHS will exercise its discretion to adjudicate, on a case-by-case basis, such parole requests under the existing statutory authority at INA section 212(d)(5), 8 U.S.C. 1182(d)(5).

Lastly, this proposed rule provides a pathway, based on authority currently provided to the Secretary, for entrepreneurs to develop businesses in the United States, create jobs for U.S. workers, and, at the same time, establish a track record of experience and/or accomplishments. Such a track record may lead to meeting eligibility requirements for existing nonimmigrant or immigrant classifications.

Summary of Legal Basis: The Secretary's authority for this proposed regulatory amendment can be found in the Homeland Security Act of 2002, Public Law 107-296, section 102, 116 Stat. 2135, 6 U.S.C. 112, and INA Start Printed Page 94565section 103, 8 U.S.C. 1103, which give the Secretary the authority to administer and enforce the immigration and nationality laws, as well as INA section 212(d)(5), 8 U.S.C. 1182(d)(5), which refers to the Secretary's discretionary authority to grant parole and provides DHS with regulatory authority to establish terms and conditions for parole once authorized.

Alternatives:

Anticipated Cost and Benefits: DHS estimates the costs of the rule are directly linked to the application fee and opportunity costs associated with requesting significant public benefit parole. DHS does not estimate there will be any negative impacts to the U.S. economy as a result of this rule. Economic benefits can be expected from this rule, because some number of new ventures and research endeavors will be conducted in the United States that otherwise would not. It is reasonable to assume that investment and research spending on new firms associated with this proposed rule will directly and indirectly benefit the U.S. economy and job creation. In addition, innovation and research and development spending are likely to generate new patents and new technologies, further enhancing innovation. Some portion of the immigrant entrepreneurs likely to be attracted to this parole program may develop high impact firms that can be expected to contribute disproportionately to job creation.

Risks:

Timetable:

ActionDateFR Cite
NPRM08/31/1681 FR 60129
NPRM Comment Period End10/17/16
Final Action01/00/17

Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: No.

Government Levels Affected: None.

International Impacts: This regulatory action will be likely to have international trade and investment effects, or otherwise be of international interest.

URL for More Information: www.regulations.gov.

URL for Public Comments: www.regulations.gov.

Agency Contact: Kevin Cummings, Division Chief, Business and Foreign Workers Division, Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Office of Policy and Strategy, 20 Massachusetts Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20529, Phone: 202 272-8377, Fax: 202 272-1480, Email: kevin.j.cummings@ uscis.dhs.gov.

RIN: 1615-AC04

DHS—USCIS

60. Retention of EB-1, EB-2, and EB-3 Immigrant Workers and Program Improvements Affecting Highly-Skilled H-1B Nonimmigrant Workers

Priority: Economically Significant. Major under 5 U.S.C. 801.

Legal Authority: 6 U.S.C. 112; 8 U.S.C. 1154 and 1155; 8 U.S.C. 1184; 8 U.S.C. 1255; 8 U.S.C. 1324a

CFR Citation: 8 CFR 204 to 205; 8 U.S.C. 214; 8 CFR 245; 8 CFR 274a.

Legal Deadline: None.

Abstract: In December 2015, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) proposed to amend its regulations affecting certain employment-based immigrant and nonimmigrant classifications. This rule proposes to amend current regulations to provide stability and job flexibility for the beneficiaries of approved employment-based immigrant visa petitions while they wait to become lawful permanent residents. DHS is also proposing to conform its regulations with the American Competitiveness in the Twenty-First Century Act of 2000 (AC21) as amended by the Twenty-First Century Department of Justice Appropriations Authorization Act (the 21st Century DOJ Appropriations Act), as well as the American Competitiveness and Workforce Improvement Act of 1998 (ACWIA). The rule also seeks to clarify several interpretive questions raised by ACWIA and AC21 regarding H-1B petitions, and incorporate relevant AC21 policy memoranda and an Administrative Appeals Office precedent decision, and would ensure that DHS practice is consistent with them.

Statement of Need: This rule provides needed stability and flexibility to certain employment-based immigrants while they wait to become lawful permanent residents. These amendments would support U.S. employers by better enabling them to hire and retain highly skilled and other foreign workers. DHS proposes to accomplish this, in part, by implementing certain provisions of ACWIA and AC21, as amended by the 21st Century DOJ Appropriations Act. The 21st Century DOJ Appropriations Authorization Act, which will impact certain foreign nationals seeking permanent residency in the United States, as well as H-1B workers. Further, by clarifying interpretive questions related to these provisions, this rulemaking would ensure that DHS practice is consistent with statute.

Summary of Legal Basis: The authority of the Secretary of Homeland Security (Secretary) for these regulatory amendments can be found in section 102 of the Homeland Security Act of 2002, Public Law 107-296, 116 Stat. 2135, 6 U.S.C. 112, and section 103(a) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), 8 U.S.C. 1103(a), which authorize the Secretary to administer and enforce the immigration and nationality laws. In pertinent part, ACWIA authorized the Secretary to impose a fee on certain H-1B petitioners which would be used to train American workers, and AC21 provides authority to increase access to foreign workers as well as to train U.S. workers. In addition, section 274A(h)(3)(B) of the INA, 8 U.S.C. 1324a(h)(3)(B), recognizes the Secretary's authority to extend employment to noncitizens in the United States, and section 205 of the INA, 8 U.S.C. 1155, recognizes the Secretary's authority to exercise discretion in determining the revocability of any petition approved by him under section 204 of the INA.

Alternatives: The alternative would be to continue under current procedures without change.

Anticipated Cost and Benefits: The proposed amendments would increase the incentive of highly-skilled and other foreign workers who have begun the immigration process to remain in and contribute to the U.S. economy as they complete the process to adjust status to or otherwise acquire lawful permanent resident status, thereby minimizing disruptions to petitioning U.S. employers. Attracting and retaining highly-skilled persons is important when considering the contributions of these individuals to the U.S. economy, including advances in entrepreneurial and research and development endeavors, which are highly correlated with overall economic growth and job creation.

Risks:

Timetable:

ActionDateFR Cite
NPRM12/31/1580 FR 81900
NPRM Comment Period End02/29/16
Final Rule11/00/16
Final Rule Effective01/00/17

Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: Yes.

Small Entities Affected: Businesses, Organizations.

Government Levels Affected: None.Start Printed Page 94566

International Impacts: This regulatory action will be likely to have international trade and investment effects, or otherwise be of international interest.

Additional Information: 1615-AB97 will be merged under this rule, 1615-AC05.

URL for More Information: www.regulations.gov.

URL for Public Comments: www.regulations.gov.

Agency Contact: Kevin Cummings, Division Chief, Business and Foreign Workers Division, Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Office of Policy and Strategy, 20 Massachusetts Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20529, Phone: 202 272-8377, Fax: 202 272-1480, Email: kevin.j.cummings@uscis.dhs.gov.

Related RIN: Related to 1615-AB97

RIN: 1615-AC05

DHS—U.S. COAST GUARD (USCG)

Proposed Rule Stage

61. Commercial Fishing Vessels—Implementation of 2010 and 2012 Legislation

Priority: Other Significant.

Legal Authority: Pub. L. 111-281

CFR Citation: 46 CFR 28; 46 CFR 42.

Legal Deadline: Other, Statutory, CGAA 2010 Requirements in effect since 10/15/2010.

Abstract: The Coast Guard proposes to implement those requirements of 2010 and 2012 legislation that pertain to uninspected commercial fishing industry vessels and that took effect upon enactment of the legislation but that, to be implemented, require amendments to Coast Guard regulations affecting those vessels. The applicability of the regulations is being changed, and new requirements are being added to safety training, equipment, vessel examinations, vessel safety standards, the documentation of maintenance, and the termination of unsafe operations. This rulemaking promotes the Coast Guard's maritime safety mission.

Statement of Need: The Coast Guard proposes to align its commercial fishing industry vessel regulations with the mandatory provisions of 2010 and 2012 legislation passed by Congress that took effect upon enactment. The alignments would change the applicability of current regulations, and add new requirements for safety equipment, vessel examinations, vessel safety standards, the documentation of maintenance, and the termination of unsafe operations. This rule only proposes to implement these legislative mandates, would exercise no Coast Guard regulatory discretion, and would promote the Coast Guard's maritime safety mission.

Summary of Legal Basis:

Alternatives:

Anticipated Cost and Benefits: We estimate that, as a result of this rulemaking, owners and operators of certain commercial fishing vessels would incur additional annualized costs, discounted at 7 percent, of $34.2 million. We estimate the annualized cost, discounted at 7 percent, to government of $5.4 million, for a total annualized cost of $39.7 million. For commercial fishing vessels that operate beyond 3 nautical miles, the cost of this rulemaking would involve provisions for carriage of survival craft, recordkeeping of lifesaving and fire equipment maintenance, and dockside safety examinations once every 5 years. Also, certain newly built commercial fishing vessels would have to undergo survey and classification. We believe that the rule based on Congressional mandates will address a wide range of causes of commercial fishing vessel accidents and supports the main goal of improving safety and survivability in the commercial fishing industry. The primary benefit of the proposed rule is an increase in safety and a resulting decrease in the risk of accidents and their consequences, primarily fatalities. We estimate an annualized benefit of $7.1 to $9.4 million from this rule, discounted at 7 percent.

Risks:

Timetable:

ActionDateFR Cite
NPRM06/21/1681 FR 40437
NPRM Comment Period Extended08/15/1681 FR 53986
NPRM Comment Period End10/19/16
Second NPRM Comment Period End12/18/16

Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: Yes.

Small Entities Affected: Businesses.

Government Levels Affected: None.

Additional Information: Docket ID USCG-2012-0025.

Agency Contact: Jack Kemerer, Project Manager, CG-CVC-3, Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Coast Guard, 2703 Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue SE., STOP 7501, Washington, DC 20593-7501, Phone: 202 372-1249, Email: jack.a.kemerer@uscg.mil.

Related RIN: Related to 1625-AA77

RIN: 1625-AB85

DHS—USCG

Final Rule Stage

62. Seafarers' Access to Maritime Facilities

Priority: Other Significant.

Legal Authority: 33 U.S.C. 1226; 33 U.S.C. 1231; Pub. L. 111-281, sec. 811

CFR Citation: 33 CFR 101.112(b); 33 CFR 105.200; 33 CFR 105.237; 33 CFR 105.405.

Legal Deadline: None.

Abstract: This regulatory action will implement section 811 of the Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2010 (Pub. L. 111-281), which requires the owner/operator of a facility regulated by the Coast Guard under the Maritime Transportation Security Act of 2002 (Pub. L. 107-295) (MTSA) to provide a system that enables seafarers and certain other individuals to transit between vessels moored at the facility and the facility gate in a timely manner at no cost to the seafarer or other individual. Ensuring that such access through a facility is consistent with the security requirements in MTSA is part of the Coast Guard's Ports, Waterways, and Coastal Security (PWCS) mission.

Statement of Need: The Coast Guard's final rule would require each owner or operator of a facility regulated by the Coast Guard to implement a system that provides seafarers and other individuals with access between vessels moored at the facility and the facility gate, in a timely manner and at no cost to the seafarer or other individual. Generally, transiting through a facility is the only way that a seafarer or other individual can egress to shore beyond the facility to access basic shoreside businesses and services, and meet with family members and other personnel that do not hold a Transportation Worker Identification Credential. This proposed rule would help to ensure that no facility owner or operator denies or makes it impractical for seafarers or other individuals to transit through the facility, and would require them to document their access procedures in their Facility Security Plans. This final rule would implement section 811 of the Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2010.

Summary of Legal Basis:

Alternatives:

Anticipated Cost and Benefits: We estimate that, as a result of this rulemaking, owners or operators of a facility regulated by the Coast Guard would incur additional annualized costs, discounted at 7 percent, of $2.82 million. We estimate the annualized cost, discounted at 7 percent, to government of $8,000 for a total annualized cost of $2.83 million. Start Printed Page 94567Owners and operators of a facility regulated by the Coast Guard will incur costs to implement a system that provides seafarers and other individuals with access between the shore and vessels moored at the facility. We believe that the rule based on Congressional mandates will provide access through facilities for an average of 907 seafarers and other covered individuals that were otherwise denied access annually, thus ensuring the safety, health and welfare of seafarers. The rule will also reduce regulatory uncertainty by harmonizing regulations with Sec. 811 of Pub. L. 111281 and conforms to the intent of the ISPS Code.

Risks:

Timetable:

ActionDateFR Cite
NPRM12/29/1479 FR 77981
NPRM Comment Period Reopened05/27/1580 FR 30189
NPRM Comment Period End07/01/15
Final Rule08/00/17

Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: Yes.

Small Entities Affected: Businesses.

Government Levels Affected: None.

Additional Information: Includes Retrospective Review under Executive Order 13563.

URL for More Information: www.regulations.gov.

URL for Public Comments: www.regulations.gov.

Agency Contact: LCDR Kevin McDonald, Project Manager, Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Coast Guard, 2703 Martin Luther King, Jr. Avenue SE., Commandant (CG-FAC-2), STOP 7501, Washington, DC 20593-7501, Phone: 202 372-1168, Email: kevin.j.mcdonald@uscg.mil.

RIN: 1625-AC15

DHS—U.S. CUSTOMS AND BORDER PROTECTION (USCBP)

Proposed Rule Stage

63. Air Cargo Advance Screening (ACAS)

Priority: Other Significant.

Legal Authority: 19 U.S.C. 2071 note

CFR Citation: 19 CFR 122.

Legal Deadline: None.

Abstract: U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is proposing to amend the implementing regulations of the Trade Act of 2002 regarding the submission of advance electronic information for air cargo and other provisions to provide for the Air Cargo Advance Screening (ACAS) program. ACAS would require the submission of certain advance electronic information for air cargo. This will allow CBP to better target and identify dangerous cargo and ensure that any risk associated with such cargo is mitigated before the aircraft departs for the United States. CBP, in conjunction with Transportation Security Administration, has been operating ACAS as a voluntary pilot program since 2010 and would like to implement ACAS as a regulatory program.

Statement of Need: DHS has identified an elevated risk associated with cargo being transported to the United States by air. This rule will help address this risk by giving DHS the data it needs to improve targeting of the cargo prior to takeoff.

Summary of Legal Basis: The Trade Act of 2002 authorizes CBP to promulgate regulations providing for the mandatory transmission of electronic cargo information by way of a CBP-approved electronic data interchange (EDI) system before the cargo is brought into or departs the United States by any mode of commercial transportation. Under the Trade Act, the required cargo information is that which is reasonably necessary to ensure cargo safety and security pursuant to the laws enforced and administered by CBP.

Alternatives: In addition to the proposed rule, CBP analyzed two alternatives—Requiring the data elements to be transmitted to CBP further in advance than the proposed rule requires; and requiring fewer data elements. CBP concluded that the proposal rule provides the most favorable balance between security outcomes and impacts to air transportation.

Anticipated Cost and Benefits: To improve CBP's risk assessment and targeting capabilities and to enable CBP to target and identify risk cargo prior to departure of the aircraft to the United States, ACAS would require the submission of certain of the advance electronic information for air cargo earlier in the process. In most cases, the information would have to be submitted as early as practicable, but no later than prior to the loading of cargo onto an aircraft at the last foreign port of departure to the United States. CBP, in conjunction with TSA, has been operating ACAS as a voluntary pilot program since 2010. CBP believes this pilot program has proven successful by not only mitigating risks to the United States, but also minimizing costs to the private sector. As such, CBP is proposing to transition the ACAS pilot program into a permanent program. Costs of this program to carriers include one-time costs to upgrade systems to facilitate transmission of these data to CBP and recurring per transmission costs. Benefits of the program include improved security that will result from having these data further in advance.

Risks:

Timetable:

ActionDateFR Cite
NPRM12/00/16

Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: Undetermined.

Government Levels Affected: Undetermined.

International Impacts: This regulatory action will be likely to have international trade and investment effects, or otherwise be of international interest.

Agency Contact: Craig Clark, Program Manager, Vessel Manifest & Importer Security Filing, Office of Cargo and Conveyance Security, Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, 1300 Pennsylvania Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20229, Phone: 202 344-3052, Email: craig.clark@cbp.dhs.gov.

RIN: 1651-AB04

DHS—USCBP

Final Rule Stage

64. Definition of Form I-94 To Include Electronic Format

Priority: Other Significant.

Legal Authority: 8 U.S.C. 1101; 8 U.S.C. 1103; 8 U.S.C. 1201; 8 U.S.C. 1301; 8 U.S.C. 1303 to 1305; 5 U.S.C. 301; Pub. L. 107-296, 116 stat 2135; 6 U.S.C. 1 et seq.

CFR Citation: 8 CFR 1.4; 8 CFR 264.1(b).

Legal Deadline: None.

Abstract: The Form I-94 is issued to certain aliens upon arrival in the United States or when changing status in the United States. The Form I-94 is used to document arrival and departure and provides evidence of the terms of admission or parole. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is transitioning to an automated process whereby it will create a Form I-94 in an electronic format based on passenger, passport, and visa information currently obtained electronically from air and sea carriers and the Department of State as well as through the inspection process. Prior to this rule, the Form I-94 was solely a paper form that was completed by the alien upon arrival. After the implementation of the Advance Start Printed Page 94568Passenger Information System (APIS) following 9/11, CBP began collecting information on aliens traveling by air or sea to the United States electronically from carriers in advance of arrival. For aliens arriving in the United States by air or sea, CBP obtains almost all of the information contained on the paper Form I-94 electronically and in advance via APIS. The few fields on the Form I-94 that are not collected via APIS are either already collected by the Department of State and transmitted to CBP or can be collected by the CBP officer from the individual at the time of inspection. This means that CBP no longer needs to collect Form I-94 information as a matter of course directly from aliens traveling to the United States by air or sea. At this time, the automated process will apply only to aliens arriving at air and sea ports of entry.

Statement of Need: This rule makes the necessary changes to the regulations to enable CBP to transition to an automated process whereby CBP will create an electronic Form I-94 based on the information in its databases.

Summary of Legal Basis: Section 103(a) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) generally authorizes the Secretary of Homeland Security to establish such regulations and prescribe such forms of reports, entries, and other papers necessary to carry out his or her authority to administer and enforce the immigration and nationality laws and to guard the borders of the United States against illegal entry of aliens.

Alternatives: CBP considered two alternatives to this rule: Eliminating the paper Form I-94 in the air and sea environments entirely and providing the paper Form I-94 to all travelers who are not B-1/B-2 travelers. Eliminating the paper Form I-94 option for refugees, applicants for asylum, parolees, and those travelers who request one would not result in a significant cost savings to CBP and would harm travelers who have an immediate need for an electronic Form I-94 or who face obstacles to accessing their electronic Form I-94. A second alternative to the rule is to provide a paper Form I-94 to any travelers who are not B-1/B-2 travelers. Under this alternative, travelers would receive and complete the paper Form I-94 during their inspection when they arrive in the United States. The electronic Form I-94 would still be automatically created during the inspection, but the CBP officer would need to verify that the information appearing on the form matches the information in CBP's systems. In addition, CBP would need to write the Form I-94 number on each paper Form I-94 so that their paper form matches the electronic record. As noted in the analysis, 25.1 percent of aliens are non-B-1/B-2 travelers. Filling out and processing this many paper Forms I-94 at airports and seaports would increase processing times considerably. At the same time, it would only provide a small savings to the individual traveler.

Anticipated Cost and Benefits: With the implementation of this rule, CBP will no longer collect Form I-94 information as a matter of course directly from aliens traveling to the United States by air or sea. Instead, CBP will create an electronic Form I-94 for foreign travelers based on the information in its databases. This rule makes the necessary changes to the regulations to enable CBP to transition to an automated process. Both CBP and aliens would bear costs as a result of this rule. CBP would bear costs to link its data systems and to build a Web site so aliens can access their electronic Forms I-94. CBP estimates that the total cost for CBP to link data systems, develop a secure Web site, and fully automate the Form I-94 fully will equal about $1.3 million in calendar year 2012. CBP will incur costs of $0.09 million in subsequent years to operate and maintain these systems. Aliens arriving as diplomats and students would bear costs when logging into the Web site and printing electronic I-94s. The temporary workers and aliens in the “Other/Unknown” category bear costs when logging into the Web site, traveling to a location with public Internet access, and printing a paper copy of their electronic Form I-94. Using the primary estimate for a traveler's value of time, aliens would bear costs between $36.6 million and $46.4 million from 2013 to 2016. Total costs for this rule for 2013 would range from $34.2 million to $40.1 million, with a primary estimate of costs equal to $36.7 million. CBP, carriers, and foreign travelers would accrue benefits as a result of this rule. CBP would save contract and printing costs of $15.6 million per year of our analysis. Carriers would save a total of $1.3 million in printing costs per year. All aliens would save the eight-minute time burden for filling out the paper Form I-94 and certain aliens who lose the Form I-94 would save the $330 fee and 25-minute time burden for filling out the Form I-102. Using the primary estimate for a traveler's value of time, aliens would obtain benefits between $112.6 million and $141.6 million from 2013 to 2016. Total benefits for this rule for 2013 would range from $110.7 million to $155.6 million, with a primary estimate of benefits equal to $129.5 million. Overall, this rule results in substantial cost savings (benefits) for foreign travelers, carriers, and CBP. CBP anticipates a net benefit in 2013 of between $59.7 million and $98.7 million for foreign travelers, $1.3 million for carriers, and $15.5 million for CBP. Net benefits to U.S. entities (carriers and CBP) in 2013 total $16.8 million. CBP anticipates the total net benefits to both domestic and foreign entities in 2013 range from $76.5 million to $115.5 million. In our primary analysis, the total net benefits are $92.8 million in 2013. For the primary estimate, annualized net benefits range from $78.1 million to $80.0 million, depending on the discount rate used. More information on costs and benefits can be found in the interim final rule.

Risks: N/A.

Timetable:

ActionDateFR Cite
Interim Final Rule03/27/1378 FR 18457
Interim Final Rule Comment Period End04/26/13
Interim Final Rule Effective04/26/13
Final Action12/00/16

Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: No.

Government Levels Affected: None.

International Impacts: This regulatory action will be likely to have international trade and investment effects, or otherwise be of international interest.

Additional Information: Includes Retrospective Review under E.O. 13563.

URL for More Information: www.regulations.gov.

URL for Public Comments: www.regulations.gov.

Agency Contact: Suzanne Shepherd, Director, Electronic System for Travel Authorization, Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, 1300 Pennsylvania Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20229, Phone: 202 344-2073, Email: suzanne.m.shepherd@cbp.dhs.gov.

RIN: 1651-AA96

Start Printed Page 94569

DHS—TRANSPORTATION SECURITY ADMINISTRATION (TSA)

Prerule Stage

65. Surface Transportation Vulnerability Assessments and Security Plans

Priority: Other Significant. Major status under 5 U.S.C. 801 is undetermined.

Legal Authority: 49 U.S.C. 114; Pub. L. 110-53, secs. 1405, 1512, and 1531

CFR Citation: 49 CFR 1520; 49 CFR 1570; 49 CFR 1580; 49 CFR 1582 (new); 49 CFR 1584 (new); . . .

Legal Deadline: Final, Statutory, August 3, 2008, Rule for freight railroads and passenger railroads is due no later than 12 months after date of enactment.

Final, Statutory, February 3, 2009, Rule for over-the-road buses is due no later than 18 months after the date of enactment of the 9/11 Act.

According to sec. 1512 of Pub. L. 110-53, Implementing Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Act of 2007 (9/11 Act), (121 Stat. 266, Aug. 3, 2007), a final regulation for freight railroads and passenger railroads is due no later than 12 months after the date of enactment. According to sec. 1531 of the 9/11 Act, a final regulation for over-the-road buses is due no later than 18 months after the date of enactment.

Abstract: The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) will propose a new regulation to address the security of higher-risk freight railroads, public transportation agencies, passenger railroads, and over-the-road buses in accordance with requirements of the Implementing Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Act of 2007 (9/11 Act). The regulation will take into consideration any current security assessment and planning requirements or best practices.

Statement of Need: Vulnerability assessments and security planning are important and effective tools for averting or mitigating potential attacks by those with malicious intent that may target surface transportation and plan or perpetrate actions that may cause significant injuries, loss of life, or economic disruption.

Summary of Legal Basis: 49 U.S.C. 114; sections 1405, 1512, and 1531 of Pub. L. 110-53, Implementing Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Act of 2007 (121 Stat. 266, Aug. 3, 2007).

Alternatives:

Anticipated Cost and Benefits: TSA is in the process of determining the costs and benefits of this rulemaking.

Risks: The Department of Homeland Security aims to prevent terrorist attacks within the United States and to reduce the vulnerability of the United States to terrorism. By providing for vulnerability assessments and security planning of higher-risk surface transportation operations, TSA intends in this rulemaking to reduce the risk of a terrorist attack on this transportation sector.

Timetable:

ActionDateFR Cite
ANPRM12/00/16

Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: Undetermined.

Small Entities Affected: Businesses.

Government Levels Affected: Local.

Federalism: Undetermined.

URL for More Information: www.regulations.gov.

URL for Public Comments: www.regulations.gov.

Agency Contact: Chandru (Jack) Kalro, Deputy Director, Surface Division, Office of Security Policy and Industry Engagement, Department of Homeland Security, Transportation Security Administration, 601 South 12th Street, Arlington, VA 20598-6028, Phone: 571 227-1145, Fax: 571 227-2935, Email: surfacefrontoffice@tsa.dhs.gov.

Alex Moscoso, Lead Economist, Economic Analysis Branch—Cross Modal Division, Department of Homeland Security, Transportation Security Administration, Office of Security Policy and Industry Engagement, 601 South 12th Street, Arlington, VA 20598-6028, Phone: 571 227-5839, Email: alex.moscoso@tsa.dhs.gov.

Traci Klemm, Assistant Chief Counsel for Regulations and Security Standards, Department of Homeland Security, Transportation Security Administration, Office of the Chief Counsel, 601 South 12th Street, Arlington, VA 20598-6002, Phone: 571 227-3596, Email: traci.klemm@tsa.dhs.gov.

Related RIN: Related to 1652-AA55, Merged with 1652-AA58, Merged with 1652-AA60

RIN: 1652-AA56

DHS—TSA

Proposed Rule Stage

66. Security Training for Surface Transportation Employees

Priority: Other Significant.

Legal Authority: 49 U.S.C. 114; Pub. L. 110-53, secs. 1402, 1408, 1501, 1517, 1531, and 1534

CFR Citation: 49 CFR 1500; 49 CFR 1520; 49 CFR 1570; 49 CFR 1580; 49 CFR 1582 (new); 49 CFR 1584 (new).

Legal Deadline: Final, Statutory, November 1, 2007, Interim Rule for public transportation agencies is due 90 days after date of enactment.

Final, Statutory, August 3, 2008, Rule for public transportation agencies is due one year after date of enactment.

Final, Statutory, February 3, 2008, Rule for railroads and over-the-road buses is due six months after date of enactment.

According to sec. 1408 of Pub. L. 110-53, Implementing Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Act of 2007 (9/11 Act), (121 Stat. 266, Aug. 3, 2007), interim final regulations for public transportation agencies are due 90 days after the date of enactment (Nov. 1, 2007), and final regulations are due 1 year after the date of enactment. According to sec. 1517 of the 9/11 Act, final regulations for railroads and over-the-road buses are due no later than 6 months after the date of enactment.

Abstract: This rule would require security awareness training for front-line employees for potential terrorism-related security threats and conditions pursuant to the 9/11 Act. This rule would apply to higher-risk public transportation, freight rail, and over-the-road bus owner/operators and take into consideration the many actions higher-risk owner/operators have already taken since 9/11 to enhance the baseline of security through training of their employees. The rulemaking will also propose extending security coordinator and reporting security incident requirements applicable to rail operators under current 49 CFR part 1580 to the non-rail transportation components of covered public transportation agencies and over-the-road buses.

Statement of Need: Employee training is an important and effective tool for averting or mitigating potential attacks by those with malicious intent who may target surface transportation and plan or perpetrate actions that may cause significant injuries, loss of life, or economic disruption.

Summary of Legal Basis: 49 U.S.C. 114; sections 1402, 1408, 1501, 1517, 1531, and 1534 of Pub. L. 110-53, Implementing Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Act of 2007 (Aug. 3, 2007; 121 Stat. 266).

Alternatives: TSA is required by statute to publish regulations requiring security training programs for these owner/operators. As part of its notice of proposed rulemaking, TSA will seek public comment on the alternative ways in which the final rule could carry out the requirements of the statute.

Anticipated Cost and Benefits: Owner/operators would incur costs training their employees, developing a Start Printed Page 94570training plan, maintaining training records, and participating in inspections for compliance. Some owner/operators would also incur additional costs associated with assigning security coordinators and reporting significant security incidents to TSA. TSA would incur costs associated with reviewing owner/operators' training plans, registering owner/operators' security coordinators, responding to owner/operators' reported significant security incidents, and conducting inspection for compliance with this rule. As part of TSA's risk-based security, benefits include mitigating potential attacks by heightening awareness of employees on the frontline. In addition, by designating security coordinators and reporting significant security concerns to TSA, TSA has a direct line for communicating threats and receiving information necessary to analyze trends and potential threats across all modes of transportation.

Risks: The Department of Homeland Security aims to prevent terrorist attacks within the United States and to reduce the vulnerability of the United States to terrorism. By providing for security training for personnel, TSA intends in this rulemaking to reduce the risk of a terrorist attack on this transportation sector.

Timetable:

ActionDateFR Cite
NPRM11/00/16
NPRM Comment Period End02/00/17

Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: Yes.

Small Entities Affected: Businesses.

Government Levels Affected: Local.

Agency Contact: Chandru (Jack) Kalro, Deputy Director, Surface Division, Office of Security Policy and Industry Engagement, Department of Homeland Security, Transportation Security Administration, 601 South 12th Street, Arlington, VA 20598-6028, Phone: 571 227-1145, Fax: 571 227-2935, Email: surfacefrontoffice@tsa.dhs.gov.

Alex Moscoso, Lead Economist, Economic Analysis Branch—Cross Modal Division, Department of Homeland Security, Transportation Security Administration, Office of Security Policy and Industry Engagement, 601 South 12th Street, Arlington, VA 20598-6028, Phone: 571 227-5839, Email: alex.moscoso@tsa.dhs.gov.

Traci Klemm, Assistant Chief Counsel for Regulations and Security Standards, Department of Homeland Security, Transportation Security Administration, Office of the Chief Counsel, 601 South 12th Street, Arlington, VA 20598-6002, Phone: 571 227-3596, Email: traci.klemm@tsa.dhs.gov.

Related RIN: Related to 1652-AA56, Merged with 1652-AA57, Merged with 1652-AA59

RIN: 1652-AA55

DHS—TSA

67. • Vetting of Certain Surface Transportation Employees