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Proposed Rule

Special Local Regulation; Choptank River, Cambridge, MD

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Start Preamble Start Printed Page 31733

AGENCY:

Coast Guard, DHS.

ACTION:

Notice of proposed rulemaking.

SUMMARY:

The Coast Guard proposes to establish special local regulations for certain waters of the Choptank River. This action is necessary to provide for the safety of life on the navigable waters located in Cambridge, MD, during a power boat racing event on August 19, 2017, and August 20, 2017. This proposed rule would prohibit persons and vessels from entering the regulated area unless authorized by the Captain of the Port Maryland-National Capital Region or the Coast Guard Patrol Commander. We invite your comments on this proposed rulemaking.

DATES:

Comments and related material must be received by the Coast Guard on or before August 9, 2017.

ADDRESSES:

You may submit comments identified by docket number USCG-2017-0571 using the Federal eRulemaking Portal at http://www.regulations.gov. See the “Public Participation and Request for Comments” portion of the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section for further instructions on submitting comments.

Start Further Info

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

If you have questions about this proposed rulemaking, call or email Mr. Ronald Houck, U.S. Coast Guard Sector Maryland-National Capital Region; telephone 410-576-2674, email Ronald.L.Houck@uscg.mil.

End Further Info End Preamble Start Supplemental Information

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Table of Abbreviations

CFR Code of Federal Regulations

COTP Captain of the Port

DHS Department of Homeland Security

FR Federal Register

NPRM Notice of proposed rulemaking

Pub. L. Public Law

§ Section

U.S.C. United States Code

II. Background, Purpose, and Legal Basis

On May 17, 2017, The Kent Narrows Racing Association of Chester, MD, notified the Coast Guard that it will be conducting power boat races from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. on August 19, 2017, and August 20, 2017. Final details of the event were provided to the Coast Guard on June 20, 2017. The high-speed power boat racing event consists of approximately 60 participants competing on a designated 1-mile oval course in the Choptank River in a cove located between Hambrooks Bar and the shoreline at Cambridge, MD. Hazards from the power boat races include risks of injury or death resulting from near or actual contact among participant vessels and spectator vessels or waterway users if normal vessel traffic were to interfere with the event. The COTP Maryland-National Capital Region has determined that potential hazards associated with the power boat races would be a safety concern for anyone intending to participate in this event or for vessels that operate within specified waters of the Choptank River at Cambridge, MD.

The purpose of this rulemaking is to protect marine event participants, spectators and transiting vessels on specified waters of the Choptank River before, during, and after the scheduled event. The Coast Guard proposes this rulemaking under authority in 33 U.S.C. 1233, which authorize the Coast Guard to establish and define special local regulations.

III. Discussion of Proposed Rule

The COTP Maryland-National Capital Region proposes to establish special local regulations from 8:30 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. on August 19, 2017 and August 20, 2017. The regulated area would include all navigable waters within Hambrooks Bay and Choptank River west and south of a line commencing at the shoreline, at latitude 38°35′00″ N., longitude 076°04′43″ W., thence east to latitude 38°35′00″ N., longitude 076°04′23.7″ W., thence north to latitude 38°35′22.7″ N., longitude 076°04′23.7″ W., thence northwest to latitude 38°35′42.2″ N., longitude 076°04′51.1″ W., at Hambrooks Bar Light LLNR 24995, thence southwest to latitude 38°35′34.2″ N., longitude 076°05′12.3″ W., terminating at the Hambrooks Bay breakwall as it intersects the shoreline. This rule provides additional information about designated areas within the regulated area, including “Race Area,” “Spectator Area” and “Buffer Zone,” and the restrictions that apply to mariners. The duration of the regulated area is intended to ensure the safety of event participants and vessels within the specified navigable waters before, during, and after the power boat races, scheduled to occur between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. each day. Except for participants, no vessel or person would be permitted to enter the regulated area without obtaining permission from the COTP Maryland-National Capital Region or the Coast Guard Patrol Commander. The regulatory text we are proposing appears at the end of this document.

IV. Regulatory Analyses

We developed this proposed rule after considering numerous statutes and Executive orders related to rulemaking. Below we summarize our analyses based on a number of these statutes and Executive Orders, and we discuss First Amendment rights of protestors.

A. Regulatory Planning and Review

Executive Orders 12866 and 13563 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. Executive Order 13771 directs agencies to control regulatory costs through a budgeting process. This NPRM has not been designated a “significant regulatory action,” under Executive Order 12866. Accordingly, the NPRM has not been reviewed by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), and pursuant to OMB guidance it is exempt from the requirements of Executive Order 13771.

This regulatory action determination is based on the size and duration of the regulated area, which would impact a small designated area of the Choptank River for 18 hours. The Coast Guard would issue a Broadcast Notice to Mariners via marine band radio VHF-Start Printed Page 31734FM channel 16 about the status of the regulated area. Moreover, the rule would allow vessel operators to request permission to enter the regulated area for the purpose of safely transiting the regulated area if deemed safe to do so by the Coast Guard Patrol Commander.

B. Impact on Small Entities

The Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980, 5 U.S.C. 601-612, as amended, requires Federal agencies to consider the potential impact of regulations on small entities during rulemaking. The term “small entities” comprises small businesses, not-for-profit organizations that are independently owned and operated and are not dominant in their fields, and governmental jurisdictions with populations of less than 50,000. The Coast Guard certifies under 5 U.S.C. 605(b) that this proposed rule would not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities.

While some owners or operators of vessels intending to transit the regulated area may be small entities, for the reasons stated in section IV.A above this proposed rule would not have a significant economic impact on any vessel owner or operator.

If you think that your business, organization, or governmental jurisdiction qualifies as a small entity and that this rule would have a significant economic impact on it, please submit a comment (see ADDRESSES) explaining why you think it qualifies and how and to what degree this rule would economically affect it.

Under section 213(a) of the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996 (Pub. L. 104-121), we want to assist small entities in understanding this proposed rule. If the rule would affect your small business, organization, or governmental jurisdiction and you have questions concerning its provisions or options for compliance, please contact the person listed in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section. The Coast Guard will not retaliate against small entities that question or complain about this proposed rule or any policy or action of the Coast Guard.

C. Collection of Information

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

D. Federalism and Indian Tribal Governments

A rule has implications for federalism under Executive Order 13132, Federalism, if it has a substantial direct effect on the States, on the relationship between the national government and the States, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities among the various levels of government. We have analyzed this proposed rule under that Order and have determined that it is consistent with the fundamental federalism principles and preemption requirements described in Executive Order 13132.

Also, this proposed rule does not have tribal implications under Executive Order 13175, Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribal Governments, because it would not have a substantial direct effect on one or more Indian tribes, on the relationship between the Federal Government and Indian tribes, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities between the Federal Government and Indian tribes. If you believe this proposed rule has implications for federalism or Indian tribes, please contact the person listed in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section above.

E. Unfunded Mandates Reform Act

The Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (2 U.S.C. 1531-1538) requires Federal agencies to assess the effects of their discretionary regulatory actions. In particular, the Act addresses actions that may result in the expenditure by a State, local, or tribal government, in the aggregate, or by the private sector of $100,000,000 (adjusted for inflation) or more in any one year. Though this proposed rule would not result in such an expenditure, we do discuss the effects of this rule elsewhere in this preamble.

F. Environment

We have analyzed this proposed rule under Department of Homeland Security Management Directive 023-01 and Commandant Instruction M16475.lD, which guide the Coast Guard in complying with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4321-4370f), and have made a preliminary determination that this action is one of a category of actions that do not individually or cumulatively have a significant effect on the human environment. This proposed rule involves implementation of regulations within 33 CFR part 100 applicable to organized marine events on the navigable waters of the United States that may negatively impact the safety of waterway users and shore side activities within the event area. This category of marine event water activities includes but is not limited to sail boat regattas, boat parades, power boat racing, swimming events, crew racing, canoe and sail board racing. Normally such actions are categorically excluded from further review under paragraph 34(h) of Figure 2-1 of Commandant Instruction M16475.lD. A preliminary Record of Environmental Consideration (REC) is available in the docket where indicated under ADDRESSES. We seek any comments or information that may lead to the discovery of a significant environmental impact from this proposed rule.

G. Protest Activities

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

V. Public Participation and Request for Comments

We view public participation as essential to effective rulemaking, and will consider all comments and material received during the comment period. Your comment can help shape the outcome of this rulemaking. If you submit a comment, please include the docket number for this rulemaking, indicate the specific section of this document to which each comment applies, and provide a reason for each suggestion or recommendation.

We encourage you to submit comments through the Federal eRulemaking Portal at http://www.regulations.gov. If your material cannot be submitted using http://www.regulations.gov, contact the person in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section of this document for alternate instructions.

We accept anonymous comments. All comments received will be posted without change to http://www.regulations.gov and will include any personal information you have provided. For more about privacy and the docket, you may review a Privacy Act notice regarding the Federal Docket Management System in the March 24, 2005, issue of the Federal Register (70 FR 15086).

Documents mentioned in this NPRM as being available in the docket, and all public comments, will be in our online docket at http://www.regulations.gov and can be viewed by following that Web site's instructions. Additionally, if you go to the online docket and sign up for email alerts, you will be notified when comments are posted or a final rule is published.

Start List of Subjects Start Printed Page 31735

List of Subjects in 33 CFR Part 100

  • Marine safety
  • Navigation (water)
  • Reporting and recordkeeping requirements
  • Waterways
End List of Subjects

For the reasons discussed in the preamble, the Coast Guard proposes to amend 33 CFR part 100 as follows:

Start Part

PART 100—SAFETY OF LIFE ON NAVIGABLE WATERS

End Part Start Amendment Part

1. The authority citation for part 100 continues to read as follows:

End Amendment Part Start Authority

Authority: 33 U.S.C. 1233.

End Authority Start Amendment Part

2. Add § 100.35-T05-0571 to read as follows:

End Amendment Part
Special Local Regulation; Choptank River, Cambridge, MD.

(a) Definitions. (1) Captain of the Port Maryland-National Capital Region means the Commander, U.S. Coast Guard Sector Maryland-National Capital Region or a Coast Guard commissioned, warrant or petty officer who has been authorized by the Captain of the Port to act on his behalf.

(2) Coast Guard Patrol Commander means a commissioned, warrant, or petty officer of the U.S. Coast Guard who has been designated by the Commander, Coast Guard Sector Maryland-National Capital Region.

(3) Official Patrol means any vessel assigned or approved by Commander, Coast Guard Sector Maryland-National Capital Region with a commissioned, warrant, or petty officer on board and displaying a Coast Guard ensign.

(4) Spectator means any person or vessel not registered with the event sponsor as a participant or an official patrol vessel.

(5) Participant means any person or vessel participating in the Thunder on the Choptank event under the auspices of the Marine Event Permit issued to the event sponsor and approved by Commander, Coast Guard Sector Maryland-National Capital Region.

(b) Regulated area. All coordinates reference Datum NAD 1983. (1) Coordinates: The following location is a regulated area: All navigable waters within Hambrooks Bay and Choptank River west and south of a line commencing at the shoreline, at latitude 38°35′00″ N., longitude 076°04′43″ W., thence east to latitude 38°35′00″ N., longitude 076°04′23.7″ W., thence north to latitude 38°35′22.7″ N., longitude 076°04′23.7″ W., thence northwest to latitude 38°35′42.2″ N., longitude 076°04′51.1″ W., at Hambrooks Bar Light LLNR 24995, thence southwest to latitude 38°35′34.2″ N., longitude 076°05′12.3″ W., terminating at the Hambrooks Bay breakwall as it intersects the shoreline.

(2) Race area: Located within the waters of Hambrooks Bay and Choptank River, in an area bound to the north by the Hambrooks Bay breakwall and bounded to the east by a line drawn along longitude 076°04′37″ W.

(3) Buffer zone: All waters within Hambrooks Bay and Choptank River (with the exception of the Race Area designated by the marine event sponsor) bound to the north by the breakwall and continuing along a line drawn from the east end of breakwall located at latitude 38°35′27.6″ N., longitude 076°04′50.1″ W., thence southeast to latitude 38°35′17.7″ N., longitude 076°04′29″ W., thence south to latitude 38°35′01″ N., longitude 076°04′29″ W., thence west to the shoreline at latitude 38°35′01″ N., longitude 076°04′41.3″ W.

(4) Spectator area: All waters of the Choptank River, eastward and outside of Hambrooks Bay breakwall, thence bound by line that commences at latitude 38°35′27.6″ N., longitude 076°04′50.1″ W., thence southeast to latitude 38°35′21.3″ N., longitude 076°04′37.2″ W., thence southeast to latitude 38°35′21.3″ N., longitude 076°04′37.2″ W., thence northeast to latitude 38°35′27.8″ N., longitude 076°04′30.5″ W., thence northwest to latitude 38°35′42.2″ N., longitude 076°04′51.1″ W., at Hambrooks Bar Light LLNR 24995, thence south to and terminating at the point of origin.

(c) Special local regulations: (1) The Captain of the Port Maryland-National Capital Region or the Coast Guard Patrol Commander may forbid and control the movement of all vessels and persons, including event participants, in the regulated area. When hailed or signaled by an official patrol, a vessel or person in the regulated area shall immediately comply with the directions given. Failure to do so may result in expulsion from the area, citation for failure to comply, or both.

(2) The operator of any vessel in the regulated area shall:

(i) Stop the vessel immediately when directed to do so by any Official Patrol and then proceed only as directed.

(ii) All persons and vessels shall comply with the instructions of the Official Patrol.

(iii) When authorized to transit the regulated area, all vessels shall proceed at the minimum speed necessary to maintain a safe course that minimizes wake near the race course.

(3) The Coast Guard Patrol Commander may terminate the event, or the operation of any participant, at any time it is deemed necessary for the protection of life or property.

(4) The Race Area is an area described by a line bounded by coordinates provided in latitude and longitude that outlines the boundary of a Race Area within the regulated area defined in paragraph (b)(2) of this section. The actual placement of the Race Area will be determined by the marine event sponsor within the designated boundaries. Only participants and official patrol vessels are allowed to enter the Race Area.

(5) The Buffer Zone is an area that surrounds the perimeter of the Race Area within the regulated area defined in paragraph (b)(3) of this section. The purpose of a Buffer Zone is to minimize potential collision conflicts with participants and spectators or nearby transiting vessels. This area provides separation between the Race Area and Spectator Area or other vessels that are operating in the vicinity of the regulated area defined in paragraph (b)(1) of this section. Only participants and official patrol vessels are allowed to enter the Buffer Zone.

(6) The Spectator Area is an area described by a line bounded by coordinates provided in latitude and longitude that outlines the boundary of a spectator area within the regulated area defined in paragraph (b)(4) of this section. Spectators are only allowed inside the regulated area if they remain within the Spectator Area. All spectator vessels shall be anchored or operate at a no-wake speed while transiting within the Spectator Area. Spectators may contact the Coast Guard Patrol Commander to request permission to either enter the Spectator Area or pass through the regulated area. If permission is granted, spectators must enter the Spectator Area or pass directly through the regulated area as instructed at safe speed and without loitering.

(7) The Coast Guard Patrol Commander and official patrol vessels enforcing this regulated area can be contacted on marine band radio VHF-FM channel 16 (156.8 MHz) and channel 22A (157.1 MHz). Persons and vessels desiring to transit, moor, or anchor within the regulated area must obtain authorization from Captain of the Port Maryland-National Capital Region or Coast Guard Patrol Commander. The Captain of the Port Maryland-National Capital Region can be contacted at telephone number 410-576-2693 or on Marine Band Radio, VHF-FM channel 16 (156.8 MHz). The Coast Guard Patrol Commander can be contacted on Marine Band Radio, VHF-FM channel 16 (156.8 MHz).

(8) The Coast Guard will publish a notice in the Fifth Coast Guard District Local Notice to Mariners and issue a Start Printed Page 31736marine information broadcast on VHF-FM marine band radio.

(d) Enforcement. The Coast Guard may be assisted with marine event patrol and enforcement of the regulated area by other Federal, State, and local agencies.

(e) Enforcement periods. This section will be enforced from 8:30 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. on August 19, 2017, and from 8:30 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. on August 20, 2017.

Start Signature

Dated: July 3, 2017.

Lonnie P. Harrison, Jr.,

Captain, U.S. Coast Guard, Captain of the Port Maryland-National Capital Region.

End Signature End Supplemental Information

[FR Doc. 2017-14366 Filed 7-7-17; 8:45 am]

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