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Safety Zone; Stampede TLP, Green Canyon 468, Outer Continental Shelf on the Gulf of Mexico

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Start Preamble

AGENCY:

Coast Guard, DHS.

ACTION:

Final rule.

SUMMARY:

The Coast Guard is establishing a safety zone around the Stampede Tension Leg Platform (TLP) facility located in Green Canyon Block 468 on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) in the Gulf of Mexico. The purpose of the safety zone is to protect the facility from all vessels operating outside the normal shipping channels and fairways that are not providing services to or working with the facility. Placing a safety zone around the facility will significantly reduce the threat of allisions, collisions, oil spills, releases of natural gas, and thereby protect the safety of life, property, and the environment.

DATES:

This rule is effective September 8, 2017.

ADDRESSES:

To view documents mentioned in this preamble as being available in the docket, go to http://www.regulations.gov, type USCG-2017-0110 in the “SEARCH” box and click “SEARCH.” Click on Open Docket Folder on the line associated with this rule.

Start Further Info

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

If you have questions on this rule, call or email Mr. Rusty Wright, U.S. Coast Guard, District Eight Waterways Management Branch; telephone 504-671-2138, rusty.h.wright@uscg.mil.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Table of Abbreviations

CFR Code of Federal Regulations

FR Federal Register

NPRM Notice of proposed rulemaking

OCS Outer Continental Shelf

TLP Tension Leg Platform

§  Section

U.S.C. United States Code

II. Background Information and Regulatory History

HESS Corporation requested that an OCS safety zone extending 500 meters from each point on the Stampede Tension Leg Platform (TLP) facility structure's outermost edge be established. There are safety concerns for both the personnel aboard the facility and the environment. In response, on May 10, 2017, the Coast Guard published a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) titled Safety Zone; Stampede TLP, Green Canyon 468, Outer Continental Shelf on the Gulf of Mexico (82 FR 21337). There we stated why we issued the NPRM, and invited comments on our proposed regulatory action related to this safety zone. During the comment period that ended on June 7, 2017, we received 1 comment.

III. Legal Authority and Need for Rule

The Coast Guard is issuing this rule under authority in 14 U.S.C. 85, 43 U.S.C. 1333, Department of Homeland Security Delegation No. 0170.1, and 33 CFR 147.1 and 147.10, which collectively permit the establishment of safety zones for facilities located on the OCS for the purpose of protecting life and property on the facilities, and the marine environment in the safety zones. The Coast Guard has determined that a safety zone is necessary to protect the facility from all vessels operating outside the normal shipping channels and fairways that are not providing services to or working with the facility. Navigation in the vicinity of the safety zone consists of large commercial shipping vessels, fishing vessels, cruise ships, tugs with tows and the occasional recreational vessel. The deepwater area also includes an extensive system of fairways. The purpose of the rule is to significantly reduce the threat of allisions, oil spills, and releases of natural gas, and thereby protect the safety of life, property, and the environment.

IV. Discussion of Comments, Changes, and the Rule

As noted above, we received 1 comment on our NPRM published on May 10, 2017. The commenter asked to specify the horizontal datum (NAD 27, NAD 83, etc.) for the latitude and longitude position in the rule. We have done so. In this rule, as in all OCS Safety Zone rules, we use the NAD 83 horizontal datum.

This rule establishes a safety zone on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) in the deepwater area of the Gulf of Mexico at Green Canyon Block 468. The area for the safety zone is 500 meters (1640.4 feet) from each point on the facility, which is located at 27°30′33.3431″ N., 90°33′22.963″ W., (NAD 83). The deepwater area is waters of 304.8 meters (1,000 feet) or greater depth extending to the limits of the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) contiguous to the territorial sea of the United States and extending to a distance up to 200 nautical miles from the baseline from which the breadth of the sea is measured. No vessel, except those attending the facility, or those less than 100 feet in length and not engaged in towing will be permitted to enter the safety zone without obtaining permission from Commander, Eighth Coast Guard District or a designated representative.

V. Regulatory Analyses

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

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 rule has not been designated a “significant regulatory action,” under Executive Order 12866. Accordingly, this rule 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 location of the Stampede TLP, on the OCS, and its distance from both land and safety fairways. Vessels traversing waters near the safety zone will be able to safely travel around the zone using alternate routes. Exceptions to this rule include vessels measuring less than 100 feet in length overall and not engaged in towing. The Eighth Coast Guard District Commander, or a designated representative, will consider requests to transit through the safety zone on a case-by-case basis.

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 Start Printed Page 37177businesses, 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 received no comments from the Small Business Administration on this rulemaking. The Coast Guard certifies under 5 U.S.C. 605(b) that this rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities.

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

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 rule. If the rule affects 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.

Small businesses may send comments on the actions of Federal employees who enforce, or otherwise determine compliance with, Federal regulations to the Small Business and Agriculture Regulatory Enforcement Ombudsman and the Regional Small Business Regulatory Fairness Boards. The Ombudsman evaluates these actions annually and rates each agency's responsiveness to small business. If you wish to comment on actions by employees of the Coast Guard, call 1-888-REG-FAIR (1-888-734-3247). The Coast Guard will not retaliate against small entities that question or complain about this rule or any policy or action of the Coast Guard.

C. Collection of Information

This rule will 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 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 rule does not have tribal implications under Executive Order 13175, Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribal Governments, because it does 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 rule has implications for federalism or Indian tribes, please contact the person listed in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section.

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

F. Environment

We have analyzed this 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 rule involves establishing a safety zone around an offshore deepwater facility. Normally such actions are categorically excluded from further review under paragraph 34(g) of Figure 2-1 of Commandant Instruction M16475.lD. A preliminary environmental analysis checklist and Categorical Exclusion Determination, prepared and signed before April 3, 2017, are available in the docket where indicated under ADDRESSES.

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.

Start List of Subjects

List of Subjects in 33 CFR Part 147

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

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

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PART 147—SAFETY ZONES

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1. The authority citation for part 147 continues to read as follows:

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

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2. Add § 147.867 to read as follows:

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Stampede TLP facility safety zone.

(a) Description. The Stampede Tension Leg Platform (TLP) system is in the deepwater area of the Gulf of Mexico at Green Canyon Block 468. The facility is located at 27°30′33.3431″ N. 90°33′22.963″ W. (NAD 83) and the area within 500 meters (1640.4 feet) from each point on the facility structure's outer edge is a safety zone.

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

(1) An attending vessel, as defined by 33 CFR 147.20;

(2) A vessel under 100 feet in length overall not engaged in towing; or

(3) A vessel authorized by the Eighth Coast Guard District Commander.

Start Signature

Dated: July 14, 2017.

David R. Callahan,

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

End Signature End Supplemental Information

[FR Doc. 2017-16685 Filed 8-8-17; 8:45 am]

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