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Commission Information Collection Activities (FERC-603); Comment Request; Extension

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AGENCY:

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

ACTION:

Notice of information collection and request for comments.

SUMMARY:

In compliance with the requirements of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (Commission or FERC) is soliciting public comment on the currently approved information collection, FERC-603 (Critical Energy/Electric Infrastructure Information Data Request).

DATES:

Comments on the collection of information are due May 26, 2020.

ADDRESSES:

You may submit comments (identified by Docket No. IC20-13-000) by either of the following methods:

Instructions: All submissions must be formatted and filed in accordance with submission guidelines at: http://www.ferc.gov/​help/​submission-guide.asp. For user assistance, contact FERC Online Support by email at ferconlinesupport@ferc.gov, or by phone at: (866) 208-3676 (toll-free).

Docket: Users interested in receiving automatic notification of activity in this docket or in viewing/downloading comments and issuances in this docket may do so at http://www.ferc.gov/​docs-filing/​docs-filing.asp.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Ellen Brown may be reached by email at DataClearance@FERC.gov, and telephone at (202) 502-8663.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Title: FERC-603, Critical Energy/Electric Infrastructure Information Data Request.

OMB Control No.: 1902-0197.

Type of Request: Three-year extension of the FERC-603 information collection requirements with no changes to the current reporting and recordkeeping requirements.[1]

Abstract: This collection is used by the Commission to implement procedures for individuals with a valid or legitimate need for access to Critical Energy/Electric Infrastructure Information (CEII), which is exempt from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act (5 U.S.C. 552), subject to a non-disclosure agreement.

On February, 21, 2003, the Commission issued Order No. 630 (66 FR 52917) to address the appropriate treatment of CEII in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and to restrict access due to the ongoing terrorism threat. Given that such information would typically be exempt from mandatory disclosure pursuant to FOIA, the Commission determined that it was important to have a process for individuals with a valid or legitimate need to access certain sensitive energy infrastructure information. As such, the Commission's CEII process is designed to limit the distribution of sensitive infrastructure information to those individuals with a need to know in order to avoid having sensitive information fall into the hands of those who may use it to attack the Nation's infrastructure.[2] This collection was prepared as part of the implementation of the CEII request process.

On December 4, 2015, the President signed the Fixing America's Surface Transportation Act (FAST Act) into law, which directed the Commission to issue regulations aimed at securing and sharing sensitive infrastructure information.[3] On November 17, 2016, in Order No. 833 (in Docket No. RM16-15), the Commission adopted a Final Rule implementing the FAST Act by Start Printed Page 17327amending its regulations that pertain to the designation, protection, and sharing of CEII. The Final Rule became effective on February 19, 2017.

The FERC-603, Critical Energy/Electric Infrastructure Information (CEII) request form is largely unchanged from the previously approved version. As in the previous version, a person seeking access to CEII must file a request for that information by providing information about their identity and the reason the individual needs the information. With that information, the Commission is able to assess the requester's need for the information against the sensitivity of the information. The updated form has been changed to include one additional requirement, a signed statement from the requester attesting to the accuracy of the information provided in the request. This requirement was inadvertently omitted from the previous form. See 18 CFR 388.113(g)(5)(i)(D). A sample updated CEII request form is attached to this notice.

Type of Respondents: Persons seeking access to CEII.

Estimate of Annual Burden: [4] The Commission estimates the total annual burden and cost [5] for this information collection as follows.

FERC-603—Critical Energy/Electric Infrastructure Information Request

Number of respondentsAnnual number of responses per respondentTotal number of responsesAverage burden & cost per responseTotal annual burden hours & total annual costCost per respondent ($)
(1)(2)(1) * (2) = (3)(4)(3) * (4) = (5)(5) ÷ (1)
10011000.3 hrs.; $2430 hrs.; $2,400$24

Comments: Comments are invited on: (1) Whether the collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the Commission, including whether the information will have practical utility; (2) the accuracy of the agency's estimate of the burden and cost of the collection of information, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used; (3) ways to enhance the quality, utility and clarity of the information collection; and (4) ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond, including the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology.

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Dated: March 23, 2020.

Kimberly D. Bose,

Secretary.

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Footnotes

1.  The CEII request form and five versions of the non-disclosure agreement (General Non-Disclosure Agreement, Media Non-Disclosure Agreement, Federal Agency Acknowledgement and Agreement, State Agency Employee Non-Disclosure Agreement, and Consultant Non-Disclosure Agreement) are posted at https://www.ferc.gov/​legal/​ceii-foia/​ceii.asp.

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2.  The Commission defined CEII to include information about “existing or proposed critical infrastructure that: (i) relates to the production, generation, transportation, transmission, or distribution of energy; (ii) could be useful to a person planning an attack on critical infrastructure; (iii) is exempt from mandatory disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act, and (iv) does not simply give the location of the critical infrastructure. Critical infrastructure means existing and proposed systems and assets, whether physical or virtual, the incapacity or destruction of which would negatively affect security, economic security, public health or safety, or any combination of those matters.

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3.  Fixing America's Surface Transportation Act, Public Law 114-94, 61,003, 129 Stat. 1312, 1773-1779 (2015) (to be codified at 16 U.S.C. 824 et seq.) (FAST Act).

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4.  “Burden” is the total time, effort, or financial resources expended by persons to generate, maintain, retain, or disclose or provide information to or for a Federal agency. For further explanation of what is included in the information collection burden, refer to Title 5 Code of Federal Regulations 1320.3.

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5.  The Commission staff thinks that the average respondent for this collection is similarly situated to the Commission, in terms of salary plus benefits. Based upon the FERC's 2019 average cost for salary plus benefits, the average hourly cost is $80/hour.

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[FR Doc. 2020-06461 Filed 3-26-20; 8:45 am]

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