Coast Guard, DHS.
Notice of proposed rulemaking.
The Coast Guard is proposing to establish temporary special local regulations for certain waters of the Choptank River. This action is necessary to provide for the safety of life on these navigable waters located at Cambridge, MD, during a high-speed power boat racing event on July 25, 2020, and July 26, 2020. This proposed rulemaking 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.
Comments and related material must be received by the Coast Guard on or before June 5, 2020.
You may submit comments identified by docket number USCG-2020-0081 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.
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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
If you have questions about this proposed rulemaking, call or email Mr. Ron Houck, U.S. Coast Guard Sector Maryland-National Capital Region; telephone 410-576-2674, email Ronald.L.Houck@uscg.mil.
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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
PATCOM Coast Guard Patrol Commander
U.S.C. United States Code
II. Background, Purpose, and Legal Basis
Kent Narrows Racing Association of Chester, MD, notified the Coast Guard that it will be conducting the Thunder on the Choptank from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on July 25, 2020, and from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on July 26, 2020. The high-speed power boat racing event consists of approximately 50 participating inboard and outboard hydroplane and runabout race boats of various classes, 16 to 21 feet in length. The vessels will be competing on a designated, marked 1-mile oval course located in the Choptank River in a cove located between Hambrooks Bar and the shoreline at Cambridge, MD. Hazards from the power boat racing event include risks of injury or death resulting from near or actual contact among participant vessels and spectator vessels or waterway users if normal vessel Start Printed Page 26904traffic were to interfere with the event. Additionally, such hazards include participants operating near designated navigation channels, as well as operating near approaches to local public boat ramps, private marinas and yacht clubs, and waterfront businesses. 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 and for vessels that operate within specified waters of the Choptank River.
The purpose of this rulemaking is to protect event participants, non-participants and transiting vessels before, during, and after the scheduled event. The Coast Guard is proposing this rulemaking under authority in 46 U.S.C. 70034 (previously 33 U.S.C. 1231).
III. Discussion of Proposed Rule
The COTP Maryland-National Capital Region is proposing to establish special local regulations to be enforced from 8:30 a.m. through 6 p.m. on July 25, 2020, and from 8:30 a.m. through 6 p.m. on July 26, 2020. The regulated area would cover all navigable waters of the Choptank River and Hambrooks Bay bounded by a line connecting the following coordinates: Commencing at the shoreline at Long Wharf Park, Cambridge, MD, at position latitude 38°34′30″ N, longitude 076°04′16″ W; thence east to latitude 38°34′20″ N, longitude 076°03′46″ W; thence northeast across the Choptank River along the Senator Frederick C. Malkus, Jr. (US-50) Memorial Bridge, at mile 15.5, to latitude 38°35′30″ N, longitude 076°02′52″ W; thence west along the shoreline to latitude 38°35′38″ N, longitude 076°03′09″ W; thence north and west along the shoreline to latitude 38°36′42″ N, longitude 076°04′15″ W; thence southwest across the Choptank River to latitude 38°35′31″ N, longitude 076°04′57″ W; thence west along the Hambrooks Bay breakwall to latitude 38°35′33″ N, longitude 076°05′17″ W; thence south and east along the shoreline back to the point of origin.
This proposed rule provides additional information about areas within the regulated area, and the restrictions that apply to mariners. These areas include a “Race Area,” “Buffer Zone” and “Spectator Area.”
The proposed duration of the rule and size of the regulated area are intended to ensure the safety of life on these navigable waters before, during, and after the high-speed power boat races, scheduled to take place from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on July 25, 2020, and those same hours on July 26, 2020. The COTP and the Coast Guard Patrol Commander (PATCOM) would have authority to forbid and control the movement of all vessels and persons, including event participants, in the regulated area.
Except for Thunder on the Choptank participants and vessels already at berth, a vessel or person would be required to get permission from the COTP or PATCOM before entering the regulated area while the rule is being enforced. Vessel operators could request permission to enter and transit through the regulated area by contacting the PATCOM on VHF-FM channel 16. Vessel traffic would be able to safely transit the regulated area once the PATCOM deems it safe to do so. A person or vessel not registered with the event sponsor as a participant or assigned as official patrols would be considered a non-participant. Official Patrols are any vessel assigned or approved by the Commander, Coast Guard Sector Maryland-National Capital Region with a commissioned, warrant, or petty officer on board and displaying a Coast Guard ensign.
If permission is granted by the COTP or PATCOM, a person or vessel would be allowed to enter the regulated area or pass directly through the regulated area as instructed. Vessels would be required to operate at a safe speed that minimizes wake while within the regulated area. Official patrol vessels would direct non-participants while within the regulated area.
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 size and duration of the regulated area, which would impact a small designated area of the Choptank River for 19 total enforcement hours. The Coast Guard would issue a Broadcast Notice to Mariners via VHF-FM marine channel 16 about the status of the regulated area. Moreover, the rule would allow vessels to seek permission to enter the regulated area, and vessel traffic would be able to safely transit the regulated area once the PATCOM deems it safe to do so.
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 safety zone 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).Start Printed Page 26905
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.
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.
We have analyzed this proposed rule under Department of Homeland Security Directive 023-01, Rev. 1, associated implementing instructions, and Environmental Planning COMDTINST 5090.1 (series), 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 could negatively impact the safety of waterway users and shore side activities in the event area lasting for 19 hours. Normally such actions are categorically excluded from further review under paragraph L of Appendix A, Table 1 of DHS Instruction Manual 023-01-001-01, Rev. 01. 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 submissions in response to this docket, see DHS's Correspondence System of Records notice (84 FR 48645, September 26, 2018).
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 website'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.
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- Marine safety
- Navigation (water)
- Reporting and recordkeeping requirements
For the reasons discussed in the preamble, the Coast Guard is proposing to amend 33 CFR part 100 as follows:
PART 100—SAFETY OF LIFE ON NAVIGABLE WATERS
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1. The authority citation for part 100 continues to read as follows: End Amendment Part
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2. Add § 100.T05-0081 to read as follows: End Amendment Part
Thunder on the Choptank, Choptank River, Hambrooks Bay, Cambridge, MD.
(a) Regulated areas. The regulations in this section apply to the following areas:
(1) Regulated area. All navigable waters within Choptank River and Hambrooks Bay bounded by a line connecting the following coordinates: Commencing at the shoreline at Long Wharf Park, Cambridge, MD, at position latitude 38°34′30″ N, longitude 076°04′16″ W; thence east to latitude 38°34′20″ N, longitude 076°03′46″ W; thence northeast across the Choptank River along the Senator Frederick C. Malkus, Jr. (US-50) Memorial Bridge, at mile 15.5, to latitude 38°35′30″ N, longitude 076°02′52″ W; thence west along the shoreline to latitude 38°35′38″ N, longitude 076°03′09″ W; thence north and west along the shoreline to latitude 38°36′42″ N, longitude 076°04′15″ W; thence southwest across the Choptank River to latitude 38°35′31″ N, longitude 076°04′57″ W; thence west along the Hambrooks Bay breakwall to latitude 38°35′33″ N, longitude 076°05′17″ W; thence south and east along the shoreline to and terminating at the point of origin. The following locations are within the regulated area:
(i) Race Area. Located within the waters of Hambrooks Bay and Choptank River, between Hambrooks Bar and Great Marsh Point, MD.
(ii) 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.Start Printed Page 26906
(iii) 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′28″ N, longitude 076°04′50″ W; thence northeast to latitude 38°35′30″ N, longitude 076°04′47″ W; thence southeast to latitude 38°35′23″ N, longitude 076°04′29″ W; thence southwest to latitude 38°35′19″ N, longitude 076°04′31″ W; thence northwest to and terminating at the point of origin.
(2) Coordinates. These coordinates are based on datum NAD 1983.
(b) Definitions. As used in this section—
Captain of the Port (COTP) Maryland-National Capital Region means the Commander, U.S. Coast Guard Sector Maryland-National Capital Region or any Coast Guard commissioned, warrant or petty officer who has been authorized by the COTP to act on his behalf.
Coast Guard Patrol Commander (PATCOM) 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.
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.
Participant means all persons and vessels registered with the event sponsor as participating in the Thunder on the Choptank or otherwise designated by the event sponsor as having a function tied to the event.
(c) Regulations. (1) Except for vessels already at berth, all non-participants are prohibited from entering, transiting through, anchoring in, or remaining within the regulated area described in paragraph (a) of this section unless authorized by the COTP Maryland-National Capital Region or PATCOM.
(2) To seek permission to enter, contact the COTP Maryland-National Capital Region at telephone number 410-576-2693 or on Marine Band Radio, VHF-FM channel 16 (156.8 MHz) or the PATCOM on Marine Band Radio, VHF-FM channel 16 (156.8 MHz). Those in the regulated area must comply with all lawful orders or directions given to them by the COTP Maryland-National Capital Region or PATCOM.
(3) The COTP Maryland-National Capital Region will provide notice of the regulated area through advanced notice via Fifth Coast Guard District Local Notice to Mariners, broadcast notice to mariners, and on-scene official patrols.
(d) Enforcement officials. 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 period. This section will be enforced from 8:30 a.m. through 6 p.m. on July 25, 2020, and, from 8:30 a.m. through 6 p.m. on July 26, 2020.
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Dated: April 23, 2020.
Joseph B. Loring,
Captain, U.S. Coast Guard, Captain of the Port Maryland-National Capital Region.
[FR Doc. 2020-09285 Filed 5-5-20; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 9110-04-P