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Safety Zone; Port Huron Float Down, St. Clair River, Port Huron, MI

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Start Preamble

AGENCY:

Coast Guard, Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

ACTION:

Temporary final rule.

SUMMARY:

The Coast Guard is establishing a temporary safety zone for navigable waters of the St. Clair River in the vicinity of Port Huron, MI. This zone is intended to restrict and control movement of vessels in a portion of the St. Clair River. Though this is an unsanctioned, non-permitted marine event, this zone is necessary to provide for the safety of life on the navigable waters during a float down event near Port Huron, MI.

DATES:

This rule is effective from 12 p.m. through 8 p.m. on August 15, 2021.

ADDRESSES:

To view documents mentioned in this preamble as being available in the docket, go to https://www.regulations.gov, type USCG-2021-0555 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 Ms. Tracy Girard, U.S. Coast Guard; (313) 568-9564, Tracy.M.Girard@uscg.mil.

End Further Info End Preamble Start Supplemental Information

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Table of Abbreviations

CFR Code of Federal Regulations

DHS Department of Homeland Security

FR Federal Register

NPRM Notice of proposed rulemaking

§ Section

U.S.C. United States Code

II. Background Information and Regulatory History

During the afternoon of August 15, 2021, a non-sanctioned public event is scheduled to take place. The event is advertised over various social-media sites, in which a large number of Start Printed Page 40329persons float down a segment of the St. Clair River, using inner tubes and other similar floatation devices. The 2021 float down event will occur from approximately 12 noon through 8 p.m. on August 15, 2021. This non-sanctioned event has taken place in the month of August annually since 2009.

No private or municipal entity requested a marine event permit from the Coast Guard for this event, and it has not received state or Federal permits since its inception. The event has drawn over 5,000 participants of various ages annually. Despite plans put together by Federal, state and local officials, emergency responders and law enforcement officials have been overburdened pursuing safety during this event. Medical emergencies, people drifting across the international border, and people trespassing on residential property when trying to get out of the water before the designated finish line are some of the numerous difficulties encountered during the float down event.

During the 2014 float-down event, a 19-year-old participant died. During the 2016 float down, a wind shift caused thousands of U.S. citizen rafters with no passports to drift into Canadian waters. The current and wind made it impossible for the rafters to paddle back into U.S. waters, necessitating significant coordination with the Canadian authorities. Despite these events, promotional information for the event continues to be published. More than 5,000 people are again anticipated to float down the river this year. No public or private organization holds themselves responsible as the event sponsor.

The Coast Guard is issuing this temporary rule without prior notice and opportunity to comment pursuant to authority under section 4(a) of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) (5 U.S.C. 553(b)). This provision authorizes an agency to issue a rule without prior notice and opportunity to comment when the agency for good cause finds that those procedures are “impracticable, unnecessary, or contrary to the public interest.” Under 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B), the Coast Guard finds that good cause exists for not publishing a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) with respect to this rule because doing so is impracticable. The organizers of this event are very secretive, and careful not to be found out as the event has “no sponsor.” The Coast Guard could not receive notice of the float down with sufficient time to undergo notice and comment because the date of the event varies from year to year. The Coast Guard was not made aware the float down would occur in 2021 until there was insufficient time to allow for a comment period to run. We must establish this safety zone by August 15, 2021, in order to protect the public form the hazards listed above associated with the float down.

Under 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3), the Coast Guard finds that good cause exists for making this rule effective less than 30 days after publication in the Federal Register. Delaying the effective date of this rule would be impracticable because action is needed to ensure that the potential safety hazards associated with the float down are effectively mitigated.

III. Legal Authority and Need for Rule

The Coast Guard is issuing this rule under authority in 46 U.S.C. 70034 (previously 33 U.S.C. 1231). The Captain of the Port Detroit (COTP) has determined the float down poses significant risk to public safety and property from 12 noon through 8 p.m. on August 15, 2021. The likely combination of large numbers of participants, strong river currents, limited rescue resources, and difficult emergency response scenarios could easily result in serious injuries or fatalities to float down participants and spectators. Therefore, the COTP is establishing a safety zone around the event location to help minimize risks to safety of life and property during this event.

IV. Discussion of the Rule

This rule establishes a safety zone from 12 noon through 8 p.m. on August 15, 2021. The safety zone will begin at Lighthouse Beach and encompass all U.S. waters of the St. Clair River bound by a line starting at a point on land north of Coast Guard Station Port Huron at position 43°00.416′ N; 082°25.333′ W, extending east to the international boundary to a point at position 43°00.416′ N; 082°25.033′ W, following south along the international boundary to a point at position 42°54.500′ N; 082°27.683′ W, extending west to a point on land just north of Stag Island at position 42°54.500′ N; 082°27.966′ W, and following north along the U.S. shoreline to the point of origin (WGS 84). No vessel or person will be permitted to enter the safety zone without obtaining permission from the COTP or a designated representative. Vessel operators must contact the COTP or his or her on-scene representative to obtain permission to transit through this safety zone. Additionally, no one under the age of 18 will be permitted to enter the safety zone if they are not wearing a Coast Guard approved personal floatation device. The COTP or his or her on-scene representative may be contacted via VHF Channel 16.

V. Regulatory Analyses

We developed this 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. 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).

This regulatory action determination is based on the size, location, duration, and time-of-day of the safety zone. Vessel traffic will not able to safely transit around this safety zone which will impact a designated area of the St. Clair River for 8 hours. Moreover, the Coast Guard would issue a Broadcast Notice to Mariners via VHF-FM marine channel 16 about the zone, and the rule would allow vessels to seek permission to enter the zone.

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 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 would affect your small business, organization, or governmental Start Printed Page 40330jurisdiction and you have questions concerning its provisions or options for compliance, please call or email 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.

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 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 determined 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 a safety zone lasting 8 hours that will prohibit entry to a designated portion of the St. Clair River is categorically excluded from further review under paragraph L[60] of Appendix A, Table 1 of DHS Instruction Manual 023-01-001-01, Rev. 1. A Record of Environmental Consideration supporting this determination is available in the docket. For instructions on locating the docket, see the ADDRESSES section of this preamble.

G. Protest Activities

The Coast Guard respects the First Amendment rights of protesters. Protesters are asked to call or email 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 165

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

For the reasons discussed in the preamble, the Coast Guard amends 33 CFR part 165 as follows:

Start Part

PART 165—REGULATED NAVIGATION AREAS AND LIMITED ACCESS AREAS

End Part Start Amendment Part

1. The authority citation for part 165 continues to read as follows:

End Amendment Part Start Authority

Authority: 46 U.S.C. 70034, 70051; 33 CFR 1.05-1, 6.04-1, 6.04-6, and 160.5; Department of Homeland Security Delegation No. 0170.1.

End Authority Start Amendment Part

2. Add § 165.T09-0555 to read as follows:

End Amendment Part
Safety Zones; Port Huron Float Down, St. Clair River, Port Huron, MI.

(a) Location. A safety zone is established to include all U.S. navigable waters of southern Lake Huron and the St. Clair River adjacent to Port Huron, MI, beginning at Lighthouse Beach and encompassing all U.S. waters of the St. Clair River bound by a line starting at a point on land north of Coast Guard Station Port Huron at position 43°00.416′ N; 082°25.333′ W, extending east to the international boundary to a point at position 43°00.416′ N; 082°25.033′ W, following south along the international boundary to a point at position 42°54.500′ N; 082°27.683′ W, extending west to a point on land just north of Stag Island at position 42°54.500′ N; 082°27.966′ W, and following north along the U.S. shoreline to the point of origin (NAD 83). (WGS 84).

(b) Enforcement period. The safety zone described in paragraph (a) of this section will be enforced from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. on August 15, 2021.

(c) Regulations. (1) In accordance with the general regulations in § 165.23, entry into, transiting, or anchoring within these safety zones is prohibited unless authorized by the Captain of the Port (COTP) Detroit or a designated on-scene representative.

(2) The safety zones are closed to all vessel traffic, except as may be permitted by the COTP Detroit or a designated on-scene representative.

(3) The “on-scene representative” of the COTP Detroit is any Coast Guard commissioned, warrant or petty officer or a Federal, state, or local law enforcement officer designated by the COTP Detroit to act on his behalf.

(4) Vessel operators desiring to enter or operate within the safety zones must contact the COTP Detroit or an on-scene representative to obtain permission to do so. The COTP Detroit or an on-scene representative may be contacted via VHF Channel 16. Vessel operators given permission to enter or operate in the safety zone must comply with all directions given to them by the COTP Detroit or an on-scene representative.

Start Signature

Dated: July 22, 2021.

Brad W. Kelly,

Commander, U.S. Coast Guard, Captain of the Port Detroit.

End Signature End Supplemental Information

[FR Doc. 2021-16030 Filed 7-27-21; 8:45 am]

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