Submission of Information Collections for OMB Review; Comment Request; Multiemployer Plan Regulations, 5255-5258 [05-1844]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 70, No. 20 / Tuesday, February 1, 2005 / Notices Manager, Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation, Mail Stop O–11F1, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555–0001, telephone 301 415–1014, or e-mail jxd@nrc.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Draft Standard Review Plan for License Renewal The NRC staff proposes to revise the July 2001 version of NUREG–1800, ‘‘Standard Review Plan for Review of License Renewal Applications for Nuclear Power Plants’’ (SRP–LR). The SRP–LR provides guidance to NRC staff reviewers in performing safety reviews of applications to renew licenses of nuclear power plants in accordance with the license renewal rule. The draft SRP–LR is under ADAMS Accession number ML050190137. The SRP–LR is being revised to incorporate lessons learned from the review of a number of previous license renewal applications, as well as to make changes corresponding to the update of the GALL Report. The draft SRP–LR contains four major chapters: (1) Administrative Information; (2) Scoping and Screening Methodology for Identifying Structures and Components Subject to Aging Management Review, and Implementation Results; (3) Aging Management Review Results; and (4) Time-Limited Aging Analyses. In addition, three Branch Technical Positions are in an Appendix to the SRP–LR. Draft Generic Aging Lessons Learned Report, Revision 1 The Generic Aging Lessons Learned (GALL) Report, Revision 1, is an update to the July 2001 version; the report format is largely unchanged. The GALL Report Volumes 1 and 2 are available under ADAMS accession number ML050270004 and ML050270052, respectively. The adequacy of the generic aging management programs in managing certain aging effects for particular structures and components will continue to be evaluated based on the review of the following ten program elements: (1) Scope of program, (2) preventive actions, (3) parameters monitored or inspected, (4) detection of aging effects, (5) monitoring and trending, (6) acceptance criteria, (7) corrective actions, (8) confirmation process, (9) administrative controls, and (10) operating experience. The GALL Report is a technical basis document for the SRP–LR and should be treated in the same manner as an approved topical report that is applicable generically. VerDate jul<14>2003 15:06 Jan 31, 2005 Jkt 205001 Solicitation of Comments The comments should include supporting justification in enough detail for the NRC staff to evaluate the need for changes in the guidance, as well as references to the operating experience, industry standards, or other relevant reference materials that provide a sound technical basis for such changes. The NRC is also interested in comments that will improve the clarity of the documents so that the improved guidance will provide a stable and predictable evaluation standard for future renewal applications. Editorial and style comments are not necessary because we expect that the guidance documents will need to be reformatted and edited before they are issued in final form. Questions for Public Comments Although the NRC invites public comments on all information contained in these draft documents, responses to the following question are particularly solicited. The GALL Report evaluates many existing programs for their adequacy to manage aging for license renewal. The license renewal guidance documents reference plant-specific aging management programs (AMP) when it is not clear if an appropriate widely-used (generic) AMP is available. Are there alternative generic AMPs that can be substituted for the plant-specific evaluations that are still referenced in Chapters II–VIII of the GALL Report? The commenter should provide justification to support any suggestions. Public Workshop A public workshop is scheduled during the public comment period. Scheduled for March 2, 2005, this workshop will be held in the Commissioners’ Hearing Room, O– 1G16, at OWFN, the NRC headquarters. The formal meeting notice is available at http://www.nrc.gov/public-involve/ public-meetings/meeting-schedule.html. It is anticipated that the workshop will provide the participants an opportunity to obtain further information, to ask questions, to make comments to add to the discussion, or otherwise to facilitate the public in formulating and preparing written comments for NRC staff consideration on these revised license renewal guidance documents. To ensure that all of the ideas raised are recorded, the workshop will be transcribed and the NRC staff will prepare a summary report to categorize the comments. Dated at Rockville, Maryland, this 27th day of January 2005. PO 00000 Frm 00127 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 5255 For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Pao-Tsin Kuo, Program Director, License Renewal and Environmental Impacts Program, Division of Regulatory Improvement Programs, Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation. [FR Doc. 05–1887 Filed 1–31–05; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 7590–01–P PENSION BENEFIT GUARANTY CORPORATION Submission of Information Collections for OMB Review; Comment Request; Multiemployer Plan Regulations Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation. ACTION: Notice of request for extension of OMB approval. AGENCY: SUMMARY: The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) is requesting that the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) extend approval, under the Paperwork Reduction Act, of collections of information in the PBGC’s regulations on multiemployer plans under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA). This notice informs the public of the PBGC’s request and solicits public comment on the collections of information. DATES: Comments must be submitted by March 3, 2005. ADDRESSES: Comments should be mailed to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs of the Office of Management and Budget, Attention: Desk Officer for Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, Washington, DC 20503. Copies of the request for extension (including the collections of information) may be obtained without charge by writing to or visiting the PBGC’s Communications and Public Affairs Department, suite 240, 1200 K Street, NW., Washington, DC 20005– 4026, or calling 202–326–4040. (TTY and TDD users may call 800–877–8339 and request connection to (202) 326– 4040). The regulations on multiemployer plans can be accessed on the PBGC’s Web site at http:// www.pbgc.gov. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Deborah C. Murphy, Attorney, Office of the General Counsel, Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, 1200 K Street, NW., Washington, DC 20005–4026, (202) 326–4024. (For TTY/TDD users, call the Federal relay service toll-free at 1–800–877–8339 and ask to be connected to (202) 326–4024.) SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: An agency may not conduct or sponsor, and a person is not required to respond to, a E:\FR\FM\01FEN1.SGM 01FEN1 5256 Federal Register / Vol. 70, No. 20 / Tuesday, February 1, 2005 / Notices collection of information unless it displays a currently valid OMB control number. OMB has approved and issued control numbers for the collections of information, described below, in the PBGC’s regulations relating to multiemployer plans. The PBGC is requesting that OMB extend its approval of these collections of information for three years. Comments should identify the specific part number(s) of the regulation(s) they relate to. The collections of information for which the PBGC is requesting extension of OMB approval are as follows: 1. Termination of Multiemployer Plans (29 CFR Part 4041A) (OMB Control Number 1212–0020) Section 4041A(f)(2) of ERISA authorizes the PBGC to prescribe reporting requirements for and other ‘‘rules and standards for the administration of’’ terminated multiemployer plans. Section 4041A(c) and (f)(1) of ERISA prohibit the payment by a mass-withdrawal-terminated plan of lump sums greater than $1,750 or of nonvested plan benefits unless authorized by the PBGC. The regulation requires the plan sponsor of a terminated plan to submit a notice of termination to the PBGC. It also requires the plan sponsor of a masswithdrawal-terminated plan that is closing out to give notices to participants regarding the election of alternative forms of benefit distribution and to obtain PBGC approval to pay lump sums greater than $1,750 or to pay nonvested plan benefits. The PBGC uses the information in a notice of termination to assess the likelihood that PBGC financial assistance will be needed. Plan participants and beneficiaries use the information on alternative forms of benefit to make personal financial decisions. The PBGC uses the information in an application for approval to pay lump sums greater than $1,750 or to pay nonvested plan benefits to determine whether such payments should be permitted. The PBGC estimates that plan sponsors each year (1) submit notices of termination for 10 plans, (2) distribute election notices to participants in 5 of those plans, and (3) submit requests to pay benefits or benefit forms not otherwise permitted for 1 of those plans. The estimated annual burden of the collection of information is 19.2 hours and $12,895. VerDate jul<14>2003 15:06 Jan 31, 2005 Jkt 205001 2. Extension of Special Withdrawal Liability Rules (29 CFR Part 4203) (OMB Control Number 1212–0023) Sections 4203(f) and 4208(e)(3) of ERISA allow the PBGC to permit a multiemployer plan to adopt special rules for determining whether a withdrawal from the plan has occurred, subject to PBGC approval. The regulation specifies the information that a plan that adopts special rules must submit to the PBGC about the rules, the plan, and the industry in which the plan operates. The PBGC uses the information to determine whether the rules are appropriate for the industry in which the plan functions and do not pose a significant risk to the insurance system. The PBGC estimates that at most 1 plan sponsor submits a request each year under this regulation. The estimated annual burden of the collection of information is 1 hour and $4,400. 3. Variances for Sale of Assets (29 CFR Part 4204) (OMB Control Number 1212– 0021) If an employer’s covered operations or contribution obligation under a plan ceases, the employer must generally pay withdrawal liability to the plan. Section 4204 of ERISA provides an exception, under certain conditions, where the cessation results from a sale of assets. Among other things, the buyer must furnish a bond or escrow, and the sale contract must provide for secondary liability of the seller. The regulation establishes general variances (rules for avoiding the bond/ escrow and sale-contract requirements) and authorizes plans to determine whether the variances apply in particular cases. It also allows buyers and sellers to request individual variances from the PBGC. Plans and the PBGC use the information to determine whether employers qualify for variances. The PBGC estimates that each year, 11 employers submit, and 11 plans respond to, variance requests under the regulation, and 2 employers submit variance requests to the PBGC. The estimated annual burden of the collection of information is 1 hour and $4,881. 4. Reduction or Waiver of Complete Withdrawal Liability (29 CFR Part 4207) (OMB Control Number 1212– 0044) Section 4207 of ERISA allows the PBGC to provide for abatement of an employer’s complete withdrawal liability, and for plan adoption of PO 00000 Frm 00128 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 alternative abatement rules, where appropriate. Under the regulation, an employer applies to a plan for an abatement determination, providing information the plan needs to determine whether withdrawal liability should be abated, and the plan notifies the employer of its determination. The employer may, pending plan action, furnish a bond or escrow instead of making withdrawal liability payments, and must notify the plan if it does so. When the plan then makes its determination, it must so notify the bonding or escrow agent. The regulation also permits plans to adopt their own abatement rules and request PBGC approval. The PBGC uses the information in such a request to determine whether the amendment should be approved. The PBGC estimates that each year, 100 employers submit, and 100 plans respond to, applications for abatement of complete withdrawal liability, and 1 plan sponsor requests approval of plan abatement rules from the PBGC. The estimated annual burden of the collection of information is 25.5 hours and $27,500. 5. Reduction or Waiver of Partial Withdrawal Liability (29 CFR Part 4208) (OMB Control Number 1212– 0039) Section 4208 of ERISA provides for abatement, in certain circumstances, of an employer’s partial withdrawal liability and authorizes the PBGC to issue additional partial withdrawal liability abatement rules. Under the regulation, an employer applies to a plan for an abatement determination, providing information the plan needs to determine whether withdrawal liability should be abated, and the plan notifies the employer of its determination. The employer may, pending plan action, furnish a bond or escrow instead of making withdrawal liability payments, and must notify the plan if it does so. When the plan then makes its determination, it must so notify the bonding or escrow agent. The regulation also permits plans to adopt their own abatement rules and request PBGC approval. The PBGC uses the information in such a request to determine whether the amendment should be approved. The PBGC estimates that each year, 1,000 employers submit, and 1,000 plans respond to, applications for abatement of partial withdrawal liability and 1 plan sponsor requests approval of plan abatement rules from the PBGC. The estimated annual burden of the collection of information is 250.5 hours and $275,000. E:\FR\FM\01FEN1.SGM 01FEN1 Federal Register / Vol. 70, No. 20 / Tuesday, February 1, 2005 / Notices 6. Allocating Unfunded Vested Benefits to Withdrawing Employers (29 CFR Part 4211) (OMB Control Number 1212– 0035) Section 4211(c)(5)(A) of ERISA requires the PBGC to prescribe how plans can, with PBGC approval, change the way they allocate unfunded vested benefits to withdrawing employers for purposes of calculating withdrawal liability. The regulation prescribes the information that must be submitted to the PBGC by a plan seeking such approval. The PBGC uses the information to determine how the amendment changes the way the plan allocates unfunded vested benefits and how it will affect the risk of loss to plan participants and the PBGC. The PBGC estimates that 5 plan sponsors submit approval requests each year under this regulation. The estimated annual burden of the collection of information is 10 hours. 7. Notice, Collection, and Redetermination of Withdrawal Liability (29 CFR Part 4219) (OMB Control Number 1212–0034) Section 4219(c)(1)(D) of ERISA requires that the PBGC prescribe regulations for the allocation of a plan’s total unfunded vested benefits in the event of a ‘‘mass withdrawal.’’ ERISA section 4209(c) deals with an employer’s liability for de minimis amounts if the employer withdraws in a ‘‘substantial withdrawal.’’ The reporting requirements in the regulation give employers notice of a mass withdrawal or substantial withdrawal and advise them of their rights and liabilities. They also provide notice to the PBGC so that it can monitor the plan, and they help the PBGC assess the possible impact of a withdrawal event on participants and the multiemployer plan insurance program. The PBGC estimates that there is at most 1 mass withdrawal and 1 substantial withdrawal per year. The plan sponsor of a plan subject to a withdrawal covered by the regulation provides notices of the withdrawal to the PBGC and to employers covered by the plan, liability assessments to the employers, and a certification to the PBGC that assessments have been made. (For a mass withdrawal, there are 2 assessments and 2 certifications that deal with 2 different types of liability. For a substantial withdrawal, there is 1 assessment and 1 certification (combined with the withdrawal notice to the PBGC).) The estimated annual burden of the collection of information is 4 hours and $7,152. VerDate jul<14>2003 15:06 Jan 31, 2005 Jkt 205001 8. Procedures for PBGC Approval of Plan Amendments (29 CFR Part 4220) (OMB Control Number 1212–0031) Under section 4220 of ERISA, a plan may within certain limits adopt special plan rules regarding when a withdrawal from the plan occurs and how the withdrawing employer’s withdrawal liability is determined. Any such special rule is effective only if, within 90 days after receiving notice and a copy of the rule, the PBGC either approves or fails to disapprove the rule. The regulation provides rules for requesting the PBGC’s approval of an amendment. The PBGC needs the required information to identify the plan, evaluate the risk of loss, if any, posed by the plan amendment, and determine whether to approve or disapprove the amendment. The PBGC estimates that 3 plan sponsors submit approval requests per year under this regulation. The estimated annual burden of the collection of information is 1.5 hours. 9. Mergers and Transfers Between Multiemployer Plans (29 CFR Part 4231) (OMB Control Number 1212– 0022) Section 4231(a) and (b) of ERISA requires plans that are involved in a merger or transfer to give the PBGC 120 days’ notice of the transaction and provides that if the PBGC determines that specified requirements are satisfied, the transaction will be deemed not to be in violation of ERISA section 406(a) or (b)(2) (dealing with prohibited transactions). This regulation sets forth the procedures for giving notice of a merger or transfer under section 4231 and for requesting a determination that a transaction complies with section 4231. The PBGC uses information submitted by plan sponsors under the regulation to determine whether mergers and transfers conform to the requirements of ERISA section 4231 and the regulation. The PBGC estimates that there are 35 transactions each year for which plan sponsors submit notices and approval requests under this regulation. The estimated annual burden of the collection of information is 8.75 hours and $7,663. 10. Notice of Insolvency (29 CFR Part 4245) (OMB Control Number 1212– 0033) If the plan sponsor of a plan in reorganization under ERISA section 4241 determines that the plan may become insolvent, ERISA section 4245(e) requires the plan sponsor to give a ‘‘notice of insolvency’’ to the PBGC, PO 00000 Frm 00129 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 5257 contributing employers, and plan participants and their unions in accordance with PBGC rules. For each insolvency year under ERISA section 4245(b)(4), ERISA section 4245(e) also requires the plan sponsor to give a ‘‘notice of insolvency benefit level’’ to the same parties. This regulation establishes the procedure for giving these notices. The PBGC uses the information submitted to estimate cash needs for financial assistance to troubled plans. Employers and unions use the information to decide whether additional plan contributions will be made to avoid the insolvency and consequent benefit suspensions. Plan participants and beneficiaries use the information in personal financial decisions. The PBGC estimates that 1 plan sponsor gives notices each year under this regulation. The estimated annual burden of the collection of information is 1 hour and $3,828. 11. Duties of Plan Sponsor Following Mass Withdrawal (29 CFR Part 4281) (OMB Control Number 1212–0032) Section 4281 of ERISA provides rules for plans that have terminated by mass withdrawal. Under section 4281, if nonforfeitable benefits exceed plan assets, the plan sponsor must amend the plan to reduce benefits. If the plan nevertheless becomes insolvent, the plan sponsor must suspend certain benefits that cannot be paid. If available resources are inadequate to pay guaranteed benefits, the plan sponsor must request financial assistance from the PBGC. The regulation requires a plan sponsor to give notices of benefit reduction, notices of insolvency and annual updates, and notices of insolvency benefit level to the PBGC and to participants and beneficiaries and, if necessary, to apply to the PBGC for financial assistance. The PBGC uses the information it receives to make determinations required by ERISA, to identify and estimate the cash needed for financial assistance to terminated plans, and to verify the appropriateness of financial assistance payments. Plan participants and beneficiaries use the information to make personal financial decisions. The PBGC estimates that plan sponsors each year give benefit reduction notices for 2 plans and give notices of insolvency benefit level and annual updates, and submit requests for financial assistance, for 28 plans. Of those 28 plans, the PBGC estimates that plan sponsors each year give notices of insolvency for 4 plans. The estimated E:\FR\FM\01FEN1.SGM 01FEN1 5258 Federal Register / Vol. 70, No. 20 / Tuesday, February 1, 2005 / Notices annual burden of the collection of information is 1 hour and $553,477. Issued in Washington, DC, this 12th day of January 2005. Stuart A. Sirkin, Director, Policy, Research and Analysis Department, Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation. [FR Doc. 05–1844 Filed 1–31–05; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 7708–01–P OFFICE OF PERSONNEL MANAGEMENT Comment Request for OMB Review of an Extension of the Nonforeign Area Cost-of-Living Allowance Price and Background Surveys Office of Personnel Management. ACTION: Notice. AGENCY: SUMMARY: In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) seeks comments on its intention to request an extension of two currently approved information collections. OPM uses the two collections, a Price Survey and a Background Survey, to gather data it uses to determine cost-of-living allowances the Government provides to certain Federal employees in Alaska, Hawaii, Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. OPM conducts Price Surveys in the Washington, DC, area on an annual basis and once every 3 years in each allowance area on a rotating basis. Prior to these surveys, OPM conducts Background Surveys that are similar to the Price Survey, but much more limited in scope. OPM uses the results of the Background Surveys to prepare for the Price Surveys. DATES: Submit comments on or before April 4, 2005. ADDRESSES: Send or deliver comments to Donald J. Winstead, Deputy Associate Director for Pay and Performance Policy, Office of Personnel Management, Room 7H31, 1900 E Street NW., Washington, DC 20415–8200; fax (202) 606–4264, or e-mail: cola@opm.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Office of Management and Budget (OMB) approval of the Nonforeign Area Cost-ofLiving Allowance (COLA) Price Survey and Background Survey will expire on May 31, 2005. The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) plans to request OMB approval for a 3-year extension of these currently approved information collections and is seeking comments prior to submitting the collections to OMB for review. VerDate jul<14>2003 15:06 Jan 31, 2005 Jkt 205001 Comments are particularly invited on whether (1) these collections of information are necessary for the proper performance of OPM functions, (2) they will have practical utility, (3) our estimate of the public burden of these collections of information is accurate and based on valid assumptions and methodology, and (4) there are ways in which we can minimize respondent burden of the collections of information through the use of appropriate technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology. For copies of this proposal, contact Mary Beth Smith-Toomey on (202) 606– 8358, fax (202) 418–3251, or e-mail mbtoomey@opm.gov. Please include a mailing address with your request. Overview of Information Collections Title: Nonforeign Area Cost-of-Living Allowance Price Survey and Background Survey. OMB Control Number: 3206–0199. Summary: OPM uses the COLA Price Survey to collect price data in survey areas located in the nonforeign allowance areas and in the Washington, DC, area. The allowance areas are located in Alaska, Hawaii, Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. OPM conducts Price Surveys annually in the DC area and once every 3 years in the allowance areas on a rotating basis. OPM uses the COLA Background Survey to collect information to identify the services, items, quantities, outlets, and locations OPM will survey in the Price Surveys. OPM also uses Background Surveys to collect information on local trade practices, consumer buying patterns, taxes and fees, and other economic characteristics related to living costs. OPM conducts Background Surveys annually on a limited basis. Need/Use for Surveys: The COLA Price Survey is necessary for collecting living-cost data OPM uses to determine COLAs received by General Schedule, U.S. Postal Service, and certain other Federal employees in the allowance areas. OPM uses the survey results to compare prices in the allowance areas with prices in the Washington, DC, area and to derive COLA rates where local living costs significantly exceed those in the DC area. The COLA Background Survey is necessary to determine the continued appropriateness of items, services, and businesses selected for the annual price surveys. OPM uses the information collected under the Background Survey to identify items to be priced and the outlets at which OPM will price the items in the Price Surveys. PO 00000 Frm 00130 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Respondents: OPM will survey selected retail, service, realty, and other businesses and local governments in the allowance areas and in the Washington, DC, area. OPM will contact approximately 2,000 establishments in each annual Price Survey and approximately 100 establishments in each annual Background Survey. Participation in the surveys is voluntary. Reporting and Recordkeeping Burden: Based on experience, OPM estimates that the average Price Survey interview takes approximately 6 minutes, for a total burden of 200 hours. Also based on experience, OPM estimates that the average Background Survey interview will take approximately 6.5 minutes, for a total burden of 11 hours. Office of Personnel Management. Kay Coles James, Director. [FR Doc. 05–1728 Filed 1–31–05; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6325–39–P SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION [File No. 500–1] Courtside products, Inc.; Order of Suspension of Trading January 28, 2005 It appears to the Securities and Exchange Commission that the public interest and the protection of investors require a suspension of trading in the securities of Courtside Products, Inc. (‘‘Courtside’’). The Commission is concerned that Courtside may have unjustifiably relied on Rule 504 of Regulation D of the Securities Act of 1933 in conducting an unlawful distribution of its securities which failed to comply with the resale restrictions of Regulation D. Courtside, a company that has made no public filings with the Commission or the NASD, is quoted on the Pink Sheets under the ticker symbol CSDP, and has recently been the subject of spam e-mail touting the company’s shares. The Commission is of the opinion that the public interest and the protection of investors require a suspension of trading in the securities of the above listed company. Therefore, it is ordered, pursuant to Section 12(k) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, that trading in the above listed company is suspended for the period from 9:30 a.m. e.s.t. January 28, 2005 through 11:59 p.m. e.s.t., on February 10, 2005. E:\FR\FM\01FEN1.SGM 01FEN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 70, Number 20 (Tuesday, February 1, 2005)]
[Notices]
[Pages 5255-5258]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 05-1844]


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PENSION BENEFIT GUARANTY CORPORATION


Submission of Information Collections for OMB Review; Comment 
Request; Multiemployer Plan Regulations

AGENCY: Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation.

ACTION: Notice of request for extension of OMB approval.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) is requesting 
that the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) extend approval, under 
the Paperwork Reduction Act, of collections of information in the 
PBGC's regulations on multiemployer plans under the Employee Retirement 
Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA). This notice informs the public of 
the PBGC's request and solicits public comment on the collections of 
information.

DATES: Comments must be submitted by March 3, 2005.

ADDRESSES: Comments should be mailed to the Office of Information and 
Regulatory Affairs of the Office of Management and Budget, Attention: 
Desk Officer for Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, Washington, DC 
20503. Copies of the request for extension (including the collections 
of information) may be obtained without charge by writing to or 
visiting the PBGC's Communications and Public Affairs Department, suite 
240, 1200 K Street, NW., Washington, DC 20005-4026, or calling 202-326-
4040. (TTY and TDD users may call 800-877-8339 and request connection 
to (202) 326-4040). The regulations on multiemployer plans can be 
accessed on the PBGC's Web site at http://www.pbgc.gov.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Deborah C. Murphy, Attorney, Office of 
the General Counsel, Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, 1200 K 
Street, NW., Washington, DC 20005-4026, (202) 326-4024. (For TTY/TDD 
users, call the Federal relay service toll-free at 1-800-877-8339 and 
ask to be connected to (202) 326-4024.)

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: An agency may not conduct or sponsor, and a 
person is not required to respond to, a

[[Page 5256]]

collection of information unless it displays a currently valid OMB 
control number. OMB has approved and issued control numbers for the 
collections of information, described below, in the PBGC's regulations 
relating to multiemployer plans. The PBGC is requesting that OMB extend 
its approval of these collections of information for three years. 
Comments should identify the specific part number(s) of the 
regulation(s) they relate to.
    The collections of information for which the PBGC is requesting 
extension of OMB approval are as follows:

1. Termination of Multiemployer Plans (29 CFR Part 4041A) (OMB Control 
Number 1212-0020)

    Section 4041A(f)(2) of ERISA authorizes the PBGC to prescribe 
reporting requirements for and other ``rules and standards for the 
administration of'' terminated multiemployer plans. Section 4041A(c) 
and (f)(1) of ERISA prohibit the payment by a mass-withdrawal-
terminated plan of lump sums greater than $1,750 or of nonvested plan 
benefits unless authorized by the PBGC.
    The regulation requires the plan sponsor of a terminated plan to 
submit a notice of termination to the PBGC. It also requires the plan 
sponsor of a mass-withdrawal-terminated plan that is closing out to 
give notices to participants regarding the election of alternative 
forms of benefit distribution and to obtain PBGC approval to pay lump 
sums greater than $1,750 or to pay nonvested plan benefits.
    The PBGC uses the information in a notice of termination to assess 
the likelihood that PBGC financial assistance will be needed. Plan 
participants and beneficiaries use the information on alternative forms 
of benefit to make personal financial decisions. The PBGC uses the 
information in an application for approval to pay lump sums greater 
than $1,750 or to pay nonvested plan benefits to determine whether such 
payments should be permitted.
    The PBGC estimates that plan sponsors each year (1) submit notices 
of termination for 10 plans, (2) distribute election notices to 
participants in 5 of those plans, and (3) submit requests to pay 
benefits or benefit forms not otherwise permitted for 1 of those plans. 
The estimated annual burden of the collection of information is 19.2 
hours and $12,895.

2. Extension of Special Withdrawal Liability Rules (29 CFR Part 4203) 
(OMB Control Number 1212-0023)

    Sections 4203(f) and 4208(e)(3) of ERISA allow the PBGC to permit a 
multiemployer plan to adopt special rules for determining whether a 
withdrawal from the plan has occurred, subject to PBGC approval.
    The regulation specifies the information that a plan that adopts 
special rules must submit to the PBGC about the rules, the plan, and 
the industry in which the plan operates. The PBGC uses the information 
to determine whether the rules are appropriate for the industry in 
which the plan functions and do not pose a significant risk to the 
insurance system.
    The PBGC estimates that at most 1 plan sponsor submits a request 
each year under this regulation. The estimated annual burden of the 
collection of information is 1 hour and $4,400.

3. Variances for Sale of Assets (29 CFR Part 4204) (OMB Control Number 
1212-0021)

    If an employer's covered operations or contribution obligation 
under a plan ceases, the employer must generally pay withdrawal 
liability to the plan. Section 4204 of ERISA provides an exception, 
under certain conditions, where the cessation results from a sale of 
assets. Among other things, the buyer must furnish a bond or escrow, 
and the sale contract must provide for secondary liability of the 
seller.
    The regulation establishes general variances (rules for avoiding 
the bond/escrow and sale-contract requirements) and authorizes plans to 
determine whether the variances apply in particular cases. It also 
allows buyers and sellers to request individual variances from the 
PBGC. Plans and the PBGC use the information to determine whether 
employers qualify for variances.
    The PBGC estimates that each year, 11 employers submit, and 11 
plans respond to, variance requests under the regulation, and 2 
employers submit variance requests to the PBGC. The estimated annual 
burden of the collection of information is 1 hour and $4,881.

4. Reduction or Waiver of Complete Withdrawal Liability (29 CFR Part 
4207) (OMB Control Number 1212-0044)

    Section 4207 of ERISA allows the PBGC to provide for abatement of 
an employer's complete withdrawal liability, and for plan adoption of 
alternative abatement rules, where appropriate.
    Under the regulation, an employer applies to a plan for an 
abatement determination, providing information the plan needs to 
determine whether withdrawal liability should be abated, and the plan 
notifies the employer of its determination. The employer may, pending 
plan action, furnish a bond or escrow instead of making withdrawal 
liability payments, and must notify the plan if it does so. When the 
plan then makes its determination, it must so notify the bonding or 
escrow agent.
    The regulation also permits plans to adopt their own abatement 
rules and request PBGC approval. The PBGC uses the information in such 
a request to determine whether the amendment should be approved.
    The PBGC estimates that each year, 100 employers submit, and 100 
plans respond to, applications for abatement of complete withdrawal 
liability, and 1 plan sponsor requests approval of plan abatement rules 
from the PBGC. The estimated annual burden of the collection of 
information is 25.5 hours and $27,500.

5. Reduction or Waiver of Partial Withdrawal Liability (29 CFR Part 
4208) (OMB Control Number 1212-0039)

    Section 4208 of ERISA provides for abatement, in certain 
circumstances, of an employer's partial withdrawal liability and 
authorizes the PBGC to issue additional partial withdrawal liability 
abatement rules.
    Under the regulation, an employer applies to a plan for an 
abatement determination, providing information the plan needs to 
determine whether withdrawal liability should be abated, and the plan 
notifies the employer of its determination. The employer may, pending 
plan action, furnish a bond or escrow instead of making withdrawal 
liability payments, and must notify the plan if it does so. When the 
plan then makes its determination, it must so notify the bonding or 
escrow agent.
    The regulation also permits plans to adopt their own abatement 
rules and request PBGC approval. The PBGC uses the information in such 
a request to determine whether the amendment should be approved.
    The PBGC estimates that each year, 1,000 employers submit, and 
1,000 plans respond to, applications for abatement of partial 
withdrawal liability and 1 plan sponsor requests approval of plan 
abatement rules from the PBGC. The estimated annual burden of the 
collection of information is 250.5 hours and $275,000.

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6. Allocating Unfunded Vested Benefits to Withdrawing Employers (29 CFR 
Part 4211) (OMB Control Number 1212-0035)

    Section 4211(c)(5)(A) of ERISA requires the PBGC to prescribe how 
plans can, with PBGC approval, change the way they allocate unfunded 
vested benefits to withdrawing employers for purposes of calculating 
withdrawal liability.
    The regulation prescribes the information that must be submitted to 
the PBGC by a plan seeking such approval. The PBGC uses the information 
to determine how the amendment changes the way the plan allocates 
unfunded vested benefits and how it will affect the risk of loss to 
plan participants and the PBGC.
    The PBGC estimates that 5 plan sponsors submit approval requests 
each year under this regulation. The estimated annual burden of the 
collection of information is 10 hours.

7. Notice, Collection, and Redetermination of Withdrawal Liability (29 
CFR Part 4219) (OMB Control Number 1212-0034)

    Section 4219(c)(1)(D) of ERISA requires that the PBGC prescribe 
regulations for the allocation of a plan's total unfunded vested 
benefits in the event of a ``mass withdrawal.'' ERISA section 4209(c) 
deals with an employer's liability for de minimis amounts if the 
employer withdraws in a ``substantial withdrawal.''
    The reporting requirements in the regulation give employers notice 
of a mass withdrawal or substantial withdrawal and advise them of their 
rights and liabilities. They also provide notice to the PBGC so that it 
can monitor the plan, and they help the PBGC assess the possible impact 
of a withdrawal event on participants and the multiemployer plan 
insurance program.
    The PBGC estimates that there is at most 1 mass withdrawal and 1 
substantial withdrawal per year. The plan sponsor of a plan subject to 
a withdrawal covered by the regulation provides notices of the 
withdrawal to the PBGC and to employers covered by the plan, liability 
assessments to the employers, and a certification to the PBGC that 
assessments have been made. (For a mass withdrawal, there are 2 
assessments and 2 certifications that deal with 2 different types of 
liability. For a substantial withdrawal, there is 1 assessment and 1 
certification (combined with the withdrawal notice to the PBGC).) The 
estimated annual burden of the collection of information is 4 hours and 
$7,152.

8. Procedures for PBGC Approval of Plan Amendments (29 CFR Part 4220) 
(OMB Control Number 1212-0031)

    Under section 4220 of ERISA, a plan may within certain limits adopt 
special plan rules regarding when a withdrawal from the plan occurs and 
how the withdrawing employer's withdrawal liability is determined. Any 
such special rule is effective only if, within 90 days after receiving 
notice and a copy of the rule, the PBGC either approves or fails to 
disapprove the rule.
    The regulation provides rules for requesting the PBGC's approval of 
an amendment. The PBGC needs the required information to identify the 
plan, evaluate the risk of loss, if any, posed by the plan amendment, 
and determine whether to approve or disapprove the amendment.
    The PBGC estimates that 3 plan sponsors submit approval requests 
per year under this regulation. The estimated annual burden of the 
collection of information is 1.5 hours.

9. Mergers and Transfers Between Multiemployer Plans (29 CFR Part 4231) 
(OMB Control Number 1212-0022)

    Section 4231(a) and (b) of ERISA requires plans that are involved 
in a merger or transfer to give the PBGC 120 days' notice of the 
transaction and provides that if the PBGC determines that specified 
requirements are satisfied, the transaction will be deemed not to be in 
violation of ERISA section 406(a) or (b)(2) (dealing with prohibited 
transactions).
    This regulation sets forth the procedures for giving notice of a 
merger or transfer under section 4231 and for requesting a 
determination that a transaction complies with section 4231.
    The PBGC uses information submitted by plan sponsors under the 
regulation to determine whether mergers and transfers conform to the 
requirements of ERISA section 4231 and the regulation.
    The PBGC estimates that there are 35 transactions each year for 
which plan sponsors submit notices and approval requests under this 
regulation. The estimated annual burden of the collection of 
information is 8.75 hours and $7,663.

10. Notice of Insolvency (29 CFR Part 4245) (OMB Control Number 1212-
0033)

    If the plan sponsor of a plan in reorganization under ERISA section 
4241 determines that the plan may become insolvent, ERISA section 
4245(e) requires the plan sponsor to give a ``notice of insolvency'' to 
the PBGC, contributing employers, and plan participants and their 
unions in accordance with PBGC rules.
    For each insolvency year under ERISA section 4245(b)(4), ERISA 
section 4245(e) also requires the plan sponsor to give a ``notice of 
insolvency benefit level'' to the same parties.
    This regulation establishes the procedure for giving these notices. 
The PBGC uses the information submitted to estimate cash needs for 
financial assistance to troubled plans. Employers and unions use the 
information to decide whether additional plan contributions will be 
made to avoid the insolvency and consequent benefit suspensions. Plan 
participants and beneficiaries use the information in personal 
financial decisions.
    The PBGC estimates that 1 plan sponsor gives notices each year 
under this regulation. The estimated annual burden of the collection of 
information is 1 hour and $3,828.

11. Duties of Plan Sponsor Following Mass Withdrawal (29 CFR Part 4281) 
(OMB Control Number 1212-0032)

    Section 4281 of ERISA provides rules for plans that have terminated 
by mass withdrawal. Under section 4281, if nonforfeitable benefits 
exceed plan assets, the plan sponsor must amend the plan to reduce 
benefits. If the plan nevertheless becomes insolvent, the plan sponsor 
must suspend certain benefits that cannot be paid. If available 
resources are inadequate to pay guaranteed benefits, the plan sponsor 
must request financial assistance from the PBGC.
    The regulation requires a plan sponsor to give notices of benefit 
reduction, notices of insolvency and annual updates, and notices of 
insolvency benefit level to the PBGC and to participants and 
beneficiaries and, if necessary, to apply to the PBGC for financial 
assistance.
    The PBGC uses the information it receives to make determinations 
required by ERISA, to identify and estimate the cash needed for 
financial assistance to terminated plans, and to verify the 
appropriateness of financial assistance payments. Plan participants and 
beneficiaries use the information to make personal financial decisions.
    The PBGC estimates that plan sponsors each year give benefit 
reduction notices for 2 plans and give notices of insolvency benefit 
level and annual updates, and submit requests for financial assistance, 
for 28 plans. Of those 28 plans, the PBGC estimates that plan sponsors 
each year give notices of insolvency for 4 plans. The estimated

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annual burden of the collection of information is 1 hour and $553,477.

    Issued in Washington, DC, this 12th day of January 2005.
Stuart A. Sirkin,
Director, Policy, Research and Analysis Department, Pension Benefit 
Guaranty Corporation.
[FR Doc. 05-1844 Filed 1-31-05; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 7708-01-P