Port Access Routes: Approaches to Portland, ME and Casco Bay, 7067-7069 [05-2559]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 70, No. 27 / Thursday, February 10, 2005 / Proposed Rules § 165.766 Security Zone: HOVENSA Refinery, St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands. (a) Regulated area. The Coast Guard is establishing a security zone in and around the HOVENSA Refinery on south coast of St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands. This security zone includes all waters from surface to bottom, encompassed by an imaginary line connecting the following points: Point 1: 17°41′31″ North, 64°45′09″ West, Point 2: 17°39′36″ North, 64°44′12″ West, Point 3: 17°40′00″ North, 64°43′36″ West, Point 4: 17°41′48″ North, 64°44′25″ West, and returning to the point of origin. These coordinates are based upon North American Datum 1983 (NAD 1983). (b) Regulations. (1) Under § 165.33, entry into or remaining in the security zone in paragraph (a) of this section is prohibited unless authorized by the Coast Guard Captain of the Port, Port of San Juan or vessels have a scheduled arrival in accordance with the Notice of Arrival requirements of 33 CFR part 160, subpart C. (2) Persons and vessels desiring to transit the Regulated Area may contact the U.S. Coast Guard Captain of the Port, San Juan, at telephone number 787–289–0739 or on VHF channel 16 (156.8 MHz) to seek permission to transit the area. If permission is granted, all persons and vessels must comply with the instructions of the Captain of the Port. Dated: January 31, 2005. D.P. Rudolph, Captain, U.S. Coast Guard, Captain of the Port, Sector San Juan. [FR Doc. 05–2595 Filed 2–9–05; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–15–P DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY Public Participation and Request for Comments Coast Guard 33 CFR Part 167 [USCG–2005–20102] Port Access Routes: Approaches to Portland, ME and Casco Bay Coast Guard, DHS. Notice of study; request for comments AGENCY: ACTION: SUMMARY: The Coast Guard is conducting a Port Access Route Study (PARS) to evaluate the continued applicability of and the need for modifications to current vessel routing measures in the approaches to Portland, Maine and Casco Bay. The goal of the study is to help reduce the risk of marine casualties and increase the VerDate jul<14>2003 16:17 Feb 09, 2005 Jkt 205001 efficiency of vessel traffic management in the study area. The recommendations of the study may lead to future rulemaking action or appropriate international agreements. DATES: Comments and related material must reach the Docket Management Facility on or before April 11, 2005. ADDRESSES: You may submit comments identified by Coast Guard docket number USCG–2005–20102 to the Docket Management Facility at the U.S. Department of Transportation. To avoid duplication, please use only one of the following methods: (1) Web site: http://dms.dot.gov. (2) Mail: Docket Management Facility, U.S. Department of Transportation, 400 Seventh Street, SW., Washington, DC 20590–0001. (3) Fax: 202–493–2251. (4) Delivery: Room PL–401 on the Plaza level of the Nassif Building, 400 Seventh Street, SW., Washington, DC, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The telephone number is 202–366– 9329. (5) Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: If you have questions on this notice of study, call John J. Mauro, Project Officer, First Coast Guard District, telephone 617–223–8355, or send e-mail to jmauro@d1.uscg.mil; or George Detweiler, Office of Vessel Traffic Management, Coast Guard, telephone 202–267–0574, or send e-mail to Gdetweiler@comdt.uscg.mil. If you have questions on viewing or submitting material to the docket, call Renee K. Wright, Program Manager, Docket Operations, telephone 202–366–0271. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: We encourage you to participate in this study by submitting comments and related materials. All comments received will be posted, without change, to http://dms.dot.gov and will include any personal information you have provided. We have an agreement with the Department of Transportation (DOT) to use the Docket Management Facility. Please see DOT’s ‘‘Privacy Act’’ paragraph below. Submitting comments: If you submit a comment, please include your name and address, identify the docket number for this notice of study (USCG–2005– 20102), indicate the specific section of this document to which each comment applies, and give the reason for each comment. You may submit your comments and material by electronic PO 00000 Frm 00016 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 7067 means, mail, fax, or delivery to the Docket Management Facility at the address under ADDRESSES; but please submit your comments and material by only one means. If you submit them by mail or delivery, submit them in an unbound format, no larger than 81⁄2 by 11 inches, suitable for copying and electronic filing. If you submit them by mail and would like to know that they reached the Facility, please enclose a stamped, self-addressed postcard or envelope. We will consider all comments and material received during the comment period. Viewing comments and documents: To view comments, as well as documents mentioned in this preamble as being available in the docket, go to http://dms.dot.gov at any time and conduct a simple search using the docket number. You may also visit the Docket Management Facility in room PL–401 on the Plaza level of the Nassif Building, 400 Seventh Street, SW., Washington, DC, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. Privacy Act: Anyone can search the electronic form of all comments received into any of our dockets by the name of the individual submitting the comment (or signing the comment, if submitted on behalf of an association, business, labor union, etc.). You may review the Department of Transportation’s Privacy Act Statement in the Federal Register published on April 11, 2000 (65 FR 19477), or you may visit http://dms.dot.gov. Definitions The following definitions are from the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO’s) publication ‘‘Ships’ Routeing’’ (except those marked by an asterisk) and should help you review this notice: Area to be avoided or (ATBA) means a routing measure comprising an area within defined limits in which either navigation is particularly hazardous or it is exceptionally important to avoid casualties and which should be avoided by all vessels, or certain classes of vessels. Deep-water route means a route within defined limits, which has been accurately surveyed for clearance of sea bottom and submerged obstacles as indicated on nautical charts. Inshore traffic zone means a routing measure comprising a designated area between the landward boundary of a traffic separation scheme and the adjacent coast, to be used in accordance with the provisions of Rule 10(d), as amended, of the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea, 1972 (COLREGS). E:\FR\FM\10FEP1.SGM 10FEP1 7068 Federal Register / Vol. 70, No. 27 / Thursday, February 10, 2005 / Proposed Rules Precautionary area means a routing measure comprising an area within defined limits where vessels must navigate with particular caution and within which the direction of traffic flow may be recommended. Recommended route means a route of undefined width, for the convenience of vessels in transit, which is often marked by centerline buoys. Recommended track is a route which has been specially examined to ensure so far as possible that it is free of dangers and along which vessels are advised to navigate. Regulated Navigation Area (RNA)* means a water area within a defined boundary for which regulations for vessels navigating within the area have been established under 33 CFR part 165. Roundabout means a routing measure comprising a separation point or circular separation zone and a circular traffic lane within defined limits. Traffic within the roundabout is separated by moving in a counterclockwise direction around the separation point or zone. Separation Zone or Separation line means a zone or line separating the traffic lanes in which vessels are proceeding in opposite or nearly opposite directions; or from the adjacent sea area; or separating traffic lanes designated for particular classes of vessels proceeding in the same direction. Traffic lane means an area within defined limits in which one-way traffic is established. Natural obstacles, including those forming separation zones, may constitute a boundary. Traffic Separation Scheme (TSS) means a routing measure aimed at the separation of opposing streams of traffic by appropriate means and by the establishment of traffic lanes. Two-way route means a route within defined limits inside which two-way traffic is established, aimed at providing safe passage of ships through waters where navigation is difficult or dangerous. Vessel routing system means any system of one or more routes or routing measures aimed at reducing the risk of casualties; it includes traffic separation schemes, two-way routes, recommended tracks, areas to be avoided, inshore traffic zones, roundabouts, precautionary areas, and deep-water routes. Background and Purpose Why are port access route studies required? Under the Ports and Waterways Safety Act (PWSA) (33 U.S.C. 1223(c)), the Commandant of the Coast Guard may designate necessary fairways and traffic separation schemes VerDate jul<14>2003 16:17 Feb 09, 2005 Jkt 205001 (TSSs) to provide safe access routes for vessels proceeding to and from U.S. ports. The designation of fairways and TSSs recognizes the paramount right of navigation over all other uses in the designated areas. The PWSA requires the Coast Guard to conduct a study of port access routes before establishing or adjusting fairways or TSSs. Through the study process, we must coordinate with Federal, State, and foreign state agencies (as appropriate) and consider the views of maritime community representatives, environmental groups, and other interested stakeholders. A primary purpose of this coordination is, to the extent practicable, to reconcile the need for safe access routes with other reasonable waterway uses. Were there previous port access route studies? The area (known as Area 2 of the original PARS) which included the ports of Searsport, Bucksport, Portland, Maine, and Portsmouth, New Hampshire was last studied in 1979, and the final results of the study were published in the Federal Register on January 7, 1982 (47 FR 879). The study of Area 2 concluded that the existing TSS in the approaches to Portland, Maine is adequate for the traditional trade routes and amount of traffic to and from the Port of Portland, Maine. Why is a new port access route study necessary? Portland Harbor is one of three deepwater ports in Maine, which are the nearest commercial ports in the United States to Europe; principal commerce items imported to the port include crude oil, refined petroleum products, chemicals, kaolin, and paper. Exported items from the port include wood pulp, lumber, scrap metal, and containerized goods, plus coastal receipts and reshipment of petroleum products, and internal receipts of fresh fish. About 65 percent of the tonnage is crude oil, which is transported by pipelines to refineries in Montreal, Quebec. The report by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ (ACOE) ‘‘Waterborne Commerce of the United States’’ states that, from 1998 to 2002, annual trips to and from the Port of Portland, ME increased 7 percent from 34,571 to 37,233. Since 1982 the Corps of Engineers has maintained a navigation project for Portland Harbor. This project maintains: (1) An entrance channel 1,000 feet wide and 45 feet deep, which extends about 9,000 feet from deep water in Casco Bay opposite South Portland to a line about 2,000 feet seaward of the entrance to the Fore River, and allows vessels to call on the deepwater oil-receiving terminals at South Portland; (2) a maneuvering basin PO 00000 Frm 00017 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 and anchorage area 45 feet deep, northwest of House Island and northeast of the head of the entrance channel; and (3) a channel depth of 40 feet in Soldier Ledge Channel in Hussey Sound, a passage between Peaks and Long Islands, which are part of a group of small, inhabited islands near the center of Casco Bay. In response to a request by a local, commercial pipeline corporation, the ACOE is considering approving private maintenance dredging of part of its navigation project in Portland Harbor. If granted, this approval will allow the entrance channel to Portland Pipe Line Pier 2 and the western limits of Anchorage ‘‘B’’ to be deepened to a depth of 50 feet. This depth is five feet deeper than the Corp’s congressionally authorized, project depth of 45 feet. If this project is approved and completed, vessel traffic to and from this port is expected to increase. What are the timeline, study area, and process of this PARS? The First Coast Guard District will conduct this PARS. The study will begin immediately and should take 6 to 12 months to complete. The study area will encompass the approaches to Portland, Maine and the waters of Portland Harbor and Casco Bay. As part of this study, we will consider previous studies, analyses of vessel traffic density, and agency and stakeholder experience in vessel traffic management, navigation, ship handling, and affects of weather. We encourage you to participate in the study process by submitting comments in response to this notice. We will publish the results of the PARS in the Federal Register. It is possible that the study may validate existing vessel routing measures and conclude that no changes are necessary. It is also possible that the study may recommend one or more changes to enhance navigational safety and the efficiency of vessel traffic management. The recommendations may lead to future rulemakings or appropriate international agreements. Possible Scope of the Recommendations We are attempting to determine the scope of any safety problems associated with vessel transits in the study area. We expect that information gathered during the study will identify any problems and appropriate solutions. The study may recommend that we— 1. Maintain the current vessel routing measures; 2. Establish recommended routes or two-way routes in the approaches to Broad Sound; E:\FR\FM\10FEP1.SGM 10FEP1 Federal Register / Vol. 70, No. 27 / Thursday, February 10, 2005 / Proposed Rules 3. Establish recommended routes or two-way routes in the approaches to Hussey Sound; 4. Establish recommended routes or two-way routes in the approach to Portland Harbor; 5. Establish recommended routes or two-way routes in the precautionary area in the approaches to Portland which would formalize routes historically used by tug and barge traffic, merchant vessels, and fishing vessels transiting the precautionary area; 6. Modify the precautionary area in the approaches to Portland; 7. Create one or more inshore traffic zones near either the recommended routes or approaches; 8. Establish an area to be avoided (ATBA) in shallow areas where the risk of grounding is present; 9. Establish, disestablish or modify anchorage grounds; and 10. Establish a Regulated Navigation Area (RNA) with specific vessel operating requirements to ensure safe navigation near shallow water. Questions To help us conduct the port access route study, we request comments on the following questions, although comments on other issues addressed in this document are also welcome. In responding to a question, please explain your reasons for each answer and follow the instructions under ‘‘Public Participation and Request for Comments’’ above. 1. What navigational hazards do vessels operating in the study area face? Please describe. 2. Are there strains on the current vessel routing system, such as increasing traffic density? If so, please describe. 3. Are modifications to existing vessel routing measures needed to address hazards and strains and to improve traffic management efficiency in the study area? If so, please describe. 4. What costs and benefits are associated with the potential study recommendations listed above? What measures do you think are most costeffective? What impacts, both positive and negative, would changes to existing routing measures or new routing measures have on the study area? Dated: February 2, 2005. Howard L. Hime, Acting Director of Standards, Marine Safety, Security and Environmental Protection. [FR Doc. 05–2559 Filed 2–9–05; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–15–P VerDate jul<14>2003 16:17 Feb 09, 2005 Jkt 205001 ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY 40 CFR Part 52 [AZ131–125; FRL–7860–9] Revisions to the Arizona State Implementation Plan Maricopa County Environmental Services Department Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). ACTION: Proposed rule. AGENCY: SUMMARY: EPA is proposing to approve revisions to the Maricopa County Environmental Services Department portion of the Arizona State Implementation Plan (SIP). These revisions concern an emissions statement rule and a negative declaration that addresses volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions from Fiberglass Boat Manufacturing. We are proposing to approve the rule and the negative declaration to update the Arizona SIP under the Clean Air Act as amended in 1990 (CAA or the Act). DATES: Any comments on this proposal must arrive by March 14, 2005. ADDRESSES: Send comments to Andy Steckel, Rulemaking Office Chief (AIR– 4), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region IX, 75 Hawthorne Street, San Francisco, CA 94105–3901, or e-mail to steckel.andrew@epa.gov, or submit comments at http:// www.regulations.gov. You can inspect copies of the submitted SIP revisions, EPA’s technical support documents (TSDs), and public comments at our Region IX office during normal business hours by appointment. You may also see copies of the submitted SIP revisions by appointment at the following locations: Arizona Department of Environmental Quality, Air Quality Division, 1110 West Washington Street, Phoenix, Arizona 85007 Maricopa County Department of Environmental Services, Air Pollution Control Division, 1001 North Central Avenue, Suite 100, Phoenix, Arizona 85004 Copies of the rule and the negative declaration may also be available via the Internet at http://www.maricopa.gov/ envsvc/AIR/ruledesc.asp. Please be advised that this is not an EPA Web site and may not contain the same version of the rule that was submitted to EPA. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Julie A. Rose, EPA Region IX, (415) 947– 4126, rose.julie@epa.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: This proposal addresses Rule 100, Section 504, Emission Statements Required, and PO 00000 Frm 00018 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 7069 a negative declaration for the VOC source category, Fiberglass Boat Manufacturing. In the Rules and Regulations section of this Federal Register, we are approving this rule and the negative declaration in a direct final action without prior proposal because we believe these SIP revisions are not controversial. If we receive adverse comments, however, we will publish a timely withdrawal of the direct final rule and address the comments in a subsequent action based on this proposed rule. We do not plan to open a second comment period, so anyone interested in commenting should do so at this time. If we do not receive adverse comments, no further activity is planned. For further information, please see the direct final action. Dated: December 22, 2004. Sally Seymour, Acting Regional Administrator, Region IX. [FR Doc. 05–2521 Filed 2–9–05; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560–50–P ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY 40 CFR Part 52 [R06–OAR–2005–TX–0001; FRL–7871–6] Approval and Promulgation of Air Quality Implementation Plans; Texas; Revisions to Control Volatile Organic Compound Emissions From Consumer Related Sources Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). ACTION: Proposed rule. AGENCY: SUMMARY: EPA is proposing to approve Texas State Implementation Plan (SIP) revisions. The revisions pertain to regulations to control volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions from consumer related sources. The control of VOC emissions will help to attain and maintain national ambient air quality standards for ozone in Texas. This approval will make the revised regulations Federally enforceable. DATES: Written comments should be received on or before March 14, 2005. ADDRESSES: Comments may be mailed to Mr. Thomas Diggs, Chief, Air Planning Section (6PD–L), Environmental Protection Agency, Region 6, 1445 Ross Avenue, Suite 1200, Dallas, Texas 75202–2733. Comments may also be submitted electronically or through hand deliver/courier by following the detailed instructions in the ADDRESSES section of the direct final rule located in E:\FR\FM\10FEP1.SGM 10FEP1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 70, Number 27 (Thursday, February 10, 2005)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 7067-7069]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 05-2559]


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DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY

Coast Guard

33 CFR Part 167

[USCG-2005-20102]


Port Access Routes: Approaches to Portland, ME and Casco Bay

AGENCY: Coast Guard, DHS.

ACTION: Notice of study; request for comments

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

SUMMARY: The Coast Guard is conducting a Port Access Route Study (PARS) 
to evaluate the continued applicability of and the need for 
modifications to current vessel routing measures in the approaches to 
Portland, Maine and Casco Bay. The goal of the study is to help reduce 
the risk of marine casualties and increase the efficiency of vessel 
traffic management in the study area. The recommendations of the study 
may lead to future rulemaking action or appropriate international 
agreements.

DATES: Comments and related material must reach the Docket Management 
Facility on or before April 11, 2005.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments identified by Coast Guard docket 
number USCG-2005-20102 to the Docket Management Facility at the U.S. 
Department of Transportation. To avoid duplication, please use only one 
of the following methods:
    (1) Web site: http://dms.dot.gov.
    (2) Mail: Docket Management Facility, U.S. Department of 
Transportation, 400 Seventh Street, SW., Washington, DC 20590-0001.
    (3) Fax: 202-493-2251.
    (4) Delivery: Room PL-401 on the Plaza level of the Nassif 
Building, 400 Seventh Street, SW., Washington, DC, between 9 a.m. and 5 
p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The telephone 
number is 202-366-9329.
    (5) Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: If you have questions on this notice 
of study, call John J. Mauro, Project Officer, First Coast Guard 
District, telephone 617-223-8355, or send e-mail to jmauro@d1.uscg.mil; 
or George Detweiler, Office of Vessel Traffic Management, Coast Guard, 
telephone 202-267-0574, or send e-mail to Gdetweiler@comdt.uscg.mil. If 
you have questions on viewing or submitting material to the docket, 
call Renee K. Wright, Program Manager, Docket Operations, telephone 
202-366-0271.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Public Participation and Request for Comments

    We encourage you to participate in this study by submitting 
comments and related materials. All comments received will be posted, 
without change, to http://dms.dot.gov and will include any personal 
information you have provided. We have an agreement with the Department 
of Transportation (DOT) to use the Docket Management Facility. Please 
see DOT's ``Privacy Act'' paragraph below.
    Submitting comments: If you submit a comment, please include your 
name and address, identify the docket number for this notice of study 
(USCG-2005-20102), indicate the specific section of this document to 
which each comment applies, and give the reason for each comment. You 
may submit your comments and material by electronic means, mail, fax, 
or delivery to the Docket Management Facility at the address under 
ADDRESSES; but please submit your comments and material by only one 
means. If you submit them by mail or delivery, submit them in an 
unbound format, no larger than 8\1/2\ by 11 inches, suitable for 
copying and electronic filing. If you submit them by mail and would 
like to know that they reached the Facility, please enclose a stamped, 
self-addressed postcard or envelope. We will consider all comments and 
material received during the comment period.
    Viewing comments and documents: To view comments, as well as 
documents mentioned in this preamble as being available in the docket, 
go to http://dms.dot.gov at any time and conduct a simple search using 
the docket number. You may also visit the Docket Management Facility in 
room PL-401 on the Plaza level of the Nassif Building, 400 Seventh 
Street, SW., Washington, DC, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through 
Friday, except Federal holidays.
    Privacy Act: Anyone can search the electronic form of all comments 
received into any of our dockets by the name of the individual 
submitting the comment (or signing the comment, if submitted on behalf 
of an association, business, labor union, etc.). You may review the 
Department of Transportation's Privacy Act Statement in the Federal 
Register published on April 11, 2000 (65 FR 19477), or you may visit 
http://dms.dot.gov.

Definitions

    The following definitions are from the International Maritime 
Organization's (IMO's) publication ``Ships' Routeing'' (except those 
marked by an asterisk) and should help you review this notice:
    Area to be avoided or (ATBA) means a routing measure comprising an 
area within defined limits in which either navigation is particularly 
hazardous or it is exceptionally important to avoid casualties and 
which should be avoided by all vessels, or certain classes of vessels.
    Deep-water route means a route within defined limits, which has 
been accurately surveyed for clearance of sea bottom and submerged 
obstacles as indicated on nautical charts.
    Inshore traffic zone means a routing measure comprising a 
designated area between the landward boundary of a traffic separation 
scheme and the adjacent coast, to be used in accordance with the 
provisions of Rule 10(d), as amended, of the International Regulations 
for Preventing Collisions at Sea, 1972 (COLREGS).

[[Page 7068]]

    Precautionary area means a routing measure comprising an area 
within defined limits where vessels must navigate with particular 
caution and within which the direction of traffic flow may be 
recommended.
    Recommended route means a route of undefined width, for the 
convenience of vessels in transit, which is often marked by centerline 
buoys.
    Recommended track is a route which has been specially examined to 
ensure so far as possible that it is free of dangers and along which 
vessels are advised to navigate.
    Regulated Navigation Area (RNA)* means a water area within a 
defined boundary for which regulations for vessels navigating within 
the area have been established under 33 CFR part 165.
    Roundabout means a routing measure comprising a separation point or 
circular separation zone and a circular traffic lane within defined 
limits. Traffic within the roundabout is separated by moving in a 
counterclockwise direction around the separation point or zone.
    Separation Zone or Separation line means a zone or line separating 
the traffic lanes in which vessels are proceeding in opposite or nearly 
opposite directions; or from the adjacent sea area; or separating 
traffic lanes designated for particular classes of vessels proceeding 
in the same direction.
    Traffic lane means an area within defined limits in which one-way 
traffic is established. Natural obstacles, including those forming 
separation zones, may constitute a boundary.
    Traffic Separation Scheme (TSS) means a routing measure aimed at 
the separation of opposing streams of traffic by appropriate means and 
by the establishment of traffic lanes.
    Two-way route means a route within defined limits inside which two-
way traffic is established, aimed at providing safe passage of ships 
through waters where navigation is difficult or dangerous.
    Vessel routing system means any system of one or more routes or 
routing measures aimed at reducing the risk of casualties; it includes 
traffic separation schemes, two-way routes, recommended tracks, areas 
to be avoided, inshore traffic zones, roundabouts, precautionary areas, 
and deep-water routes.

Background and Purpose

    Why are port access route studies required? Under the Ports and 
Waterways Safety Act (PWSA) (33 U.S.C. 1223(c)), the Commandant of the 
Coast Guard may designate necessary fairways and traffic separation 
schemes (TSSs) to provide safe access routes for vessels proceeding to 
and from U.S. ports. The designation of fairways and TSSs recognizes 
the paramount right of navigation over all other uses in the designated 
areas.
    The PWSA requires the Coast Guard to conduct a study of port access 
routes before establishing or adjusting fairways or TSSs. Through the 
study process, we must coordinate with Federal, State, and foreign 
state agencies (as appropriate) and consider the views of maritime 
community representatives, environmental groups, and other interested 
stakeholders. A primary purpose of this coordination is, to the extent 
practicable, to reconcile the need for safe access routes with other 
reasonable waterway uses.
    Were there previous port access route studies? The area (known as 
Area 2 of the original PARS) which included the ports of Searsport, 
Bucksport, Portland, Maine, and Portsmouth, New Hampshire was last 
studied in 1979, and the final results of the study were published in 
the Federal Register on January 7, 1982 (47 FR 879). The study of Area 
2 concluded that the existing TSS in the approaches to Portland, Maine 
is adequate for the traditional trade routes and amount of traffic to 
and from the Port of Portland, Maine.
    Why is a new port access route study necessary? Portland Harbor is 
one of three deepwater ports in Maine, which are the nearest commercial 
ports in the United States to Europe; principal commerce items imported 
to the port include crude oil, refined petroleum products, chemicals, 
kaolin, and paper. Exported items from the port include wood pulp, 
lumber, scrap metal, and containerized goods, plus coastal receipts and 
reshipment of petroleum products, and internal receipts of fresh fish. 
About 65 percent of the tonnage is crude oil, which is transported by 
pipelines to refineries in Montreal, Quebec.
    The report by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' (ACOE) ``Waterborne 
Commerce of the United States'' states that, from 1998 to 2002, annual 
trips to and from the Port of Portland, ME increased 7 percent from 
34,571 to 37,233. Since 1982 the Corps of Engineers has maintained a 
navigation project for Portland Harbor. This project maintains: (1) An 
entrance channel 1,000 feet wide and 45 feet deep, which extends about 
9,000 feet from deep water in Casco Bay opposite South Portland to a 
line about 2,000 feet seaward of the entrance to the Fore River, and 
allows vessels to call on the deepwater oil-receiving terminals at 
South Portland; (2) a maneuvering basin and anchorage area 45 feet 
deep, northwest of House Island and northeast of the head of the 
entrance channel; and (3) a channel depth of 40 feet in Soldier Ledge 
Channel in Hussey Sound, a passage between Peaks and Long Islands, 
which are part of a group of small, inhabited islands near the center 
of Casco Bay.
    In response to a request by a local, commercial pipeline 
corporation, the ACOE is considering approving private maintenance 
dredging of part of its navigation project in Portland Harbor. If 
granted, this approval will allow the entrance channel to Portland Pipe 
Line Pier 2 and the western limits of Anchorage ``B'' to be deepened to 
a depth of 50 feet. This depth is five feet deeper than the Corp's 
congressionally authorized, project depth of 45 feet. If this project 
is approved and completed, vessel traffic to and from this port is 
expected to increase.
    What are the timeline, study area, and process of this PARS? The 
First Coast Guard District will conduct this PARS. The study will begin 
immediately and should take 6 to 12 months to complete.
    The study area will encompass the approaches to Portland, Maine and 
the waters of Portland Harbor and Casco Bay.
    As part of this study, we will consider previous studies, analyses 
of vessel traffic density, and agency and stakeholder experience in 
vessel traffic management, navigation, ship handling, and affects of 
weather. We encourage you to participate in the study process by 
submitting comments in response to this notice.
    We will publish the results of the PARS in the Federal Register. It 
is possible that the study may validate existing vessel routing 
measures and conclude that no changes are necessary. It is also 
possible that the study may recommend one or more changes to enhance 
navigational safety and the efficiency of vessel traffic management. 
The recommendations may lead to future rulemakings or appropriate 
international agreements.

Possible Scope of the Recommendations

    We are attempting to determine the scope of any safety problems 
associated with vessel transits in the study area. We expect that 
information gathered during the study will identify any problems and 
appropriate solutions. The study may recommend that we--
    1. Maintain the current vessel routing measures;
    2. Establish recommended routes or two-way routes in the approaches 
to Broad Sound;

[[Page 7069]]

    3. Establish recommended routes or two-way routes in the approaches 
to Hussey Sound;
    4. Establish recommended routes or two-way routes in the approach 
to Portland Harbor;
    5. Establish recommended routes or two-way routes in the 
precautionary area in the approaches to Portland which would formalize 
routes historically used by tug and barge traffic, merchant vessels, 
and fishing vessels transiting the precautionary area;
    6. Modify the precautionary area in the approaches to Portland;
    7. Create one or more inshore traffic zones near either the 
recommended routes or approaches;
    8. Establish an area to be avoided (ATBA) in shallow areas where 
the risk of grounding is present;
    9. Establish, disestablish or modify anchorage grounds; and
    10. Establish a Regulated Navigation Area (RNA) with specific 
vessel operating requirements to ensure safe navigation near shallow 
water.

Questions

    To help us conduct the port access route study, we request comments 
on the following questions, although comments on other issues addressed 
in this document are also welcome. In responding to a question, please 
explain your reasons for each answer and follow the instructions under 
``Public Participation and Request for Comments'' above.
    1. What navigational hazards do vessels operating in the study area 
face? Please describe.
    2. Are there strains on the current vessel routing system, such as 
increasing traffic density? If so, please describe.
    3. Are modifications to existing vessel routing measures needed to 
address hazards and strains and to improve traffic management 
efficiency in the study area? If so, please describe.
    4. What costs and benefits are associated with the potential study 
recommendations listed above? What measures do you think are most cost-
effective? What impacts, both positive and negative, would changes to 
existing routing measures or new routing measures have on the study 
area?

    Dated: February 2, 2005.
Howard L. Hime,
Acting Director of Standards, Marine Safety, Security and Environmental 
Protection.
[FR Doc. 05-2559 Filed 2-9-05; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-15-P