Drawbridge Operation Regulations; Chincoteague Channel, Chincoteague, VA, 66669-66673 [06-9237]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 71, No. 221 / Thursday, November 16, 2006 / Rules and Regulations 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 or more in any one year. Though this rule would not result in such an expenditure, we do discuss the effects of this rule elsewhere in this preamble. Taking of Private Property This rule will not effect a taking of private property or otherwise have taking implications under Executive Order 12630, Governmental Actions and Interference with Constitutionally Protected Property Rights. Civil Justice Reform This rule meets applicable standards in sections 3(a) and 3(b)(2) of Executive Order 12988, Civil Justice Reform, to minimize litigation, eliminate ambiguity, and reduce burden. Protection of Children We have analyzed this rule under Executive Order 13045, Protection of Children from Environmental Health Risks and Safety Risks. This rule is not an economically significant rule and would not create an environmental risk to health or risk to safety that might disproportionately affect children. Indian Tribal Governments This rule does not have tribal implications under Executive Order 13175, Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribal Governments, because it would not have a substantial direct effect on one or more Indian tribes, on the relationship between the Federal Government and Indian tribes, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities between the Federal Government and Indian tribes. rmajette on PROD1PC67 with RULES1 Energy Effects 15:50 Nov 15, 2006 The National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act (NTTAA) (15 U.S.C. 272 note) directs agencies to use voluntary consensus standards in their regulatory activities unless the agency provides Congress, through the Office of Management and Budget, with an explanation of why using these standards would be inconsistent with applicable law or otherwise impractical. Voluntary consensus standards are technical standards (e.g., specifications of materials, performance, design, or operation; test methods; sampling procedures; and related management systems practices) that are developed or adopted by voluntary consensus standards bodies. This rule does not use technical standards. Therefore, we did not consider the use of voluntary consensus standards. Environment We have considered the environmental impact of this rule and concluded that, under figure 2–1, paragraph 34(f), of Commandant Instruction M16475.1D, this rule is categorically excluded from further environmental documentation. A final ‘‘Categorical Exclusion Determination’’ and a final ‘‘Environmental Analysis Check List’’ are available in the docket for inspection or copying where indicated under ADDRESSES. This rule fits the category selected from paragraph (34)(f) as it would expand a special anchorage area. List of Subjects in 33 CFR Part 110 Anchorage grounds. PART 110—ANCHORAGE REGULATIONS 1. The authority citation for part 110 continues to read as follows: Jkt 211001 Authority: 33 U.S.C. 471; 1221 through 1236, 2030, 2035 and 2071; 33 CFR 1.05–1(g); and Department of Homeland Security Delegation No. 0170.1. 2. Amend § 110.5, by revising paragraph (d) to read as follows: I § 110.5 Casco Bay, Maine. * * * * * (d) Mussel Cove and adjacent waters at Falmouth Foreside, Falmouth. All of the waters enclosed by a line beginning at the Dock House (F.S.) located at latitude 43°44′22″ N, longitude 70°11′41″ W; thence to latitude 43°44′19″ N, longitude 70°11′33″ W; PO 00000 Frm 00027 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 thence to latitude 43°44′00″ N, longitude 70°11′44″ W; thence to latitude 43°43′37″ N, longitude 70°11′37″ W; thence to latitude 43°43′04″ N, longitude 70°12′13″ W; thence to latitude 43°41′56″ N, longitude 70°12′53″ W; thence to latitude 43°41′49″ N, longitude 70°13′05″ W; thence to latitude 43°42′11″ N, longitude 70°13′30″ W; thence along the shoreline to the point of beginning. DATUM: NAD 83. Note to paragraph (d). The area designed by paragraph (g) of this section is reserved for yachts and other small recreational craft. Fore and aft moorings will be allowed in this area. Temporary floats or buoys for marking anchors or moorings in place will be allowed. Fixed mooring piles or stakes are prohibited. All moorings must be so placed so that no vessel when anchored is at any time extended into the thoroughfare. All anchoring in the area is under the supervision of the local harbor master or such other authority as may be designated by the authorities of the Town of Falmouth, Maine. * * * * * Dated: October 30, 2006. Timothy S. Sullivan, Rear Admiral, U.S. Coast Guard, Commander, First Coast Guard District. [FR Doc. E6–19315 Filed 11–15–06; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–15–P DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY Coast Guard 33 CFR Part 117 [CGD05–06–002] For the reasons discussed in the preamble, the Coast Guard amends 33 CFR part 110 as follows: I I We have analyzed this rule under Executive Order 13211, Actions Concerning Regulations That Significantly Affect Energy Supply, Distribution, or Use. We have determined that it is not a ‘‘significant energy action’’ under that order because it is not a ‘‘significant regulatory action’’ under Executive Order 12866 and is not likely to have a significant adverse effect on the supply, distribution, or use of energy. The Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs has not designated it as a significant energy action. Therefore, it does not require a Statement of Energy Effects under Executive Order 13211. VerDate Aug<31>2005 Technical Standards 66669 RIN 1625–AA09 Drawbridge Operation Regulations; Chincoteague Channel, Chincoteague, VA Coast Guard, DHS. Final rule. AGENCY: ACTION: SUMMARY: The Coast Guard is changing the drawbridge operation regulations that govern the SR 175 Bridge, at mile 3.5, across Chincoteague Channel at Chincoteague Island, Virginia. This change is necessary to help relieve vehicular traffic congestion and reduce traffic delays while still balancing the needs of marine and vehicular traffic. DATES: This rule is effective December 18, 2006. ADDRESSES: Comments and material received from the public, as well as documents indicated in this preamble as being available in the docket, are part of docket CGD05–06–002 and will be E:\FR\FM\16NOR1.SGM 16NOR1 66670 Federal Register / Vol. 71, No. 221 / Thursday, November 16, 2006 / Rules and Regulations available for inspection or copying at Commander (dpb), Fifth Coast Guard District between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The Fifth Coast Guard District maintains the public docket for this rulemaking. Gary S. Heyer, Bridge Management Specialist, Fifth Coast Guard District, at (757) 398– 6629. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Regulatory History On June 28, 2004, we published a notice of temporary deviation from the regulations and request for comments entitled ‘‘Drawbridge Operation Regulations; Chincoteague Channel, VA’’ in the Federal Register (69 FR 36011). The temporary deviation was in operation to test an alternate drawbridge operation schedule for 90 days and solicit comments from the public. From July 2, 2004 through September 29, 2004, the draw of the bridge opened every two hours on the even hour from 6 a.m. to midnight; except from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., on the last consecutive Wednesday and Thursday in July, the draw needed not be opened. At all other times, the draw needed not open. The Coast Guard received six letters and four petitions commenting on the provisions of the temporary deviation. On December 30, 2004, the Coast Guard published a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) entitled ‘‘Drawbridge Operation Regulation; Chincoteague Channel, Chincoteague, VA’’ in the Federal Register (69 FR 78373). The NPRM allowed hourly openings of the draw year-round from 6 a.m. to midnight; except from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the last consecutive Wednesday and Thursday in July of every year, the draw needed not be opened. At all other times, the draw needed not open. We received six comments on the NPRM. On April 18, 2005, the Coast Guard published a final rule entitled ‘‘Drawbridge Operation Regulation; Chincoteague Channel, Chincoteague, VA’’ in the Federal Register (70 FR 20051). The final rule required the draw to open on demand from midnight to 6 a.m., and on the hour from 6 a.m. to midnight, except from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the last consecutive Wednesday and Thursday in July of every year, the draw needed not be opened. We published an NPRM on April 13, 2006, entitled ‘‘Drawbridge Operation Regulations; Chincoteague Channel, Chincoteague, VA’’ in the Federal Register (71 FR 19150). The NPRM would allow the bridge to open on demand from midnight to 6 a.m., and every hour and a half from 6 a.m. to midnight; except from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., on the last consecutive Wednesday and Thursday in July, the draw need not be opened. The comment period ended on May 30, 2006. We received 557 comments to the NPRM. On June 26, 2006, we published a notice; request for comments and notice of public meeting in the Federal Register (71 FR 36297). On July 18, 2006, we held a public meeting at the Chincoteague Community Center, Chincoteague Island, Virginia. We accepted written comments from the public until July 21, 2006. Background and Purpose Current regulations require the SR 175 Bridge, at mile 3.5, across Chincoteague Channel to open on demand from midnight to 6 a.m. and on the hour from 6 a.m. to midnight, except the draw shall remain in the closed position to vessels from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the last consecutive Wednesday and Thursday in July of every year. In October 2005, the Chincoteague Town Council adopted a resolution that requested a change in the scheduled openings of the bridge. The resolution details the Town’s concerns based on the following factors: The number of openings have actually increased since the last modification; the boats north of the bridge frequently sail and return one-at-a-time; due to inconsistencies in the openings, the Town of Chincoteague has received many complaints from motorists; and openings on the even hours as needed will not significantly impact the boaters. Additionally, in September 2005, we were advised of an incident in which ambulance services were unable to transit the drawbridge due to a vessel opening request. The ambulance service was further delayed because during closing procedures the drawbridge experienced mechanical problems. The Coast Guard drawbridge operating regulations already address the emergency situations, so no changes are needed to the operating regulations to address that concern. 33 CFR Part 117.31(a)—Operation of draw for emergency situations—states that ‘‘When a draw tender is informed by a reliable source that an emergency vehicle is due to cross the draw, the draw tender shall take all reasonable measures to have the draw closed at the time the emergency vehicle arrives at the bridge’’. Based on the request from the Chincoteague Town Council, we published a NPRM on April 13, 2006, entitled ‘‘Drawbridge Operation Regulations; Chincoteague Channel, Chincoteague, VA’’ in the Federal Register (71 FR 19150). The NPRM would allow the bridge to open on demand from midnight to 6 a.m., and every one and a half hours from 6 a.m. to midnight; except from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., on the last consecutive Wednesday and Thursday in July, the draw need not be opened. The proposed change would reduce vehicular traffic congestion while still balancing the needs of marine and vehicular traffic. The comment period ended on May 30, 2006. After the comment period ended on May 30, 2006, an Accomack County official communicated to the Coast Guard that residents of Chincoteague had additional comments concerning the operating regulations of the drawbridge. Based on this request we held a public meeting at the Chincoteague Community Center, at Chincoteague Island, Virginia. We accepted written comments from the public until July 21, 2006. The Coast Guard also reviewed the bridge logs provided by VDOT. There were approximately 1919 bridge openings in 2005 over a six-month period (May, June, July, August, September and October) (See Table A); and in 2006, for the same six-month period, there were approximately 1359 bridge openings. (See Table B). TABLE A rmajette on PROD1PC67 with RULES1 Bridge Openings for 2005 JAN FEB MAR APR MAY JUN JUL AUG SEPT OCT NOV DEC 62 112 60 163 453 330 316 317 291 212 200 134 VerDate Aug<31>2005 15:50 Nov 15, 2006 Jkt 211001 PO 00000 Frm 00028 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 E:\FR\FM\16NOR1.SGM 16NOR1 Federal Register / Vol. 71, No. 221 / Thursday, November 16, 2006 / Rules and Regulations 66671 TABLE A—Continued Bridge Openings for 2005 JAN FEB MAR APR MAY JUN JUL AUG SEPT OCT NOV DEC 622 377 368 268 160 Boat Passages for 2005 56 122 61 187 642 606 559 TABLE B Bridge Openings for 2006 JAN FEB MAR APR MAY JUN JUL AUG SEPT OCT NOV DEC 134 141 82 181 359 271 265 236 122 106 NA NA 361 145 125 NA NA Boat Passages for 2006 167 177 88 279 710 Annually, there are between 66 and 90 commercial fishing vessels that are dependent on regular drawbridge openings to access docking facilities to unload their product. Depending on the season, these vessels regularly unload multiple seafood catches a day because of trip catch limits. The Virginia Natural Resources Department provided Fisheries landing data from 2002 to 2005 for Accomack County. This data supports an overall increase in the pounds of seafood unloaded and the monetary value which supports the economic base for the surrounding area. (See Table C) TABLE C.—SUMMARY OF FISHERIES DATA—ACCOMACK COUNTY 2002 2003 2004 2005 ....... ....... ....... ....... 1 11,238,247 1 11,304,169 1 12,829,955 1 10,693,540 $9,811,727 10,900,731 13,745,649 12,369,899 rmajette on PROD1PC67 with RULES1 1 Pounds. During the late spring, summer and early fall months, the number of vacationers and commercial fishing vessels (often scallop boats) that utilize the SR 175 Bridge is ever-increasing. The average resident population in the Town of Chincoteague is approximately 5,000. However, in the summertime with vacationers, the average population on Chincoteague Island is about 15,000. A proposed seasonal schedule was considered as an option, where the drawbridge would open for vessels every two hours during the spring and summer months; and hourly during the fall and winter months. However, the data shows that the peak commercial fishing period and delivery times are in direct conflict with the peak tourist and travel season on Chincoteague Island. Therefore, this option was not chosen. VerDate Aug<31>2005 15:50 Nov 15, 2006 Jkt 211001 460 431 Discussion of Comments and Changes The Coast Guard received 554 comments to the NPRM published on April 13, 2006 (71 FR 19150). The comments included 540 letters, one petition, two e-mail comments, and 14 oral remarks presented at the public meeting. The vast majority of the letters (471) were mass-produced form letters signed by residents. In addition, there were 60 letters from fishermen and small businesses. Six letters were from State and Town officials (two letters each from an Accomack County Supervisor, and the Town Manager of Chincoteague; with one letter each from a Virginia House Delegate, and an official with the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT)). Two separate comments were supplied on one e-mail message. A majority of comments from residents of the Town of Chincoteague favored a two-hour opening schedule of the drawbridge from 6 a.m. to midnight. Commercial vessel owners and small businesses preferred hourly openings. However, the commercial vessel owners and small businesses commented that they can manage their establishments and vessels under the proposal to open every one and a half hour from 6 a.m. to midnight. Eight of the 14 oral remarks that were offered at the public meeting favored a two-hour opening schedule of the drawbridge from 6 a.m. to midnight, and 6 supported openings every one and a half hour from 6 a.m. to midnight. The State and Town officials asserted their concerns that the bridge has exceeded its useful design life, that the increase in vessel traffic to the area has had a serious impact on the wear and tear of the bridge, and that reducing the number of vessel openings will assist VDOT in maintaining the mechanical PO 00000 Frm 00029 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 condition of the bridge until a replacement bridge is complete. It is the duty of the owner and operator of a drawbridge, VDOT in this case, to maintain the operating machinery in a serviceable condition and to provide for the safe and prompt opening of the drawbridge according to the operating regulations. The Coast Guard may not issue regulations for the purpose of relieving the owner or operator of the duty to properly maintain or operate the draw span solely because of financial hardship, or to save wear and tear on the structure or machinery, unless there is clearly documented evidence that there is little or no need for bridge openings. The data shows that mariners still require continued openings of the SR 175 Bridge over Chincoteague Channel, so the wear and tear on the bridge will not be considered as a factor in establishing the operating regulations. Based on all of the comments received, we will implement a final rule with no changes to the NPRM. Under this final rule, the draw will open on demand from midnight to 6 a.m., and every one and a half hours from 6 a.m. to midnight (at 6 a.m., 7:30 a.m., 9 a.m., 10:30 a.m., 12 p.m., 1:30 p.m., 3 p.m., 4:30 p.m., 6 p.m., 7:30 p.m., 9 p.m. 10:30 p.m. and midnight); except from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the last consecutive Wednesday and Thursday in July, the draw need not open. To minimize uncertainty and to assist in the transition to the new operating schedule of the drawbridge, the Coast Guard will print and distribute flyers providing the new opening times to residents and business owners. Officials with VDOT are required to post signs on the bridge for mariners with the operating schedule, including the opening times from 6 a.m. to midnight. E:\FR\FM\16NOR1.SGM 16NOR1 66672 Federal Register / Vol. 71, No. 221 / Thursday, November 16, 2006 / Rules and Regulations This final rule will help address vehicular traffic congestion and reduce traffic delays while still providing for the reasonable needs of navigation. Discussion of Rule The Coast Guard amends 33 CFR 117.1005, by inserting a new provision to require the draw to open on demand from midnight to 6 a.m., and every one and a half hour from 6 a.m. to midnight (at 6 a.m., 7:30 a.m., 9 a.m., 10:30 a.m., 12 p.m., 1:30 p.m., 3 p.m., 4:30 p.m., 6 p.m., 7:30 p.m., 9 p.m. 10:30 p.m. and midnight); except from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the last consecutive Wednesday and Thursday in July, the draw need not open. rmajette on PROD1PC67 with RULES1 Regulatory Evaluation This rule is not a ‘‘significant regulatory action’’ under section 3(f) of Executive Order 12866, Regulatory Planning and Review, and does not require an assessment of potential costs and benefits under section 6(a)(3) of that Order. The Office of Management and Budget has not reviewed it under that Order. It is not ‘‘significant’’ under the regulatory policies and procedures of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). This conclusion based on the fact that the changes will have only a minimal impact on maritime traffic transiting the bridge. Mariners can plan their trips in accordance with the scheduled bridge openings to minimize delays. Small Entities Under the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601–612), we have considered whether this rule would have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. 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 would not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. This conclusion is based on the fact the rule would not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities because the rule only adds minimal restrictions to the movement of navigation, and mariners who plan their transits in accordance with the scheduled bridge openings can minimize delays. In addition, the comments received from mariners suggest that they can accommodate the change in the schedule. VerDate Aug<31>2005 15:50 Nov 15, 2006 Jkt 211001 Assistance for Small Entities 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 so that they can better evaluate its effects on them and participate in the rulemaking process. No assistance was requested from any small entity. Collection of Information This rule calls for no new collection of information under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501– 3520.). Federalism A rule has implications for federalism under Executive Order 13132, Federalism, if it has a substantial direct effect on State or local governments and would either preempt State law or impose a substantial direct cost of compliance on them. We have analyzed this rule under that Order and have determined that it does not have implications for federalism. 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 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. Taking of Private Property This rule would not affect a taking of private property or otherwise have taking implications under Executive Order 12630, Governmental Actions and Interference with Constitutionally Protected Property Rights. Civil Justice Reform This rule meets applicable standards in sections 3(a) and 3(b)(2) of Executive Order 12988, Civil Justice Reform, to minimize litigation, eliminate ambiguity, and reduce burden. Protection of Children We have analyzed this rule under Executive Order 13045, Protection of Children from Environmental Health Risks and Safety Risks. This rule is not an economically significant rule and would not create an environmental risk to health or risk to safety that might disproportionately affect children. PO 00000 Frm 00030 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 Indian Tribal Governments This rule does not have tribal implications under Executive Order 13175, Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribal Governments, because it would not have a substantial direct effect on one or more Indian tribes, on the relationship between the Federal Government and Indian tribes, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities between the Federal Government and Indian tribes. Energy Effects We have analyzed this rule under Executive Order 13211, Actions Concerning Regulations That Significantly Affect Energy Supply, Distribution, or Use. We have determined that it is not a ‘‘significant energy action’’ under that order because it is not a ‘‘significant regulatory action’’ under Executive Order 12866 and is not likely to have a significant adverse effect on the supply, distribution, or use of energy. The Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs has not designated it as a significant energy action. Therefore, it does not require a Statement of Energy Effects under Executive Order 13211. Technical Standards The National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act (NTTAA) (15 U.S.C. 272 note) directs agencies to use voluntary consensus standards in their regulatory activities unless the agency provides Congress, through the Office of Management and Budget, with an explanation of why using these standards would be inconsistent with applicable law or otherwise impractical. Voluntary consensus standards are technical standards (e.g., specifications of materials, performance, design, or operation; test methods; sampling procedures; and related management systems practices) that are developed or adopted by voluntary consensus standards bodies. This rule does not use technical standards. Therefore, we did not consider the use of voluntary consensus standards. Environment We have analyzed this rule under Commandant Instruction M16475.lD and Department of Homeland Security Management Directive 5100.1, which guide the Coast Guard in complying with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) (42 U.S.C. 4321– 4370f), and have concluded that there are no factors in this case that would limit the use of a categorical exclusion under section 2.B.2 of the Instruction. Therefore, this rule is categorically E:\FR\FM\16NOR1.SGM 16NOR1 Federal Register / Vol. 71, No. 221 / Thursday, November 16, 2006 / Rules and Regulations excluded, under figure 2–1, paragraph (32)(e) of the Instruction, from further environmental documentation because it has been determined that the promulgation of operating regulations for drawbridges are categorically excluded. List of Subjects in 33 CFR Part 117 Bridges. Regulations For the reasons discussed in the preamble, the Coast Guard amends 33 CFR part 117 as follows: I PART 117—DRAWBRIDGE OPERATION REGULATIONS 1. The authority citation for part 117 continues to read as follows: I Authority: 33 U.S.C. 499; 33 CFR 1.05–1(g); Department of Homeland Security Delegation No. 0170.1; section 117.255 also issued under the authority of Pub. L. 102–587, 106 Stat. 5039. 2. § 117.1005 is revised to read as follows: I § 117.1005 Chincoteague Channel. The draw of the SR 175 Bridge, mile 3.5, at Chincoteague shall open on demand from midnight to 6 a.m., and every one and a half hours from 6 a.m. to midnight (at 6 a.m., 7:30 a.m., 9 a.m., 10:30 a.m., 12 p.m., 1:30 p.m., 3 p.m., 4:30 p.m., 6 p.m., 7:30 p.m., 9 p.m. 10:30 p.m. and midnight); except from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the last consecutive Wednesday and Thursday in July, the draw need not be opened. Dated: November 1, 2006. L.L. Hereth, Rear Admiral, United States Coast Guard, Commander, Fifth Coast Guard District. [FR Doc. 06–9237 Filed 11–15–06; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–15–P DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY Coast Guard 33 CFR Part 117 [CGD01–06–130] rmajette on PROD1PC67 with RULES1 Drawbridge Operation Regulations;Long Island, New York Inland Waterway from East Rockaway Inlet to Shinnecock Canal, Jones Beach, NY Coast Guard, DHS. Notice of temporary deviation from regulations. AGENCY: ACTION: SUMMARY: The Commander, First Coast Guard District, has issued a temporary VerDate Aug<31>2005 17:16 Nov 15, 2006 Jkt 211001 deviation from the regulation governing the operation of the Loop Parkway Bridge across Long Creek at mile 0.7, at Jones Beach, New York. Under this temporary deviation, the Loop Parkway Bridge need not open for the passage of vessel traffic from 8:30 a.m. through 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. through 4:30 p.m., daily, from November 5, 2006 through December 20, 2006. A single bridge opening for all inbound commercial fishing vessels shall be provided, if a request to open the bridge is given, during the 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. bridge closure period. This deviation is necessary to facilitate scheduled bridge maintenance. DATES: This deviation is effective from November 5, 2006 through December 20, 2006. ADDRESSES: Materials referred to in this document are available for inspection or copying at the First Coast Guard District, Bridge Branch Office, One South Street, New York, New York, 10004, between 7 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The telephone number is (212) 668–7165. The First Coast Guard District Bridge Branch Office maintains the public docket for this temporary deviation. Judy Leung-Yee, Project Officer, First Coast Guard District, at (212) 668–7195. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Loop Parkway Bridge, across Long Creek at mile 0.7, at Jones Beach, New York, has a vertical clearance in the closed position of 21 feet at mean high water and 25 feet at mean low water. The existing drawbridge operation regulations are listed at 33 CFR 117.799(f). The owner of the bridge, New York State Department of Transportation, requested a temporary deviation to complete bridge painting operations. The bridge will not be able to open while the bridge painting operation is underway. Under this temporary deviation, the Loop Parkway Bridge across Long Creek at mile 0.7, need not open for the passage of vessel traffic from 8:30 a.m. through 11:30 a.m. and from 1:30 p.m. through 4:30 p.m., daily, from November 5, 2006 through December 20, 2006. All inbound commercial fishing vessels shall be provided a single bridge opening during the 1:30 p.m. through 4:30 p.m. bridge closure period each day provided a bridge opening request is given by calling the number posted at the bridge. In accordance with 33 CFR 117.35(c), this work will be performed with all due FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: PO 00000 Frm 00031 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 66673 speed in order to return the bridge to normal operation as soon as possible. Should the bridge maintenance authorized by this temporary deviation be completed before the end of the effective period published in this notice, the Coast Guard will rescind the remainder of this temporary deviation, and the bridge shall be returned to its normal operating schedule. Notice of the above action shall be provided to the public in the Local Notice to Mariners and the Federal Register, where practicable. This deviation from the operating regulations is authorized under 33 CFR 117.35. Dated: 31 October 2006. Gary Kassof, Bridge Program Manager, First Coast Guard District. [FR Doc. E6–19313 Filed 11–15–06; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–15–P DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY Coast Guard 33 CFR Part 117 [CGD01–06–122] RIN 1625–AA09 Drawbridge Operation Regulations; Thames River, New London, CT Coast Guard, DHS. Temporary final rule. AGENCY: ACTION: SUMMARY: The Coast Guard has temporarily changed the drawbridge operation regulations that govern the Amtrak Bridge across the Thames River, mile 0.8, at New London, Connecticut. This temporary final rule allows the bridge owner to open the bridge on a temporary opening schedule from November 15, 2006 through May 15, 2007. This temporary final rule is necessary to facilitate bridge pier repairs. This rule is effective from November 15, 2006 through May 15, 2007. DATES: Comments and material received from the public, as well as documents indicated in this preamble as being available in the docket, are part of docket (CGD01–06–122) and are available for inspection or copying at the First Coast Guard District, Bridge Branch Office, one South Street, New York, New York, between 7 a.m. and 3 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. ADDRESSES: E:\FR\FM\16NOR1.SGM 16NOR1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 71, Number 221 (Thursday, November 16, 2006)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 66669-66673]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 06-9237]


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DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY

Coast Guard

33 CFR Part 117

[CGD05-06-002]
RIN 1625-AA09


Drawbridge Operation Regulations; Chincoteague Channel, 
Chincoteague, VA

AGENCY: Coast Guard, DHS.

ACTION: Final rule.

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SUMMARY: The Coast Guard is changing the drawbridge operation 
regulations that govern the SR 175 Bridge, at mile 3.5, across 
Chincoteague Channel at Chincoteague Island, Virginia. This change is 
necessary to help relieve vehicular traffic congestion and reduce 
traffic delays while still balancing the needs of marine and vehicular 
traffic.

DATES: This rule is effective December 18, 2006.

ADDRESSES: Comments and material received from the public, as well as 
documents indicated in this preamble as being available in the docket, 
are part of docket CGD05-06-002 and will be

[[Page 66670]]

available for inspection or copying at Commander (dpb), Fifth Coast 
Guard District between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday, except 
Federal holidays. The Fifth Coast Guard District maintains the public 
docket for this rulemaking.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Gary S. Heyer, Bridge Management 
Specialist, Fifth Coast Guard District, at (757) 398-6629.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Regulatory History

    On June 28, 2004, we published a notice of temporary deviation from 
the regulations and request for comments entitled ``Drawbridge 
Operation Regulations; Chincoteague Channel, VA'' in the Federal 
Register (69 FR 36011). The temporary deviation was in operation to 
test an alternate drawbridge operation schedule for 90 days and solicit 
comments from the public. From July 2, 2004 through September 29, 2004, 
the draw of the bridge opened every two hours on the even hour from 6 
a.m. to midnight; except from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., on the last consecutive 
Wednesday and Thursday in July, the draw needed not be opened. At all 
other times, the draw needed not open. The Coast Guard received six 
letters and four petitions commenting on the provisions of the 
temporary deviation.
    On December 30, 2004, the Coast Guard published a notice of 
proposed rulemaking (NPRM) entitled ``Drawbridge Operation Regulation; 
Chincoteague Channel, Chincoteague, VA'' in the Federal Register (69 FR 
78373). The NPRM allowed hourly openings of the draw year-round from 6 
a.m. to midnight; except from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the last consecutive 
Wednesday and Thursday in July of every year, the draw needed not be 
opened. At all other times, the draw needed not open. We received six 
comments on the NPRM.
    On April 18, 2005, the Coast Guard published a final rule entitled 
``Drawbridge Operation Regulation; Chincoteague Channel, Chincoteague, 
VA'' in the Federal Register (70 FR 20051). The final rule required the 
draw to open on demand from midnight to 6 a.m., and on the hour from 6 
a.m. to midnight, except from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the last consecutive 
Wednesday and Thursday in July of every year, the draw needed not be 
opened.
    We published an NPRM on April 13, 2006, entitled ``Drawbridge 
Operation Regulations; Chincoteague Channel, Chincoteague, VA'' in the 
Federal Register (71 FR 19150). The NPRM would allow the bridge to open 
on demand from midnight to 6 a.m., and every hour and a half from 6 
a.m. to midnight; except from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., on the last consecutive 
Wednesday and Thursday in July, the draw need not be opened. The 
comment period ended on May 30, 2006. We received 557 comments to the 
NPRM.
    On June 26, 2006, we published a notice; request for comments and 
notice of public meeting in the Federal Register (71 FR 36297). On July 
18, 2006, we held a public meeting at the Chincoteague Community 
Center, Chincoteague Island, Virginia. We accepted written comments 
from the public until July 21, 2006.

Background and Purpose

    Current regulations require the SR 175 Bridge, at mile 3.5, across 
Chincoteague Channel to open on demand from midnight to 6 a.m. and on 
the hour from 6 a.m. to midnight, except the draw shall remain in the 
closed position to vessels from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the last 
consecutive Wednesday and Thursday in July of every year.
    In October 2005, the Chincoteague Town Council adopted a resolution 
that requested a change in the scheduled openings of the bridge. The 
resolution details the Town's concerns based on the following factors: 
The number of openings have actually increased since the last 
modification; the boats north of the bridge frequently sail and return 
one-at-a-time; due to inconsistencies in the openings, the Town of 
Chincoteague has received many complaints from motorists; and openings 
on the even hours as needed will not significantly impact the boaters. 
Additionally, in September 2005, we were advised of an incident in 
which ambulance services were unable to transit the drawbridge due to a 
vessel opening request. The ambulance service was further delayed 
because during closing procedures the drawbridge experienced mechanical 
problems. The Coast Guard drawbridge operating regulations already 
address the emergency situations, so no changes are needed to the 
operating regulations to address that concern. 33 CFR Part 117.31(a)--
Operation of draw for emergency situations--states that ``When a draw 
tender is informed by a reliable source that an emergency vehicle is 
due to cross the draw, the draw tender shall take all reasonable 
measures to have the draw closed at the time the emergency vehicle 
arrives at the bridge''.
    Based on the request from the Chincoteague Town Council, we 
published a NPRM on April 13, 2006, entitled ``Drawbridge Operation 
Regulations; Chincoteague Channel, Chincoteague, VA'' in the Federal 
Register (71 FR 19150). The NPRM would allow the bridge to open on 
demand from midnight to 6 a.m., and every one and a half hours from 6 
a.m. to midnight; except from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., on the last consecutive 
Wednesday and Thursday in July, the draw need not be opened. The 
proposed change would reduce vehicular traffic congestion while still 
balancing the needs of marine and vehicular traffic. The comment period 
ended on May 30, 2006.
    After the comment period ended on May 30, 2006, an Accomack County 
official communicated to the Coast Guard that residents of Chincoteague 
had additional comments concerning the operating regulations of the 
drawbridge. Based on this request we held a public meeting at the 
Chincoteague Community Center, at Chincoteague Island, Virginia. We 
accepted written comments from the public until July 21, 2006.
    The Coast Guard also reviewed the bridge logs provided by VDOT. 
There were approximately 1919 bridge openings in 2005 over a six-month 
period (May, June, July, August, September and October) (See Table A); 
and in 2006, for the same six-month period, there were approximately 
1359 bridge openings. (See Table B).

                                                                         Table A
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                Bridge Openings for 2005
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    JAN          FEB          MAR          APR          MAY          JUN          JUL          AUG          SEPT         OCT          NOV         DEC
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
       62          112           60          163          453          330          316          317          291          212         200         134
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

[[Page 66671]]

 
                                                                 Boat Passages for 2005
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
       56          122           61          187          642          606          559          622          377          368         268         160
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


                                                                         Table B
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                Bridge Openings for 2006
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    JAN          FEB          MAR          APR          MAY          JUN          JUL          AUG          SEPT         OCT          NOV         DEC
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
      134          141           82          181          359          271          265          236          122          106          NA          NA
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                 Boat Passages for 2006
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
      167          177           88          279          710          460          431          361          145          125          NA          NA
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Annually, there are between 66 and 90 commercial fishing vessels 
that are dependent on regular drawbridge openings to access docking 
facilities to unload their product. Depending on the season, these 
vessels regularly unload multiple seafood catches a day because of trip 
catch limits. The Virginia Natural Resources Department provided 
Fisheries landing data from 2002 to 2005 for Accomack County. This data 
supports an overall increase in the pounds of seafood unloaded and the 
monetary value which supports the economic base for the surrounding 
area. (See Table C)

          Table C.--Summary of Fisheries Data--Accomack County
------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
------------------------------------------------------------------------
2002....................................  \1\ 11,238,247      $9,811,727
2003....................................  \1\ 11,304,169      10,900,731
2004....................................  \1\ 12,829,955      13,745,649
2005....................................  \1\ 10,693,540     12,369,899
------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ Pounds.

    During the late spring, summer and early fall months, the number of 
vacationers and commercial fishing vessels (often scallop boats) that 
utilize the SR 175 Bridge is ever-increasing. The average resident 
population in the Town of Chincoteague is approximately 5,000. However, 
in the summertime with vacationers, the average population on 
Chincoteague Island is about 15,000. A proposed seasonal schedule was 
considered as an option, where the drawbridge would open for vessels 
every two hours during the spring and summer months; and hourly during 
the fall and winter months. However, the data shows that the peak 
commercial fishing period and delivery times are in direct conflict 
with the peak tourist and travel season on Chincoteague Island. 
Therefore, this option was not chosen.

Discussion of Comments and Changes

    The Coast Guard received 554 comments to the NPRM published on 
April 13, 2006 (71 FR 19150). The comments included 540 letters, one 
petition, two e-mail comments, and 14 oral remarks presented at the 
public meeting.
    The vast majority of the letters (471) were mass-produced form 
letters signed by residents. In addition, there were 60 letters from 
fishermen and small businesses. Six letters were from State and Town 
officials (two letters each from an Accomack County Supervisor, and the 
Town Manager of Chincoteague; with one letter each from a Virginia 
House Delegate, and an official with the Virginia Department of 
Transportation (VDOT)). Two separate comments were supplied on one e-
mail message.
    A majority of comments from residents of the Town of Chincoteague 
favored a two-hour opening schedule of the drawbridge from 6 a.m. to 
midnight. Commercial vessel owners and small businesses preferred 
hourly openings. However, the commercial vessel owners and small 
businesses commented that they can manage their establishments and 
vessels under the proposal to open every one and a half hour from 6 
a.m. to midnight. Eight of the 14 oral remarks that were offered at the 
public meeting favored a two-hour opening schedule of the drawbridge 
from 6 a.m. to midnight, and 6 supported openings every one and a half 
hour from 6 a.m. to midnight.
    The State and Town officials asserted their concerns that the 
bridge has exceeded its useful design life, that the increase in vessel 
traffic to the area has had a serious impact on the wear and tear of 
the bridge, and that reducing the number of vessel openings will assist 
VDOT in maintaining the mechanical condition of the bridge until a 
replacement bridge is complete.
    It is the duty of the owner and operator of a drawbridge, VDOT in 
this case, to maintain the operating machinery in a serviceable 
condition and to provide for the safe and prompt opening of the 
drawbridge according to the operating regulations. The Coast Guard may 
not issue regulations for the purpose of relieving the owner or 
operator of the duty to properly maintain or operate the draw span 
solely because of financial hardship, or to save wear and tear on the 
structure or machinery, unless there is clearly documented evidence 
that there is little or no need for bridge openings. The data shows 
that mariners still require continued openings of the SR 175 Bridge 
over Chincoteague Channel, so the wear and tear on the bridge will not 
be considered as a factor in establishing the operating regulations.
    Based on all of the comments received, we will implement a final 
rule with no changes to the NPRM. Under this final rule, the draw will 
open on demand from midnight to 6 a.m., and every one and a half hours 
from 6 a.m. to midnight (at 6 a.m., 7:30 a.m., 9 a.m., 10:30 a.m., 12 
p.m., 1:30 p.m., 3 p.m., 4:30 p.m., 6 p.m., 7:30 p.m., 9 p.m. 10:30 
p.m. and midnight); except from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the last 
consecutive Wednesday and Thursday in July, the draw need not open.
    To minimize uncertainty and to assist in the transition to the new 
operating schedule of the drawbridge, the Coast Guard will print and 
distribute flyers providing the new opening times to residents and 
business owners. Officials with VDOT are required to post signs on the 
bridge for mariners with the operating schedule, including the opening 
times from 6 a.m. to midnight.

[[Page 66672]]

    This final rule will help address vehicular traffic congestion and 
reduce traffic delays while still providing for the reasonable needs of 
navigation.

Discussion of Rule

    The Coast Guard amends 33 CFR 117.1005, by inserting a new 
provision to require the draw to open on demand from midnight to 6 
a.m., and every one and a half hour from 6 a.m. to midnight (at 6 a.m., 
7:30 a.m., 9 a.m., 10:30 a.m., 12 p.m., 1:30 p.m., 3 p.m., 4:30 p.m., 6 
p.m., 7:30 p.m., 9 p.m. 10:30 p.m. and midnight); except from 7 a.m. to 
5 p.m. on the last consecutive Wednesday and Thursday in July, the draw 
need not open.

Regulatory Evaluation

    This rule is not a ``significant regulatory action'' under section 
3(f) of Executive Order 12866, Regulatory Planning and Review, and does 
not require an assessment of potential costs and benefits under section 
6(a)(3) of that Order. The Office of Management and Budget has not 
reviewed it under that Order. It is not ``significant'' under the 
regulatory policies and procedures of the Department of Homeland 
Security (DHS).
    This conclusion based on the fact that the changes will have only a 
minimal impact on maritime traffic transiting the bridge. Mariners can 
plan their trips in accordance with the scheduled bridge openings to 
minimize delays.

Small Entities

    Under the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601-612), we have 
considered whether this rule would have a significant economic impact 
on a substantial number of small entities. 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 
would not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of 
small entities.
    This conclusion is based on the fact the rule would not have a 
significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities 
because the rule only adds minimal restrictions to the movement of 
navigation, and mariners who plan their transits in accordance with the 
scheduled bridge openings can minimize delays. In addition, the 
comments received from mariners suggest that they can accommodate the 
change in the schedule.

Assistance for Small Entities

    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 so that they can better evaluate 
its effects on them and participate in the rulemaking process. No 
assistance was requested from any small entity.

Collection of Information

    This rule calls for no new collection of information under the 
Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501-3520.).

Federalism

    A rule has implications for federalism under Executive Order 13132, 
Federalism, if it has a substantial direct effect on State or local 
governments and would either preempt State law or impose a substantial 
direct cost of compliance on them. We have analyzed this rule under 
that Order and have determined that it does not have implications for 
federalism.

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 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.

Taking of Private Property

    This rule would not affect a taking of private property or 
otherwise have taking implications under Executive Order 12630, 
Governmental Actions and Interference with Constitutionally Protected 
Property Rights.

Civil Justice Reform

    This rule meets applicable standards in sections 3(a) and 3(b)(2) 
of Executive Order 12988, Civil Justice Reform, to minimize litigation, 
eliminate ambiguity, and reduce burden.

Protection of Children

    We have analyzed this rule under Executive Order 13045, Protection 
of Children from Environmental Health Risks and Safety Risks. This rule 
is not an economically significant rule and would not create an 
environmental risk to health or risk to safety that might 
disproportionately affect children.

Indian Tribal Governments

    This rule does not have tribal implications under Executive Order 
13175, Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribal Governments, 
because it would not have a substantial direct effect on one or more 
Indian tribes, on the relationship between the Federal Government and 
Indian tribes, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities 
between the Federal Government and Indian tribes.

Energy Effects

    We have analyzed this rule under Executive Order 13211, Actions 
Concerning Regulations That Significantly Affect Energy Supply, 
Distribution, or Use. We have determined that it is not a ``significant 
energy action'' under that order because it is not a ``significant 
regulatory action'' under Executive Order 12866 and is not likely to 
have a significant adverse effect on the supply, distribution, or use 
of energy. The Administrator of the Office of Information and 
Regulatory Affairs has not designated it as a significant energy 
action. Therefore, it does not require a Statement of Energy Effects 
under Executive Order 13211.

Technical Standards

    The National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act (NTTAA) (15 
U.S.C. 272 note) directs agencies to use voluntary consensus standards 
in their regulatory activities unless the agency provides Congress, 
through the Office of Management and Budget, with an explanation of why 
using these standards would be inconsistent with applicable law or 
otherwise impractical. Voluntary consensus standards are technical 
standards (e.g., specifications of materials, performance, design, or 
operation; test methods; sampling procedures; and related management 
systems practices) that are developed or adopted by voluntary consensus 
standards bodies.
    This rule does not use technical standards. Therefore, we did not 
consider the use of voluntary consensus standards.

Environment

    We have analyzed this rule under Commandant Instruction M16475.lD 
and Department of Homeland Security Management Directive 5100.1, which 
guide the Coast Guard in complying with the National Environmental 
Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) (42 U.S.C. 4321-4370f), and have concluded 
that there are no factors in this case that would limit the use of a 
categorical exclusion under section 2.B.2 of the Instruction. 
Therefore, this rule is categorically

[[Page 66673]]

excluded, under figure 2-1, paragraph (32)(e) of the Instruction, from 
further environmental documentation because it has been determined that 
the promulgation of operating regulations for drawbridges are 
categorically excluded.

List of Subjects in 33 CFR Part 117

    Bridges.

Regulations

0
For the reasons discussed in the preamble, the Coast Guard amends 33 
CFR part 117 as follows:

PART 117--DRAWBRIDGE OPERATION REGULATIONS

0
1. The authority citation for part 117 continues to read as follows:

    Authority: 33 U.S.C. 499; 33 CFR 1.05-1(g); Department of 
Homeland Security Delegation No. 0170.1; section 117.255 also issued 
under the authority of Pub. L. 102-587, 106 Stat. 5039.

0
2. Sec.  117.1005 is revised to read as follows:


Sec.  117.1005  Chincoteague Channel.

    The draw of the SR 175 Bridge, mile 3.5, at Chincoteague shall open 
on demand from midnight to 6 a.m., and every one and a half hours from 
6 a.m. to midnight (at 6 a.m., 7:30 a.m., 9 a.m., 10:30 a.m., 12 p.m., 
1:30 p.m., 3 p.m., 4:30 p.m., 6 p.m., 7:30 p.m., 9 p.m. 10:30 p.m. and 
midnight); except from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the last consecutive 
Wednesday and Thursday in July, the draw need not be opened.

    Dated: November 1, 2006.
L.L. Hereth,
Rear Admiral, United States Coast Guard, Commander, Fifth Coast Guard 
District.
[FR Doc. 06-9237 Filed 11-15-06; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-15-P