Port Access Route Study of Potential Vessel Routing Measures To Reduce Vessel Strikes of North Atlantic Right Whales, 64968-64970 [E7-22557]

Download as PDF 64968 Federal Register / Vol. 72, No. 222 / Monday, November 19, 2007 / Proposed Rules March 3, 2008. We must balance the length of the comment period against the need to proceed expeditiously with a key component in managing the anticipated growth in the use of the National Airspace System. The FAA believes an additional 60 days would be adequate for commenters to collect cost and operational data necessary to provide meaningful comment to Notice No. 07–15. The FAA does not anticipate any further extension of the comment period for this rulemaking. Extension of Comment Period In accordance with section 11.47(c) of title 14, Code of Federal Regulations, the FAA has reviewed the requests submitted by the: Air Transport Association of America, Inc., Air Carrier Association of America, Civil Aviation Aerospace Industries Association, National Air Carrier Association, and Regional Airline Association; Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association; and Cargo Airline Association for extension of the comment period to Notice No. 07–15. These petitioners have shown a substantive interest in the proposed rule and good cause for the extension. The FAA has determined that extension of the comment period is consistent with the public interest, and that good cause exists for taking this action. Accordingly, the comment period for Notice No. 07–15 is extended until March 3, 2008. Issued in Washington, DC, on November 13, 2007. Edie Parish, Acting Director, System Operations, Airspace and AIM Office. [FR Doc. E7–22544 Filed 11–16–07; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–13–P DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY Coast Guard 33 CFR Part 167 [USCG–2007–0057] Port Access Route Study of Potential Vessel Routing Measures To Reduce Vessel Strikes of North Atlantic Right Whales Coast Guard, DHS. Notice of study; request for comments. AGENCY: ebenthall on PRODPC61 with PROPOSALS ACTION: SUMMARY: The Coast Guard is conducting a Port Access Route Study (PARS) on the area east and south of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, to include the northern right whale critical habitat, VerDate Aug<31>2005 15:42 Nov 16, 2007 Jkt 214001 mandatory ship reporting system area, and the Great South Channel including Georges Bank out to the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) boundary. The purpose of the PARS is to analyze potential vessel routing measures that might help reduce ship strikes with the highly endangered North Atlantic right whale while minimizing any adverse effects on vessel operations. The recommendations of the study will inform the Coast Guard and may lead to appropriate international actions. DATES: Comments and related material must reach the Docket Management Facility on or before January 18, 2008. ADDRESSES: You may submit comments identified by Coast Guard docket number USCG–2007–0057 to the Docket Management Facility at the U.S. Department of Transportation. To avoid duplication, please use only one of the following methods: (1) Online: http:// www.regulations.gov. (2) Mail: Docket Management Facility (M–30), U.S. Department of Transportation, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12–140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE., Washington, DC 20590. (3) Hand Delivery: Room W12–140 on the Ground Floor of the West Building, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE., Washington, DC 20590, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The telephone number is 202–366–9329. (4) Fax: 202–493–2251. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: If you have questions on this notice of study, call Mr. George Detweiler, Coast Guard Division of Navigation Systems, 202–372–1566, or send e-mail to George.H.Detweiler@uscg.mil. If you have questions on viewing or submitting material to the docket, call Ms. Renee K. Wright, Program Manager, Docket Operations, telephone 202–366–9826. 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://www.regulations.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 (USCG–2007–0057) and give the reason for each comment. You may PO 00000 Frm 00014 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 submit your comments by electronic means, mail, fax, or delivery to the Docket Management Facility at the address under ADDRESSES; but please submit your comments 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 received during the comment period. Viewing comments and documents: To view comments, go to http:// www.regulations.gov at any time, click on ‘‘Search for Dockets,’’ and enter the docket number for this notice in the Docket ID box, and click enter. You may also visit the Docket Management Facility in Room W12–140 on the ground floor of the DOT West Building, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE., Washington, DC 20590, 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://DocketsInfo.dot.gov. Definitions The following definitions 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). Precautionary area means a routing measure comprising an area within defined limits where vessels must E:\FR\FM\19NOP1.SGM 19NOP1 Federal Register / Vol. 72, No. 222 / Monday, November 19, 2007 / Proposed Rules ebenthall on PRODPC61 with PROPOSALS 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 or 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 or 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, no anchoring areas, inshore traffic zones, roundabouts, precautionary areas, and deep-water routes. Background and Purpose Why is this study being conducted? The Administration is developing measures to reduce ship strikes of right whales. The goal of these measures is to address the lack of recovery of the right whale by reducing the likelihood and threat of ship strikes. Section 626 of the Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Act of 2004 VerDate Aug<31>2005 15:42 Nov 16, 2007 Jkt 214001 (the 2004 Act) (enacted August 9, 2004) mandated that the Coast Guard: (1) Cooperate with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration ‘‘in analyzing potential vessel routing measures for reducing vessel strikes of North Atlantic Right Whales’’, and (2) provide a final report of the analysis to Congress within 18 months after the date of enactment of the Act. The final report was delivered to Congress as required. A copy can be found in FDMS under this docket, USCG–2007–0057. The report contained possible future action items such as amending the Boston traffic separation scheme (TSS) and establishing a Great South Channel area to be avoided (ATBA). The Coast Guard is charged with enforcing the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), the Endangered Species Act (ESA), and the regulations issued under those statutes. One of the Coast Guard’s primary strategic goals is the protection of the marine environment, including the conservation of living marine resources and enforcement of living marine resource laws. The Coast Guard works in collaboration with the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) to prevent ship strikes of right whales and other endangered whale species. The Coast Guard issues local and written periodic notices to mariners concerning ship strikes, issues NAVTEX messages alerting mariners to the location of right whales, and actively participates in the Mandatory Ship Reporting (MSR) System that provides information to mariners entering right whale habitat. In addition, the Coast Guard provides patrols dedicated to enforcement of the ESA and the MMPA, provides limited vessel and aircraft support to facilitate right whale research and monitoring, and disseminates NMFS information packets to vessels boarded in or near right whale waters. NMFS asked the Coast Guard for assistance in protecting right whales by conducting this PARS. When 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 PWSA provides that such designation of fairways and TSSs must recognize, within the designated areas, the paramount right of navigation over all other uses. The PWSA requires the Coast Guard to conduct a study of potential traffic density and the need for safe access routes for vessels before establishing or PO 00000 Frm 00015 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 64969 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. What are the timeline, study area, and processes of this PARS? The Coast Guard Office of Waterways Management (CG–541) will conduct this PARS. The study will begin immediately and must be completed by December 2007 in order for us to prepare and submit documents, if deemed appropriate, to the IMO in accordance with IMO’s required submission dates. We will study the area bounded to the west by a line drawn at longitude 070° W; bounded to the north by a line drawn at latitude 43°00′ N; bounded to the east by the boundary of the exclusive economic zone; and bounded to the south by a line drawn at latitude 40° 30′ N. This area includes the northern right whale critical habitat, mandatory ship reporting system area, and the Great South Channel including Georges Bank out to the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) boundary. As part of this study, we will consider previous studies, analyses of vessel traffic density, right whale information and agency and stakeholder experience in and public comments on vessel traffic management, navigation, ship handling, and effects 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 and provide a copy to NMFS and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA). In the study, we might— 1. Recommend creating new vessel routing measures; 2. Validate existing vessel routing measures, if any, and conclude that no changes are necessary; or 3. Recommend changes be made to existing vessel routing measures, if any, in order to reduce the threat of ship strikes of right whales. The recommendations will inform Coast Guard and NOAA decision makers and may lead to appropriate international actions. Possible Scope of the Recommendations We expect that information gathered during the study will help us identify any problems with vessel operations in right whale habitat areas and make E:\FR\FM\19NOP1.SGM 19NOP1 64970 Federal Register / Vol. 72, No. 222 / Monday, November 19, 2007 / Proposed Rules conclusions about appropriate solutions. As a result of the study, we might decide that, in the study area, all or some of the following steps should be taken: 1. Maintain current vessel routing measures, if any; 2. Designate recommended or mandatory routes; 3. Create one or more precautionary areas; 4. Create one or more inshore traffic zones; 5. Create deep-draft routes; 6. Establish area(s) to be avoided; 7. Establish, disestablish, or modify anchorage grounds; 8. Establish a Regulated Navigation Area (RNA) with specific vessel operating requirements to ensure safe navigation near shallow water; or 9. Identify any other appropriate ships’ routing measures to be used. Questions To help us conduct the port access route study, we request information that will help answer the following questions, although comments on other issues addressed in this notice 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? Please describe. 3. What are the benefits and drawbacks to modifying existing vessel routing measures, if any, or establishing new routing measures? Please describe. 4. What impacts, both positive and negative, would changes to existing routing measures, if any, or new routing measures, have on the study area? ebenthall on PRODPC61 with PROPOSALS Dated: November 6, 2007. F.J. Sturm, Captain, U.S. Coast Guard, Acting Director of Prevention Policy. [FR Doc. E7–22557 Filed 11–16–07; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–15–P VerDate Aug<31>2005 15:42 Nov 16, 2007 Jkt 214001 ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY 40 CFR Part 52 [EPA–R09–OAR–2007–1013; FRL–8496–8] Revisions to the California State Implementation Plan, Antelope Valley Air Quality Management District Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). ACTION: Proposed rule. AGENCY: SUMMARY: EPA is proposing to approve revisions to the Antelope Valley Air Quality Management District portion of the California State Implementation Plan (SIP). These revisions concern rule rescissions that address particulate matter (PM) emissions from Storage, Handling & Transport of Petroleum Coke and from Paved and Unpaved Roads, and Livestock Operations. We are proposing to approve rule rescissions to update the California SIP under the Clean Air Act as amended in 1990 (CAA or the Act). DATES: Any comments on this proposal must arrive by December 19, 2007. ADDRESSES: Submit comments, identified by docket number EPA–R09– OAR–2007–1013, by one of the following methods: 1. Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the on-line instructions. 2. E-mail: steckel.andrew@epa.gov. 3. Mail or deliver: Andrew Steckel (Air-4), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region IX, 75 Hawthorne Street, San Francisco, CA 94105–3901. Instructions: All comments will be included in the public docket without change and may be made available online at http://www.regulations.gov, including any personal information provided, unless the comment includes Confidential Business Information (CBI) or other information whose disclosure is restricted by statute. Information that you consider CBI or otherwise protected should be clearly identified as such and should not be submitted through http://www.regulations.gov or e-mail. http://www.regulations.gov is an ‘‘anonymous access’’ system, and EPA will not know your identity or contact information unless you provide it in the body of your comment. If you send email directly to EPA, your e-mail address will be automatically captured and included as part of the public comment. If EPA cannot read your comment due to technical difficulties and cannot contact you for clarification, EPA may not be able to consider your comment. Electronic files should avoid PO 00000 Frm 00016 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 the use of special characters, any form of encryption, and be free of any defects or viruses. Docket: The index to the docket for this action is available electronically at http://www.regulations.gov and in hard copy at EPA Region IX, 75 Hawthorne Street, San Francisco, California. While all documents in the docket are listed in the index, some information may be publicly available only at the hard copy location (e.g., copyrighted material), and some may not be publicly available in either location (e.g., CBI). To inspect the hard copy materials, please schedule an appointment during normal business hours with the contact listed in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Cynthia G. Allen, EPA Region IX, (415) 947–4120, allen.cynthia@epa.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: This proposal addresses rule rescissions for the following local rules: AVAQMD Rule 1158, Storage, Handling, and Transport of Petroleum Coke and Rule 1186, PM–10 Emissions from Paved and Unpaved Roads, and Livestock Operations. In the Rules and Regulations section of this Federal Register, we are approving these local rule rescissions 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 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: November 2, 2007. Laura Yoshii, Acting Regional Administrator, Region IX. [FR Doc. E7–22449 Filed 11–16–07; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560–50–P CORPORATION FOR NATIONAL AND COMMUNITY SERVICE 45 CFR Parts 2510, 2513, 2516, 2517, 2520, 2521, 2522, 2523, 2524, 2540 and 2550 RIN 3045–AA23 AmeriCorps National Service Program Corporation for National and Community Service. AGENCY: E:\FR\FM\19NOP1.SGM 19NOP1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 72, Number 222 (Monday, November 19, 2007)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 64968-64970]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E7-22557]


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DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY

Coast Guard

33 CFR Part 167

[USCG-2007-0057]


Port Access Route Study of Potential Vessel Routing Measures To 
Reduce Vessel Strikes of North Atlantic Right Whales

AGENCY: Coast Guard, DHS.

ACTION: Notice of study; request for comments.

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

SUMMARY: The Coast Guard is conducting a Port Access Route Study (PARS) 
on the area east and south of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, to include the 
northern right whale critical habitat, mandatory ship reporting system 
area, and the Great South Channel including Georges Bank out to the 
exclusive economic zone (EEZ) boundary. The purpose of the PARS is to 
analyze potential vessel routing measures that might help reduce ship 
strikes with the highly endangered North Atlantic right whale while 
minimizing any adverse effects on vessel operations. The 
recommendations of the study will inform the Coast Guard and may lead 
to appropriate international actions.

DATES: Comments and related material must reach the Docket Management 
Facility on or before January 18, 2008.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments identified by Coast Guard docket 
number USCG-2007-0057 to the Docket Management Facility at the U.S. 
Department of Transportation. To avoid duplication, please use only one 
of the following methods:
    (1) Online: http://www.regulations.gov.
    (2) Mail: Docket Management Facility (M-30), U.S. Department of 
Transportation, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New 
Jersey Avenue, SE., Washington, DC 20590.
    (3) Hand Delivery: Room W12-140 on the Ground Floor of the West 
Building, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE., Washington, DC 20590, between 9 
a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The 
telephone number is 202-366-9329.
    (4) Fax: 202-493-2251.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: If you have questions on this notice 
of study, call Mr. George Detweiler, Coast Guard Division of Navigation 
Systems, 202-372-1566, or send e-mail to George.H.Detweiler@uscg.mil. 
If you have questions on viewing or submitting material to the docket, 
call Ms. Renee K. Wright, Program Manager, Docket Operations, telephone 
202-366-9826.

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://www.regulations.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 (USCG-
2007-0057) and give the reason for each comment. You may submit your 
comments by electronic means, mail, fax, or delivery to the Docket 
Management Facility at the address under ADDRESSES; but please submit 
your comments 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 received during the comment period.
    Viewing comments and documents: To view comments, go to http://
www.regulations.gov at any time, click on ``Search for Dockets,'' and 
enter the docket number for this notice in the Docket ID box, and click 
enter. You may also visit the Docket Management Facility in Room W12-
140 on the ground floor of the DOT West Building, 1200 New Jersey 
Avenue, SE., Washington, DC 20590, 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://DocketsInfo.dot.gov.

Definitions

    The following definitions 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).
    Precautionary area means a routing measure comprising an area 
within defined limits where vessels must

[[Page 64969]]

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 or 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 or 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, no anchoring areas, inshore traffic zones, roundabouts, 
precautionary areas, and deep-water routes.

Background and Purpose

    Why is this study being conducted? The Administration is developing 
measures to reduce ship strikes of right whales. The goal of these 
measures is to address the lack of recovery of the right whale by 
reducing the likelihood and threat of ship strikes.
    Section 626 of the Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Act of 
2004 (the 2004 Act) (enacted August 9, 2004) mandated that the Coast 
Guard: (1) Cooperate with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric 
Administration ``in analyzing potential vessel routing measures for 
reducing vessel strikes of North Atlantic Right Whales'', and (2) 
provide a final report of the analysis to Congress within 18 months 
after the date of enactment of the Act. The final report was delivered 
to Congress as required. A copy can be found in FDMS under this docket, 
USCG-2007-0057. The report contained possible future action items such 
as amending the Boston traffic separation scheme (TSS) and establishing 
a Great South Channel area to be avoided (ATBA).
    The Coast Guard is charged with enforcing the Marine Mammal 
Protection Act (MMPA), the Endangered Species Act (ESA), and the 
regulations issued under those statutes. One of the Coast Guard's 
primary strategic goals is the protection of the marine environment, 
including the conservation of living marine resources and enforcement 
of living marine resource laws.
    The Coast Guard works in collaboration with the National Marine 
Fisheries Service (NMFS) to prevent ship strikes of right whales and 
other endangered whale species. The Coast Guard issues local and 
written periodic notices to mariners concerning ship strikes, issues 
NAVTEX messages alerting mariners to the location of right whales, and 
actively participates in the Mandatory Ship Reporting (MSR) System that 
provides information to mariners entering right whale habitat. In 
addition, the Coast Guard provides patrols dedicated to enforcement of 
the ESA and the MMPA, provides limited vessel and aircraft support to 
facilitate right whale research and monitoring, and disseminates NMFS 
information packets to vessels boarded in or near right whale waters. 
NMFS asked the Coast Guard for assistance in protecting right whales by 
conducting this PARS.
    When 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 PWSA provides that such designation of 
fairways and TSSs must recognize, within the designated areas, the 
paramount right of navigation over all other uses.
    The PWSA requires the Coast Guard to conduct a study of potential 
traffic density and the need for safe access routes for vessels 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.
    What are the timeline, study area, and processes of this PARS? The 
Coast Guard Office of Waterways Management (CG-541) will conduct this 
PARS. The study will begin immediately and must be completed by 
December 2007 in order for us to prepare and submit documents, if 
deemed appropriate, to the IMO in accordance with IMO's required 
submission dates.
    We will study the area bounded to the west by a line drawn at 
longitude 070[deg] W; bounded to the north by a line drawn at latitude 
43[deg]00' N; bounded to the east by the boundary of the exclusive 
economic zone; and bounded to the south by a line drawn at latitude 
40[deg] 30' N. This area includes the northern right whale critical 
habitat, mandatory ship reporting system area, and the Great South 
Channel including Georges Bank out to the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) 
boundary.
    As part of this study, we will consider previous studies, analyses 
of vessel traffic density, right whale information and agency and 
stakeholder experience in and public comments on vessel traffic 
management, navigation, ship handling, and effects 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 and 
provide a copy to NMFS and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric 
Association (NOAA). In the study, we might--
    1. Recommend creating new vessel routing measures;
    2. Validate existing vessel routing measures, if any, and conclude 
that no changes are necessary; or
    3. Recommend changes be made to existing vessel routing measures, 
if any, in order to reduce the threat of ship strikes of right whales.
    The recommendations will inform Coast Guard and NOAA decision 
makers and may lead to appropriate international actions.

Possible Scope of the Recommendations

    We expect that information gathered during the study will help us 
identify any problems with vessel operations in right whale habitat 
areas and make

[[Page 64970]]

conclusions about appropriate solutions. As a result of the study, we 
might decide that, in the study area, all or some of the following 
steps should be taken:
    1. Maintain current vessel routing measures, if any;
    2. Designate recommended or mandatory routes;
    3. Create one or more precautionary areas;
    4. Create one or more inshore traffic zones;
    5. Create deep-draft routes;
    6. Establish area(s) to be avoided;
    7. Establish, disestablish, or modify anchorage grounds;
    8. Establish a Regulated Navigation Area (RNA) with specific vessel 
operating requirements to ensure safe navigation near shallow water; or
    9. Identify any other appropriate ships' routing measures to be 
used.

Questions

    To help us conduct the port access route study, we request 
information that will help answer the following questions, although 
comments on other issues addressed in this notice 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? Please describe.
    3. What are the benefits and drawbacks to modifying existing vessel 
routing measures, if any, or establishing new routing measures? Please 
describe.
    4. What impacts, both positive and negative, would changes to 
existing routing measures, if any, or new routing measures, have on the 
study area?

    Dated: November 6, 2007.
F.J. Sturm,
Captain, U.S. Coast Guard, Acting Director of Prevention Policy.
[FR Doc. E7-22557 Filed 11-16-07; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-15-P