National Environmental Policy Act; Draft Environmental Impact Statement on U.S. Coast Guard Pacific Area Operations, 77043-77045 [E8-30104]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 73, No. 244 / Thursday, December 18, 2008 / Notices Dated: December 11, 2008. Jennifer Spaeth, Director, Office of Federal Advisory Committee Policy. [FR Doc. E8–30010 Filed 12–17–08; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4140–01–M DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY Identification of Foreign Countries Whose Nationals Are Eligible To Participate in the H–2A Visa Program Office of the Secretary, DHS. Notice. AGENCY: ACTION: SUMMARY: On December 18, 2008, DHS published in the Federal Register a final rule ‘‘Changes to Requirements Affecting H–2A Nonimmigrants,’’ which provides that the Secretary of Homeland Security will publish a list of designated countries whose nationals can be the beneficiaries of an approved H–2A petition and are eligible for H–2A visas. This initial list will be composed of countries that are important for the operation of the H–2A program and are cooperative in the repatriation of their citizens, subjects, nationals or residents who are subject to a final order of removal from the United States. Publication of such notice is made by the Secretary of Homeland Security, with the concurrence of the Secretary of State. Under the final rule, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will only approve petitions for H–2A nonimmigrant status for nationals of countries designated by means of this list or by means of the special procedure allowing petitioners to request approval for particular beneficiaries if the Secretary of Homeland Security determines that it is in the U.S. interest. Pursuant to the final rule, this notice designates those countries the Secretary of Homeland Security, with the concurrence of the Secretary of State, has found to be eligible to participate in the H–2A program. DATES: This notice is effective January 17, 2009, and shall be without effect at the end of one year after January 17, 2009. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: mstockstill on PROD1PC66 with NOTICES Designation of Countries Whose Nationals Are Eligible To Participate in the H–2A Visa Program Pursuant to the authority provided to the Secretary of Homeland Security under sections 241, 214(a)(1), and 215(a)(1) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) (8 U.S.C. 1231, 1184(a)(1), and 1185(a)(1)), I have VerDate Aug<31>2005 17:51 Dec 17, 2008 Jkt 217001 designated, with the concurrence of the Secretary of State, that nationals from the following countries are eligible to participate in the H–2A visa program: Argentina; Australia; Belize; Brazil; Bulgaria; Canada; Chile; Costa Rica; Dominican Republic; El Salvador; Guatemala; Honduras; Indonesia; Israel; Jamaica; Japan; Mexico; Moldova; New Zealand; Peru; Philippines; Poland; Romania; South Africa; South Korea; Turkey; Ukraine; United Kingdom. This notice does not affect the status of aliens who currently hold H–2A nonimmigrant status. Nothing in this notice limits the authority of the Secretary of Homeland Security or his or her designee or any other federal agency to invoke against any foreign country or its nationals any other remedy, penalty or enforcement action available by law. Paul A. Schneider, Deputy Secretary. [FR Doc. E8–29785 Filed 12–17–08; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4410–10–P DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY Coast Guard [Docket No. USCG–2006–24163] National Environmental Policy Act; Draft Environmental Impact Statement on U.S. Coast Guard Pacific Area Operations Coast Guard, DHS. Notice of availability; request for public comments. AGENCY: ACTION: SUMMARY: The U.S. Coast Guard, with the National Marine Sanctuary Program West Coast Region as a cooperating agency, announces the availability of the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) to implement enhanced environmental protection measures to the Coast Guard’s operations in the areas of responsibility for Coast Guard Districts 11 (California) and 13 (Oregon and Washington) for public review and comment. The DEIS analyzes the environmental impacts of routine Coast Guard vessel and air operations when engaged in the following missions and activities: Law enforcement, national security, search and rescue, aids to navigation, and oil pollution and vessel grounding response. This analysis does not include live fire exercises. Comments and suggestions are invited from all interested parties to ensure that the full range and significance of issues related to this proposed action are PO 00000 Frm 00044 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 77043 identified. The Coast Guard has established a Web site at the address below to provide the public with additional information. http:// pacareaeis.uscg.e2m-inc.com. DATES: Comments and related materials must reach the Docket Management Facility on or before February 17, 2009. ADDRESSES: You may submit comments identified by Coast Guard Docket Number USCG–2006–24163 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) By 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) Fax: 202–493–2251. (4) Delivery: Room W12–140 on the Ground Floor of the West Building, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE., Washington, DC, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The telephone number is 202–366–9329. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: If you have questions on this notice, the proposed project, or the associated draft Environmental Impact Statement, contact LT Jeff Bray, Coast Guard Commandant, CG–0942, JEFF.R.BRAY@USCG.MIL or telephone 202–372–3752. If you have questions on viewing or submitting material to the docket, call Renee V. Wright, Program Manager, Docket Operations, telephone 202–366–9826. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Public Participation and Request for Comments We encourage you to submit comments and related material on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS). Publication of this notice begins the official 45-day public comment period that will help refine the alternatives being considered. The Coast Guard provides this notice to advise the public and other agencies of the Coast Guard’s intentions, to obtain suggestions and information on the issues and alternatives included in the DEIS, and to request comments from those parties that may be interested or affected by these proposed alternatives. All comments received will be posted, without change, to http:// www.regulations.gov, docket number USCG–2006–24163, and will include any personal information you have provided. E:\FR\FM\18DEN1.SGM 18DEN1 77044 Federal Register / Vol. 73, No. 244 / Thursday, December 18, 2008 / Notices mstockstill on PROD1PC66 with NOTICES If you submit a comment, please include your name and address, identify the docket number for this notice (USCG–2006–26143), indicate the specific section of this document to which each comment applies, 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 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 selfaddressed, stamped postcard or envelope. We will consider all comments received during the comment period. Proposed Action The Coast Guard proposes to develop and implement enhanced protective measures, as necessary, for marine protected species and marine protected areas that occur in the Eleventh Coast Guard District (California) (CGD11) and Thirteenth Coast Guard District (Washington and Oregon) (CGD13) areas of responsibility. The Coast Guard proposes this action to aid in the fulfillment of its missions, including protection of the environment, while fulfilling Coast Guard obligations to protect living marine resources. The Coast Guard published a notice of intent to prepare this EIS in the Federal Register (71 FR 14233, March 21, 2006). The Proposed Action will be accomplished by (1) establishing a baseline (i.e., analyzing the No Action Alternative) of the significance of the environmental impact of current routine Coast Guard vessel and aircraft operations on the coastal and marine environment within the CGD11 and CGD13 areas of responsibility, with particular focus paid to impacts on marine protected species and marine protected areas; and (2) identifying and analyzing alternative measures which could be implemented to avoid or minimize adverse impacts on marine protected species and marine protected areas. Specifically, the Proposed Action is intended to incorporate measures that will help reduce the environmental impact of Coast Guard vessel and aircraft operations on marine protected species and marine protected areas when engaged in the following routine missions and activities: Law enforcement, national security, search and rescue, aids to navigation, and oil pollution and vessel grounding VerDate Aug<31>2005 17:51 Dec 17, 2008 Jkt 217001 response. Live fire exercises were not included within this analysis. Budget and legal limitations dictate that any proposed measures be cost effective. Therefore, to be viable, proposed measures would have to further the Coast Guard’s natural resource protection mission without compromising its ability to perform other missions. The Coast Guard is committed to conducting operations in a manner that supports conservation and recovery of marine protected species and marine protected areas. The Proposed Action will further the Coast Guard’s environmental protection mission while recognizing and supporting accomplishment of the Coast Guard’s full mission portfolio. Alternatives to the Proposed Action The DEIS evaluates a variety of actions, listed below as Alternatives 1 through 6, to determine whether modification or supplementation of current procedures is required to accomplish the wide variety of Coast Guard missions in a manner that lessens the probability of adverse impacts on marine protected species and marine protected areas. Alternative 1, the No Action Alternative, documents baseline strategies the Coast Guard currently employs to protect marine resources in the CGD11 and CGD13 areas of responsibility. Alternatives 2 through 5 present discrete actions and are evaluated individually to determine whether their implementation is reasonable and would serve the purpose and need of minimizing and avoiding negative impacts on marine protected species and marine protected areas. Alternatives 2 through 5 are designed to augment or otherwise amend all those actions described in the No Action Alternative. Alternative 6, the Coast Guard’s Preferred Alternative, represents a combination of select components of Alternatives 1 through 5. Alternative 1—No Action Alternative: Under the No Action Alternative, the Coast Guard would continue current operations, without augmentation or modification. Existing strategic plans, directives, guidance, and permits would continue to guide Coast Guard vessel and aircraft operations in a manner intended to minimize, to the maximum extent possible, adverse impacts on marine protected species and marine protected areas. The level of protected living marine resource efforts would continue to be balanced with other Coast Guard missions and requirements, and would remain constantly in flux due to other mission responsibilities and operational tempo. PO 00000 Frm 00045 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Alternative 2—Implement Improved Local Operating Procedures; Revise Coast Guard Speed and Approach Guidance; and Enhance Law Enforcement Operations To Include ‘‘Pulse Operations’’: This alternative would amend, append, eliminate portions of, or wholly incorporate the No Action Alternative and would build upon the existing Protected Living Marine Resources Program (PLMRP) at each District by formalizing localized operational mitigation procedures and protection efforts, strengthening and expanding Coast Guard speed and approach guidance, and better unifying inter-District and intra-District law enforcement strategies, including engaging in ‘‘pulse operations.’’ Alternative 3—Enhance Marine Protected Species and Marine Protected Area Awareness Training for Coast Guard Personnel: This alternative would amend, append, eliminate portions of, or wholly incorporate the No Action Alternative and would build upon the existing PLMRP at each District by requiring the Coast Guard to review, and if necessary, enhance, training for Officer of the Deck (OOD), coxswain, vessel lookouts and Air Station personnel. Alternative 4—Implement a Webbased Whale Reporting Program: This alternative would amend, append, eliminate portions of, or wholly incorporate the No Action Alternative and would build upon the existing PLMRP at each District by implementing a Whale Reporting Program for CGD11 and CGD13 surface and aviation units. This reporting program would establish a real-time, Web-based whale reporting protocol within the ROI. This program would be maintained centrally by Coast Guard Pacific Area (PACAREA) personnel and would collect vital information on realtime locations of live, dead, injured, or entangled whales. The following information would be collected each time a whale is sighted: Time and location of sighting; distinctive features of the animal; estimated length; signs of injury or entanglement; description of behavior; description of any injuries; condition of carcass for dead whales; and contact information of reporter. The Web site would allow for regional sorting so that units could prepare for a patrol by logging on to the Web site and receiving vital real-time sighting information for the area they would be transiting or patrolling. Alternative 5—Strengthen Partnerships To Facilitate Marine Protected Species and Marine Protected Area Public Outreach Programs: This alternative would amend, append, E:\FR\FM\18DEN1.SGM 18DEN1 Federal Register / Vol. 73, No. 244 / Thursday, December 18, 2008 / Notices eliminate portions of, or wholly incorporate the No Action Alternative and would build upon the existing PLMRP at each District by strengthening joint partnerships and efforts to support the conservation and recovery of marine protected species and marine protected areas. Alternative 6—Preferred Alternative: Under the Preferred Alternative, the Coast Guard would further minimize or avoid impacts to marine protected species and marine protected areas by strengthening its current operations (No Action Alternative) by incorporating some of the various additional components described in Alternatives 2, 3 and 5. Specifically, this would entail: A. Implementing Improved Local Operating Procedures, Revised Guidance, and Enhanced Law Enforcement Operations • Annually review and update formal Protected Living Marine Resource Programs (PLMRPs) for the Districts. • Require all Sectors, Air Stations and major Cutters to designate a Marine Protected Species (MPS) Point of Contact (POC). • Update and amend speed and approach guidance (e.g., Guidance on Vessel Speed and Approach Around Whales message) to include both vessels and aircraft and continue to update regularly. • Require each District to plan, execute, and document one collaborative marine protected speciesdriven pulse operation per year, thereby utilizing resources and the subject matter expertise of our partners. B. Enhancing In-House Marine Protected Species and Marine Protected Area Training mstockstill on PROD1PC66 with NOTICES • Enhance regional lookout, coxswain, and deck watch officer skills by providing CGD11 and CGD13 units a standardized regionally-focused marine protected species awareness training module. Module will include methods for detecting, identifying, and avoiding marine protected species and marine protected areas. Require personnel to demonstrate proof of knowledge of marine protected species sections of unit SOPs and knowledge of Speed and Approach Guidance. C. Enhancing Partnerships To Facilitate Marine Protected Species and Marine Protected Area Outreach and Conservation • Require each District to participate in one collaborative marine protected species public outreach campaign per year. VerDate Aug<31>2005 17:51 Dec 17, 2008 Jkt 217001 • Broadcast Notice to Mariners (NTMs) advising caution in known areas of high marine protected species concentration in bays. • Include National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), National Marine Sanctuary Program (NMSP) and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) educational resources on PACAREA’s Internet public domain. • Utilize the Coast Guard Auxiliary and Sea Partners Program as main vehicles for public outreach; provide educational materials to the Coast Guard Auxiliary and Sea Partners. We request comments from all interested parties to ensure that the full range and significance of issues related to this proposed action are identified. The Coast Guard requests that comments be as specific as possible with regard to the issues associated with the proposed action, alternatives, and analysis. Dated: November 24, 2008. David P. Pekoske, Vice Admiral, United Stated Coast Guard, Pacific Area Commander. [FR Doc. E8–30104 Filed 12–17–08; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–15–P DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY Transportation Security Administration [Docket No. TSA–2008–0021] Public Meetings on Large Aircraft Security Program, Other Aircraft Operator Security Program, and Airport Operator Security Program AGENCY: Transportation Security Administration, DHS. ACTION: Notice of public meetings and requests for comments. SUMMARY: This notice provides the time and location of public meetings that will be held by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) regarding the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking entitled ‘‘Large Aircraft Security Program, Other Aircraft Operator Security Program, and Airport Operator Security Program’’ (LASP NPRM), which was published in the Federal Register on October 30, 2008 (73 FR 64790). DATES: The public meetings will be on January 6, 2009, in White Plains, NY; January 8, 2009, in Atlanta, GA; January 16, 2009, in Chicago, IL; January 23, 2009 in Burbank, CA; and January 28, 2009 in Houston, TX. The meetings will begin at 9 a.m., and registration will start at 8 a.m. All interested persons may provide written comments, which PO 00000 Frm 00046 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 77045 must be received in the public docket by February 27, 2009. ADDRESSES: The public meetings will be held at the following locations: (1) White Plains, NY: Westchester County Airport (HPN), Building 1 Airport Road, White Plains, NY 10604; (2) Atlanta, GA: Renaissance Concourse Hotel Atlanta Airport, One Hartsfield Centre Parkway, Atlanta, GA 30354; (3) Chicago, IL: Crowne Plaza Chicago O’Hare Hotel & Conference Center, 5440 North River Road, Rosemont, IL 60018; (4) Burbank, CA: Burbank Airport Marriott Hotel & Convention Center, 2500 North Hollywood Way, Burbank, CA 91505; and (5) Houston, TX: Conference Center, Hilton Houston Hotel—North Greenspoint, 12400 Greenspoint Drive, Houston, TX 77060. Participants should check in with TSA staff when they arrive at the public meeting. All interested persons may submit comments, identified by the TSA docket number to this document, to the Federal Docket Management System (FDMS), a government-wide, electronic docket management system, using any one of the following methods: Electronically: You may submit comments through the Federal eRulemaking portal at http:// www.regulations.gov. Follow the online instructions for submitting comments. Mail, In Person, or Fax: Address, hand-deliver, or fax your written comments to the Docket Management Facility, U.S. Department of Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE., West Building Ground Floor, Room W12–140, Washington, DC 20590–0001; Fax (202) 493–2251. The Department of Transportation (DOT), which maintains and processes TSA’s official regulatory dockets, will scan the submission and post it to FDMS. See SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION for format and other information about comment submissions. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Erik Jensen, Assistant General Manager, Policy and Plans, Office of General Aviation, TSNM, TSA–28, Transportation Security Administration, 601 South 12th Street, Arlington, VA 02598–6028; telephone (571) 227–2401; facsimile (571) 227–2918; e-mail LASP@dhs.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Comments Invited TSA invites interested persons to participate in this public meeting by submitting written comments, data, or views. We invite comments relating to E:\FR\FM\18DEN1.SGM 18DEN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 73, Number 244 (Thursday, December 18, 2008)]
[Notices]
[Pages 77043-77045]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E8-30104]


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DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY

Coast Guard

[Docket No. USCG-2006-24163]


National Environmental Policy Act; Draft Environmental Impact 
Statement on U.S. Coast Guard Pacific Area Operations

AGENCY: Coast Guard, DHS.

ACTION: Notice of availability; request for public comments.

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

SUMMARY: The U.S. Coast Guard, with the National Marine Sanctuary 
Program West Coast Region as a cooperating agency, announces the 
availability of the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) to 
implement enhanced environmental protection measures to the Coast 
Guard's operations in the areas of responsibility for Coast Guard 
Districts 11 (California) and 13 (Oregon and Washington) for public 
review and comment. The DEIS analyzes the environmental impacts of 
routine Coast Guard vessel and air operations when engaged in the 
following missions and activities: Law enforcement, national security, 
search and rescue, aids to navigation, and oil pollution and vessel 
grounding response. This analysis does not include live fire exercises.
    Comments and suggestions are invited from all interested parties to 
ensure that the full range and significance of issues related to this 
proposed action are identified. The Coast Guard has established a Web 
site at the address below to provide the public with additional 
information. http://pacareaeis.uscg.e2m-inc.com.

DATES: Comments and related materials must reach the Docket Management 
Facility on or before February 17, 2009.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments identified by Coast Guard Docket 
Number USCG-2006-24163 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) By 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) Fax: 202-493-2251.
    (4) Delivery: Room W12-140 on the Ground Floor of the West 
Building, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE., Washington, DC, between 9 a.m. 
and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The 
telephone number is 202-366-9329.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: If you have questions on this notice, 
the proposed project, or the associated draft Environmental Impact 
Statement, contact LT Jeff Bray, Coast Guard Commandant, CG-0942, 
JEFF.R.BRAY@USCG.MIL or telephone 202-372-3752. If you have questions 
on viewing or submitting material to the docket, call Renee V. Wright, 
Program Manager, Docket Operations, telephone 202-366-9826.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Public Participation and Request for Comments

    We encourage you to submit comments and related material on the 
Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS). Publication of this notice 
begins the official 45-day public comment period that will help refine 
the alternatives being considered. The Coast Guard provides this notice 
to advise the public and other agencies of the Coast Guard's 
intentions, to obtain suggestions and information on the issues and 
alternatives included in the DEIS, and to request comments from those 
parties that may be interested or affected by these proposed 
alternatives.
    All comments received will be posted, without change, to http://
www.regulations.gov, docket number USCG-2006-24163, and will include 
any personal information you have provided.

[[Page 77044]]

    If you submit a comment, please include your name and address, 
identify the docket number for this notice (USCG-2006-26143), indicate 
the specific section of this document to which each comment applies, 
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 
self-addressed, stamped postcard or envelope. We will consider all 
comments received during the comment period.

Proposed Action

    The Coast Guard proposes to develop and implement enhanced 
protective measures, as necessary, for marine protected species and 
marine protected areas that occur in the Eleventh Coast Guard District 
(California) (CGD11) and Thirteenth Coast Guard District (Washington 
and Oregon) (CGD13) areas of responsibility. The Coast Guard proposes 
this action to aid in the fulfillment of its missions, including 
protection of the environment, while fulfilling Coast Guard obligations 
to protect living marine resources. The Coast Guard published a notice 
of intent to prepare this EIS in the Federal Register (71 FR 14233, 
March 21, 2006).
    The Proposed Action will be accomplished by (1) establishing a 
baseline (i.e., analyzing the No Action Alternative) of the 
significance of the environmental impact of current routine Coast Guard 
vessel and aircraft operations on the coastal and marine environment 
within the CGD11 and CGD13 areas of responsibility, with particular 
focus paid to impacts on marine protected species and marine protected 
areas; and (2) identifying and analyzing alternative measures which 
could be implemented to avoid or minimize adverse impacts on marine 
protected species and marine protected areas. Specifically, the 
Proposed Action is intended to incorporate measures that will help 
reduce the environmental impact of Coast Guard vessel and aircraft 
operations on marine protected species and marine protected areas when 
engaged in the following routine missions and activities: Law 
enforcement, national security, search and rescue, aids to navigation, 
and oil pollution and vessel grounding response. Live fire exercises 
were not included within this analysis. Budget and legal limitations 
dictate that any proposed measures be cost effective. Therefore, to be 
viable, proposed measures would have to further the Coast Guard's 
natural resource protection mission without compromising its ability to 
perform other missions.
    The Coast Guard is committed to conducting operations in a manner 
that supports conservation and recovery of marine protected species and 
marine protected areas. The Proposed Action will further the Coast 
Guard's environmental protection mission while recognizing and 
supporting accomplishment of the Coast Guard's full mission portfolio.

Alternatives to the Proposed Action

    The DEIS evaluates a variety of actions, listed below as 
Alternatives 1 through 6, to determine whether modification or 
supplementation of current procedures is required to accomplish the 
wide variety of Coast Guard missions in a manner that lessens the 
probability of adverse impacts on marine protected species and marine 
protected areas. Alternative 1, the No Action Alternative, documents 
baseline strategies the Coast Guard currently employs to protect marine 
resources in the CGD11 and CGD13 areas of responsibility. Alternatives 
2 through 5 present discrete actions and are evaluated individually to 
determine whether their implementation is reasonable and would serve 
the purpose and need of minimizing and avoiding negative impacts on 
marine protected species and marine protected areas. Alternatives 2 
through 5 are designed to augment or otherwise amend all those actions 
described in the No Action Alternative. Alternative 6, the Coast 
Guard's Preferred Alternative, represents a combination of select 
components of Alternatives 1 through 5.
    Alternative 1--No Action Alternative: Under the No Action 
Alternative, the Coast Guard would continue current operations, without 
augmentation or modification. Existing strategic plans, directives, 
guidance, and permits would continue to guide Coast Guard vessel and 
aircraft operations in a manner intended to minimize, to the maximum 
extent possible, adverse impacts on marine protected species and marine 
protected areas. The level of protected living marine resource efforts 
would continue to be balanced with other Coast Guard missions and 
requirements, and would remain constantly in flux due to other mission 
responsibilities and operational tempo.
    Alternative 2--Implement Improved Local Operating Procedures; 
Revise Coast Guard Speed and Approach Guidance; and Enhance Law 
Enforcement Operations To Include ``Pulse Operations'': This 
alternative would amend, append, eliminate portions of, or wholly 
incorporate the No Action Alternative and would build upon the existing 
Protected Living Marine Resources Program (PLMRP) at each District by 
formalizing localized operational mitigation procedures and protection 
efforts, strengthening and expanding Coast Guard speed and approach 
guidance, and better unifying inter-District and intra-District law 
enforcement strategies, including engaging in ``pulse operations.''
    Alternative 3--Enhance Marine Protected Species and Marine 
Protected Area Awareness Training for Coast Guard Personnel: This 
alternative would amend, append, eliminate portions of, or wholly 
incorporate the No Action Alternative and would build upon the existing 
PLMRP at each District by requiring the Coast Guard to review, and if 
necessary, enhance, training for Officer of the Deck (OOD), coxswain, 
vessel lookouts and Air Station personnel.
    Alternative 4--Implement a Web-based Whale Reporting Program: This 
alternative would amend, append, eliminate portions of, or wholly 
incorporate the No Action Alternative and would build upon the existing 
PLMRP at each District by implementing a Whale Reporting Program for 
CGD11 and CGD13 surface and aviation units. This reporting program 
would establish a real-time, Web-based whale reporting protocol within 
the ROI. This program would be maintained centrally by Coast Guard 
Pacific Area (PACAREA) personnel and would collect vital information on 
real-time locations of live, dead, injured, or entangled whales. The 
following information would be collected each time a whale is sighted: 
Time and location of sighting; distinctive features of the animal; 
estimated length; signs of injury or entanglement; description of 
behavior; description of any injuries; condition of carcass for dead 
whales; and contact information of reporter. The Web site would allow 
for regional sorting so that units could prepare for a patrol by 
logging on to the Web site and receiving vital real-time sighting 
information for the area they would be transiting or patrolling.
    Alternative 5--Strengthen Partnerships To Facilitate Marine 
Protected Species and Marine Protected Area Public Outreach Programs: 
This alternative would amend, append,

[[Page 77045]]

eliminate portions of, or wholly incorporate the No Action Alternative 
and would build upon the existing PLMRP at each District by 
strengthening joint partnerships and efforts to support the 
conservation and recovery of marine protected species and marine 
protected areas.
    Alternative 6--Preferred Alternative: Under the Preferred 
Alternative, the Coast Guard would further minimize or avoid impacts to 
marine protected species and marine protected areas by strengthening 
its current operations (No Action Alternative) by incorporating some of 
the various additional components described in Alternatives 2, 3 and 5. 
Specifically, this would entail:

A. Implementing Improved Local Operating Procedures, Revised Guidance, 
and Enhanced Law Enforcement Operations

     Annually review and update formal Protected Living Marine 
Resource Programs (PLMRPs) for the Districts.
     Require all Sectors, Air Stations and major Cutters to 
designate a Marine Protected Species (MPS) Point of Contact (POC).
     Update and amend speed and approach guidance (e.g., 
Guidance on Vessel Speed and Approach Around Whales message) to include 
both vessels and aircraft and continue to update regularly.
     Require each District to plan, execute, and document one 
collaborative marine protected species-driven pulse operation per year, 
thereby utilizing resources and the subject matter expertise of our 
partners.

B. Enhancing In-House Marine Protected Species and Marine Protected 
Area Training

     Enhance regional lookout, coxswain, and deck watch officer 
skills by providing CGD11 and CGD13 units a standardized regionally-
focused marine protected species awareness training module. Module will 
include methods for detecting, identifying, and avoiding marine 
protected species and marine protected areas. Require personnel to 
demonstrate proof of knowledge of marine protected species sections of 
unit SOPs and knowledge of Speed and Approach Guidance.

C. Enhancing Partnerships To Facilitate Marine Protected Species and 
Marine Protected Area Outreach and Conservation

     Require each District to participate in one collaborative 
marine protected species public outreach campaign per year.
     Broadcast Notice to Mariners (NTMs) advising caution in 
known areas of high marine protected species concentration in bays.
     Include National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 
(NOAA), National Marine Sanctuary Program (NMSP) and U.S. Fish and 
Wildlife Service (USFWS) educational resources on PACAREA's Internet 
public domain.
     Utilize the Coast Guard Auxiliary and Sea Partners Program 
as main vehicles for public outreach; provide educational materials to 
the Coast Guard Auxiliary and Sea Partners.
    We request comments from all interested parties to ensure that the 
full range and significance of issues related to this proposed action 
are identified. The Coast Guard requests that comments be as specific 
as possible with regard to the issues associated with the proposed 
action, alternatives, and analysis.

    Dated: November 24, 2008.
David P. Pekoske,
Vice Admiral, United Stated Coast Guard, Pacific Area Commander.
 [FR Doc. E8-30104 Filed 12-17-08; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-15-P