Standards for Living Organisms in Ships' Ballast Water Discharged in U.S. Waters: Final Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement, 17082-17084 [2012-6584]

Download as PDF 17082 Federal Register / Vol. 77, No. 57 / Friday, March 23, 2012 / Notices address, or other contact information in the body of your document so that we can contact you if we have questions regarding your submission. You may submit your comments and material by electronic means, mail, fax, or delivery to the DMF at the address under ADDRESSES; but please submit them by only one means. To submit your comment online, go to http:// www.regulations.gov, and type ‘‘USCG– 2012–0082’’ in the ‘‘Keyword’’ box. If you submit your comments by mail or hand delivery, submit them in an unbound format, no larger than 81⁄2; by 11 inches, suitable for copying and electronic filing. If you submit comments by mail and would like to know that they reached the Facility, please enclose a stamped, self-addressed postcard or envelope. We will consider all comments and material received during the comment period and will address them accordingly. Viewing comments and documents: To view comments, as well as documents mentioned in this Notice as being available in the docket, go to http://www.regulations.gov, click on the ‘‘read comments’’ box, which will then become highlighted in blue. In the ‘‘Keyword’’ box insert ‘‘USCG–2012– 0082’’ and click ‘‘Search.’’ Click the ‘‘Open Docket Folder’’ in the ‘‘Actions’’ column. You may also visit the DMF 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. srobinson on DSK4SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES Privacy Act Anyone can search the electronic form of comments received in 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 a Privacy Act statement regarding Coast Guard public dockets in the January 17, 2008, issue of the Federal Register (73 FR 3316). Information Collection Requests 1. Title: Certificate of Discharge to Merchant Mariners. OMB Control Number: 1625–0012. Summary: Title 46, United States Code, 10311 requires each master or individual in charge of a vessel, for each merchant mariner being discharged from the vessel to prepare a Certificate of Discharge to Merchant Mariners and two copies. These documents are used to establish evidence of sea service aboard U.S. flagged merchant vessels for merchant mariners to upgrade their credentials, establish proof of eligibility VerDate Mar<15>2010 17:14 Mar 22, 2012 Jkt 226001 for union and other benefits, and in litigation where vessel service is an issue. Need: The information collected provides the U.S. Coast Guard evidence of sea service used in determining eligibility for issuance of a merchant mariner credential, to determine eligibility for various benefits such as medical and retirement, and to provide information to the U.S. Maritime Administration (MARAD) on the availability of mariners in a time of a national emergency. Forms: CG–718A. Respondents: Shipping companies, masters or individuals in charge of a vessel. Frequency: On occasion. Burden Estimate: The estimated burden has decreased from 2,443 hours to 1,478 hours. 2. Title: Application for Merchant Mariner Credential (MMC), Merchant Mariner Medical Certificate Evaluation Report, Small Vessel Sea Service Form, DOT/USCG Periodic Drug Testing Form, Merchant Mariner Evaluation of Fitness for Entry Level Ratings. OMB Control Number: 1625–0040. Summary: The Application for Merchant Mariner Credential (MMC), Merchant Mariner Medical Certificate Evaluation Report, Small Vessel Sea Service Form, DOT/USCG Periodic Drug Testing Form, and Merchant Mariner Evaluation of Fitness for Entry Level Ratings, contains the following information: Signature of applicant and supplementary material required to show that the mariner meets the mandatory requirements for the credential or medical certificate sought; proof of applicant passing all applicable vision, hearing, medical, and/or physical exams; negative chemical test for dangerous drugs; discharges or other documentary evidence of sea service indicating the name, tonnage, and propulsion power of the vessels, dates of service, capacity in which the applicant served, and on what waters. Need: Title 46 United States Code (U.S.C.) Subtitle II, Part E, Title 46 Code of Federal Regulation (CFR) Part 10, Subpart B, and Proposed Rules entitled ‘‘Implementation of the Amendments to the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW), 1978, and Changes to Domestic Endorsements’’ (RIN 1625–AA16) (Docket No. USCG–2004–17914), (A Supplemental Notice of Proposed Rulemaking published in the Federal Register on August 1, 2011 (76 FR 45908)) require merchant mariner credential (MMC) and medical certificate applicants to apply at any of PO 00000 Frm 00082 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 the Regional Examination Centers located around the nation. Merchant mariner credentials are established for individuals who are required to hold a MMC under Subtitle II. The Coast Guard has the responsibility of issuing MMCs and medical certificates to applicants found qualified as to age, character, habits of life, experience, professional qualifications, and physical fitness. The instruments contained within OMB #1625–0040 serve as a means for the applicant to apply for a MMC and medical certificate. Forms: CG–719B, CG–719K, CG–719S, CG–719P, CG–719K/E. Respondents: Applicants for Merchant Mariner Credentials (MMC), whether original, renewal, duplicate, raise of grade, or a new endorsement on a previously issued MMC. Applicants for Medical Certificates to include Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW) endorsed credentialed mariners, and first-class pilots as defined in the proposed rules, Implementation of the Amendments to the International Convention on STCW for Seafarers, 1978, and Changes to Domestic Endorsements (Docket No. USCG–2004– 17914). Frequency: On occasion. Burden Estimate: The estimated burden has increased from 54,416 hours to 57,083 hours a year. Dated: March 16, 2012. R. E. Day, Rear Admiral, U.S. Coast Guard, Assistant Commandant for Command, Control, Communications, Computers and Information Technology. [FR Doc. 2012–6981 Filed 3–22–12; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9110–04–P DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY Coast Guard [Docket No. USCG–2001–10486] Standards for Living Organisms in Ships’ Ballast Water Discharged in U.S. Waters: Final Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement Coast Guard, DHS. Notice of availability. AGENCY: ACTION: The U.S. Coast Guard announces the availability of a final programmatic environmental impact statement (FPEIS) for the rulemaking entitled ‘‘Standards for Living Organisms in Ships’ Ballast Water Discharged in U.S. Waters’’ (Docket No. USCG–2001–10486). This FPEIS provides an assessment of the potential SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\23MRN1.SGM 23MRN1 Federal Register / Vol. 77, No. 57 / Friday, March 23, 2012 / Notices environmental impacts associated with the establishment of a ballast water discharge standard for the allowable concentration of living organisms in ships’ ballast water discharged in waters of the United States. The standard will be used to approve ballast water management methods that are effective in preventing or reducing the introduction of nonindigenous species via discharged ballast water into waters of the United States. DATES: Comments and related material must either be submitted to our online docket via http://www.regulations.gov on or before April 23, 2012 or reach the Docket Management Facility by that date. You may submit comments identified by docket number USCG– 2001–10486 using any one of the following methods: (1) Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. (2) Fax: (202) 493–2251. (3) 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– 0001. (4) Hand delivery: Same as mail address above, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The telephone number is (202) 366–9329. To avoid duplication, please use only one of these four methods. See the ‘‘Public Participation and Request for Comments’’ portion of the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section below for instructions on submitting comments. ADDRESSES: If you have questions on this notice, call or email Mr. Greg Kirkbride, U.S. Coast Guard; telephone (202) 372–1479, email: Gregory.B.Kirkbride@uscg.mil. 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: Submitting comments: If you submit a comment, please include the docket number for this notice (USCG–2001– 10486) and provide a reason for each suggestion or recommendation. All comments received will be posted, without change, to http:// www.regulations.gov and will include any personal information you have provided. You may submit your comments and material online, or by fax, mail or hand delivery, but please use only one of these means. We recommend that you include your name srobinson on DSK4SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: VerDate Mar<15>2010 17:14 Mar 22, 2012 Jkt 226001 and a mailing address, an email address, or a telephone number in the body of your document so that we can contact you if we have questions regarding your submission. To submit your comment online, go to http://www.regulations.gov and click on the ‘‘submit a comment’’ box, which will then become highlighted in blue. Insert ‘‘USCG–2001–10486’’ in the Keyword box, click ‘‘Search’’, and then click on the balloon shape in the Actions column. If you submit your comments by mail or hand delivery, submit them in an unbound format, no larger than 81⁄2 by 11 inches, suitable for copying and electronic filing. If you submit them by mail and would like to know that they reached the Facility, please enclose a stamped, self-addressed postcard or envelope. We will consider all comments and material received during the comment period. Viewing the comments and FPEIS: To view the comments and the FPEIS, go to http://www.regulations.gov, enter the docket number for this rulemaking (USCG–2001–10486) in the Keyword box, and click ‘‘Search.’’ If you do not have access to the internet, you may view the docket online by visiting the Docket Management Facility in Room W12–140 on the ground floor of the Department of Transportation West Building, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. We have an agreement with the Department of Transportation to use the Docket Management Facility. Privacy Act: Anyone can search the electronic form of 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 a Privacy Act system of records notice regarding our public dockets in the January 17, 2008, issue of the Federal Register (73 FR 3316). Basis and Purpose Under the Nonindigenous Aquatic Nuisance Prevention and Control Act of 1990 (NANPCA) as reauthorized and amended in the National Invasive Species Act of 1996 (NISA), the United States Coast Guard (USCG) is the lead federal agency for implementing regulations to reduce or prevent the introduction of nonindigenous species (NIS) via shipping activities in waters of the United States. In order to give effect to this statutory directive, on September 26, 2003, the USCG published a Notice of Intent with Request for Comments to seek public PO 00000 Frm 00083 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 17083 and agency input to develop the scope of this FPEIS on its proposed action to establish a ballast water discharge standard (BWDS) that would be effective in preventing the introduction and spread of NIS via discharged ballast water (68 FR 55559). On July 28, 2004 the USCG published a final rule on a mandatory ballast water management (BWM) program for all waters of the United States, which was authorized under NISA (69 FR 44952). This program is currently in effect and requires vessels that enter U.S. waters after operating outside the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) to use one of the following BWM practices: Conduct mid-ocean Ballast Water Exchange (BWE) 200 nautical miles from any shore, retain ballast water onboard, or use a USCG-approved alternative method. At the time the final rule was published, BWE and retention of ballast water were the only available ballast water management methods. On August 28, 2009, the Coast Guard published a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) titled ‘‘Standards for Living Organisms in Ships’ Ballast Water Discharged in U.S. Waters’’ in the Federal Register (74 FR 44632) which proposed to establish a BWDS. The purpose of the proposed action in the FPEIS is for the USCG to establish, via a rulemaking, a BWDS that is practicable, enforceable, and which would be used to approve ballast water management methods, including development and approval of shipboard BWM systems. The need for the action is to prevent or reduce the introduction of NIS via discharged ballast water from vessels entering waters of the United States after operating outside the U.S. EEZ, and from vessels operating within the U.S. EEZ. The FPEIS evaluates the impacts to the environment from a range of alternative ballast water discharge standards. The BWDS will be used to approve ballast water management methods that are effective in preventing or reducing the introduction of NIS via discharged ballast water. The USCG believes that to prevent or reduce the introduction of NIS, the preferred alternative must be biologically protective, scientifically sound, practicable in implementation, and enforceable. Ballast water is taken on by a vessel to increase the water draft, change the trim, regulate the stability, or maintain stress loads within acceptable operational limits. The term NIS refers to organisms found outside of their native or historical range. In cases where they invade ecosystems, NIS may alter aquatic and marine ecosystems and E:\FR\FM\23MRN1.SGM 23MRN1 srobinson on DSK4SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES 17084 Federal Register / Vol. 77, No. 57 / Friday, March 23, 2012 / Notices biodiversity, impact commercial and recreational fisheries, cause infrastructure damage, contribute to potential risks to human health, and create economic impacts. Ballast water discharge is a major pathway for NIS introduction from vessels operating in or entering waters of the United States. The FPEIS identifies and assesses reasonable alternatives for the proposed action, including the No Action Alternative, addresses the likely consequences of a BWDS on the human and natural environment, and presents potential mitigation measures to avoid or minimize adverse effects upon the quality of the human and natural environment. In the FPEIS, the USCG analyzed five alternatives for a BWDS. These alternatives are summarized as follows: Alternative 1—No Action Alternative: Under the No Action Alternative, the USCG would not establish a BWDS, but would continue the existing BWM program. As currently in force, the BWM program, established in 2004, directs ships to conduct mid-ocean BWE, retain ballast water onboard, or use an environmentally sound ballast water management method approved by the USCG. Alternatives 2–4—Ballast Water Discharge Concentrations: These alternatives differ from each other in the concentration and size classes of organisms that would be permitted and the standard is progressively more stringent from Alternative 2 to Alternative 4. Alternative 2 provides for a protective standard of less than 10 organisms per cubic meter for organisms larger than 50 microns in minimum dimension; and less than 10 organisms per milliliter for organisms between 10 and 50 microns in minimum dimension. Alternative 3 provides for a protective standard of less than 1 organism per cubic meter for organisms larger than 50 microns in minimum dimension; and less than 1 organism per milliliter for organisms between 10 and 50 microns in minimum dimension. Alternative 4 provides for a protective standard of less than 0.1 organisms per cubic meter for organisms larger than 50 microns in minimum dimension; and less than 0.1 organisms per milliliter for organisms between 10 and 50 microns in minimum dimension. Alternative 5—Sterilization: Alternative 5 would require the removal or inactivation of all living membranebound organisms (including bacteria and some viruses) larger than 0.1 microns. Alternative 2 has been selected as the USCG’s preferred alternative. VerDate Mar<15>2010 17:14 Mar 22, 2012 Jkt 226001 The USCG will file the FPEIS with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), as required. The EPA will then publish an NOA in the Federal Register, which reports all environmental impact statements filed with the EPA during the preceding week. The publication of the EPA NOA initiates a 30-day public review period. The timing of publication of this NOA in the Federal Register will be coordinated with the EPA NOA. By reason of this being a rulemaking action under the Administrative Procedure Act, the Final Rule constitutes the Record of Decision and it is being published this same date, consistent with 40 CFR 1506.10(b). Dated: March 9, 2012. J. G. Lantz, Director of Commercial Regulations and Standards, U.S. Coast Guard. [FR Doc. 2012–6584 Filed 3–16–12; 11:15 am] BILLING CODE 9110–04–P DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY Coast Guard [Docket No. USCG–2010–0164] National Boating Safety Advisory Council Coast Guard, DHS. Notice of Federal Advisory Committee Meeting. AGENCY: ACTION: The National Boating Safety Advisory Council (NBSAC) will meet on April 13–14, 2012, in Arlington, Virginia, to discuss issues relating to recreational boating safety. The meetings will be open to the public. DATES: NBSAC will meet Friday, April 13, 2012, from 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and Saturday, April 14, 2012, from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. The Recreational Boating Safety Strategic Planning Subcommittee will meet on Friday, April 13, 2012 from 1:30 p.m. to 3:45 p.m., the Boats and Associated Equipment Subcommittee will meet on Friday, April 13, 2012 from 3:45 p.m. to 3:15 p.m. and on Saturday, April 14, 2012 from 8:10 a.m. to 10 a.m., and the Prevention through People Subcommittee will meet on Saturday, April 14, 2012 from 10:15 a.m. to 12 p.m. Please note that the meetings may conclude early if NBSAC has completed all business. All written materials, comments, and requests to make oral presentations at the meeting should reach Mr. Jeff Ludwig, Assistant Designated Federal Officer (ADFO) for NBSAC by March 28, 2012. Any written material submitted by the public will be distributed to the SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00084 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 committee and become part of the public record. ADDRESSES: The meeting will be held in the Ballroom at the Holiday Inn Arlington, 4610 N. Fairfax Drive, Arlington, VA 22203. The hotel’s Web site is: http://www.hiarlington.com/. For information on facilities or services for individuals with disabilities or to request special assistance at the meeting, contact Mr. Jeff Ludwig as soon as possible. To facilitate public participation, we are inviting public comment on the issues to be considered by the committee as listed in the ‘‘Agenda’’ section below. Comments must be submitted in writing no later than March 28, 2012, and must be identified by (USCG–2010–0164) and may be submitted by one of the following methods: • Federal eRulemaking Portal: http:// www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments. • Fax: (202) 372–1908. • 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– 0001. • Hand Delivery: Same as mail address above between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The telephone number is 202–366–9329. Instructions: All submissions received must include the words ‘‘Department of Homeland Security’’ and the docket number for this action. Comments received will be posted without alteration at http://www.regulations.gov, including any personal information provided. You may review a Privacy Act notice regarding public dockets in the January 17, 2008, issue of the Federal Register (73 FR 3316). Docket: For access to the docket to read documents or comments related to this notice, go to http:// www.regulations.gov, and use ‘‘USCG– 2010–0164’’ as your search term. A public comment period will be held during the meeting concerning the matters being discussed. Public comments will be limited to three minutes per speaker. Please note that the public comment period may end before the time indicated, following the last call for comments. Contact the individual listed below to register as a speaker. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. Jeff Ludwig, ADFO for NBSAC, COMDT (CG–54221), 2100 2nd Street, SW., Stop 7581, Washington, DC 20593; (202) 372– E:\FR\FM\23MRN1.SGM 23MRN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 57 (Friday, March 23, 2012)]
[Notices]
[Pages 17082-17084]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-6584]


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

DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY

Coast Guard

[Docket No. USCG-2001-10486]


Standards for Living Organisms in Ships' Ballast Water Discharged 
in U.S. Waters: Final Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement

AGENCY: Coast Guard, DHS.

ACTION: Notice of availability.

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

SUMMARY: The U.S. Coast Guard announces the availability of a final 
programmatic environmental impact statement (FPEIS) for the rulemaking 
entitled ``Standards for Living Organisms in Ships' Ballast Water 
Discharged in U.S. Waters'' (Docket No. USCG-2001-10486). This FPEIS 
provides an assessment of the potential

[[Page 17083]]

environmental impacts associated with the establishment of a ballast 
water discharge standard for the allowable concentration of living 
organisms in ships' ballast water discharged in waters of the United 
States. The standard will be used to approve ballast water management 
methods that are effective in preventing or reducing the introduction 
of nonindigenous species via discharged ballast water into waters of 
the United States.

DATES: Comments and related material must either be submitted to our 
online docket via http://www.regulations.gov on or before April 23, 
2012 or reach the Docket Management Facility by that date.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments identified by docket number USCG-
2001-10486 using any one of the following methods:
    (1) Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov.
    (2) Fax: (202) 493-2251.
    (3) 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 20590-0001.
    (4) Hand delivery: Same as mail address above, between 9 a.m. and 5 
p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The telephone 
number is (202) 366-9329.
    To avoid duplication, please use only one of these four methods. 
See the ``Public Participation and Request for Comments'' portion of 
the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section below for instructions on 
submitting comments.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: If you have questions on this notice, 
call or email Mr. Greg Kirkbride, U.S. Coast Guard; telephone (202) 
372-1479, email: Gregory.B.Kirkbride@uscg.mil. 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: 
    Submitting comments: If you submit a comment, please include the 
docket number for this notice (USCG-2001-10486) and provide a reason 
for each suggestion or recommendation. All comments received will be 
posted, without change, to http://www.regulations.gov and will include 
any personal information you have provided. You may submit your 
comments and material online, or by fax, mail or hand delivery, but 
please use only one of these means. We recommend that you include your 
name and a mailing address, an email address, or a telephone number in 
the body of your document so that we can contact you if we have 
questions regarding your submission.
    To submit your comment online, go to http://www.regulations.gov and 
click on the ``submit a comment'' box, which will then become 
highlighted in blue. Insert ``USCG-2001-10486'' in the Keyword box, 
click ``Search'', and then click on the balloon shape in the Actions 
column. If you submit your comments by mail or hand delivery, submit 
them in an unbound format, no larger than 8\1/2\ by 11 inches, suitable 
for copying and electronic filing. If you submit them by mail and would 
like to know that they reached the Facility, please enclose a stamped, 
self-addressed postcard or envelope. We will consider all comments and 
material received during the comment period.
    Viewing the comments and FPEIS: To view the comments and the FPEIS, 
go to http://www.regulations.gov, enter the docket number for this 
rulemaking (USCG-2001-10486) in the Keyword box, and click ``Search.'' 
If you do not have access to the internet, you may view the docket 
online by visiting the Docket Management Facility in Room W12-140 on 
the ground floor of the Department of Transportation West Building, 
1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590, between 9 a.m. and 5 
p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. We have an 
agreement with the Department of Transportation to use the Docket 
Management Facility.
    Privacy Act: Anyone can search the electronic form of 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 a 
Privacy Act system of records notice regarding our public dockets in 
the January 17, 2008, issue of the Federal Register (73 FR 3316).

Basis and Purpose

    Under the Nonindigenous Aquatic Nuisance Prevention and Control Act 
of 1990 (NANPCA) as reauthorized and amended in the National Invasive 
Species Act of 1996 (NISA), the United States Coast Guard (USCG) is the 
lead federal agency for implementing regulations to reduce or prevent 
the introduction of nonindigenous species (NIS) via shipping activities 
in waters of the United States.
    In order to give effect to this statutory directive, on September 
26, 2003, the USCG published a Notice of Intent with Request for 
Comments to seek public and agency input to develop the scope of this 
FPEIS on its proposed action to establish a ballast water discharge 
standard (BWDS) that would be effective in preventing the introduction 
and spread of NIS via discharged ballast water (68 FR 55559).
    On July 28, 2004 the USCG published a final rule on a mandatory 
ballast water management (BWM) program for all waters of the United 
States, which was authorized under NISA (69 FR 44952). This program is 
currently in effect and requires vessels that enter U.S. waters after 
operating outside the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) to use one of 
the following BWM practices: Conduct mid-ocean Ballast Water Exchange 
(BWE) 200 nautical miles from any shore, retain ballast water onboard, 
or use a USCG-approved alternative method. At the time the final rule 
was published, BWE and retention of ballast water were the only 
available ballast water management methods. On August 28, 2009, the 
Coast Guard published a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) titled 
``Standards for Living Organisms in Ships' Ballast Water Discharged in 
U.S. Waters'' in the Federal Register (74 FR 44632) which proposed to 
establish a BWDS.
    The purpose of the proposed action in the FPEIS is for the USCG to 
establish, via a rulemaking, a BWDS that is practicable, enforceable, 
and which would be used to approve ballast water management methods, 
including development and approval of shipboard BWM systems. The need 
for the action is to prevent or reduce the introduction of NIS via 
discharged ballast water from vessels entering waters of the United 
States after operating outside the U.S. EEZ, and from vessels operating 
within the U.S. EEZ.
    The FPEIS evaluates the impacts to the environment from a range of 
alternative ballast water discharge standards. The BWDS will be used to 
approve ballast water management methods that are effective in 
preventing or reducing the introduction of NIS via discharged ballast 
water. The USCG believes that to prevent or reduce the introduction of 
NIS, the preferred alternative must be biologically protective, 
scientifically sound, practicable in implementation, and enforceable.
    Ballast water is taken on by a vessel to increase the water draft, 
change the trim, regulate the stability, or maintain stress loads 
within acceptable operational limits. The term NIS refers to organisms 
found outside of their native or historical range. In cases where they 
invade ecosystems, NIS may alter aquatic and marine ecosystems and

[[Page 17084]]

biodiversity, impact commercial and recreational fisheries, cause 
infrastructure damage, contribute to potential risks to human health, 
and create economic impacts. Ballast water discharge is a major pathway 
for NIS introduction from vessels operating in or entering waters of 
the United States.
    The FPEIS identifies and assesses reasonable alternatives for the 
proposed action, including the No Action Alternative, addresses the 
likely consequences of a BWDS on the human and natural environment, and 
presents potential mitigation measures to avoid or minimize adverse 
effects upon the quality of the human and natural environment. In the 
FPEIS, the USCG analyzed five alternatives for a BWDS. These 
alternatives are summarized as follows:
    Alternative 1--No Action Alternative: Under the No Action 
Alternative, the USCG would not establish a BWDS, but would continue 
the existing BWM program. As currently in force, the BWM program, 
established in 2004, directs ships to conduct mid-ocean BWE, retain 
ballast water onboard, or use an environmentally sound ballast water 
management method approved by the USCG.
    Alternatives 2-4--Ballast Water Discharge Concentrations: These 
alternatives differ from each other in the concentration and size 
classes of organisms that would be permitted and the standard is 
progressively more stringent from Alternative 2 to Alternative 4. 
Alternative 2 provides for a protective standard of less than 10 
organisms per cubic meter for organisms larger than 50 microns in 
minimum dimension; and less than 10 organisms per milliliter for 
organisms between 10 and 50 microns in minimum dimension. Alternative 3 
provides for a protective standard of less than 1 organism per cubic 
meter for organisms larger than 50 microns in minimum dimension; and 
less than 1 organism per milliliter for organisms between 10 and 50 
microns in minimum dimension. Alternative 4 provides for a protective 
standard of less than 0.1 organisms per cubic meter for organisms 
larger than 50 microns in minimum dimension; and less than 0.1 
organisms per milliliter for organisms between 10 and 50 microns in 
minimum dimension.
    Alternative 5--Sterilization: Alternative 5 would require the 
removal or inactivation of all living membrane-bound organisms 
(including bacteria and some viruses) larger than 0.1 microns.
    Alternative 2 has been selected as the USCG's preferred 
alternative.
    The USCG will file the FPEIS with the U.S. Environmental Protection 
Agency (EPA), as required. The EPA will then publish an NOA in the 
Federal Register, which reports all environmental impact statements 
filed with the EPA during the preceding week. The publication of the 
EPA NOA initiates a 30-day public review period. The timing of 
publication of this NOA in the Federal Register will be coordinated 
with the EPA NOA. By reason of this being a rulemaking action under the 
Administrative Procedure Act, the Final Rule constitutes the Record of 
Decision and it is being published this same date, consistent with 40 
CFR 1506.10(b).

    Dated: March 9, 2012.
J. G. Lantz,
Director of Commercial Regulations and Standards, U.S. Coast Guard.
[FR Doc. 2012-6584 Filed 3-16-12; 11:15 am]
BILLING CODE 9110-04-P