Drawbridge Operation Regulation; Lake Pontchartrain, Slidell, LA, 81181-81184 [2015-32736]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 249 / Tuesday, December 29, 2015 / Rules and Regulations principles and preemption requirements described in E.O. 13132. Also, this rule does not have tribal implications under Executive Order 13175, Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribal Governments, because it does not have a substantial direct effect on one or more Indian tribes, on the relationship between the Federal Government and Indian tribes, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities between the Federal Government and Indian tribes. For the reasons discussed in the preamble, the Coast Guard amends 33 CFR part 117 as follows: PART 117—DRAWBRIDGE OPERATION REGULATIONS 1. The authority citation for part 117 continues to read as follows: ■ Authority: 33 U.S.C. 499; 33 CFR 1.05–1; Department of Homeland Security Delegation No. 0170.1. ■ 2. Revise § 117.411 to read as follows: E. Unfunded Mandates Reform Act § 117.411 The Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (2 U.S.C. 1531–1538) requires Federal agencies to assess the effects of their discretionary regulatory actions. In particular, the Act addresses actions that may result in the expenditure by a State, local, or tribal government, in the aggregate, or by the private sector of $100,000,000 (adjusted for inflation) or more in any one year. Though this rule will not result in such an expenditure, we do discuss the effects of this rule elsewhere in this preamble. (a) The draws of the bridges across the Missouri River shall open on signal; except during the winter season between the date of closure and the date of opening of the commercial navigation season as published by the Army Corps of Engineers, the draw need not open unless at least 24 hours advance notice is given. (b) The draw of the Atchison Railroad Bridge, Mile 422.5, Missouri River need not open unless a two-hour advance notice is given during the commercial navigation season. ■ 3. Revise § 117.687 to read as follows: F. Environment We have analyzed this rule under Department of Homeland Security Management Directive 023–01 and Commandant Instruction M16475.lD, which guides the Coast Guard in complying with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) (42 U.S.C. 4321–4370f), and have made a determination that this action is one of a category of actions which do not individually or cumulatively have a significant effect on the human environment. This rule simply promulgates the operating regulations or procedures for drawbridges. This action is categorically excluded from further review, under figure 2–1, paragraph (32)(e), of the Instruction. Under figure 2–1, paragraph (32)(e), of the Instruction, an environmental analysis checklist and a categorical exclusion determination are not required for this rule. jstallworth on DSK7TPTVN1PROD with RULES G. Protest Activities List of Subjects in 33 CFR Part 117 Bridges. 15:24 Dec 28, 2015 Missouri River. The draws of the bridges, except for the Atchison Railroad Bridge, Mile 422.5, see § 117.411(b) for further details, across the Missouri River shall open on signal; except during the winter season between the date of closure and date of opening of the commercial navigation season as published by the Army Corps of Engineers, the draws need not open unless at least 24-hours advance notice is given. Dated: December 11, 2015. D.R. Callahan, Rear Admiral, U.S. Coast Guard, Commander, Eighth Coast Guard District. [FR Doc. 2015–32735 Filed 12–28–15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9110–04–P DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY Coast Guard 33 CFR Part 117 The Coast Guard respects the First Amendment rights of protesters. Protesters are asked to contact the person listed in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section to coordinate protest activities so that your message can be received without jeopardizing the safety or security of people, places or vessels. VerDate Sep<11>2014 § 117.687 Missouri River. Jkt 238001 [Docket No. USCG–2015–0814] RIN 1625–AA09 Drawbridge Operation Regulation; Lake Pontchartrain, Slidell, LA Coast Guard, DHS. Interim rule with request for comments. AGENCY: ACTION: The Coast Guard is modifying the method of operation for the Norfolk SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00023 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 81181 Southern Railroad (Norfolk Southern or NSRR) Bascule Bridge across Lake Pontchartrain, mile 4.80, near Slidell, St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana. The bridge owner, Norfolk Southern, requested in writing to operate the draw of the bridge remotely. This interim rule codifies the change in method of operation and increases the efficiency of railroad operations, allowing for the operation of the draw from another location, while allowing for comments regarding remote operations during the interim period. DATES: This interim rule is effective December 29, 2015. Comments and related material must reach the Coast Guard on or before February 29, 2016. ADDRESSES: You may submit comments or view documents mentioned in this preamble as being available in the docket, go to http:// www.regulations.gov, type [USCG– 2015–0814]. in the ‘‘SEARCH’’ box and click ‘‘SEARCH.’’ Click on Open Docket Folder on the line associated with this rulemaking. See the ‘‘Public Participation and Request for Comments’’ portion of the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section below for instructions on submitting comments. If you have questions on this interim rule, call or email Ms. Geri Robinson; Bridge Administration Branch, Eighth Coast Guard District; telephone 504–671– 2128, email geri.a.robinson@uscg.mil. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: I. Table of Abbreviations CFR Code of Federal Regulations DHS Department of Homeland Security FR Federal Register NPRM Notice of proposed rulemaking U.S.C. United States Code NSRR Norfolk Southern Railroad II. Background Information and Regulatory History The Coast Guard is issuing this interim rule without prior notice and opportunity to comment pursuant to authority under section 4(a) of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) (5 U.S.C. 553(b)). This provision authorizes an agency to issue a rule without prior notice and opportunity to comment when the agency for good cause finds that those procedures are ‘‘impracticable, unnecessary, or contrary to the public interest.’’ Under 5 U.S.C. 553(b), the Coast Guard finds that good cause exists for not publishing a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) with respect to this rule because there will be no change to the operating schedule of E:\FR\FM\29DER1.SGM 29DER1 81182 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 249 / Tuesday, December 29, 2015 / Rules and Regulations the bridge. The modification for the bridge owner to open the draw by remote operation does not change the existing operating schedule. This rule will impose no new restrictions or requirements on the mariner. Thus, publishing an NPRM is impracticable as mariners are not expected to experience any changes in the operation of the draw for the purposes of vessel passage. Delaying this rule to provide for the notice and comment period would also unnecessarily delay the bridge owner in transitioning to the more efficient remote operation method. We are requesting comments to this interim rule to ensure participation in the rulemaking based on real-time experience while the draw operates under the new remote operation method. We are issuing this rule and under 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3), the Coast Guard finds that good cause exists for making it effective in less than 30 days after publication in the Federal Register. Delaying this rule to provide 30-day notice is unnecessary as mariners will experience no changes in transiting through the bridge site. Making this rule effective without providing 30-day notice imposes no impact on the mariner but allows for the bridge owner to transition to the more efficient remote operation method without unnecessary delay. jstallworth on DSK7TPTVN1PROD with RULES III. Legal Authority and Need for Rule The Coast Guard is issuing this rule under the authority of 33 U.S.C. 499. The Norfolk Southern Railroad Bascule Bridge across Lake Pontchartrain at mile 4.80, near Slidell, St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana, has a horizontal clearance of 151 feet between fenders and a vertical clearance of 4.0 feet above Mean High Water, elevation 2.0 feet Mean Sea Level in the closed-to-navigation position. The vertical clearance of the bascule bridge in the open-to-navigation position is 68 feet for the full 151-foot horizontal clearance and unlimited from the tip of the bascule to the north fender system, a distance of 106 feet. Currently, the bridge opens on signal under 33 CFR 117.5. In accordance with 33 CFR 117.42, the District Commander may authorize a drawbridge to operate under an automated system or from a remote location. The purpose of this rule is to allow the draw of this bridge to operate from a remote location. The draw will continue to open on signal for the passage of vessels, and mariners should not experience any changes in the level of service. VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:24 Dec 28, 2015 Jkt 238001 IV. Discussion of the Rule The Coast Guard, at the request of Norfolk Southern, is changing the method of operation for the Norfolk Southern Railroad Bascule Bridge across Lake Pontchartrain, mile 4.80, near Slidell, St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana. Due to the need for increased efficiency in railroad operations, Norfolk Southern requested a change to the method of operating the draw from on-site to a drawtender operating the bridge remotely. Presently, the draw is maintained in the open-to-navigation position and closed only for the passage of trains or maintenance. The bridge owner would like to operate the draw remotely using a drawtender at another drawbridge in Decatur, Alabama, rather than maintaining the current on-site operation and drawtender. The implementation of this rule, in effect, removes the requirement that a drawtender be present on site at all times. Under the new remote operation procedure, the draw will continue to be maintained in the open-to-navigation position and lowered only for the passage of trains or for maintenance. There will be no modifications to the operation of the bridge as it relates to the passage of vessels. Instead, this change will allow the bridge owner to increase efficiency of bridge operations and vessel transit by including this bridge in its current remote operation procedures located in Decatur, AL. V. Regulatory Analyses We developed this rule after considering numerous statutes and executive orders (E.O.s) related to rulemaking. Below we summarize our analyses based on a number of these statutes and E.O.s, and we discuss First Amendment rights of protesters. A. Regulatory Planning and Review E.O.s 12866 and 13563 direct agencies to assess the costs and benefits of available regulatory alternatives and, if regulation is necessary, to select regulatory approaches that maximize net benefits. E.O. 13563 emphasizes the importance of quantifying both costs and benefits, of reducing costs, of harmonizing rules, and of promoting flexibility. This rule has not been designated a ‘‘significant regulatory action,’’ under E.O. 12866. Accordingly, it has not been reviewed by the Office of Management and Budget. This interim rule is not a significant regulatory action because the draw will be maintained in the open-to-navigation position and when closed to pass trains PO 00000 Frm 00024 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 it will continue to open on signal as scheduled. Therefore, mariners will experience no changes in transiting through the bridge site. No new restrictions on or actions from the mariner are required by this rule. B. Impact on Small Entities The Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980 (RFA), 5 U.S.C. 601–612, as amended, requires federal agencies to consider the potential impact of regulations on small entities during rulemaking. The term ‘‘small entities’’ comprises small businesses, not-for-profit organizations that are independently owned and operated and are not dominant in their fields, and governmental jurisdictions with populations of less than 50,000. The Coast Guard certifies under 5 U.S.C. 605(b) that this rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. While some owners or operators of vessels intending to transit the bridge may be small entities, because the draw will be maintained in the open-tonavigation position and when closed to pass trains it will continue to open on signal as scheduled, no new restrictions or responsibilities are imposed on the mariner. Therefore, this rule will not have a significant economic impact on any vessel owner or operator. Under section 213(a) of the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996 (Pub. L. 104–121), we want to assist small entities in understanding this rule. If the rule would affect your small business, organization, or governmental jurisdiction and you have questions concerning its provisions or options for compliance, please contact the person listed in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT, above. Small businesses may send comments on the actions of Federal employees who enforce, or otherwise determine compliance with, Federal regulations to the Small Business and Agriculture Regulatory Enforcement Ombudsman and the Regional Small Business Regulatory Fairness Boards. The Ombudsman evaluates these actions annually and rates each agency’s responsiveness to small business. If you wish to comment on actions by employees of the Coast Guard, call 1– 888–REG–FAIR (1–888–734–3247). The Coast Guard will not retaliate against small entities that question or complain about this rule or any policy or action of the Coast Guard. C. Collection of Information This rule calls for no new collection of information under the Paperwork E:\FR\FM\29DER1.SGM 29DER1 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 249 / Tuesday, December 29, 2015 / Rules and Regulations Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501– 3520). D. Federalism and Indian Tribal Government A rule has implications for federalism under Executive Order 13132, Federalism, if it has a substantial direct effect on the States, on the relationship between the national government and the States, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities among the various levels of government. We have analyzed this rule under that Order and have determined that it is consistent with the fundamental federalism principles and preemption requirements described in E.O. 13132. Also, this rule does not have tribal implications under Executive Order 13175, Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribal Governments, because it does not have a substantial direct effect on one or more Indian tribes, on the relationship between the Federal Government and Indian tribes, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities between the Federal Government and Indian tribes. jstallworth on DSK7TPTVN1PROD with RULES E. Unfunded Mandates Reform Act The Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (2 U.S.C. 1531–1538) requires Federal agencies to assess the effects of their discretionary regulatory actions. In particular, the Act addresses actions that may result in the expenditure by a State, local, or tribal government, in the aggregate, or by the private sector of $100,000,000 (adjusted for inflation) or more in any one year. Though this rule will not result in such an expenditure, we do discuss the effects of this rule elsewhere in this preamble. F. Environment We have analyzed this rule under Department of Homeland Security Management Directive 023–01 and Commandant Instruction M16475.lD, which guides the Coast Guard in complying with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) (42 U.S.C. 4321–4370f), and have made a determination that this action is one of a category of actions which do not individually or cumulatively have a significant effect on the human environment. This rule simply promulgates the operating regulations or procedures for drawbridges. This action is categorically excluded from further review, under figure 2–1, paragraph (32)(e), of the Instruction. Under figure 2–1, paragraph (32)(e), of the Instruction, an environmental analysis checklist and a categorical exclusion determination are not required for this rule. VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:54 Dec 28, 2015 Jkt 238001 G. Protest Activities The Coast Guard respects the First Amendment rights of protesters. Protesters are asked to contact the person listed in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section to coordinate protest activities so that your message can be received without jeopardizing the safety or security of people, places or vessels. VI. Public Participation and Request for Comments We view public participation as essential to effective rulemaking, and will consider all comments and material received during the comment period. Your comment can help shape the outcome of this rulemaking. If you submit a comment, please include the docket number for this rulemaking, indicate the specific section of this document to which each comment applies, and provide a reason for each suggestion or recommendation. We encourage you to submit comments through the Federal eRulemaking Portal at http:// www.regulations.gov. If your material cannot be submitted using http:// www.regulations.gov, contact the person in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section of this document for alternate instructions. We accept anonymous comments. All comments received will be posted without change to http:// www.regulations.gov and will include any personal information you have provided. For more about privacy and the docket, you may review a Privacy Act notice regarding the Federal Docket Management System in the March 24, 2005, issue of the Federal Register (70 FR 15086). Documents mentioned in this notice, and all public comments, are in our online docket at http:// www.regulations.gov and can be viewed by following that Web site’s instructions. Additionally, if you go to the online docket and sign up for email alerts, you will be notified when comments are posted or a final rule is published. List of Subjects in 33 CFR Part 117 Bridges. For the reasons discussed in the preamble, the Coast Guard amends 33 CFR part 117 as follows: PART 117—DRAWBRIDGE OPERATION REGULATIONS 1. The authority citation for part 117 continues to read as follows: ■ Authority: 33 U.S.C. 499; 33 CFR 1.05–1; Department of Homeland Security Delegation No. 0170.1. PO 00000 Frm 00025 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 81183 2. In § 117.467, redesignate paragraph (b) as paragraph (c); and add new paragraph (b) to read as follows: ■ § 117.467 Lake Pontchartrain. * * * * * (b) The draw of the Norfolk Southern Railroad Bridge across Lake Pontchartrain, mile 4.80 near Slidell, St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana shall be maintained as follows: (1) The draw shall be maintained in the fully open-to-navigation position for vessels at all times, except during periods when it is closed for the passage of rail traffic or to perform periodic maintenance authorized in accordance with subpart A of this part. (2) The draw shall be remotely operated by the drawtender at Norfolk Southern’s drawbridge in Decatur, Alabama. The estimated duration that the bridge will remain closed for the passage of rail traffic is 10 to 15 minutes per operation. (3) When a train approaches the bridge, the drawtender will initiate the bridge closing warning signal, consisting of radio calls via VHF–FMchannels 13 and 16 and activation of flashing red warning lights at each end of the span. The radio calls will be broadcast at five (5) minutes prior to bridge closing and at two (2) minutes prior to bridge closing. Photoelectric (infrared) boat detectors will monitor the waterway beneath the bridge for the presence of vessels. (4) The drawtender will continuously monitor waterway traffic in the area using closed-circuit cameras mounted on the bridge. The draw will only be closed if the drawtender’s visual inspection indicates that the channel is clear and there are no vessels transiting in the area. The drawtender will maintain constant surveillance of the navigation channel to ensure that no conflict with maritime traffic exists. Additionally, the draw will not be closed if the S11 bascule bridge that is located immediately west of the railroad bridge is in the open-to-navigation position. If two or more closed-circuit cameras are inoperable or if there is inclement weather, the draw will only be operated by a drawtender located on site at the bridge. (5) At the end of the two-minute warning period, if no vessels have been detected by the drawtender, the draw closing sequence will automatically proceed. (6) Upon passage of the train, the draw will be returned to the fully opento-navigation position to allow marine E:\FR\FM\29DER1.SGM 29DER1 81184 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 249 / Tuesday, December 29, 2015 / Rules and Regulations traffic to pass. The warning lights will continue to flash red until the draw has returned to the fully open-to-navigation position at which time they will deactivate. (7) After the passage of each train, the draw must be returned to its fully opento-navigation position. (8) To request openings of the draw when the bascule span is in the closedto-navigation position, mariners may contact Norfolk Southern Railway via VHF–FM channel 13 or by telephone at the number displayed on the signs posted at the bridge. (9) The draw will be operated locally if: (i) Communication is lost between the drawbridge and the drawtender in Decatur, Alabama; (ii) More than two closed-circuit cameras are not working; (iii) The marine radio is inoperable; (iv) Weather conditions warrant; or (v) Ordered by the Coast Guard. * * * * * Folder on the line associated with this rulemaking. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: If you have questions on this rule, call or email Steven M. Fischer, Bridge Administrator, Thirteenth Coast Guard District Bridge Program Office, telephone 206–220–7282; email d13-pfd13bridges@uscg.mil. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. Table of Abbreviations CFR Code of Federal Regulations DHS Department of Homeland Security FR Federal Register NPRM Notice of Proposed Rulemaking SNPRM Supplementary notice of proposed rulemaking § Section WSDOT Washington State Department of Transportation II. Background Information and Regulatory History [FR Doc. 2015–32736 Filed 12–28–15; 8:45 am] On May 14, 2015, the Coast Guard published a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) entitled ‘‘Drawbridge Operations: Duwamish Waterway, Seattle, WA’’ in the Federal Register (80 FR 27619). We received one comment on the rule. No public meeting was requested, and none was held. BILLING CODE 9110–04–P III. Legal Authority and Need for Rule Dated: December 11, 2015. D.R. Callahan, Rear Admiral, U.S. Coast Guard, Commander, Eighth Coast Guard District. DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY Coast Guard 33 CFR Part 117 [Docket No. USCG–2015–0285] RIN 1625–AA09 Drawbridge Operation Regulation; Duwamish Waterway, Seattle, WA Coast Guard, DHS. Final rule. AGENCY: ACTION: The Coast Guard is modifying the operating schedule that governs the South Park Highway Bridge, on the Duwamish Waterway, mile 3.8, at Seattle, WA. This modification revises closure hours for the South Park Highway Bridge. This action improves movement of rush hour highway traffic while having minimal impact to maritime waterway traffic. DATES: This rule is effective January 28, 2016. ADDRESSES: To view documents mentioned in this preamble as being available in the docket, go to http:// www.regulations.gov, type USCG–2015– 0285 in the ‘‘SEARCH’’ box and click ‘‘SEARCH.’’ Click on Open Docket jstallworth on DSK7TPTVN1PROD with RULES SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:24 Dec 28, 2015 Jkt 238001 The Coast Guard is issuing this rule under authority 33 U.S.C 499. The South Park Highway Bridge is a double bascule leaf drawbridge, and provides 34.8 feet of vertical clearance at center span while in the closed position, 30 feet of vertical clearance at the extreme east and west ends of the navigable channel, and unlimited vertical clearance in the fully open position. Vertical clearances are referenced to mean high-water elevation (MHW). Horizontal clearance is 128 feet. The South Park Highway Bridge is subject to tidal influence, and has at least 15 feet of water depth at the bridge site at mean lower low water. The drawbridge operating regulations at 33 CFR 117.1041(a) (2) currently states that the South Park Highway Bridge need not be opened for the passage of vessels from 6:30 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The current drawbridge operating regulation was written to accommodate commuter patterns associated with morning and afternoon highway traffic associated with Boeing Plant number 2 shift changes. As of 2011, this plant is no longer operational and therefore highway traffic densities have changed. King County owns and operates the South Park Highway Bridge, and requested a permanent change to the PO 00000 Frm 00026 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 existing operating regulation. The rule modification will update drawbridge closure times to better meet current highway traffic demands. Modifying the existing drawbridge regulation will better meet the needs of current highway users, and current commuter traffic patterns, while meeting reasonable needs to maritime navigation. This modification improves movement of rush hour highway traffic while having minimal impact to maritime waterway traffic. Vessel traffic on the Duwamish waterway consists of vessels ranging from small pleasure craft, sailboats, small tribal fishing boats, and commercial tug and tow, and mega yachts. IV. Discussion of Comments, Changes and the Final Rule The Coast Guard received one comment on the proposed operating schedule change from Delta Marine Industries. The rule change to the existing South Park Highway Bridge operating regulation would represent a restriction on navigation related to Delta Marine Industries’ business. Currently, the closure hours of the 1st Avenue South Bridge (6:00–9:00 a.m. and 3:00– 6:00 p.m., the same hours as now proposed for the South Park Highway Bridge) are the limiting factor for access of large vessels between Delta Marine Industries and Elliott Bay. With the change to the closure hours for the South Park Highway Bridge, vessels arriving and departing Delta Marine Industries would be delayed/impacted based on a half hour transit time between South Park Highway Bridge and 1st Avenue South Bridge. Delta Marine Industries agrees with the concept of modifying the closure hours for the South Park Highway Bridge in a way that reflects current usage. However, Delta Marine Industries believes that matching the closure hours for the South Park Highway Bridge to those of the 1st Avenue South Bridge does not accommodate the needs of maritime users. Delta Marine Industries proposed revising the closure hours for the South Park Highway Bridge to 6:30– 8:30 a.m. and 3:30–5:30 p.m., Monday through Friday except Federal holidays. King County agreed with Delta Marine Industries’ proposal. Therefore, the Coast Guard is modifying the drawbridge operating regulations at 33 CFR 117.1041(a) (2). The Coast Guard amends the opening schedule such that the bridge need not be opened for the passage of vessels from 6:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays other E:\FR\FM\29DER1.SGM 29DER1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 80, Number 249 (Tuesday, December 29, 2015)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 81181-81184]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2015-32736]


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DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY

Coast Guard

33 CFR Part 117

[Docket No. USCG-2015-0814]
RIN 1625-AA09


Drawbridge Operation Regulation; Lake Pontchartrain, Slidell, LA

AGENCY: Coast Guard, DHS.

ACTION: Interim rule with request for comments.

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SUMMARY: The Coast Guard is modifying the method of operation for the 
Norfolk Southern Railroad (Norfolk Southern or NSRR) Bascule Bridge 
across Lake Pontchartrain, mile 4.80, near Slidell, St. Tammany Parish, 
Louisiana. The bridge owner, Norfolk Southern, requested in writing to 
operate the draw of the bridge remotely. This interim rule codifies the 
change in method of operation and increases the efficiency of railroad 
operations, allowing for the operation of the draw from another 
location, while allowing for comments regarding remote operations 
during the interim period.

DATES: This interim rule is effective December 29, 2015.
    Comments and related material must reach the Coast Guard on or 
before February 29, 2016.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments or view documents mentioned in this 
preamble as being available in the docket, go to http://www.regulations.gov, type [USCG-2015-0814]. in the ``SEARCH'' box and 
click ``SEARCH.'' Click on Open Docket Folder on the line associated 
with this rulemaking.
    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 interim 
rule, call or email Ms. Geri Robinson; Bridge Administration Branch, 
Eighth Coast Guard District; telephone 504-671-2128, email 
geri.a.robinson@uscg.mil.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Table of Abbreviations

CFR Code of Federal Regulations
DHS Department of Homeland Security
FR Federal Register
NPRM Notice of proposed rulemaking
U.S.C. United States Code
NSRR Norfolk Southern Railroad

II. Background Information and Regulatory History

    The Coast Guard is issuing this interim rule without prior notice 
and opportunity to comment pursuant to authority under section 4(a) of 
the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) (5 U.S.C. 553(b)). This 
provision authorizes an agency to issue a rule without prior notice and 
opportunity to comment when the agency for good cause finds that those 
procedures are ``impracticable, unnecessary, or contrary to the public 
interest.'' Under 5 U.S.C. 553(b), the Coast Guard finds that good 
cause exists for not publishing a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) 
with respect to this rule because there will be no change to the 
operating schedule of

[[Page 81182]]

the bridge. The modification for the bridge owner to open the draw by 
remote operation does not change the existing operating schedule. This 
rule will impose no new restrictions or requirements on the mariner. 
Thus, publishing an NPRM is impracticable as mariners are not expected 
to experience any changes in the operation of the draw for the purposes 
of vessel passage. Delaying this rule to provide for the notice and 
comment period would also unnecessarily delay the bridge owner in 
transitioning to the more efficient remote operation method. We are 
requesting comments to this interim rule to ensure participation in the 
rulemaking based on real-time experience while the draw operates under 
the new remote operation method.
    We are issuing this rule and under 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3), the Coast 
Guard finds that good cause exists for making it effective in less than 
30 days after publication in the Federal Register. Delaying this rule 
to provide 30-day notice is unnecessary as mariners will experience no 
changes in transiting through the bridge site. Making this rule 
effective without providing 30-day notice imposes no impact on the 
mariner but allows for the bridge owner to transition to the more 
efficient remote operation method without unnecessary delay.

III. Legal Authority and Need for Rule

    The Coast Guard is issuing this rule under the authority of 33 
U.S.C. 499. The Norfolk Southern Railroad Bascule Bridge across Lake 
Pontchartrain at mile 4.80, near Slidell, St. Tammany Parish, 
Louisiana, has a horizontal clearance of 151 feet between fenders and a 
vertical clearance of 4.0 feet above Mean High Water, elevation 2.0 
feet Mean Sea Level in the closed-to-navigation position. The vertical 
clearance of the bascule bridge in the open-to-navigation position is 
68 feet for the full 151-foot horizontal clearance and unlimited from 
the tip of the bascule to the north fender system, a distance of 106 
feet. Currently, the bridge opens on signal under 33 CFR 117.5.
    In accordance with 33 CFR 117.42, the District Commander may 
authorize a drawbridge to operate under an automated system or from a 
remote location. The purpose of this rule is to allow the draw of this 
bridge to operate from a remote location. The draw will continue to 
open on signal for the passage of vessels, and mariners should not 
experience any changes in the level of service.

IV. Discussion of the Rule

    The Coast Guard, at the request of Norfolk Southern, is changing 
the method of operation for the Norfolk Southern Railroad Bascule 
Bridge across Lake Pontchartrain, mile 4.80, near Slidell, St. Tammany 
Parish, Louisiana. Due to the need for increased efficiency in railroad 
operations, Norfolk Southern requested a change to the method of 
operating the draw from on-site to a drawtender operating the bridge 
remotely.
    Presently, the draw is maintained in the open-to-navigation 
position and closed only for the passage of trains or maintenance. The 
bridge owner would like to operate the draw remotely using a drawtender 
at another drawbridge in Decatur, Alabama, rather than maintaining the 
current on-site operation and drawtender. The implementation of this 
rule, in effect, removes the requirement that a drawtender be present 
on site at all times.
    Under the new remote operation procedure, the draw will continue to 
be maintained in the open-to-navigation position and lowered only for 
the passage of trains or for maintenance. There will be no 
modifications to the operation of the bridge as it relates to the 
passage of vessels. Instead, this change will allow the bridge owner to 
increase efficiency of bridge operations and vessel transit by 
including this bridge in its current remote operation procedures 
located in Decatur, AL.

V. Regulatory Analyses

    We developed this rule after considering numerous statutes and 
executive orders (E.O.s) related to rulemaking. Below we summarize our 
analyses based on a number of these statutes and E.O.s, and we discuss 
First Amendment rights of protesters.

A. Regulatory Planning and Review

    E.O.s 12866 and 13563 direct agencies to assess the costs and 
benefits of available regulatory alternatives and, if regulation is 
necessary, to select regulatory approaches that maximize net benefits. 
E.O. 13563 emphasizes the importance of quantifying both costs and 
benefits, of reducing costs, of harmonizing rules, and of promoting 
flexibility. This rule has not been designated a ``significant 
regulatory action,'' under E.O. 12866. Accordingly, it has not been 
reviewed by the Office of Management and Budget.
    This interim rule is not a significant regulatory action because 
the draw will be maintained in the open-to-navigation position and when 
closed to pass trains it will continue to open on signal as scheduled. 
Therefore, mariners will experience no changes in transiting through 
the bridge site. No new restrictions on or actions from the mariner are 
required by this rule.

B. Impact on Small Entities

    The Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980 (RFA), 5 U.S.C. 601-612, as 
amended, requires federal agencies to consider the potential impact of 
regulations on small entities during rulemaking. The term ``small 
entities'' comprises small businesses, not-for-profit organizations 
that are independently owned and operated and are not dominant in their 
fields, and governmental jurisdictions with populations of less than 
50,000. The Coast Guard certifies under 5 U.S.C. 605(b) that this rule 
will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of 
small entities. While some owners or operators of vessels intending to 
transit the bridge may be small entities, because the draw will be 
maintained in the open-to-navigation position and when closed to pass 
trains it will continue to open on signal as scheduled, no new 
restrictions or responsibilities are imposed on the mariner. Therefore, 
this rule will not have a significant economic impact on any vessel 
owner or operator.
    Under section 213(a) of the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement 
Fairness Act of 1996 (Pub. L. 104-121), we want to assist small 
entities in understanding this rule. If the rule would affect your 
small business, organization, or governmental jurisdiction and you have 
questions concerning its provisions or options for compliance, please 
contact the person listed in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT, 
above.
    Small businesses may send comments on the actions of Federal 
employees who enforce, or otherwise determine compliance with, Federal 
regulations to the Small Business and Agriculture Regulatory 
Enforcement Ombudsman and the Regional Small Business Regulatory 
Fairness Boards. The Ombudsman evaluates these actions annually and 
rates each agency's responsiveness to small business. If you wish to 
comment on actions by employees of the Coast Guard, call 1-888-REG-FAIR 
(1-888-734-3247). The Coast Guard will not retaliate against small 
entities that question or complain about this rule or any policy or 
action of the Coast Guard.

C. Collection of Information

    This rule calls for no new collection of information under the 
Paperwork

[[Page 81183]]

Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501-3520).

D. Federalism and Indian Tribal Government

    A rule has implications for federalism under Executive Order 13132, 
Federalism, if it has a substantial direct effect on the States, on the 
relationship between the national government and the States, or on the 
distribution of power and responsibilities among the various levels of 
government. We have analyzed this rule under that Order and have 
determined that it is consistent with the fundamental federalism 
principles and preemption requirements described in E.O. 13132.
    Also, this rule does not have tribal implications under Executive 
Order 13175, Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribal 
Governments, because it does not have a substantial direct effect on 
one or more Indian tribes, on the relationship between the Federal 
Government and Indian tribes, or on the distribution of power and 
responsibilities between the Federal Government and Indian tribes.

E. Unfunded Mandates Reform Act

    The Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (2 U.S.C. 1531-1538) 
requires Federal agencies to assess the effects of their discretionary 
regulatory actions. In particular, the Act addresses actions that may 
result in the expenditure by a State, local, or tribal government, in 
the aggregate, or by the private sector of $100,000,000 (adjusted for 
inflation) or more in any one year. Though this rule will not result in 
such an expenditure, we do discuss the effects of this rule elsewhere 
in this preamble.

F. Environment

    We have analyzed this rule under Department of Homeland Security 
Management Directive 023-01 and Commandant Instruction M16475.lD, which 
guides the Coast Guard in complying with the National Environmental 
Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) (42 U.S.C. 4321-4370f), and have made a 
determination that this action is one of a category of actions which do 
not individually or cumulatively have a significant effect on the human 
environment. This rule simply promulgates the operating regulations or 
procedures for drawbridges. This action is categorically excluded from 
further review, under figure 2-1, paragraph (32)(e), of the 
Instruction.
    Under figure 2-1, paragraph (32)(e), of the Instruction, an 
environmental analysis checklist and a categorical exclusion 
determination are not required for this rule.

G. Protest Activities

    The Coast Guard respects the First Amendment rights of protesters. 
Protesters are asked to contact the person listed in the FOR FURTHER 
INFORMATION CONTACT section to coordinate protest activities so that 
your message can be received without jeopardizing the safety or 
security of people, places or vessels.

VI. Public Participation and Request for Comments

    We view public participation as essential to effective rulemaking, 
and will consider all comments and material received during the comment 
period. Your comment can help shape the outcome of this rulemaking. If 
you submit a comment, please include the docket number for this 
rulemaking, indicate the specific section of this document to which 
each comment applies, and provide a reason for each suggestion or 
recommendation.
    We encourage you to submit comments through the Federal eRulemaking 
Portal at http://www.regulations.gov. If your material cannot be 
submitted using http://www.regulations.gov, contact the person in the 
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section of this document for alternate 
instructions.
    We accept anonymous comments. All comments received will be posted 
without change to http://www.regulations.gov and will include any 
personal information you have provided. For more about privacy and the 
docket, you may review a Privacy Act notice regarding the Federal 
Docket Management System in the March 24, 2005, issue of the Federal 
Register (70 FR 15086).
    Documents mentioned in this notice, and all public comments, are in 
our online docket at http://www.regulations.gov and can be viewed by 
following that Web site's instructions. Additionally, if you go to the 
online docket and sign up for email alerts, you will be notified when 
comments are posted or a final rule is published.

List of Subjects in 33 CFR Part 117

    Bridges.

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

PART 117--DRAWBRIDGE OPERATION REGULATIONS

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

    Authority:  33 U.S.C. 499; 33 CFR 1.05-1; Department of Homeland 
Security Delegation No. 0170.1.


0
2. In Sec.  117.467, redesignate paragraph (b) as paragraph (c); and 
add new paragraph (b) to read as follows:


Sec.  117.467  Lake Pontchartrain.

* * * * *
    (b) The draw of the Norfolk Southern Railroad Bridge across Lake 
Pontchartrain, mile 4.80 near Slidell, St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana 
shall be maintained as follows:
    (1) The draw shall be maintained in the fully open-to-navigation 
position for vessels at all times, except during periods when it is 
closed for the passage of rail traffic or to perform periodic 
maintenance authorized in accordance with subpart A of this part.
    (2) The draw shall be remotely operated by the drawtender at 
Norfolk Southern's drawbridge in Decatur, Alabama. The estimated 
duration that the bridge will remain closed for the passage of rail 
traffic is 10 to 15 minutes per operation.
    (3) When a train approaches the bridge, the drawtender will 
initiate the bridge closing warning signal, consisting of radio calls 
via VHF-FM-channels 13 and 16 and activation of flashing red warning 
lights at each end of the span. The radio calls will be broadcast at 
five (5) minutes prior to bridge closing and at two (2) minutes prior 
to bridge closing. Photoelectric (infrared) boat detectors will monitor 
the waterway beneath the bridge for the presence of vessels.
    (4) The drawtender will continuously monitor waterway traffic in 
the area using closed-circuit cameras mounted on the bridge. The draw 
will only be closed if the drawtender's visual inspection indicates 
that the channel is clear and there are no vessels transiting in the 
area. The drawtender will maintain constant surveillance of the 
navigation channel to ensure that no conflict with maritime traffic 
exists. Additionally, the draw will not be closed if the S11 bascule 
bridge that is located immediately west of the railroad bridge is in 
the open-to-navigation position. If two or more closed-circuit cameras 
are inoperable or if there is inclement weather, the draw will only be 
operated by a drawtender located on site at the bridge.
    (5) At the end of the two-minute warning period, if no vessels have 
been detected by the drawtender, the draw closing sequence will 
automatically proceed.
    (6) Upon passage of the train, the draw will be returned to the 
fully open-to-navigation position to allow marine

[[Page 81184]]

traffic to pass. The warning lights will continue to flash red until 
the draw has returned to the fully open-to-navigation position at which 
time they will deactivate.
    (7) After the passage of each train, the draw must be returned to 
its fully open-to-navigation position.
    (8) To request openings of the draw when the bascule span is in the 
closed-to-navigation position, mariners may contact Norfolk Southern 
Railway via VHF-FM channel 13 or by telephone at the number displayed 
on the signs posted at the bridge.
    (9) The draw will be operated locally if:
    (i) Communication is lost between the drawbridge and the drawtender 
in Decatur, Alabama;
    (ii) More than two closed-circuit cameras are not working;
    (iii) The marine radio is inoperable;
    (iv) Weather conditions warrant; or
    (v) Ordered by the Coast Guard.
* * * * *

    Dated: December 11, 2015.
D.R. Callahan,
Rear Admiral, U.S. Coast Guard, Commander, Eighth Coast Guard District.
[FR Doc. 2015-32736 Filed 12-28-15; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 9110-04-P