Intent To Conduct Scoping and Prepare a Draft Environmental Assessment for Changes in Regulations for Greater Farallones and Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuaries, 23445-23447 [2016-09248]

Download as PDF jstallworth on DSK7TPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 77 / Thursday, April 21, 2016 / Proposed Rules submitted information is validated as PCII, the entire submission is given protection as PCII. Additionally, metadata practices are not streamlined so that it is received in a uniform process. This ANPRM seeks comments regarding the marking of PCII as it relates to the Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI) framework, to include comments on portion marking of original PCII, and the marking of PCII metadata. c. Sharing PCII with Foreign Governments—To date the PCII Program does not share PCII with foreign governments, however it is possible to do so through sharing agreements. This ANPRM seeks comments regarding the sharing of PCII with trusted international partners identified through sharing agreements to support the critical infrastructure protection and resilience efforts of the United States and partner governments. d. Regulatory Purposes—Comments on whether the current information in 6 CFR part 29 is sufficient to describe the restriction on regulatory access to PCII. See sections 29.2(k) and 29.3 of 6 CFR part 29. e. Safeguarding—Comments on all aspects of PCII safeguarding, including comments on storage, violations of unauthorized disclosure, dissemination, tracking and use of PCII, and destruction of same. f. Oversight and Compliance— Currently, oversight and compliance within the PCII Program ensures that all critical infrastructure activities are in accordance with the CII Act of 2002 and 6 CFR part 29. This ANPRM seeks comments relating to broadening the oversight and compliance of the PCII Program to enhance assessment and measure the effectiveness of compliance with PCII Program policies, procedures and practices. g. Alignment with other information protection programs—Comments regarding how DHS may be able to better align the PCII Program with other existing information protection and sharing programs, such as the Transportation Security Administration’s Sensitive Security Information program, the Department of Homeland Security’s ChemicalTerrorism Vulnerability Information program, and the National Archives and Records Administration Controlled Unclassified Information Program, including comments on any duplication or overlap that may exist between the PCII Program and another information protection programs. When providing comments on this topic, DHS encourages commenters to provide the specific citations to any information VerDate Sep<11>2014 13:26 Apr 20, 2016 Jkt 238001 protection programs that may duplicate or overlap with the PCII requirements as well as a specific description of the duplicative or overlapping requirement. h. Administration of PCII Program in States—Comments on streamlining the administration of the PCII Program within State, local, tribal, and territorial entities by including State, local, tribal, and territorial Homeland Security Advisors in the management of the PCII Program so that states are accredited in their entirety and aligned with the requirements of the PCII Program. In each of the above cases, DHS also requests that the commenter provide, in as much detail as possible, an explanation why the procedures should be modified, streamlined, expanded, or removed, as well as specific suggestions of the ways DHS can better achieve its protective objectives for sharing information about the nation’s critical infrastructure. In addressing these topics, DHS encourages interested parties to provide specific data that documents the potential costs of modifying the existing regulatory requirements pursuant to the commenter’s suggestions; the potential quantifiable benefits including security and societal benefits of modifying the existing procedures; and the potential impacts on small businesses of modifying the existing regulatory requirements. Commenters might also address how DHS can best obtain and consider accurate, objective information and data about the costs, burdens, and benefits of the PCII Program and whether there are lower cost alternatives that would allow DHS to continue to achieve its goal of protecting sensitive security information on the nation’s critical infrastructure consistent with the CII Act of 2002. Jeh Charles Johnson, Secretary. [FR Doc. 2016–09186 Filed 4–20–16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9110–9P–P PO 00000 Frm 00004 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 23445 DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 15 CFR Part 922 RIN 0648–BF99 Intent To Conduct Scoping and Prepare a Draft Environmental Assessment for Changes in Regulations for Greater Farallones and Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuaries Office of National Marine Sanctuaries (ONMS), National Ocean Service (NOS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Department of Commerce (DOC). ACTION: Notice of intent to conduct scoping, hold public scoping meetings, and prepare an environmental assessment. AGENCY: The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) expanded the boundaries of Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary (now renamed Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary or GFNMS) and Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary (CBNMS) to an area north and west of their previous boundaries with a final rule published on March 12, 2015. The final rule entered into effect on June 9, 2015. Pursuant to a request from USCG, NOAA is considering developing future rulemaking to allow the following USCG discharges within part or all of GFNMS and CBNMS: 1. Untreated vessel sewage, 2. vessel graywater that does not meet the definition of clean as defined by the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (FWPCA), and 3. ammunition and pyrotechnics (flare) materials used in USCG training exercises for use of force and search and rescue. NOAA will conduct public scoping meetings to gather information and other comments to determine the relevant scope of issues and range of alternatives to be addressed in the environmental process from individuals, organizations, tribes, and government agencies on this topic. The scoping meetings are scheduled as detailed below. DATES: Written comments should be received on or before May 31, 2016. Scoping meetings will be held on: 1. May 10, 2016, 6 p.m. 2. May 11, 2016, 6 p.m. 3. May 12, 2016, 6 p.m. ADDRESSES: You may submit comments on this document, identified by NOAA– NOS–2016–0043, by any of the following methods: SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\21APP1.SGM 21APP1 23446 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 77 / Thursday, April 21, 2016 / Proposed Rules • Electronic Submission: Submit all electronic public comments via the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal. Go to www.regulations.gov/ #!docketDetail;D=NOAA–NOS–2016– 0043, click the ‘‘Comment Now!’’ icon, complete the required fields, and enter or attach your comments. • Mail: Maria Brown, Superintendent, Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary, 991 Marine Drive, The Presidio, San Francisco, CA 94129. • In Person: At any of the following scoping meetings: 1. San Francisco Bay Area—U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Bay Model Visitor Center, 2100 Bridgeway, Blvd., Sausalito, CA 94965 (May 10, 2016). 2. Bodega Bay Fire Protection District, 510 Highway One, Bodega Bay, CA 94923(May 11, 2016). 3. Gualala Community Center, 47950 Center Street, Gualala, CA 95445 (May 12, 2016). Instructions: Comments sent by any other method, to any other address or individual, or received after the end of the comment period, may not be considered by NOAA. All comments received are a part of the public record and will generally be posted for public viewing on www.regulations.gov without change. All personal identifying information (e.g., name, address, etc.), confidential business information, or otherwise sensitive information submitted voluntarily by the sender will be publicly accessible. NOAA will accept anonymous comments (enter ‘‘N/A’’ in the required fields if you wish to remain anonymous). FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Maria Brown, Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary Superintendent, at Maria.Brown@ noaa.gov or 415–561–6622. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: jstallworth on DSK7TPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS Background NOAA is charged with managing marine protected areas as the National Marine Sanctuary System (16 U.S.C. 1431 (b)(1)). The Office of National Marine Sanctuaries (ONMS) is the federal office within NOAA that manages the National Marine Sanctuary System. The mission of ONMS is to identify, protect, conserve, and enhance the natural and cultural resources, values, and qualities of the National Marine Sanctuary System for this and future generations throughout the nation. ONMS serves as the trustee for 15 marine protected areas, among them GFNMS and CBNMS. GFNMS was designated in 1981 and protects approximately 3,295 square miles (2,488 square nautical miles). CBNMS was VerDate Sep<11>2014 13:26 Apr 20, 2016 Jkt 238001 designated in 1989 and protects approximately 1,286 square miles (971 square nautical miles). The final rule entered into effect on June 9, 2015(80 FR 34047). At that time, NOAA postponed the effectiveness of the discharge requirements in both sanctuaries’ regulations with regard to U.S. Coast Guard activities for six months. An additional six month postponement of the effectiveness of the discharge requirements was published in the Federal Register on December 1, 2015, to provide adequate time for completion of an environmental assessment and to determine NOAA’s next steps. Without further NOAA action, the discharge regulations would become effective with regard to USCG activities June 9, 2016. Both sanctuaries’ regulations prohibit discharging or depositing, from within or into the sanctuary, any material or other matter (15 CFR 922.82(a)(2–3) and 15 CFR 922.112(a)(2)(i–ii)). Several other national marine sanctuaries also have these regulatory prohibitions. The discharge prohibitions are aimed at maintaining and improving water quality within national marine sanctuaries to enhance conditions for the living marine resources within the sanctuaries. The discharge regulations have exemptions; those relevant for the proposed action include: —For a vessel less than 300 gross registered tons (GRT), or a vessel 300 GRT or greater without sufficient holding tank capacity to hold sewage while within the sanctuary, clean effluent generated incidental to vessel use by an operable Type I or II marine sanitation device that is approved in accordance with section 312 of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act, as amended (FWPCA); marine sanitation devices must be locked in a manner that prevents discharge or deposit of untreated sewage (§ 922.82(a)(2)(ii) and § 922.112(a)(2)(i)(B)); —for a vessel less than 300 GRT, or a vessel 300 GRT or greater without sufficient holding tank capacity to hold graywater while within the sanctuary, clean graywater as defined by section 312 of the FWPCA (§ 922.82(a)(2)(iv) and § 922.112(a)(2)(i)(D)); and —activities necessary to respond to an emergency threatening life, property or the environment (§ 922.82(c) and § 922.112(b)). The USCG, part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, is a military service and a branch of the armed forces (14 U.S.C. 1), charged with PO 00000 Frm 00005 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 carrying out eleven maritime safety, security and stewardship missions. One key mission of the USCG is to enforce or assist in the enforcement of all applicable Federal laws on, under, and over the high seas and waters subject to the jurisdiction of the United States. As part of this mission, the USCG supports resource protection efforts within GFNMS and CBNMS by providing surveillance of activities within the sanctuaries and enforcement of the National Marine Sanctuaries Act (NMSA) and other laws. The USCG has authority to enforce the NMSA under 14 U.S.C. 2 and 14 U.S.C. 89. Law enforcement activities for the two sanctuaries are also conducted by other agencies, primarily NOAA’s Office of Law Enforcement and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. In GFNMS the National Park Service and several local agencies also conduct law enforcement activities. The USCG also leads incident planning and response activities for oil spills and other incidents in U.S. coastal and ocean waters. These activities are necessary components of GFNMS and CBNMS management. Other USCG missions that support national marine sanctuary management include ports, waterways and coastal security; aids to navigation, including tending buoys; search and rescue; living marine resources; marine safety; and marine environmental protection. The USCG may concurrently conduct activities to support more than one of its missions when operating vessels within or aircraft above GFNMS and CBNMS. In the course of the rulemaking to expand GFNMS and CBNMS, NOAA received a letter dated February 4, 2013, from the USCG stating that the sewage and graywater discharge prohibitions proposed for the GFNMS and CBNMS expansion areas had the potential to impair the ability of USCG vessels to conduct operational missions in the proposed enlarged sanctuaries and to stay ‘‘mission ready’’. In 2014, USCG and NOAA re-initiated discussions to try to address all types of discharges from the training activities and the sewage and graywater discharges from other missions and routine patrols in both GFNMS and CBNMS. Subsequently, NOAA and the USCG entered into interagency consultations in January 2015 to address both agencies’ concerns. NOAA published the final rule for the expansion of GFNMS and CBNMS on March 12, 2015 (80 FR 13078), in the Federal Register and the rule became effective on June 9, 2015 (80 FR 34047). At issue are the discharge regulations in both sanctuaries and USCG E:\FR\FM\21APP1.SGM 21APP1 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 77 / Thursday, April 21, 2016 / Proposed Rules compliance with these regulations during routine vessel operations and during training exercises designed to make USCG personnel ready for search and rescue missions and use of force missions using live fire exercises. NOAA is concerned with protecting sanctuary resources and habitats, resolving any conflicts that could occur among sanctuary user groups (e.g., fishing and USCG live fire training), and ensuring continued USCG enforcement of sanctuary regulations. To ensure the rule did not impair USCG operations necessary to fulfill its multi-purpose missions while the agencies were in consultation, the document postponed for six months the effective date for the discharge requirements in the expansion areas for both sanctuaries with regard to USCG activities. NOAA committed to considering exempting certain USCG discharge activities from the GFNMS and CBNMS regulations. An additional six month postponement of the effectiveness of the discharge requirements was published in the Federal Register December 1, 2015, to provide adequate time for completion of an environmental assessment and to determine NOAA’s action. Without further NOAA action, the discharge regulations would become effective with regard to USCG activities on June 9, 2016. jstallworth on DSK7TPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS Potential Options NOAA is exploring a variety of options on how to best protect sanctuary resources while ensuring the operational capacity for USCG to conduct mission-essential activities. NOAA has identified two options for this: 1. Changing the regulations to allow USCG discharges; and 2. issuing a national marine sanctuary general permit, if the activity is eligible for a permit and is conducted in accordance with the terms and conditions in the permit (see http://sanctuaries.noaa.gov/ management/permits/). In either case, discharges could be allowed in all waters of the sanctuaries; only in Federal waters (further than 3 nautical miles from shore); in certain zones delineated based on biological factors (such as oceanographic features or density of significant species) and other factors (such as high use for recreation, shipping, or other human activities); in the expanded waters of CBNMS and GFNMS based on the March 12, 2015 rulemaking; or not at all. NOAA is interested in receiving public comment on the best way to address the need for continued USCG operations in CBNMS and GFNMS while fulfilling its primary VerDate Sep<11>2014 13:26 Apr 20, 2016 Jkt 238001 objective of resource protection in national marine sanctuaries. Request for Information NOAA anticipates that these changes, whether regulatory or non-regulatory will require preparation of an environmental assessment under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). Therefore, NOAA is also interested in receiving public comment that could contribute to the environmental analysis that will be prepared for this action; specifically, information related to the potential impacts of Coast Guard operational vessel discharges of sewage and graywater and training discharges within GFNMS and CBNMS on biological, physical and oceanographic features of the sanctuaries as well as on human activities taking place in the sanctuaries. Timeline The process for this action is composed of four major stages: 1. Information collection and characterization (scoping); 2. preparation and release of a draft environmental assessment under NEPA, and any proposed amendments to the regulations if appropriate; 3. public review and comment; 4. preparation and release of a final environmental assessment, and any final amendments to the regulations if appropriate. This document also advises the public that NOAA will coordinate any consultation responsibilities under section 7 of the Endangered Species Act (ESA), Essential Fish Habitat (EFH) under the Magnuson Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA), section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA, 16 U.S.C. 470), and Federal Consistency review under the Coastal Zone Management Act (CZMA), along with its ongoing NEPA process including the use of NEPA documents and public and stakeholder meetings to also meet the requirements of other federal laws. In fulfilling its responsibility under the NHPA and NEPA, NOAA intends to identify consulting parties; identify historic properties and assess the effects of the undertaking on such properties; initiate formal consultation with the State Historic Preservation Officer, the Advisory Council of Historic Preservation, and other consulting parties as appropriate; involve the public in accordance with NOAA’s NEPA procedures, and develop in consultation with identified consulting parties alternatives and proposed measures that might avoid, minimize or mitigate any adverse effects on historic PO 00000 Frm 00006 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 23447 properties as appropriate and describe them in any environmental assessment or draft environmental impact statement. Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1431 et seq. Dated: April 15, 2016. John Armor, Acting Director for the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries. [FR Doc. 2016–09248 Filed 4–20–16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–NK–P ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY 40 CFR Part 52 [EPA–R06–OAR–2016–0132; FRL–9945–08– Region 6] Approval and Promulgation of Implementation Plans; State of Louisiana; Revisions to the State Implementation Plan; Fee Regulations Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). ACTION: Proposed rule. AGENCY: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing to approve revisions to the Louisiana State Implementation Plan (SIP) related to the Fee Regulations section of the Louisiana SIP that were submitted by the State of Louisiana on February 23, 2016. The EPA has evaluated the SIP submittal from Louisiana and preliminarily determined these revisions are consistent with the requirements of the Clean Air Act (Act or CAA). The EPA is proposing this action under section 110 of the Act. DATES: Written comments should be received on or before May 23, 2016. ADDRESSES: Submit your comments, identified by Docket No. EPA–R06– OAR–2016–0132, at http:// www.regulations.gov or via email to donaldson.tracie@epa.gov. For additional information on how to submit comments see the detailed instructions in the ADDRESSES section of the direct final rule located in the rules section of this Federal Register. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Tracie Donaldson, 214–665–6633, donaldson.tracie@epa.gov. To inspect the hard copy materials, please schedule an appointment with Tracie Donaldson or Bill Deese at 214–665–7253. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: In the final rules section of this Federal Register, the EPA is approving the State’s SIP submittal as a direct rule without prior proposal because the Agency views this as a noncontroversial SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\21APP1.SGM 21APP1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 81, Number 77 (Thursday, April 21, 2016)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 23445-23447]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2016-09248]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

15 CFR Part 922

RIN 0648-BF99


Intent To Conduct Scoping and Prepare a Draft Environmental 
Assessment for Changes in Regulations for Greater Farallones and 
Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuaries

AGENCY: Office of National Marine Sanctuaries (ONMS), National Ocean 
Service (NOS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), 
Department of Commerce (DOC).

ACTION: Notice of intent to conduct scoping, hold public scoping 
meetings, and prepare an environmental assessment.

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

SUMMARY: The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) 
expanded the boundaries of Gulf of the Farallones National Marine 
Sanctuary (now renamed Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary or 
GFNMS) and Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary (CBNMS) to an area 
north and west of their previous boundaries with a final rule published 
on March 12, 2015. The final rule entered into effect on June 9, 2015. 
Pursuant to a request from USCG, NOAA is considering developing future 
rulemaking to allow the following USCG discharges within part or all of 
GFNMS and CBNMS: 1. Untreated vessel sewage, 2. vessel graywater that 
does not meet the definition of clean as defined by the Federal Water 
Pollution Control Act (FWPCA), and 3. ammunition and pyrotechnics 
(flare) materials used in USCG training exercises for use of force and 
search and rescue. NOAA will conduct public scoping meetings to gather 
information and other comments to determine the relevant scope of 
issues and range of alternatives to be addressed in the environmental 
process from individuals, organizations, tribes, and government 
agencies on this topic. The scoping meetings are scheduled as detailed 
below.

DATES: Written comments should be received on or before May 31, 2016.
    Scoping meetings will be held on:
    1. May 10, 2016, 6 p.m.
    2. May 11, 2016, 6 p.m.
    3. May 12, 2016, 6 p.m.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments on this document, identified by 
NOAA-NOS-2016-0043, by any of the following methods:

[[Page 23446]]

     Electronic Submission: Submit all electronic public 
comments via the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal. Go to 
www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=NOAA-NOS-2016-0043, click the 
``Comment Now!'' icon, complete the required fields, and enter or 
attach your comments.
     Mail: Maria Brown, Superintendent, Greater Farallones 
National Marine Sanctuary, 991 Marine Drive, The Presidio, San 
Francisco, CA 94129.
     In Person: At any of the following scoping meetings:
    1. San Francisco Bay Area--U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Bay Model 
Visitor Center, 2100 Bridgeway, Blvd., Sausalito, CA 94965 (May 10, 
2016).
    2. Bodega Bay Fire Protection District, 510 Highway One, Bodega 
Bay, CA 94923(May 11, 2016).
    3. Gualala Community Center, 47950 Center Street, Gualala, CA 95445 
(May 12, 2016).
    Instructions: Comments sent by any other method, to any other 
address or individual, or received after the end of the comment period, 
may not be considered by NOAA. All comments received are a part of the 
public record and will generally be posted for public viewing on 
www.regulations.gov without change. All personal identifying 
information (e.g., name, address, etc.), confidential business 
information, or otherwise sensitive information submitted voluntarily 
by the sender will be publicly accessible. NOAA will accept anonymous 
comments (enter ``N/A'' in the required fields if you wish to remain 
anonymous).

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Maria Brown, Greater Farallones 
National Marine Sanctuary Superintendent, at Maria.Brown@noaa.gov or 
415-561-6622.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

    NOAA is charged with managing marine protected areas as the 
National Marine Sanctuary System (16 U.S.C. 1431 (b)(1)). The Office of 
National Marine Sanctuaries (ONMS) is the federal office within NOAA 
that manages the National Marine Sanctuary System. The mission of ONMS 
is to identify, protect, conserve, and enhance the natural and cultural 
resources, values, and qualities of the National Marine Sanctuary 
System for this and future generations throughout the nation. ONMS 
serves as the trustee for 15 marine protected areas, among them GFNMS 
and CBNMS. GFNMS was designated in 1981 and protects approximately 
3,295 square miles (2,488 square nautical miles). CBNMS was designated 
in 1989 and protects approximately 1,286 square miles (971 square 
nautical miles). The final rule entered into effect on June 9, 2015(80 
FR 34047).
    At that time, NOAA postponed the effectiveness of the discharge 
requirements in both sanctuaries' regulations with regard to U.S. Coast 
Guard activities for six months. An additional six month postponement 
of the effectiveness of the discharge requirements was published in the 
Federal Register on December 1, 2015, to provide adequate time for 
completion of an environmental assessment and to determine NOAA's next 
steps. Without further NOAA action, the discharge regulations would 
become effective with regard to USCG activities June 9, 2016.
    Both sanctuaries' regulations prohibit discharging or depositing, 
from within or into the sanctuary, any material or other matter (15 CFR 
922.82(a)(2-3) and 15 CFR 922.112(a)(2)(i-ii)). Several other national 
marine sanctuaries also have these regulatory prohibitions. The 
discharge prohibitions are aimed at maintaining and improving water 
quality within national marine sanctuaries to enhance conditions for 
the living marine resources within the sanctuaries. The discharge 
regulations have exemptions; those relevant for the proposed action 
include:

--For a vessel less than 300 gross registered tons (GRT), or a vessel 
300 GRT or greater without sufficient holding tank capacity to hold 
sewage while within the sanctuary, clean effluent generated incidental 
to vessel use by an operable Type I or II marine sanitation device that 
is approved in accordance with section 312 of the Federal Water 
Pollution Control Act, as amended (FWPCA); marine sanitation devices 
must be locked in a manner that prevents discharge or deposit of 
untreated sewage (Sec.  922.82(a)(2)(ii) and Sec.  
922.112(a)(2)(i)(B));
--for a vessel less than 300 GRT, or a vessel 300 GRT or greater 
without sufficient holding tank capacity to hold graywater while within 
the sanctuary, clean graywater as defined by section 312 of the FWPCA 
(Sec.  922.82(a)(2)(iv) and Sec.  922.112(a)(2)(i)(D)); and
--activities necessary to respond to an emergency threatening life, 
property or the environment (Sec.  922.82(c) and Sec.  922.112(b)).

    The USCG, part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, is a 
military service and a branch of the armed forces (14 U.S.C. 1), 
charged with carrying out eleven maritime safety, security and 
stewardship missions.
    One key mission of the USCG is to enforce or assist in the 
enforcement of all applicable Federal laws on, under, and over the high 
seas and waters subject to the jurisdiction of the United States. As 
part of this mission, the USCG supports resource protection efforts 
within GFNMS and CBNMS by providing surveillance of activities within 
the sanctuaries and enforcement of the National Marine Sanctuaries Act 
(NMSA) and other laws. The USCG has authority to enforce the NMSA under 
14 U.S.C. 2 and 14 U.S.C. 89. Law enforcement activities for the two 
sanctuaries are also conducted by other agencies, primarily NOAA's 
Office of Law Enforcement and the California Department of Fish and 
Wildlife. In GFNMS the National Park Service and several local agencies 
also conduct law enforcement activities.
    The USCG also leads incident planning and response activities for 
oil spills and other incidents in U.S. coastal and ocean waters. These 
activities are necessary components of GFNMS and CBNMS management. 
Other USCG missions that support national marine sanctuary management 
include ports, waterways and coastal security; aids to navigation, 
including tending buoys; search and rescue; living marine resources; 
marine safety; and marine environmental protection. The USCG may 
concurrently conduct activities to support more than one of its 
missions when operating vessels within or aircraft above GFNMS and 
CBNMS.
    In the course of the rulemaking to expand GFNMS and CBNMS, NOAA 
received a letter dated February 4, 2013, from the USCG stating that 
the sewage and graywater discharge prohibitions proposed for the GFNMS 
and CBNMS expansion areas had the potential to impair the ability of 
USCG vessels to conduct operational missions in the proposed enlarged 
sanctuaries and to stay ``mission ready''. In 2014, USCG and NOAA re-
initiated discussions to try to address all types of discharges from 
the training activities and the sewage and graywater discharges from 
other missions and routine patrols in both GFNMS and CBNMS. 
Subsequently, NOAA and the USCG entered into interagency consultations 
in January 2015 to address both agencies' concerns. NOAA published the 
final rule for the expansion of GFNMS and CBNMS on March 12, 2015 (80 
FR 13078), in the Federal Register and the rule became effective on 
June 9, 2015 (80 FR 34047).
    At issue are the discharge regulations in both sanctuaries and USCG

[[Page 23447]]

compliance with these regulations during routine vessel operations and 
during training exercises designed to make USCG personnel ready for 
search and rescue missions and use of force missions using live fire 
exercises. NOAA is concerned with protecting sanctuary resources and 
habitats, resolving any conflicts that could occur among sanctuary user 
groups (e.g., fishing and USCG live fire training), and ensuring 
continued USCG enforcement of sanctuary regulations.
    To ensure the rule did not impair USCG operations necessary to 
fulfill its multi-purpose missions while the agencies were in 
consultation, the document postponed for six months the effective date 
for the discharge requirements in the expansion areas for both 
sanctuaries with regard to USCG activities. NOAA committed to 
considering exempting certain USCG discharge activities from the GFNMS 
and CBNMS regulations. An additional six month postponement of the 
effectiveness of the discharge requirements was published in the 
Federal Register December 1, 2015, to provide adequate time for 
completion of an environmental assessment and to determine NOAA's 
action. Without further NOAA action, the discharge regulations would 
become effective with regard to USCG activities on June 9, 2016.

Potential Options

    NOAA is exploring a variety of options on how to best protect 
sanctuary resources while ensuring the operational capacity for USCG to 
conduct mission-essential activities. NOAA has identified two options 
for this: 1. Changing the regulations to allow USCG discharges; and 2. 
issuing a national marine sanctuary general permit, if the activity is 
eligible for a permit and is conducted in accordance with the terms and 
conditions in the permit (see http://sanctuaries.noaa.gov/management/permits/). In either case, discharges could be allowed in all waters of 
the sanctuaries; only in Federal waters (further than 3 nautical miles 
from shore); in certain zones delineated based on biological factors 
(such as oceanographic features or density of significant species) and 
other factors (such as high use for recreation, shipping, or other 
human activities); in the expanded waters of CBNMS and GFNMS based on 
the March 12, 2015 rulemaking; or not at all. NOAA is interested in 
receiving public comment on the best way to address the need for 
continued USCG operations in CBNMS and GFNMS while fulfilling its 
primary objective of resource protection in national marine 
sanctuaries.

Request for Information

    NOAA anticipates that these changes, whether regulatory or non-
regulatory will require preparation of an environmental assessment 
under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). Therefore, NOAA is 
also interested in receiving public comment that could contribute to 
the environmental analysis that will be prepared for this action; 
specifically, information related to the potential impacts of Coast 
Guard operational vessel discharges of sewage and graywater and 
training discharges within GFNMS and CBNMS on biological, physical and 
oceanographic features of the sanctuaries as well as on human 
activities taking place in the sanctuaries.

Timeline

    The process for this action is composed of four major stages: 1. 
Information collection and characterization (scoping); 2. preparation 
and release of a draft environmental assessment under NEPA, and any 
proposed amendments to the regulations if appropriate; 3. public review 
and comment; 4. preparation and release of a final environmental 
assessment, and any final amendments to the regulations if appropriate. 
This document also advises the public that NOAA will coordinate any 
consultation responsibilities under section 7 of the Endangered Species 
Act (ESA), Essential Fish Habitat (EFH) under the Magnuson Stevens 
Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA), section 106 of the 
National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA, 16 U.S.C. 470), and Federal 
Consistency review under the Coastal Zone Management Act (CZMA), along 
with its ongoing NEPA process including the use of NEPA documents and 
public and stakeholder meetings to also meet the requirements of other 
federal laws.
    In fulfilling its responsibility under the NHPA and NEPA, NOAA 
intends to identify consulting parties; identify historic properties 
and assess the effects of the undertaking on such properties; initiate 
formal consultation with the State Historic Preservation Officer, the 
Advisory Council of Historic Preservation, and other consulting parties 
as appropriate; involve the public in accordance with NOAA's NEPA 
procedures, and develop in consultation with identified consulting 
parties alternatives and proposed measures that might avoid, minimize 
or mitigate any adverse effects on historic properties as appropriate 
and describe them in any environmental assessment or draft 
environmental impact statement.

    Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1431 et seq.

    Dated: April 15, 2016.
John Armor,
Acting Director for the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries.
[FR Doc. 2016-09248 Filed 4-20-16; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 3510-NK-P