Ocean Dumping: Modification of an Ocean Dredged Material Disposal Site Offshore of Charleston, South Carolina, 45262-45270 [2016-16584]

Download as PDF jstallworth on DSK7TPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS 45262 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 134 / Wednesday, July 13, 2016 / Proposed Rules (e) Periodically inspect born-digital images scheduled as permanent, longterm temporary, or unscheduled, using sampling methods or more comprehensive verification systems (e.g., checksum programs), to evaluate image file stability, documentation quality, and finding aid reliability. Agencies must also establish procedures to refresh digital data (recopying) and to migrate files, especially for images and databases retained for five years or longer; (f) Designate a record set of images to maintain separately from other versions. Do not subject record sets of permanent or unscheduled images that have already been compressed once (e.g., compressed TIFF or first-generation JPEG) to further changes in image size; (g) Organize record images in logical series. Group permanent digital images separately from temporary digital images or designate images as permanent or temporary in a metadata field designed for that purpose; (h) Document information about digital photographic images as the agency produces them. Embed descriptive elements in each permanent or unscheduled image’s file header or capture descriptive elements in a separate database accompanying the image series. Descriptive elements must include: (1) A unique identification number; (2) Information about image content (i.e., basic ‘‘who,’’ ‘‘what,’’ ‘‘where,’’ ‘‘when,’’ ‘‘why’’ captioning data); (3) Photographer’s identity and organizational affiliation; (4) Existence of any copyright or other potential restrictions on image use; and (5) Technical data, including file format and version, bit depth, image size, camera make and model, compression method and level, and custom or generic color profiles (ICC/ ICM profile), among other elements. In this regard, verify the extent of the Exchangeable Image File Format (EXIF) information embedded automatically by digital cameras and scanners; (i) Provide a unique file name to identify the digital image; and (j) Develop finding aids sufficiently detailed to ensure the agency can efficiently and accurately retrieve images. Ensure that the agency can use indexes, caption lists, and assignment logs to identify and chronologically cut off blocks of images for transfer to the National Archives of the United States. chemically unstable and highly flammable. Agencies must handle nitrocellulose-base film (used in the manufacture of sheet film, 35mm motion pictures, aerial and still photographs into the 1950s) as specified below: (1) Segregate nitrocellulose film materials (e.g., 35mm motion picture film and large series of still pictures) from other records in storage areas; (2) Immediately notify NARA by mail at National Archives and Records Administration; Special Media Records Division (RDS); 8601 Adelphi Road; College Park, MD 20740–6001, or by email at stillpix.accessions@nara.gov (for still photographs) or mopix.accessions@nara.gov (for motion picture film). If NARA appraises nitrate film materials as disposable and the agency wishes to retain them, the agency must follow the standard NFPA 40–2011 (incorporated by reference; see § 1237.3); and (3) Follow the packing and shipping standards for nitrate film as specified in Department of Transportation regulations (49 CFR 172.101, Hazardous materials table; 172.504, Transportation; 173.24, Standard requirements for all packages; and 173.177, Motion picture film and X-ray film—nitrocellulose base). Carry out nitrate film disposal in accordance with the relevant hazardous waste disposal regulations in 40 CFR, parts 260 through 282. (b) Inspect cellulose-acetate film periodically (at least once every five years) for acetic odor, wrinkling, or crystalline deposits on the edge or surface of the film, which indicate deterioration. Agencies must notify NARA about deteriorating permanent or unscheduled audiovisual records composed of cellulose acetate immediately after inspection, so the agency can copy the records prior to transferring the original and duplicate film to the National Archives of the United States. Notify NARA by mail at National Archives and Records Administration; Special Media Records Division (RDS); 8601 Adelphi Road; College Park, MD 20740–6001, or by email at stillpix.accessions@nara.gov (for still photographs) or mopix.accessions@nara.gov (for motion picture film). § 1237.30 How must agencies handle and manage records on nitrocellulose-base and cellulose-acetate-base film? Dated: June 28, 2016. David S. Ferriero, Archivist of the United States. (a) The nitrocellulose base, a substance akin to gun cotton, is VerDate Sep<11>2014 12:59 Jul 12, 2016 Jkt 238001 [FR Doc. 2016–15848 Filed 7–12–16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 7515–01–P PO 00000 Frm 00014 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY 40 CFR Part 228 [EPA–R04–OW–2016–0356; FRL–9948–90– Region 4] Ocean Dumping: Modification of an Ocean Dredged Material Disposal Site Offshore of Charleston, South Carolina Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). ACTION: Proposed rule. AGENCY: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing to approve a modification of the ocean dredged material disposal site (ODMDS) site offshore of Charleston, South Carolina pursuant to the Marine Protection, Research and Sanctuaries Act, as amended (MPRSA). The primary purpose for the site modification is to serve the long-term need for a location to dispose of material dredged from the Charleston Harbor federal navigation channel, and to provide a location for the disposal of dredged material for persons who have received a permit for such disposal. The modified site will be subject to ongoing monitoring and management to ensure continued protection of the marine environment. DATES: Written comments must be received on or before August 12, 2016. ADDRESSES: Submit your comments, identified by Docket ID No. EPA–R04– OW–2016–0356, by one of the following methods: • www.regulations.gov: Follow the on-line instructions for submitting comments and accessing the docket and materials related to this proposed rule. • Email: collins.garyw@epa.gov. • Mail: Gary W. Collins, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 4, Water Protection Division, Marine Regulatory and Wetlands Enforcement Section, 61 Forsyth Street, Atlanta, Georgia 30303. Instructions: Direct your comments to Docket ID No. EPA–R04–OW–2016– 0356. The EPA’s policy is that all comments received will be included in the public docket without change and may be made available online at www.regulations.gov, including any personal information provided, unless the comment includes information claimed to be Confidential Business Information (CBI) or other information whose disclosure is restricted by statute. Do not submit through www.regulations.gov or email, information that you consider to be CBI or otherwise protected. The www.regulations.gov Web site is an ‘‘anonymous access’’ system, which SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\13JYP1.SGM 13JYP1 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 134 / Wednesday, July 13, 2016 / Proposed Rules means the EPA will not know your identity or contact information unless you provide it in the body of your comment. If you send an email comment directly to the EPA without going through www.regulations.gov, your email address will be automatically captured and included as part of the comment that is placed in the public docket and made available on the Internet. If you submit an electronic comment, the EPA recommends that you include your name and other contact information in the body of your comment and with any disk or CD–ROM you submit. If the EPA cannot read your comment due to technical difficulties and cannot contact you for clarification, the EPA may not be able to consider your comment. Electronic files should avoid the use of special characters, any form of encryption, and be free of any defects or viruses. For additional information about the EPA’s public docket visit the EPA Docket Center homepage at http://www.epa.gov/ epahome/dockets.htm. Docket: Publicly available docket materials are available either electronically at www.regulations.gov or in hard copy during normal business hours from the regional library at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 4 Library, 9th Floor, 61 Forsyth Street, Atlanta, Georgia 30303. For access to the documents at the Region 4 Library, contact the Region 4 Library Reference Desk at (404) 562–8190, between the hours of 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., and between the hours of 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding Federal holidays, for an appointment. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Gary W. Collins, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 4, Water Protection Division, Marine Regulatory and Wetlands Enforcement Section, 61 45263 Forsyth Street, Atlanta, Georgia 30303; phone number (404) 562–9395; email: collins.garyw@epa.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. Potentially Affected Persons Persons potentially affected by this action include those who seek or might seek permits or approval to dispose of dredged material into ocean waters pursuant to the Marine Protection, Research, and Sanctuaries Act, as amended (MPRSA), 33 U.S.C. 1401 to 1445. The EPA’s proposed action would be relevant to persons, including organizations and government bodies seeking to dispose of dredged material in ocean waters offshore of Charleston, South Carolina. Currently, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) would be most affected by this action. Potentially affected categories and persons include: Category Examples of potentially regulated persons Federal government ........................................................... U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Civil Works projects, U.S. Navy and other Federal agencies. Port authorities, marinas and harbors, shipyards and marine repair facilities, berth owners. Governments owning and/or responsible for ports, harbors, and/or berths, Government agencies requiring disposal of dredged material associated with public works projects. Industry and general public ................................................ State, local and tribal governments ................................... This table is not intended to be exhaustive, but rather provides a guide for readers regarding persons likely to be affected by this action. For any questions regarding the applicability of this action to a particular person, please refer to the contact person listed in the preceding FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section. II. Background jstallworth on DSK7TPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS a. History of Disposal Sites Offshore of Charleston, South Carolina The existing Charleston ODMDS is located approximately 9 nautical miles (nmi) southeast of the mouth of Charleston Harbor on the continental shelf off the coast of South Carolina. It is currently 12.1 nmi2 in size, with an authorized disposal zone that is 3.0 nmi2 in size. Since 1896, the area now designated as the Charleston ODMDS and vicinity has been used for disposal of dredged material (e.g., sand, silt, clay, rock) primarily from the Charleston Harbor Navigation Project. The Charleston ODMDS received interim site designation status in 1977 and final designation in 1987. The discovery of live bottom habitats within the original site resulted in several modifications to VerDate Sep<11>2014 12:59 Jul 12, 2016 Jkt 238001 use of the site resulting in the creation of the restricted disposal zone. The USACE Charleston District and the EPA Region 4 have identified a need to either designate a new ODMDS or expand the existing Charleston ODMDS. The need for expanding current ocean disposal capacity is based on future capacity modeling, historical dredging volumes, estimates of dredging volumes for future proposed projects, and limited capacity of upland confined disposal facilities (CDFs) in the area. The proposed modification of the ODMDS for dredged material does not mean that the USACE or the EPA has approved the use of the ODMDS for open water disposal of dredged material from any specific project. Before any person can dispose dredged material at the ODMDS, the EPA and the USACE must evaluate the project according to the ocean dumping regulatory criteria (40 CFR part 227) and authorize the disposal. The EPA independently evaluates proposed dumping and has the right to restrict and/or disapprove of the actual disposal of dredged material if the EPA determines that environmental requirements under the MPRSA have not been met. PO 00000 Frm 00015 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 b. Location and Configuration of Modified Ocean Dredged Material Disposal Site This action proposes the modification of the ocean dredged material site offshore of Charleston, South Carolina. The location of the proposed modified ocean dredged material disposal site is bounded by the coordinates, listed below. The proposed modification of the ODMDS will allow the EPA to adaptively manage the ODMDS to maximize its capacity, minimize the potential for mounding and associated safety concerns, potentially create hard bottom habitat and minimize the potential for any long-term adverse effects to the marine environment. The coordinates for the site are, in North American Datum 83 (NAD 83): Modified Charleston ODMDS (A) 32°36.280′ N., 79°43.662′ W. (B) 32°21.514′ N., 79°46.576′ W. (C) 32°20.515′ N., 79°45.068′ W. (D) 32°20.515′ N., 79°42.152′ W. The proposed modified ODMDS is located in approximately 30 to 45 feet of water, and is located to approximately 6.0 nmi offshore. The proposed modified ODMDS would be 7.4 nmi2 in size. E:\FR\FM\13JYP1.SGM 13JYP1 45264 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 134 / Wednesday, July 13, 2016 / Proposed Rules c. Management and Monitoring of the Site The proposed modified ODMDS is expected to receive sediments dredged by the USACE to deepen and maintain the federally authorized navigation project at Charleston Harbor, South Carolina, and dredged material from other persons who have obtained a permit for the disposal of dredged material at the ODMDS. All persons using the ODMDS are required to follow a Site Management and Monitoring Plan (SMMP) for the ODMDS. The SMMP includes management and monitoring requirements to ensure that dredged materials disposed at the ODMDS are suitable for disposal in the ocean and that adverse impacts of disposal, if any, are addressed to the maximum extent practicable. The SMMP for the proposed modified ODMDS, in addition to the aforementioned, also addresses management of the ODMDS to ensure adverse mounding does not occur, promotes habitat creation where possible and to ensure that disposal events minimize interference with other uses of ocean waters in the vicinity of the proposed modified ODMDS. The SMMP has been publically review and is currently being finalized by the Charleston Ocean ODMDS Task Force. The Task Force is made up of members representing EPA, USACE, National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), Bureau of Environmental Management (BOEM), the South Carolina State Ports Authority (SCSPA), the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR), and the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control. jstallworth on DSK7TPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS d. MPRSA Criteria In proposing to modify the ODMDS, the EPA assessed the proposed modified ODMDS according to the criteria of the MPRSA, with particular emphasis on the general and specific regulatory criteria of 40 CFR part 228, to determine whether the proposed site designations satisfy those criteria. The EPA’s Final Environmental Assessment for Modification of an Ocean Dredged Material Disposal Site Offshore Charleston, South Carolina, [April 2016] (EA), provides an extensive evaluation of the criteria and other related factors for the modification of the ODMDS. General Criteria (40 CFR 228.5) (1) Sites must be selected to minimize interference with other activities in the marine environment, particularly avoiding areas of existing fisheries or shellfisheries, and regions of heavy VerDate Sep<11>2014 12:59 Jul 12, 2016 Jkt 238001 commercial or recreational navigation (40 CFR 228.5(a)). Dredged material disposal within the existing Charleston ODMDS has been confined to the eastern side of the designated site within a defined 4-mi2 disposal zone to avoid impacts to live hardbottom. During this time, dredged material disposal at the site has not interfered with commercial or recreational navigation, commercial fishing, or sportfishing activities. The proposed modification of the site boundaries to the north, east, and south is not expected to change these conditions. The proposed action avoids major fisheries, natural and artificial reefs, and areas of recreational use. Modification of the site to the east will minimize interference with shellfisheries by avoiding areas located primarily to the west of the ODMDS that are frequently used by commercial shrimpers. Construction of the berm will provide an additional approximately 427 acres of hardbottom habitat and will protect existing hardbottom habitat by minimizing sediment transport. There will be a 3000-foot buffer along the northern perimeter of the ODMDS where dumping will not occur. Modeling results indicate that this buffer should be sufficient to protect probable hardbottom areas to the north of the site. (2) Sites must be situated such that temporary perturbations to water quality or other environmental conditions during initial mixing caused by disposal operations would be reduced to normal ambient levels or undetectable contaminant concentrations or effects before reaching any beach, shoreline, marine sanctuary, or known geographically limited fishery or shellfishery (40 CFR 228.5(b)). The proposed ODMDS modification area will be used for disposal of suitable dredged material as determined by Section 103 of the MPRSA. Based on the USACE and EPA sediment testing and evaluation of dredged maintenance material and proposed new work material from the Post 45 deepening project, disposal is not expected to have any long-term impact on the water quality. Results of the maximum concentration found outside the disposal area after 4 hours of mixing for each dredging unit was zero. Based on these results, water quality perturbations that could reach any beach, shoreline, marine sanctuary, or known geographically-limited fishery or shellfishery are not expected. The western edge of the proposed modified ODMDS is approximately 7 miles offshore such that prevailing current will not transport dredged material to PO 00000 Frm 00016 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 beaches. Water quality perturbations caused by dispersion of disposal material will be reduced to ambient conditions before reaching any environmentally sensitive areas. (3) The sizes of disposal sites will be limited in order to localize for identification and control any immediate adverse impacts, and to permit the implementation of effective monitoring and surveillance to prevent adverse long-range impacts. Size, configuration, and location are to be determined as part of the disposal site evaluation (40 CFR 228.5(d)). The location, size, and configuration of the proposed modified ODMDS provides long-term capacity, site management, and site monitoring while limiting environmental impacts to the surrounding area. Based on 25 years of projected new work and maintenance dredged material disposal needs, it is estimated that the ODMDS modification area should accommodate approximately 66.5 mcy of dredged material in order to meet the long-term disposal needs of the area. The dump zone within the proposed ODMDS is estimated to have approximately 75 mcy of capacity. The capacity in the dump zone provides a reasonable amount of additional capacity to manage risk, account for future unknown disposal operations from private entities, and provides a margin of navigation safety. The remaining area within the boundaries of the existing 12 nmi2 Charleston ODMDS (parallelogram) would be de-designated. The area to be de-designated is approximately 10.4 mi2 (7.8 nmi2) in size and contains documented hardbottom habitat. By adding 5.8 mi2 (4.4 nmi2) to the existing ODMDS disposal zone, the total area of the modified Charleston ODMDS would be 9.8 mi2 (7.4 nmi2), with a dump zone area of 5.1 mi2 (3.9 nmi2). An ODMDS of this size and capacity will provide a long-term ocean disposal option for the region. To help protect nearby hardbottom habitat from being buried by sediment migrating from the ODMDS, a U-shaped berm along the east, south, and west perimeters of the modified ODMDS will be constructed. Although there is probable hardbottom located north of the proposed modified ODMDS, no berm will be constructed along the northern boundary. However, there will be a 3000-foot buffer along the northern perimeter of the ODMDS where dumping will not occur. Fate modeling indicates that this buffer should be sufficient to protect probable hardbottom areas to the north of the site. When determining the size of the proposed site, the ability to implement E:\FR\FM\13JYP1.SGM 13JYP1 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 134 / Wednesday, July 13, 2016 / Proposed Rules effective monitoring and surveillance programs, among other things, was factored in to ensure that navigational safety would not be compromised and to prevent mounding of dredged material, which could result in adverse wave conditions. A site management and monitoring program will be implemented to determine if disposal at the site is significantly affecting adjacent areas and to detect the presence of long-term adverse effects. At a minimum, the monitoring program will consist of bathymetric surveys, sediment grain size analysis, chemical analysis of constituents of concern in the sediments, and a health assessment of the benthic community. (4) EPA will, wherever feasible, designate ocean dumping sites beyond the edge of the continental shelf and other such sites where historical disposal has occurred (40 CFR 228.5(e)). The continental slope is approximately 55 nmi offshore of Charleston. Disposal off the continental shelf (shelf break) was evaluated in detail the 1983 ODMDS Designation EIS document. In comparison to locating the site in the nearshore region, it was determined that monitoring and surveillance would be more difficult and expensive in the shelf break area because of the distance from shore to the deeper waters. Transporting material to and performing long-term monitoring of a site located off the continental shelf is not economically or operationally feasible. The historically used ocean dumping site, Charleston ODMDS, is not located beyond the continental shelf. A portion of the proposed modified ODMDS encompasses an area previously designated for disposal. jstallworth on DSK7TPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS Specific Criteria (40 CFR 228.6) (1) Geographical Position, Depth of Water, Bottom Topography and Distance from Coast (40 CFR 228.6(a)(1)). The proposed modified ODMDS is located on the shallow continental shelf, approximately 6 nmi offshore of Charleston, South Carolina. Water depths range from ¥30 to ¥45 feet (9 to 13 meters) with an overall average depth of ¥40 feet (12 meters). Characteristics of the South Atlantic Bight seafloor include low relief, relatively gentle gradients, and smooth bottom surfaces exhibiting physiographic features contoured by erosional processes. Sediments largely consist of fine to coarse sands. Some areas contain extensive coarse grains and shell hash. Fines were found to be typically less than 10%. VerDate Sep<11>2014 12:59 Jul 12, 2016 Jkt 238001 (2) Location in Relation to Breeding, Spawning, Nursery, Feeding, or Passage Areas of Living Resources in Adult or Juvenile Phases (40 CFR 228.6(a)(2)). The proposed modified ODMDS is not located in exclusive breeding, spawning, nursery, feeding, or passage areas for adult or juvenile phases of living resources. The intensity of these activities within the vicinity of the ODMDS is seasonally variable, with peaks typically occurring in the spring and early fall for most commercially important finfish and shellfish species (USEPA 1983). The ODMDS is not located within North Atlantic right whale critical habitat. (3) Location in Relation to Beaches and Other Amenity Areas (40 CFR 228.6(a)(3)). The center of the proposed modified ODMDS is approximately 7 mi (6 nmi) from the nearest coastal beach. The site is approximately 3.1 mi (2.7 nmi) south of the nearest artificial reef. No significant impacts to beaches or amenity areas associated with the existing ODMDS have been documented. (4) Types and Quantities of Wastes Proposed to be Disposed of, and Proposed Methods of Release, including Methods of Packing the Waste, if any (40 CFR 228.6(a)(4)). Only material that meets EPA Ocean Dumping Criteria in 40 CFR 220–229 will be placed in the proposed site. Average annual maintenance material is approximately 1.4 mcy and approximately 31.2 mcy of new work material is expected from the Charleston Harbor Deepening Project. Sediments dredged from Charleston Harbor and the entrance channel are a mixture of silt, sand, and rock. Hopper dredge, barge, and scow combinations are the usual vehicles of transport for the dredged material. None of the material is packaged in any manner. (5) Feasibility of Surveillance and Monitoring (40 CFR 228.6(a)(5)). The EPA expects monitoring and surveillance at the proposed modified ODMDS to be feasible and readily performed from ocean or regional class research vessels. The proposed modified ODMDS is of similar size, water depth and distance from shore as are a majority of the ODMDSs within the Southeastern United States which are routinely monitored. The EPA will ensure monitoring of the site for physical, biological and chemical attributes as well as for potential impacts beyond the site boundaries. Bathymetric surveys will be conducted routinely as defined in the SMMP, contaminant levels in the dredged material will be analyzed prior to PO 00000 Frm 00017 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 45265 dumping, and the benthic infauna and epibenthic organisms will be monitored every 10 years, as funding allows. (6) Dispersal, Horizontal Transport and Vertical Mixing Characteristics of the Area, including Prevailing Current Direction and Velocity, if any (40 CFR 228.6(a)(6)). A study conducted by EPA from 2013–2015 indicated that currents in the vicinity of the Charleston ODMDS tend to have a significant tidal component with predominant currents in the crossshore direction. The depth-averaged median current velocity was 18 cm/sec (0.6 ft/sec) with 90% of the measurements below 30 cm/sec (1.1 ft/ sec). Wind-driven circulation is the most important factor in controlling sediment transport. Strong winds generate waves that steer the sediment on the seabed and create large nearbed suspended sediment concentrations. Suspended sediment transport is directed mainly NE and SW in response to local wind climate and the windgenerated alongshore flows. LTFATE and MPFATE modeling results over a 25-year period indicate depths of sediment deposited outside the boundaries of the ODMDS will not exceed the 5 cm deposition contour guidance provided by EPA. (7) Existence and Effects of Current and Previous Discharges and Dumping in the Area (including Cumulative Effects) (40 CFR 228.6(a)(7)). Previous disposal of dredged material resulted in temporary increases in suspended sediment concentrations during disposal operations, localized mounding within the site, burial of benthic organisms within the site, changes in the abundance and composition of benthic assemblages, and changes in the sediment composition from sandy sediments to finer-grained silts. Impacts to live bottoms were identified in the western portion of the 12-mi2 ODMDS. Short-term, long-term, and cumulative effects of dredged material disposal in the proposed ODMDS modification area would be similar to those for the existing ODMDS. (8) Interference with Shipping, Fishing, Recreation, Mineral Extraction, Desalination, Fish and Shellfish Culture, Areas of Special Scientific Importance and Other Legitimate Uses of the Ocean (40 CFR 228.6(a)(8)). The proposed modified ODMDS is not expected to interfere with shipping, fishing, recreation or other legitimate uses of the ocean. Commercial navigation, commercial fishing, and mineral extraction (sand mining) are the primary activities that may spatially overlap with disposal at the proposed E:\FR\FM\13JYP1.SGM 13JYP1 jstallworth on DSK7TPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS 45266 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 134 / Wednesday, July 13, 2016 / Proposed Rules modified ODMDS. The proposed modified ODMDS avoids the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) recommended vessel routes offshore Charleston, South Carolina, thereby avoiding conflict with commercial navigation. Commercial fishing (shrimp trawling) occurs primarily to the west of the proposed modified ODMDS. The likelihood of direct interference with these activities is low, provided there is close communication and coordination among users of the ocean resources. The EPA is not aware of any plans for desalination plants, or fish and shellfish culture operations near the proposed modified ODMDS at this time. The proposed modified ODMDS is not located in areas of special scientific importance. (9) The Existing Water Quality and Ecology of the Sites as Determined by Available Data or Trend Assessment of Baseline Surveys (40 CFR 228.6(a)(9)). Water quality of the existing site is typical of the Atlantic Ocean. Water and sediment quality analyses conducted in the study area and experience with past disposals in the Charleston ODMDS have not identified any adverse water quality impacts from ocean disposal of dredged material. The site supports benthic and epibenthic fauna characteristic of the South Atlantic Bight. Neither the pelagic (mobile) or benthic (non-mobile) communities should sustain irreparable harm due to their widespread occurrence off the South Carolina coast. (10) Potentiality for the Development or Recruitment of Nuisance Species in the Disposal Site (40 CFR 228.6(a)(10)). Nuisance species, considered as any undesirable organism not previously existing at a location, have not been observed at, or in the vicinity of, the proposed modified ODMDS. They are either transported to or recruited to the site because the disposal of dredged material creates an environment where they can establish. Habitat conditions have changed somewhat at the Charleston ODMDS because of the disposal of some silty material on what was predominately sandy sediments. While it can be expected that organisms will become established at the site which were not there previously, this new community is not regarded as a nuisance, or ‘‘undesirable,’’ community. (11) Existence at or in Close Proximity to the Site of any Significant Natural or Cultural Feature of Historical Importance (40 CFR 228.6(a)(11)). No significant cultural features have been identified at, or in the vicinity of, the proposed modified ODMDS at this time. Surveys conducted in 2012–2013 VerDate Sep<11>2014 12:59 Jul 12, 2016 Jkt 238001 did not identify any cultural features of historical importance. The EPA has coordinated with South Carolina’s State Historic Preservation Officer (SHPO) to identify any cultural features. The SHPO concurred with the EPA’s determination that the proposed modification of the ODMDS will have no effect on cultural resources listed, or eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places as no such resources exist in the project area. III. Environmental Statutory Review— National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA); Magnuson-Stevens Act (MSA); Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA); Coastal Zone Management Act (CZMA); Endangered Species Act (ESA); National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) a. NEPA Section 102 of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, as amended (NEPA), 42 U.S.C. 4321 to 4370f, requires Federal agencies to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for major federal actions significantly affecting the quality of the human environment. NEPA does not apply to EPA designations of ocean disposal sites under the MPRSA because the courts have exempted the EPA’s actions under the MPRSA from the procedural requirements of NEPA through the functional equivalence doctrine. The EPA has, by policy, determined that the preparation of NEPA documents for certain EPA regulatory actions, including actions under the MPRSA, is appropriate. The EPA’s ‘‘Notice of Policy and Procedures for Voluntary Preparation of NEPA Documents,’’ (Voluntary NEPA Policy), 63 FR 58045, (October 29, 1998), sets out both the policy and procedures the EPA uses when preparing such environmental review documents. The EPA’s primary voluntary NEPA document for expanding the ODMDS is the Final Environmental Assessment for Modification of an Ocean Dredged Material Disposal Site Offshore Charleston, South Carolina, [April 2016] (FEA), prepared by the EPA in cooperation with the USACE. Anyone desiring a copy of the FEA may obtain one from the addresses given above. A draft of this document was released for public review in December, 2015. The public comment period on the Draft EA closed on January 19, 2016. The EPA received 8 comment letters on the DEA. There were two main concerns expressed in those letters: (1) Potential movement of disposed material impacting areas such as habitat, fisheries and sand borrow areas; and (2) PO 00000 Frm 00018 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 monitoring associated with the SMMP. No objections to the ODMDS modification were received. The EPA and USACE responded to all comments and they are provided in the FEA. The FEA and its Appendices, which are part of the docket for this action, provide the threshold environmental review for modification of the ODMDS. The information from the FEA is used above, in the discussion of the ocean dumping criteria. The proposed action discussed in the FEA is the permanent designation of a modified ODMDS offshore Charleston, South Carolina. The purpose of the proposed action is to provide an environmentally acceptable option for the ocean disposal of dredged material. The need for the modified ODMDS is based on a demonstrated USACE need for ocean disposal of dredged material from the Charleston Harbor Federal Navigation Project, and the proposed Charleston Harbor Deepening Project (also known as Post 45). The need for ocean disposal for these and other projects, and the suitability of the material for ocean disposal, will be determined on a case-by-case basis as part of the USACE process of issuing permits for ocean disposal for private/ federal actions and a public review process for its own actions. This will include an evaluation of disposal alternatives. For the proposed modified ODMDS, the USACE and the EPA would evaluate all federal dredged material disposal projects pursuant to the EPA criteria set forth in the Ocean Dumping Regulations (40 CFR 220–229) and the USACE regulations (33 CFR 209.120 and 335– 338). The USACE issues Marine Protection, Research, and Sanctuaries Act (MPRSA) permits to applicants for the transport of dredged material intended for disposal after compliance with regulations is determined. The EPA has the right to disapprove any ocean disposal project if, in its judgment, all provisions of MPRSA and the associated implementing regulations have not been met. The FEA discusses the need for the proposed modified ODMDS and examines ocean disposal site alternatives to the proposed actions. The need for expanding the current ODMDS is based on future capacity modeling, historical dredging volumes, estimated dredging volumes for proposed projects, and limited capacity of upland CDFs in the area. Non-ocean disposal options have been examined in the FEA based on information provided by the USACE in the Dredged Material Management Plans for Charleston Harbor. E:\FR\FM\13JYP1.SGM 13JYP1 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 134 / Wednesday, July 13, 2016 / Proposed Rules The following ocean disposal alternatives were considered but eliminated from detailed evaluation in the FEA: jstallworth on DSK7TPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS 1. Alternative 2: Use Existing ODMDS and Remove Disposal Zone Restriction Alternative 2 is the removal of the current disposal zone restriction and allowing use of the entire ODMDS for disposal. This alternative would require further delineation and assessment of live-bottom habitat within the western portion of the site or the acceptance of direct impacts to such habitat from disposal. Further habitat assessment could result in the need for multiple disposal zones to avoid direct impacts. From a site management and disposal operations perspective, a noncontiguous site would be more difficult and costly to manage and monitor. Use of the western portion of the site also has the potential for impacting shrimp trawling grounds. 2. Alternative 3: New ODMDS North of the Entrance Channel Alternative 3 proposes to designate a new ODMDS north of the entrance channel of the same size and configuration as Alternative 1 (Table 2.2–2, Figure 2–6). This site is located approximately 16 mi (14 nmi) offshore of the entrance to Charleston Harbor and 1.6 mi (1.4 nmi) east of the anchorage area. No hardbottom or cultural resource surveys have been conducted in this area. Therefore, the presence of hardbottom and cultural resources within and adjacent to this site are unknown and would require additional surveys. As mentioned in Section 2.1– 1, shrimpers appear to generally work within and on the edge of the entrance channel out to near the ODMDS disposal zone, and then they either head north or south and loop back inland (Mark Messersmith, Charleston District, USACE pers. corr. with Wayne Magwood, President, Magwood Seafood). Based on this information, it appears this site is outside of primary shrimping grounds. The predominant net sediment transport is generally from NE to SW and is influenced by local and regional wind and current patterns as well as periodic storm events. Therefore, disposal of dredged material in a site located on the north side of the entrance channel may result in sediment transport into the channel. Alternative 3 is 7 mi (6 nmi) farther offshore than Alternative 1, which would significantly increase transit times and fuel costs. This site is also in close proximity to the anchorage area, which could impact VerDate Sep<11>2014 12:59 Jul 12, 2016 Jkt 238001 transit routes to and from the ODMDS. Primarily due to concerns about dredged material being deposited back into the entrance channel, increased transportation costs, and the need for additional surveys to assess hardbottom and cultural resources, this alternative is eliminated from further consideration for this proposed action. 3. Alternative 4: Disposal Off the Continental Shelf The continental slope is approximately 55 nmi offshore of Charleston. Disposal off the continental shelf (shelf break) was evaluated in detail the 1983 ODMDS Designation EIS document. In comparison to locating the site in the nearshore region, it was determined that monitoring and surveillance would be more difficult and expensive in the shelf break area because of the distance from shore to the deeper waters. There would be a likelihood of a higher frequency of rough weather that could hinder disposal and monitoring operations. Alternative 4 was considered during initial alternatives analysis; however, transporting material to and performing long-term monitoring of a site located off the continental shelf is not economically or operationally feasible; therefore, disposal off the continental shelf is eliminated from further consideration for this proposed action. 4. Alternative 5: Upland Disposal Upland disposal is an important option for maintenance dredged material removed from the federal navigation channel. To ensure that adequate project depth is maintained throughout the navigation channel within Charleston Harbor, USACE uses several upland placement areas to meet dredged material disposal needs within certain reaches of the harbor. The sites are adjacent to the Cooper River in the vicinity of the shoaling areas, allowing for the economical transfer of dredged material from the shoaled areas. The upland placement areas require the maintenance and construction of dikes to contain dredged material and monitoring to provide conformance with environmental requirements. Dredged material is pumped into the sites and the excess surface water is clarified by ponding and then released through weir structures. Upland and ocean disposal site capacity were evaluated as part of the Charleston Harbor Post 45 Deepening IFR/EIS. Upland sites will continue to be used and dikes will need to be raised to provide additional capacity at these sites. Based on recent analysis conducted in 2014, assuming on-going PO 00000 Frm 00019 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 45267 dike raising efforts continue, there is sufficient capacity for at least the next 20 years. However even with dike raising, it was determined that additional ocean disposal capacity will be needed to accommodate continued dredged material operations and maintenance in the future. Alternative 5 was considered during initial alternatives analysis; however, even with dike raising efforts upland capacity and land for new disposal areas are limited. Although upland disposal has been eliminated from further evaluation in this EA, it remains an option for disposal of maintenance material from various reaches when economically feasible and capacity is available or if dredged material is unsuitable for ocean disposal. Each dredging project will be evaluated separately to determine if upland disposal is an option. A MPRSA Section 103 evaluation was conducted on the new work material, and it was determined to be suitable for ocean disposal. Therefore, dredged material generated from the deepening project is expected to be disposed at the ODMDS. 5. Alternative 6: Beach Nourishment, Nearshore Placement, and Other Beneficial Uses The Federal Government has placed considerable emphasis on using dredged material in a beneficial manner. Statutes such as the Water Resources Development Acts of 1992, 1996, 2000, and 2007 demonstrate that beneficial use has been a Congressional priority. USACE has emphasized the use of dredged material for beneficial use through such regulations as 33 CFR part 335, ER 1105–2–100, and ER 1130–2– 520 and by Policy Guidance Letter No. 56. ER 1105–2–100 states that ‘‘all dredged material management studies include an assessment of potential beneficial uses for environmental purposes including fish and wildlife habitat creation, ecosystem restoration and enhancement and/or hurricane and storm damage reduction.’’ In accordance with ER 1105–2–100, USACE is considering beneficial use of dredged material as part of the Charleston Harbor Post 45 Project. Potential beneficial uses include: • ODMDS berm creation • Reef placement • Crab Bank enhancement • Shutes Folly enhancement • Nearshore placement off Morris Island • Protection of Ft. Sumter Details on volumes and construction methods for other beneficial use projects will be evaluated during the preconstruction, engineering, and design (PED) phase. E:\FR\FM\13JYP1.SGM 13JYP1 45268 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 134 / Wednesday, July 13, 2016 / Proposed Rules jstallworth on DSK7TPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS Alternative 6 was considered during initial alternatives analysis; however, the majority of the material dredged from the Charleston Harbor Navigation Project is not suitable for beach nourishment, nearshore placement, or other beneficial uses. This alternative alone does not meet the project need for additional disposal capacity for material dredged during the proposed deepening project or annual maintenance material. Therefore, this alternative is eliminated from further consideration for this proposed action. However, a portion of rock material dredged from the entrance channel is proposed to be used to construct the berms along the perimeter of the Alternative 1 site to minimize sediment transport from the site. The added benefit associated with berm construction includes hardbottom habitat creation. 6. No Action Alternative The No Action Alternative is defined as not modifying the existing Charleston ODMDS disposal zone pursuant to MPRSA Section 102. The current capacity of the existing 4-mi2 disposal zone within the ODMDS is approximately 29.5 mcy (USACE 2014b). If no action is taken, the estimated volume of dredge material from the Post 45 deepening project that is slated for ocean disposal will fill the existing Charleston ODMDS almost to capacity. There would not be enough capacity left for disposal of O&M projects that are expected to generate approximately 1.4 mcy of dredge material per year. The No Action Alternative could result in limiting the long-term use of the site and the amount of dredged material that could be removed from the Charleston Harbor navigation channels and berths per dredging event. This, in turn, could impact operations by restricting vessel drafts and access to areas that were unable to be dredged to authorized project depths. The No Action Alternative fails to fulfill the need and objective to provide a long-term ocean disposal option for suitable dredged material generated from new projects and maintenance projects in support of the Charleston Harbor Federal Navigation Project and other local users. The availability of suitable ocean disposal sites to support ongoing navigation channel maintenance and capital improvement projects is essential for continued efficient commerce in the region. The No Action Alternative does not meet the proposed action’s purpose and need. However, it was evaluated in the FEIS as a basis to compare the effects of the other alternatives considered. VerDate Sep<11>2014 12:59 Jul 12, 2016 Jkt 238001 7. Preferred Alternative: Modification of the Existing Charleston ODMDS The proposed ODMDS modification consists of the addition of a 5.8-mi2 area (4.4 nmi2) along the northern, eastern, and southern boundaries of the existing Charleston ODMDS disposal zone. This area would be added to the existing 4mi2 (3 nmi2) disposal zone and would be designated for disposal of dredged material from the future harbor deepening projects and routine maintenance material from the Charleston Harbor Navigation Project and other local users. The new Charleston ODMDS would have a total area comprising 9.8 mi2. Within the larger ODMDS, a dump zone is proposed that will serve as the boundaries that ocean dumping will occur in. This dump zone within the ODMDS was modeled using Long Term Fate and Multiple Placement Fate models. The EPA also proposes the dedesignation of the remaining area within the boundaries of the existing 12 nmi2 Charleston ODMDS (parallelogram) located primarily in the western portion of the site that is not included in the disposal zone or the proposed modification area. The area to be dedesignated is approximately 10.4 mi2 (7.8 nmi2) in size and contains documented hardbottom habitat. The Final EA presents the information needed to evaluate the suitability of ocean disposal areas for final designation use and is based on a series of disposal site environmental studies. The environmental studies and final designation are being conducted in accordance with the requirements of MPRSA, the Ocean Dumping Regulations, and other applicable Federal environmental legislation. b. MSA The EPA integrated the essential fish habitat (EFH) assessment with the EA, pursuant to Section 305(b), 16 U.S.C. 1855(b)(2), of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, as amended (MSA), 16 U.S.C. 1801 to 1891d, and submitted that assessment to the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) on December 4, 2015. The NMFS responded via letter that they have no comments on the proposed project. CZMA Pursuant to an Office of Water policy memorandum dated October 23, 1989, the EPA has evaluated the proposed site designations for consistency with the State of South Carolina’s (the State) approved coastal management program. The EPA has determined that the designation of the proposed site is PO 00000 Frm 00020 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 consistent to the maximum extent practicable with the State coastal management program, and submitted this determination to the State for review in accordance with the EPA policy. The State conditionally concurred with this determination on February 17, 2016. The EPA has taken the State’s comments into account in preparing the FEA for the site, in determining whether the proposed site should be designated, and in determining whether restrictions or limitations should be placed on the use of the site, if they are designated. ESA The Endangered Species Act, as amended (ESA), 16 U.S.C. 1531 to 1544, requires Federal agencies to consult with NMFS and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to ensure that any action authorized, funded, or carried out by the Federal agency is not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of any endangered species or threatened species or result in the destruction or adverse modification of any critical habitat. The EPA incorporated a Biological Assessment (BA) into the EA to assess the potential effects of expanding the Charleston ODMDS on aquatic and wildlife species and submitted that document to the NMFS and USFWS on December 4, 2016. The EPA concluded that the proposed project would not adversely affect any threatened or endangered species, nor would it adversely modify any designated critical habitat. The USFWS concurred on the EPA’s finding that the proposed action is not likely to adversely affect listed endangered or threatened species under the jurisdiction of the USFWS. The NMFS concluded the proposed action is not likely to adversely affect listed species under their jurisdiction. c. NHPA The USACE and the EPA initiated consultation with the State of South Carolina’s Historic Preservation Officer (SHPO) on December 4, 2015, to address the National Historic Preservation Act, as amended (NHPA), 16 U.S.C. 470 to 470a–2, which requires Federal agencies to take into account the effect of their actions on districts, sites, buildings, structures, or objects, included in, or eligible for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP). In a letter dated January 6, 2016, the SHPO determined that no properties listed in or eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places will be affected by the project. E:\FR\FM\13JYP1.SGM 13JYP1 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 134 / Wednesday, July 13, 2016 / Proposed Rules IV. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews This rulemaking proposes the designation of a modified ODMDS pursuant to Section 102 of the MPRSA. This proposed action complies with applicable executive orders and statutory provisions as follows: a. Executive Order 12866: Regulatory Planning and Review and Executive Order 13563: Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review This proposed action is not a ‘‘significant regulatory action’’ under the terms of Executive Order 12866 (58 FR 51735, October 4, 1993) and is therefore not subject to review under Executive Orders 12866 and 13563 (76 FR 3821, January 21, 2011). jstallworth on DSK7TPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS b. Paperwork Reduction Act This action does not impose an information collection burden under the provisions of the Paperwork Reduction Act, 44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq. Burden is defined at 5 CFR 1320.3(b). This proposed site designation, does not require persons to obtain, maintain, retain, report, or publicly disclose information to or for a Federal agency. c. Regulatory Flexibility The Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) generally requires Federal agencies to prepare a regulatory flexibility analysis of any rule subject to notice and comment rulemaking requirements under the Administrative Procedure Act or any other statute unless the agency certifies that the rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. Small entities include small businesses, small organizations, and small governmental jurisdictions. For purposes of assessing the impacts of this rule on small entities, small entity is defined as: (1) A small business defined by the Small Business Administration’s size regulations at 13 CFR 121.201; (2) a small governmental jurisdiction that is a government of a city, county, town, school district, or special district with a population of less than 50,000; and (3) a small organization that is any not-forprofit enterprise which is independently owned and operated and is not dominant in its field. The EPA determined that this proposed action will not have a significant economic impact on small entities because the proposed rule will only have the effect of regulating the location of site to be used for the disposal of dredged material in ocean waters. After considering the economic impacts of this proposed rule, I certify that this action will not have a significant VerDate Sep<11>2014 12:59 Jul 12, 2016 Jkt 238001 economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. d. Unfunded Mandates Reform Act This proposed action contains no Federal mandates under the provisions of Title II of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA) of 1995, 2 U.S.C. 1531 to 1538, for State, local, or tribal governments or the private sector. This action imposes no new enforceable duty on any State, local or tribal governments or the private sector. Therefore, this action is not subject to the requirements of sections 202 or 205 of the UMRA. This action is also not subject to the requirements of section 203 of the UMRA because it contains no regulatory requirements that might significantly or uniquely affect small government entities. Those entities are already subject to existing permitting requirements for the disposal of dredged material in ocean waters. e. Executive Order 13132: Federalism This proposed action does not have federalism implications. It does not have substantial direct effects on the States, on the relationship between the national government and the States, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities among various levels of government, as specified in Executive Order 13132. Thus, Executive Order 13132 does not apply to this action. In the spirit of Executive Order 13132, and consistent with EPA policy to promote communications between the EPA and State and local governments, the EPA specifically solicited comments on this proposed action from State and local officials. f. Executive Order 13175: Consultation and Coordination With Indian Tribal Governments This proposed action does not have tribal implications, as specified in Executive Order 13175 because the modification of the Charleston ODMDS will not have a direct effect on 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. Thus, Executive Order 13175 does not apply to this action. The EPA specifically solicits additional comments on this proposed action from tribal officials. g. Executive Order 13045: Protection of Children From Environmental Health and Safety Risks The EPA interprets Executive Order 13045 as applying only to those regulatory actions that concern health or safety risks, such that the analysis PO 00000 Frm 00021 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 45269 required under Section 5–501 of the Executive Order has the potential to influence the regulation. This proposed action is not subject to Executive Order 13045 because it does not establish an environmental standard intended to mitigate health or safety risks. The proposed action concerns the modification of the Charleston ODMDS and only has the effect of providing a designated location for ocean disposal of dredged material pursuant to Section 102(c) of the MPRSA. However, we welcome comments on this proposed action related to this Executive Order. h. Executive Order 13211: Actions That Significantly Affect Energy Supply, Distribution, or Use This proposed action is not subject to Executive Order 13211, ‘‘Actions Concerning Regulations that Significantly Affect Energy Supply, Distribution, or Use’’ (66 FR 28355) because it is not a ‘‘significant regulatory action’’ as defined under Executive Order 12866. However, we welcome comments on this proposed action related to this Executive Order. i. National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act Section 12(d) of the National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act of 1995 (‘‘NTTAA’’), Public Law 104–113, 12(d) (15 U.S.C. 272), directs the EPA to use voluntary consensus standards in its regulatory activities unless to do so would be inconsistent with applicable law or otherwise impractical. Voluntary consensus standards are technical standards (e.g., materials specifications, test methods, sampling procedures, and business practices) that are developed or adopted by voluntary consensus bodies. The NTTAA directs the EPA to provide Congress, through OMB, explanations when the Agency decides not to use available and applicable voluntary consensus standards. This proposed action includes environmental monitoring and measurement as described in EPA’s proposed SMMP. The EPA will not require the use of specific, prescribed analytic methods for monitoring and managing the designated ODMDS. The Agency plans to allow the use of any method, whether it constitutes a voluntary consensus standard or not, that meets the monitoring and measurement criteria discussed in the proposed SMMP. The EPA welcomes comments on this aspect of the proposed rulemaking and, specifically, invites the public to identify potentially-applicable voluntary consensus standards and to E:\FR\FM\13JYP1.SGM 13JYP1 45270 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 134 / Wednesday, July 13, 2016 / Proposed Rules explain why such standards should be used in this proposed action. j. Executive Order 12898: Federal Actions To Address Environmental Justice in Minority Populations and Low Income Populations Executive Order 12898 (59 FR 7629) establishes federal executive policy on environmental justice. Its main provision directs federal agencies, to the greatest extent practicable and permitted by law, to make environmental justice part of their mission by identifying and addressing, as appropriate, disproportionately high and adverse human health or environmental effects of their programs, policies, and activities on minority populations and low-income populations in the United States. The EPA determined that this proposed rule will not have disproportionately high and adverse human health or environmental effects on minority or low-income populations because it does not affect the level of protection provided to human health or the environment. The EPA has assessed the overall protectiveness of modifying the Charleston ODMDS against the criteria established pursuant to the MPRSA to ensure that any adverse impact to the environment will be mitigated to the greatest extent practicable. We welcome comments on this proposed action related to this Executive Order. List of Subjects in 40 CFR Part 228 Environmental protection, Water pollution control. Dated: June 22, 2016. Heather McTeer Toney, Regional Administrator, Region 4. PART 228—CRITERIA FOR THE MANAGEMENT OF DISPOSAL SITES FOR OCEAN DUMPING 1. The authority citation for part 228 continues to read as follows: jstallworth on DSK7TPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS ■ Authority: 33 U.S.C. 1412 and 1418. 2. Section 228.15 is amended by revising paragraphs (h)(5)(i) through (iii) and (vi) to read as follows: ■ § 228.15 Dumping sites designated on a final basis. VerDate Sep<11>2014 * * 12:59 Jul 12, 2016 Jkt 238001 BILLING CODE 6560–50–P DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES 45 CFR Part 75 RIN 0991–AC06 Health and Human Services Grants Regulation Department of Health and Human Services; Office of the Assistant Secretary for Financial Resources, Division of Grants, Office of Grants Policy, Oversight, and Evaluation. ACTION: Notice of proposed rulemaking. This notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) proposes changes to the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) adoption of the Office of Management and Budget’s (OMB) Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards (‘‘Uniform Administrative Requirements’’) published on December 19, 2014 (79 FR 75871) and the technical amendments published by HHS on January 20, 2016 (81 FR 3004). HHS codified the OMB language, with noted modifications as explained in the preamble to the December promulgation, in 45 CFR part 75. The HHS-specific modifications to the Uniform Administrative Requirements adopted prior regulatory language that was not in conflict with OMB’s language, and provided additional SUMMARY: For the reasons set out in the preamble, the EPA proposes to amend chapter I, title 40 of the Code of Federal Register as follows: * * (h) * * * [FR Doc. 2016–16584 Filed 7–12–16; 8:45 am] AGENCY: Authority: This action is issued under the authority of Section 102 of the Marine Protection, Research, and Sanctuaries Act, as amended, 33 U.S.C. 1401, 1411, 1412. * (5) * * * (i) Location: 32°36.280′ N., 79°43.662′ W.; 32°21.514′ N., 79°46.576′ W.; 32°20.515′ N., 79°45.068′ W.; 32°20.515′ N., 79°42.152′ W. (ii) Size: Approximately 7.4 square nautical miles in size. (iii) Depth: Ranges from approximately 30 to 45 feet (9 to 13.5 meters). * * * * * (vi) Restrictions: (A) Disposal shall be limited to dredged material from the Charleston, South Carolina, area; (B) Disposal shall be limited to dredged material determined to be suitable for ocean disposal according to 40 CFR 227.13; (C) Disposal shall be managed by the restrictions and requirements contained in the currently-approved Site Management and Monitoring Plan (SMMP); (D) Monitoring, as specified in the SMMP, is required. * * * * * PO 00000 Frm 00022 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 guidance to the regulated community. Unlike all of the other modifications to the Uniform Administrative Requirements, these proposed changes, although based on existing law or HHS policy, were not previously codified in regulation. This NPRM seeks comments on these important proposed regulatory changes. DATES: To be assured consideration, comments must be received at the address provided below, no later than 5 p.m. on August 12, 2016. ADDRESSES: In commenting, please refer to file code 0991–AC06. Because of staff and resource limitations, comments must be submitted electronically to www.regulations.gov. Follow the ‘‘Submit a comment’’ instructions. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Dr. Audrey Clarke at HHS at 202–720–1908. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Inspection of Public Comments: All comments received before the close of the comment period are available for viewing by the public, including personally identifiable or confidential business information that is included in a comment. We post all comments received before the end of the comment period on the following Web site as soon as possible after they have been received: http://regulations.gov. Follow the search instructions on that Web site to view the public comments. Background This NPRM proposes changes to the HHS’s adoption of the Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards published on December 19, 2014 (79 FR 75871) and the technical amendments published by HHS on January 20, 2016 (81 FR 3004). HHS codified the OMB language, with noted modifications, in 45 CFR part 75. Unlike all of the other modifications to the Uniform Administrative Requirements, these proposed changes, although based on existing law or HHS policy, were not previously codified in regulation. This NPRM seeks comments for these important regulatory changes. In order to give full effect to other important government-wide initiatives, HHS is proposing further amendments at this time, which HHS intends to finalize as soon as possible. HHS proposes several additional changes to the codification of 2 CFR part 200 in 45 CFR part 75. First, HHS proposes to add language to 45 CFR 75.102, clarifying that the audit requirements and cost principles applicable to contracts and compacts awarded pursuant to the Indian Self Determination and Education Assistance Act (ISDEAA) are E:\FR\FM\13JYP1.SGM 13JYP1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 81, Number 134 (Wednesday, July 13, 2016)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 45262-45270]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2016-16584]


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ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY

40 CFR Part 228

[EPA-R04-OW-2016-0356; FRL-9948-90-Region 4]


Ocean Dumping: Modification of an Ocean Dredged Material Disposal 
Site Offshore of Charleston, South Carolina

AGENCY: Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

ACTION: Proposed rule.

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SUMMARY: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing to 
approve a modification of the ocean dredged material disposal site 
(ODMDS) site offshore of Charleston, South Carolina pursuant to the 
Marine Protection, Research and Sanctuaries Act, as amended (MPRSA). 
The primary purpose for the site modification is to serve the long-term 
need for a location to dispose of material dredged from the Charleston 
Harbor federal navigation channel, and to provide a location for the 
disposal of dredged material for persons who have received a permit for 
such disposal. The modified site will be subject to ongoing monitoring 
and management to ensure continued protection of the marine 
environment.

DATES: Written comments must be received on or before August 12, 2016.

ADDRESSES: Submit your comments, identified by Docket ID No. EPA-R04-
OW-2016-0356, by one of the following methods:
     www.regulations.gov: Follow the on-line instructions for 
submitting comments and accessing the docket and materials related to 
this proposed rule.
     Email: collins.garyw@epa.gov.
     Mail: Gary W. Collins, U.S. Environmental Protection 
Agency, Region 4, Water Protection Division, Marine Regulatory and 
Wetlands Enforcement Section, 61 Forsyth Street, Atlanta, Georgia 
30303.
    Instructions: Direct your comments to Docket ID No. EPA-R04-OW-
2016-0356. The EPA's policy is that all comments received will be 
included in the public docket without change and may be made available 
online at www.regulations.gov, including any personal information 
provided, unless the comment includes information claimed to be 
Confidential Business Information (CBI) or other information whose 
disclosure is restricted by statute. Do not submit through 
www.regulations.gov or email, information that you consider to be CBI 
or otherwise protected. The www.regulations.gov Web site is an 
``anonymous access'' system, which

[[Page 45263]]

means the EPA will not know your identity or contact information unless 
you provide it in the body of your comment. If you send an email 
comment directly to the EPA without going through www.regulations.gov, 
your email address will be automatically captured and included as part 
of the comment that is placed in the public docket and made available 
on the Internet. If you submit an electronic comment, the EPA 
recommends that you include your name and other contact information in 
the body of your comment and with any disk or CD-ROM you submit. If the 
EPA cannot read your comment due to technical difficulties and cannot 
contact you for clarification, the EPA may not be able to consider your 
comment. Electronic files should avoid the use of special characters, 
any form of encryption, and be free of any defects or viruses. For 
additional information about the EPA's public docket visit the EPA 
Docket Center homepage at http://www.epa.gov/epahome/dockets.htm.
    Docket: Publicly available docket materials are available either 
electronically at www.regulations.gov or in hard copy during normal 
business hours from the regional library at the U.S. Environmental 
Protection Agency, Region 4 Library, 9th Floor, 61 Forsyth Street, 
Atlanta, Georgia 30303. For access to the documents at the Region 4 
Library, contact the Region 4 Library Reference Desk at (404) 562-8190, 
between the hours of 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., and between the hours of 
1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding Federal 
holidays, for an appointment.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Gary W. Collins, U.S. Environmental 
Protection Agency, Region 4, Water Protection Division, Marine 
Regulatory and Wetlands Enforcement Section, 61 Forsyth Street, 
Atlanta, Georgia 30303; phone number (404) 562-9395; email: 
collins.garyw@epa.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Potentially Affected Persons

    Persons potentially affected by this action include those who seek 
or might seek permits or approval to dispose of dredged material into 
ocean waters pursuant to the Marine Protection, Research, and 
Sanctuaries Act, as amended (MPRSA), 33 U.S.C. 1401 to 1445. The EPA's 
proposed action would be relevant to persons, including organizations 
and government bodies seeking to dispose of dredged material in ocean 
waters offshore of Charleston, South Carolina. Currently, the U.S. Army 
Corps of Engineers (USACE) would be most affected by this action. 
Potentially affected categories and persons include:

------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                      Examples of potentially regulated
             Category                              persons
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Federal government................  U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Civil
                                     Works projects, U.S. Navy and other
                                     Federal agencies.
Industry and general public.......  Port authorities, marinas and
                                     harbors, shipyards and marine
                                     repair facilities, berth owners.
State, local and tribal             Governments owning and/or
 governments.                        responsible for ports, harbors, and/
                                     or berths, Government agencies
                                     requiring disposal of dredged
                                     material associated with public
                                     works projects.
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    This table is not intended to be exhaustive, but rather provides a 
guide for readers regarding persons likely to be affected by this 
action. For any questions regarding the applicability of this action to 
a particular person, please refer to the contact person listed in the 
preceding FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section.

II. Background

a. History of Disposal Sites Offshore of Charleston, South Carolina

    The existing Charleston ODMDS is located approximately 9 nautical 
miles (nmi) southeast of the mouth of Charleston Harbor on the 
continental shelf off the coast of South Carolina. It is currently 12.1 
nmi\2\ in size, with an authorized disposal zone that is 3.0 nmi\2\ in 
size. Since 1896, the area now designated as the Charleston ODMDS and 
vicinity has been used for disposal of dredged material (e.g., sand, 
silt, clay, rock) primarily from the Charleston Harbor Navigation 
Project. The Charleston ODMDS received interim site designation status 
in 1977 and final designation in 1987. The discovery of live bottom 
habitats within the original site resulted in several modifications to 
use of the site resulting in the creation of the restricted disposal 
zone.
    The USACE Charleston District and the EPA Region 4 have identified 
a need to either designate a new ODMDS or expand the existing 
Charleston ODMDS. The need for expanding current ocean disposal 
capacity is based on future capacity modeling, historical dredging 
volumes, estimates of dredging volumes for future proposed projects, 
and limited capacity of upland confined disposal facilities (CDFs) in 
the area.
    The proposed modification of the ODMDS for dredged material does 
not mean that the USACE or the EPA has approved the use of the ODMDS 
for open water disposal of dredged material from any specific project. 
Before any person can dispose dredged material at the ODMDS, the EPA 
and the USACE must evaluate the project according to the ocean dumping 
regulatory criteria (40 CFR part 227) and authorize the disposal. The 
EPA independently evaluates proposed dumping and has the right to 
restrict and/or disapprove of the actual disposal of dredged material 
if the EPA determines that environmental requirements under the MPRSA 
have not been met.

b. Location and Configuration of Modified Ocean Dredged Material 
Disposal Site

    This action proposes the modification of the ocean dredged material 
site offshore of Charleston, South Carolina. The location of the 
proposed modified ocean dredged material disposal site is bounded by 
the coordinates, listed below. The proposed modification of the ODMDS 
will allow the EPA to adaptively manage the ODMDS to maximize its 
capacity, minimize the potential for mounding and associated safety 
concerns, potentially create hard bottom habitat and minimize the 
potential for any long-term adverse effects to the marine environment.
    The coordinates for the site are, in North American Datum 83 (NAD 
83):
Modified Charleston ODMDS
(A) 32[deg]36.280' N., 79[deg]43.662' W.
(B) 32[deg]21.514' N., 79[deg]46.576' W.
(C) 32[deg]20.515' N., 79[deg]45.068' W.
(D) 32[deg]20.515' N., 79[deg]42.152' W.
    The proposed modified ODMDS is located in approximately 30 to 45 
feet of water, and is located to approximately 6.0 nmi offshore. The 
proposed modified ODMDS would be 7.4 nmi\2\ in size.

[[Page 45264]]

c. Management and Monitoring of the Site

    The proposed modified ODMDS is expected to receive sediments 
dredged by the USACE to deepen and maintain the federally authorized 
navigation project at Charleston Harbor, South Carolina, and dredged 
material from other persons who have obtained a permit for the disposal 
of dredged material at the ODMDS. All persons using the ODMDS are 
required to follow a Site Management and Monitoring Plan (SMMP) for the 
ODMDS. The SMMP includes management and monitoring requirements to 
ensure that dredged materials disposed at the ODMDS are suitable for 
disposal in the ocean and that adverse impacts of disposal, if any, are 
addressed to the maximum extent practicable. The SMMP for the proposed 
modified ODMDS, in addition to the aforementioned, also addresses 
management of the ODMDS to ensure adverse mounding does not occur, 
promotes habitat creation where possible and to ensure that disposal 
events minimize interference with other uses of ocean waters in the 
vicinity of the proposed modified ODMDS. The SMMP has been publically 
review and is currently being finalized by the Charleston Ocean ODMDS 
Task Force. The Task Force is made up of members representing EPA, 
USACE, National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), Bureau of 
Environmental Management (BOEM), the South Carolina State Ports 
Authority (SCSPA), the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources 
(SCDNR), and the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental 
Control.

d. MPRSA Criteria

    In proposing to modify the ODMDS, the EPA assessed the proposed 
modified ODMDS according to the criteria of the MPRSA, with particular 
emphasis on the general and specific regulatory criteria of 40 CFR part 
228, to determine whether the proposed site designations satisfy those 
criteria. The EPA's Final Environmental Assessment for Modification of 
an Ocean Dredged Material Disposal Site Offshore Charleston, South 
Carolina, [April 2016] (EA), provides an extensive evaluation of the 
criteria and other related factors for the modification of the ODMDS.
General Criteria (40 CFR 228.5)
    (1) Sites must be selected to minimize interference with other 
activities in the marine environment, particularly avoiding areas of 
existing fisheries or shellfisheries, and regions of heavy commercial 
or recreational navigation (40 CFR 228.5(a)).
    Dredged material disposal within the existing Charleston ODMDS has 
been confined to the eastern side of the designated site within a 
defined 4-mi\2\ disposal zone to avoid impacts to live hardbottom. 
During this time, dredged material disposal at the site has not 
interfered with commercial or recreational navigation, commercial 
fishing, or sportfishing activities. The proposed modification of the 
site boundaries to the north, east, and south is not expected to change 
these conditions. The proposed action avoids major fisheries, natural 
and artificial reefs, and areas of recreational use. Modification of 
the site to the east will minimize interference with shellfisheries by 
avoiding areas located primarily to the west of the ODMDS that are 
frequently used by commercial shrimpers. Construction of the berm will 
provide an additional approximately 427 acres of hardbottom habitat and 
will protect existing hardbottom habitat by minimizing sediment 
transport. There will be a 3000-foot buffer along the northern 
perimeter of the ODMDS where dumping will not occur. Modeling results 
indicate that this buffer should be sufficient to protect probable 
hardbottom areas to the north of the site.
    (2) Sites must be situated such that temporary perturbations to 
water quality or other environmental conditions during initial mixing 
caused by disposal operations would be reduced to normal ambient levels 
or undetectable contaminant concentrations or effects before reaching 
any beach, shoreline, marine sanctuary, or known geographically limited 
fishery or shellfishery (40 CFR 228.5(b)).
    The proposed ODMDS modification area will be used for disposal of 
suitable dredged material as determined by Section 103 of the MPRSA. 
Based on the USACE and EPA sediment testing and evaluation of dredged 
maintenance material and proposed new work material from the Post 45 
deepening project, disposal is not expected to have any long-term 
impact on the water quality. Results of the maximum concentration found 
outside the disposal area after 4 hours of mixing for each dredging 
unit was zero. Based on these results, water quality perturbations that 
could reach any beach, shoreline, marine sanctuary, or known 
geographically-limited fishery or shellfishery are not expected. The 
western edge of the proposed modified ODMDS is approximately 7 miles 
offshore such that prevailing current will not transport dredged 
material to beaches. Water quality perturbations caused by dispersion 
of disposal material will be reduced to ambient conditions before 
reaching any environmentally sensitive areas.
    (3) The sizes of disposal sites will be limited in order to 
localize for identification and control any immediate adverse impacts, 
and to permit the implementation of effective monitoring and 
surveillance to prevent adverse long-range impacts. Size, 
configuration, and location are to be determined as part of the 
disposal site evaluation (40 CFR 228.5(d)).
    The location, size, and configuration of the proposed modified 
ODMDS provides long-term capacity, site management, and site monitoring 
while limiting environmental impacts to the surrounding area. Based on 
25 years of projected new work and maintenance dredged material 
disposal needs, it is estimated that the ODMDS modification area should 
accommodate approximately 66.5 mcy of dredged material in order to meet 
the long-term disposal needs of the area. The dump zone within the 
proposed ODMDS is estimated to have approximately 75 mcy of capacity. 
The capacity in the dump zone provides a reasonable amount of 
additional capacity to manage risk, account for future unknown disposal 
operations from private entities, and provides a margin of navigation 
safety. The remaining area within the boundaries of the existing 12 
nmi\2\ Charleston ODMDS (parallelogram) would be de-designated. The 
area to be de-designated is approximately 10.4 mi\2\ (7.8 nmi\2\) in 
size and contains documented hardbottom habitat.
    By adding 5.8 mi\2\ (4.4 nmi\2\) to the existing ODMDS disposal 
zone, the total area of the modified Charleston ODMDS would be 9.8 
mi\2\ (7.4 nmi\2\), with a dump zone area of 5.1 mi\2\ (3.9 nmi\2\). An 
ODMDS of this size and capacity will provide a long-term ocean disposal 
option for the region.
    To help protect nearby hardbottom habitat from being buried by 
sediment migrating from the ODMDS, a U-shaped berm along the east, 
south, and west perimeters of the modified ODMDS will be constructed. 
Although there is probable hardbottom located north of the proposed 
modified ODMDS, no berm will be constructed along the northern 
boundary. However, there will be a 3000-foot buffer along the northern 
perimeter of the ODMDS where dumping will not occur. Fate modeling 
indicates that this buffer should be sufficient to protect probable 
hardbottom areas to the north of the site.
    When determining the size of the proposed site, the ability to 
implement

[[Page 45265]]

effective monitoring and surveillance programs, among other things, was 
factored in to ensure that navigational safety would not be compromised 
and to prevent mounding of dredged material, which could result in 
adverse wave conditions. A site management and monitoring program will 
be implemented to determine if disposal at the site is significantly 
affecting adjacent areas and to detect the presence of long-term 
adverse effects. At a minimum, the monitoring program will consist of 
bathymetric surveys, sediment grain size analysis, chemical analysis of 
constituents of concern in the sediments, and a health assessment of 
the benthic community.
    (4) EPA will, wherever feasible, designate ocean dumping sites 
beyond the edge of the continental shelf and other such sites where 
historical disposal has occurred (40 CFR 228.5(e)).
    The continental slope is approximately 55 nmi offshore of 
Charleston. Disposal off the continental shelf (shelf break) was 
evaluated in detail the 1983 ODMDS Designation EIS document. In 
comparison to locating the site in the nearshore region, it was 
determined that monitoring and surveillance would be more difficult and 
expensive in the shelf break area because of the distance from shore to 
the deeper waters. Transporting material to and performing long-term 
monitoring of a site located off the continental shelf is not 
economically or operationally feasible.
    The historically used ocean dumping site, Charleston ODMDS, is not 
located beyond the continental shelf. A portion of the proposed 
modified ODMDS encompasses an area previously designated for disposal.
Specific Criteria (40 CFR 228.6)
    (1) Geographical Position, Depth of Water, Bottom Topography and 
Distance from Coast (40 CFR 228.6(a)(1)).
    The proposed modified ODMDS is located on the shallow continental 
shelf, approximately 6 nmi offshore of Charleston, South Carolina. 
Water depths range from -30 to -45 feet (9 to 13 meters) with an 
overall average depth of -40 feet (12 meters). Characteristics of the 
South Atlantic Bight seafloor include low relief, relatively gentle 
gradients, and smooth bottom surfaces exhibiting physiographic features 
contoured by erosional processes. Sediments largely consist of fine to 
coarse sands. Some areas contain extensive coarse grains and shell 
hash. Fines were found to be typically less than 10%.
    (2) Location in Relation to Breeding, Spawning, Nursery, Feeding, 
or Passage Areas of Living Resources in Adult or Juvenile Phases (40 
CFR 228.6(a)(2)).
    The proposed modified ODMDS is not located in exclusive breeding, 
spawning, nursery, feeding, or passage areas for adult or juvenile 
phases of living resources. The intensity of these activities within 
the vicinity of the ODMDS is seasonally variable, with peaks typically 
occurring in the spring and early fall for most commercially important 
finfish and shellfish species (USEPA 1983). The ODMDS is not located 
within North Atlantic right whale critical habitat.
    (3) Location in Relation to Beaches and Other Amenity Areas (40 CFR 
228.6(a)(3)).
    The center of the proposed modified ODMDS is approximately 7 mi (6 
nmi) from the nearest coastal beach. The site is approximately 3.1 mi 
(2.7 nmi) south of the nearest artificial reef. No significant impacts 
to beaches or amenity areas associated with the existing ODMDS have 
been documented.
    (4) Types and Quantities of Wastes Proposed to be Disposed of, and 
Proposed Methods of Release, including Methods of Packing the Waste, if 
any (40 CFR 228.6(a)(4)).
    Only material that meets EPA Ocean Dumping Criteria in 40 CFR 220-
229 will be placed in the proposed site. Average annual maintenance 
material is approximately 1.4 mcy and approximately 31.2 mcy of new 
work material is expected from the Charleston Harbor Deepening Project. 
Sediments dredged from Charleston Harbor and the entrance channel are a 
mixture of silt, sand, and rock. Hopper dredge, barge, and scow 
combinations are the usual vehicles of transport for the dredged 
material. None of the material is packaged in any manner.
    (5) Feasibility of Surveillance and Monitoring (40 CFR 
228.6(a)(5)).
    The EPA expects monitoring and surveillance at the proposed 
modified ODMDS to be feasible and readily performed from ocean or 
regional class research vessels. The proposed modified ODMDS is of 
similar size, water depth and distance from shore as are a majority of 
the ODMDSs within the Southeastern United States which are routinely 
monitored. The EPA will ensure monitoring of the site for physical, 
biological and chemical attributes as well as for potential impacts 
beyond the site boundaries. Bathymetric surveys will be conducted 
routinely as defined in the SMMP, contaminant levels in the dredged 
material will be analyzed prior to dumping, and the benthic infauna and 
epibenthic organisms will be monitored every 10 years, as funding 
allows.
    (6) Dispersal, Horizontal Transport and Vertical Mixing 
Characteristics of the Area, including Prevailing Current Direction and 
Velocity, if any (40 CFR 228.6(a)(6)).
    A study conducted by EPA from 2013-2015 indicated that currents in 
the vicinity of the Charleston ODMDS tend to have a significant tidal 
component with predominant currents in the cross-shore direction. The 
depth-averaged median current velocity was 18 cm/sec (0.6 ft/sec) with 
90% of the measurements below 30 cm/sec (1.1 ft/sec). Wind-driven 
circulation is the most important factor in controlling sediment 
transport. Strong winds generate waves that steer the sediment on the 
seabed and create large nearbed suspended sediment concentrations. 
Suspended sediment transport is directed mainly NE and SW in response 
to local wind climate and the wind-generated alongshore flows. LTFATE 
and MPFATE modeling results over a 25-year period indicate depths of 
sediment deposited outside the boundaries of the ODMDS will not exceed 
the 5 cm deposition contour guidance provided by EPA.
    (7) Existence and Effects of Current and Previous Discharges and 
Dumping in the Area (including Cumulative Effects) (40 CFR 
228.6(a)(7)).
    Previous disposal of dredged material resulted in temporary 
increases in suspended sediment concentrations during disposal 
operations, localized mounding within the site, burial of benthic 
organisms within the site, changes in the abundance and composition of 
benthic assemblages, and changes in the sediment composition from sandy 
sediments to finer-grained silts. Impacts to live bottoms were 
identified in the western portion of the 12-mi\2\ ODMDS.
    Short-term, long-term, and cumulative effects of dredged material 
disposal in the proposed ODMDS modification area would be similar to 
those for the existing ODMDS.
    (8) Interference with Shipping, Fishing, Recreation, Mineral 
Extraction, Desalination, Fish and Shellfish Culture, Areas of Special 
Scientific Importance and Other Legitimate Uses of the Ocean (40 CFR 
228.6(a)(8)).
    The proposed modified ODMDS is not expected to interfere with 
shipping, fishing, recreation or other legitimate uses of the ocean. 
Commercial navigation, commercial fishing, and mineral extraction (sand 
mining) are the primary activities that may spatially overlap with 
disposal at the proposed

[[Page 45266]]

modified ODMDS. The proposed modified ODMDS avoids the National 
Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) recommended vessel 
routes offshore Charleston, South Carolina, thereby avoiding conflict 
with commercial navigation.
    Commercial fishing (shrimp trawling) occurs primarily to the west 
of the proposed modified ODMDS.
    The likelihood of direct interference with these activities is low, 
provided there is close communication and coordination among users of 
the ocean resources. The EPA is not aware of any plans for desalination 
plants, or fish and shellfish culture operations near the proposed 
modified ODMDS at this time. The proposed modified ODMDS is not located 
in areas of special scientific importance.
    (9) The Existing Water Quality and Ecology of the Sites as 
Determined by Available Data or Trend Assessment of Baseline Surveys 
(40 CFR 228.6(a)(9)).
    Water quality of the existing site is typical of the Atlantic 
Ocean. Water and sediment quality analyses conducted in the study area 
and experience with past disposals in the Charleston ODMDS have not 
identified any adverse water quality impacts from ocean disposal of 
dredged material. The site supports benthic and epibenthic fauna 
characteristic of the South Atlantic Bight. Neither the pelagic 
(mobile) or benthic (non-mobile) communities should sustain irreparable 
harm due to their widespread occurrence off the South Carolina coast.
    (10) Potentiality for the Development or Recruitment of Nuisance 
Species in the Disposal Site (40 CFR 228.6(a)(10)).
    Nuisance species, considered as any undesirable organism not 
previously existing at a location, have not been observed at, or in the 
vicinity of, the proposed modified ODMDS. They are either transported 
to or recruited to the site because the disposal of dredged material 
creates an environment where they can establish. Habitat conditions 
have changed somewhat at the Charleston ODMDS because of the disposal 
of some silty material on what was predominately sandy sediments. While 
it can be expected that organisms will become established at the site 
which were not there previously, this new community is not regarded as 
a nuisance, or ``undesirable,'' community.
    (11) Existence at or in Close Proximity to the Site of any 
Significant Natural or Cultural Feature of Historical Importance (40 
CFR 228.6(a)(11)).
    No significant cultural features have been identified at, or in the 
vicinity of, the proposed modified ODMDS at this time. Surveys 
conducted in 2012-2013 did not identify any cultural features of 
historical importance. The EPA has coordinated with South Carolina's 
State Historic Preservation Officer (SHPO) to identify any cultural 
features. The SHPO concurred with the EPA's determination that the 
proposed modification of the ODMDS will have no effect on cultural 
resources listed, or eligible for listing on the National Register of 
Historic Places as no such resources exist in the project area.

III. Environmental Statutory Review--National Environmental Policy Act 
(NEPA); Magnuson-Stevens Act (MSA); Marine Mammal Protection Act 
(MMPA); Coastal Zone Management Act (CZMA); Endangered Species Act 
(ESA); National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA)

a. NEPA

    Section 102 of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, as 
amended (NEPA), 42 U.S.C. 4321 to 4370f, requires Federal agencies to 
prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for major federal 
actions significantly affecting the quality of the human environment. 
NEPA does not apply to EPA designations of ocean disposal sites under 
the MPRSA because the courts have exempted the EPA's actions under the 
MPRSA from the procedural requirements of NEPA through the functional 
equivalence doctrine. The EPA has, by policy, determined that the 
preparation of NEPA documents for certain EPA regulatory actions, 
including actions under the MPRSA, is appropriate. The EPA's ``Notice 
of Policy and Procedures for Voluntary Preparation of NEPA Documents,'' 
(Voluntary NEPA Policy), 63 FR 58045, (October 29, 1998), sets out both 
the policy and procedures the EPA uses when preparing such 
environmental review documents. The EPA's primary voluntary NEPA 
document for expanding the ODMDS is the Final Environmental Assessment 
for Modification of an Ocean Dredged Material Disposal Site Offshore 
Charleston, South Carolina, [April 2016] (FEA), prepared by the EPA in 
cooperation with the USACE. Anyone desiring a copy of the FEA may 
obtain one from the addresses given above. A draft of this document was 
released for public review in December, 2015. The public comment period 
on the Draft EA closed on January 19, 2016.
    The EPA received 8 comment letters on the DEA. There were two main 
concerns expressed in those letters: (1) Potential movement of disposed 
material impacting areas such as habitat, fisheries and sand borrow 
areas; and (2) monitoring associated with the SMMP. No objections to 
the ODMDS modification were received. The EPA and USACE responded to 
all comments and they are provided in the FEA. The FEA and its 
Appendices, which are part of the docket for this action, provide the 
threshold environmental review for modification of the ODMDS. The 
information from the FEA is used above, in the discussion of the ocean 
dumping criteria.
    The proposed action discussed in the FEA is the permanent 
designation of a modified ODMDS offshore Charleston, South Carolina. 
The purpose of the proposed action is to provide an environmentally 
acceptable option for the ocean disposal of dredged material. The need 
for the modified ODMDS is based on a demonstrated USACE need for ocean 
disposal of dredged material from the Charleston Harbor Federal 
Navigation Project, and the proposed Charleston Harbor Deepening 
Project (also known as Post 45). The need for ocean disposal for these 
and other projects, and the suitability of the material for ocean 
disposal, will be determined on a case-by-case basis as part of the 
USACE process of issuing permits for ocean disposal for private/federal 
actions and a public review process for its own actions. This will 
include an evaluation of disposal alternatives.
    For the proposed modified ODMDS, the USACE and the EPA would 
evaluate all federal dredged material disposal projects pursuant to the 
EPA criteria set forth in the Ocean Dumping Regulations (40 CFR 220-
229) and the USACE regulations (33 CFR 209.120 and 335-338). The USACE 
issues Marine Protection, Research, and Sanctuaries Act (MPRSA) permits 
to applicants for the transport of dredged material intended for 
disposal after compliance with regulations is determined. The EPA has 
the right to disapprove any ocean disposal project if, in its judgment, 
all provisions of MPRSA and the associated implementing regulations 
have not been met.
    The FEA discusses the need for the proposed modified ODMDS and 
examines ocean disposal site alternatives to the proposed actions. The 
need for expanding the current ODMDS is based on future capacity 
modeling, historical dredging volumes, estimated dredging volumes for 
proposed projects, and limited capacity of upland CDFs in the area. 
Non-ocean disposal options have been examined in the FEA based on 
information provided by the USACE in the Dredged Material Management 
Plans for Charleston Harbor.

[[Page 45267]]

    The following ocean disposal alternatives were considered but 
eliminated from detailed evaluation in the FEA:
1. Alternative 2: Use Existing ODMDS and Remove Disposal Zone 
Restriction
    Alternative 2 is the removal of the current disposal zone 
restriction and allowing use of the entire ODMDS for disposal. This 
alternative would require further delineation and assessment of live-
bottom habitat within the western portion of the site or the acceptance 
of direct impacts to such habitat from disposal. Further habitat 
assessment could result in the need for multiple disposal zones to 
avoid direct impacts. From a site management and disposal operations 
perspective, a non-contiguous site would be more difficult and costly 
to manage and monitor. Use of the western portion of the site also has 
the potential for impacting shrimp trawling grounds.
2. Alternative 3: New ODMDS North of the Entrance Channel
    Alternative 3 proposes to designate a new ODMDS north of the 
entrance channel of the same size and configuration as Alternative 1 
(Table 2.2-2, Figure 2-6). This site is located approximately 16 mi (14 
nmi) offshore of the entrance to Charleston Harbor and 1.6 mi (1.4 nmi) 
east of the anchorage area.
    No hardbottom or cultural resource surveys have been conducted in 
this area. Therefore, the presence of hardbottom and cultural resources 
within and adjacent to this site are unknown and would require 
additional surveys. As mentioned in Section 2.1-1, shrimpers appear to 
generally work within and on the edge of the entrance channel out to 
near the ODMDS disposal zone, and then they either head north or south 
and loop back inland (Mark Messersmith, Charleston District, USACE 
pers. corr. with Wayne Magwood, President, Magwood Seafood). Based on 
this information, it appears this site is outside of primary shrimping 
grounds.
    The predominant net sediment transport is generally from NE to SW 
and is influenced by local and regional wind and current patterns as 
well as periodic storm events. Therefore, disposal of dredged material 
in a site located on the north side of the entrance channel may result 
in sediment transport into the channel. Alternative 3 is 7 mi (6 nmi) 
farther offshore than Alternative 1, which would significantly increase 
transit times and fuel costs. This site is also in close proximity to 
the anchorage area, which could impact transit routes to and from the 
ODMDS. Primarily due to concerns about dredged material being deposited 
back into the entrance channel, increased transportation costs, and the 
need for additional surveys to assess hardbottom and cultural 
resources, this alternative is eliminated from further consideration 
for this proposed action.
3. Alternative 4: Disposal Off the Continental Shelf
    The continental slope is approximately 55 nmi offshore of 
Charleston. Disposal off the continental shelf (shelf break) was 
evaluated in detail the 1983 ODMDS Designation EIS document. In 
comparison to locating the site in the nearshore region, it was 
determined that monitoring and surveillance would be more difficult and 
expensive in the shelf break area because of the distance from shore to 
the deeper waters. There would be a likelihood of a higher frequency of 
rough weather that could hinder disposal and monitoring operations.
    Alternative 4 was considered during initial alternatives analysis; 
however, transporting material to and performing long-term monitoring 
of a site located off the continental shelf is not economically or 
operationally feasible; therefore, disposal off the continental shelf 
is eliminated from further consideration for this proposed action.
4. Alternative 5: Upland Disposal
    Upland disposal is an important option for maintenance dredged 
material removed from the federal navigation channel. To ensure that 
adequate project depth is maintained throughout the navigation channel 
within Charleston Harbor, USACE uses several upland placement areas to 
meet dredged material disposal needs within certain reaches of the 
harbor. The sites are adjacent to the Cooper River in the vicinity of 
the shoaling areas, allowing for the economical transfer of dredged 
material from the shoaled areas. The upland placement areas require the 
maintenance and construction of dikes to contain dredged material and 
monitoring to provide conformance with environmental requirements. 
Dredged material is pumped into the sites and the excess surface water 
is clarified by ponding and then released through weir structures.
    Upland and ocean disposal site capacity were evaluated as part of 
the Charleston Harbor Post 45 Deepening IFR/EIS. Upland sites will 
continue to be used and dikes will need to be raised to provide 
additional capacity at these sites. Based on recent analysis conducted 
in 2014, assuming on-going dike raising efforts continue, there is 
sufficient capacity for at least the next 20 years. However even with 
dike raising, it was determined that additional ocean disposal capacity 
will be needed to accommodate continued dredged material operations and 
maintenance in the future.
    Alternative 5 was considered during initial alternatives analysis; 
however, even with dike raising efforts upland capacity and land for 
new disposal areas are limited. Although upland disposal has been 
eliminated from further evaluation in this EA, it remains an option for 
disposal of maintenance material from various reaches when economically 
feasible and capacity is available or if dredged material is unsuitable 
for ocean disposal. Each dredging project will be evaluated separately 
to determine if upland disposal is an option. A MPRSA Section 103 
evaluation was conducted on the new work material, and it was 
determined to be suitable for ocean disposal. Therefore, dredged 
material generated from the deepening project is expected to be 
disposed at the ODMDS.
5. Alternative 6: Beach Nourishment, Nearshore Placement, and Other 
Beneficial Uses
    The Federal Government has placed considerable emphasis on using 
dredged material in a beneficial manner. Statutes such as the Water 
Resources Development Acts of 1992, 1996, 2000, and 2007 demonstrate 
that beneficial use has been a Congressional priority. USACE has 
emphasized the use of dredged material for beneficial use through such 
regulations as 33 CFR part 335, ER 1105-2-100, and ER 1130-2-520 and by 
Policy Guidance Letter No. 56. ER 1105-2-100 states that ``all dredged 
material management studies include an assessment of potential 
beneficial uses for environmental purposes including fish and wildlife 
habitat creation, ecosystem restoration and enhancement and/or 
hurricane and storm damage reduction.'' In accordance with ER 1105-2-
100, USACE is considering beneficial use of dredged material as part of 
the Charleston Harbor Post 45 Project. Potential beneficial uses 
include:

 ODMDS berm creation
 Reef placement
 Crab Bank enhancement
 Shutes Folly enhancement
 Nearshore placement off Morris Island
 Protection of Ft. Sumter

    Details on volumes and construction methods for other beneficial 
use projects will be evaluated during the pre-construction, 
engineering, and design (PED) phase.

[[Page 45268]]

    Alternative 6 was considered during initial alternatives analysis; 
however, the majority of the material dredged from the Charleston 
Harbor Navigation Project is not suitable for beach nourishment, 
nearshore placement, or other beneficial uses. This alternative alone 
does not meet the project need for additional disposal capacity for 
material dredged during the proposed deepening project or annual 
maintenance material. Therefore, this alternative is eliminated from 
further consideration for this proposed action. However, a portion of 
rock material dredged from the entrance channel is proposed to be used 
to construct the berms along the perimeter of the Alternative 1 site to 
minimize sediment transport from the site. The added benefit associated 
with berm construction includes hardbottom habitat creation.
6. No Action Alternative
    The No Action Alternative is defined as not modifying the existing 
Charleston ODMDS disposal zone pursuant to MPRSA Section 102. The 
current capacity of the existing 4-mi\2\ disposal zone within the ODMDS 
is approximately 29.5 mcy (USACE 2014b). If no action is taken, the 
estimated volume of dredge material from the Post 45 deepening project 
that is slated for ocean disposal will fill the existing Charleston 
ODMDS almost to capacity. There would not be enough capacity left for 
disposal of O&M projects that are expected to generate approximately 
1.4 mcy of dredge material per year. The No Action Alternative could 
result in limiting the long-term use of the site and the amount of 
dredged material that could be removed from the Charleston Harbor 
navigation channels and berths per dredging event. This, in turn, could 
impact operations by restricting vessel drafts and access to areas that 
were unable to be dredged to authorized project depths. The No Action 
Alternative fails to fulfill the need and objective to provide a long-
term ocean disposal option for suitable dredged material generated from 
new projects and maintenance projects in support of the Charleston 
Harbor Federal Navigation Project and other local users. The 
availability of suitable ocean disposal sites to support ongoing 
navigation channel maintenance and capital improvement projects is 
essential for continued efficient commerce in the region. The No Action 
Alternative does not meet the proposed action's purpose and need. 
However, it was evaluated in the FEIS as a basis to compare the effects 
of the other alternatives considered.
7. Preferred Alternative: Modification of the Existing Charleston ODMDS
    The proposed ODMDS modification consists of the addition of a 5.8-
mi\2\ area (4.4 nmi\2\) along the northern, eastern, and southern 
boundaries of the existing Charleston ODMDS disposal zone. This area 
would be added to the existing 4-mi\2\ (3 nmi\2\) disposal zone and 
would be designated for disposal of dredged material from the future 
harbor deepening projects and routine maintenance material from the 
Charleston Harbor Navigation Project and other local users. The new 
Charleston ODMDS would have a total area comprising 9.8 mi\2\. Within 
the larger ODMDS, a dump zone is proposed that will serve as the 
boundaries that ocean dumping will occur in. This dump zone within the 
ODMDS was modeled using Long Term Fate and Multiple Placement Fate 
models. The EPA also proposes the de-designation of the remaining area 
within the boundaries of the existing 12 nmi\2\ Charleston ODMDS 
(parallelogram) located primarily in the western portion of the site 
that is not included in the disposal zone or the proposed modification 
area. The area to be de-designated is approximately 10.4 mi\2\ (7.8 
nmi\2\) in size and contains documented hardbottom habitat.
    The Final EA presents the information needed to evaluate the 
suitability of ocean disposal areas for final designation use and is 
based on a series of disposal site environmental studies. The 
environmental studies and final designation are being conducted in 
accordance with the requirements of MPRSA, the Ocean Dumping 
Regulations, and other applicable Federal environmental legislation.

b. MSA

    The EPA integrated the essential fish habitat (EFH) assessment with 
the EA, pursuant to Section 305(b), 16 U.S.C. 1855(b)(2), of the 
Magnuson-Stevens Act, as amended (MSA), 16 U.S.C. 1801 to 1891d, and 
submitted that assessment to the National Marine Fisheries Service 
(NMFS) on December 4, 2015. The NMFS responded via letter that they 
have no comments on the proposed project.
CZMA
    Pursuant to an Office of Water policy memorandum dated October 23, 
1989, the EPA has evaluated the proposed site designations for 
consistency with the State of South Carolina's (the State) approved 
coastal management program. The EPA has determined that the designation 
of the proposed site is consistent to the maximum extent practicable 
with the State coastal management program, and submitted this 
determination to the State for review in accordance with the EPA 
policy. The State conditionally concurred with this determination on 
February 17, 2016. The EPA has taken the State's comments into account 
in preparing the FEA for the site, in determining whether the proposed 
site should be designated, and in determining whether restrictions or 
limitations should be placed on the use of the site, if they are 
designated.
ESA
    The Endangered Species Act, as amended (ESA), 16 U.S.C. 1531 to 
1544, requires Federal agencies to consult with NMFS and the U.S. Fish 
and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to ensure that any action authorized, 
funded, or carried out by the Federal agency is not likely to 
jeopardize the continued existence of any endangered species or 
threatened species or result in the destruction or adverse modification 
of any critical habitat. The EPA incorporated a Biological Assessment 
(BA) into the EA to assess the potential effects of expanding the 
Charleston ODMDS on aquatic and wildlife species and submitted that 
document to the NMFS and USFWS on December 4, 2016. The EPA concluded 
that the proposed project would not adversely affect any threatened or 
endangered species, nor would it adversely modify any designated 
critical habitat. The USFWS concurred on the EPA's finding that the 
proposed action is not likely to adversely affect listed endangered or 
threatened species under the jurisdiction of the USFWS. The NMFS 
concluded the proposed action is not likely to adversely affect listed 
species under their jurisdiction.

c. NHPA

    The USACE and the EPA initiated consultation with the State of 
South Carolina's Historic Preservation Officer (SHPO) on December 4, 
2015, to address the National Historic Preservation Act, as amended 
(NHPA), 16 U.S.C. 470 to 470a-2, which requires Federal agencies to 
take into account the effect of their actions on districts, sites, 
buildings, structures, or objects, included in, or eligible for 
inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP). In a 
letter dated January 6, 2016, the SHPO determined that no properties 
listed in or eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic 
Places will be affected by the project.

[[Page 45269]]

IV. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews

    This rulemaking proposes the designation of a modified ODMDS 
pursuant to Section 102 of the MPRSA. This proposed action complies 
with applicable executive orders and statutory provisions as follows:

a. Executive Order 12866: Regulatory Planning and Review and Executive 
Order 13563: Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review

    This proposed action is not a ``significant regulatory action'' 
under the terms of Executive Order 12866 (58 FR 51735, October 4, 1993) 
and is therefore not subject to review under Executive Orders 12866 and 
13563 (76 FR 3821, January 21, 2011).

b. Paperwork Reduction Act

    This action does not impose an information collection burden under 
the provisions of the Paperwork Reduction Act, 44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq. 
Burden is defined at 5 CFR 1320.3(b). This proposed site designation, 
does not require persons to obtain, maintain, retain, report, or 
publicly disclose information to or for a Federal agency.

c. Regulatory Flexibility

    The Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) generally requires Federal 
agencies to prepare a regulatory flexibility analysis of any rule 
subject to notice and comment rulemaking requirements under the 
Administrative Procedure Act or any other statute unless the agency 
certifies that the rule will not have a significant economic impact on 
a substantial number of small entities. Small entities include small 
businesses, small organizations, and small governmental jurisdictions. 
For purposes of assessing the impacts of this rule on small entities, 
small entity is defined as: (1) A small business defined by the Small 
Business Administration's size regulations at 13 CFR 121.201; (2) a 
small governmental jurisdiction that is a government of a city, county, 
town, school district, or special district with a population of less 
than 50,000; and (3) a small organization that is any not-for-profit 
enterprise which is independently owned and operated and is not 
dominant in its field. The EPA determined that this proposed action 
will not have a significant economic impact on small entities because 
the proposed rule will only have the effect of regulating the location 
of site to be used for the disposal of dredged material in ocean 
waters. After considering the economic impacts of this proposed rule, I 
certify that this action will not have a significant economic impact on 
a substantial number of small entities.

d. Unfunded Mandates Reform Act

    This proposed action contains no Federal mandates under the 
provisions of Title II of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA) of 
1995, 2 U.S.C. 1531 to 1538, for State, local, or tribal governments or 
the private sector. This action imposes no new enforceable duty on any 
State, local or tribal governments or the private sector. Therefore, 
this action is not subject to the requirements of sections 202 or 205 
of the UMRA. This action is also not subject to the requirements of 
section 203 of the UMRA because it contains no regulatory requirements 
that might significantly or uniquely affect small government entities. 
Those entities are already subject to existing permitting requirements 
for the disposal of dredged material in ocean waters.

e. Executive Order 13132: Federalism

    This proposed action does not have federalism implications. It does 
not have substantial direct effects on the States, on the relationship 
between the national government and the States, or on the distribution 
of power and responsibilities among various levels of government, as 
specified in Executive Order 13132. Thus, Executive Order 13132 does 
not apply to this action. In the spirit of Executive Order 13132, and 
consistent with EPA policy to promote communications between the EPA 
and State and local governments, the EPA specifically solicited 
comments on this proposed action from State and local officials.

f. Executive Order 13175: Consultation and Coordination With Indian 
Tribal Governments

    This proposed action does not have tribal implications, as 
specified in Executive Order 13175 because the modification of the 
Charleston ODMDS will not have a direct effect on 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. Thus, Executive Order 13175 does not 
apply to this action. The EPA specifically solicits additional comments 
on this proposed action from tribal officials.

g. Executive Order 13045: Protection of Children From Environmental 
Health and Safety Risks

    The EPA interprets Executive Order 13045 as applying only to those 
regulatory actions that concern health or safety risks, such that the 
analysis required under Section 5-501 of the Executive Order has the 
potential to influence the regulation. This proposed action is not 
subject to Executive Order 13045 because it does not establish an 
environmental standard intended to mitigate health or safety risks. The 
proposed action concerns the modification of the Charleston ODMDS and 
only has the effect of providing a designated location for ocean 
disposal of dredged material pursuant to Section 102(c) of the MPRSA. 
However, we welcome comments on this proposed action related to this 
Executive Order.

h. Executive Order 13211: Actions That Significantly Affect Energy 
Supply, Distribution, or Use

    This proposed action is not subject to Executive Order 13211, 
``Actions Concerning Regulations that Significantly Affect Energy 
Supply, Distribution, or Use'' (66 FR 28355) because it is not a 
``significant regulatory action'' as defined under Executive Order 
12866. However, we welcome comments on this proposed action related to 
this Executive Order.

i. National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act

    Section 12(d) of the National Technology Transfer and Advancement 
Act of 1995 (``NTTAA''), Public Law 104-113, 12(d) (15 U.S.C. 272), 
directs the EPA to use voluntary consensus standards in its regulatory 
activities unless to do so would be inconsistent with applicable law or 
otherwise impractical. Voluntary consensus standards are technical 
standards (e.g., materials specifications, test methods, sampling 
procedures, and business practices) that are developed or adopted by 
voluntary consensus bodies. The NTTAA directs the EPA to provide 
Congress, through OMB, explanations when the Agency decides not to use 
available and applicable voluntary consensus standards. This proposed 
action includes environmental monitoring and measurement as described 
in EPA's proposed SMMP. The EPA will not require the use of specific, 
prescribed analytic methods for monitoring and managing the designated 
ODMDS. The Agency plans to allow the use of any method, whether it 
constitutes a voluntary consensus standard or not, that meets the 
monitoring and measurement criteria discussed in the proposed SMMP. The 
EPA welcomes comments on this aspect of the proposed rulemaking and, 
specifically, invites the public to identify potentially-applicable 
voluntary consensus standards and to

[[Page 45270]]

explain why such standards should be used in this proposed action.

j. Executive Order 12898: Federal Actions To Address Environmental 
Justice in Minority Populations and Low Income Populations

    Executive Order 12898 (59 FR 7629) establishes federal executive 
policy on environmental justice. Its main provision directs federal 
agencies, to the greatest extent practicable and permitted by law, to 
make environmental justice part of their mission by identifying and 
addressing, as appropriate, disproportionately high and adverse human 
health or environmental effects of their programs, policies, and 
activities on minority populations and low-income populations in the 
United States. The EPA determined that this proposed rule will not have 
disproportionately high and adverse human health or environmental 
effects on minority or low-income populations because it does not 
affect the level of protection provided to human health or the 
environment. The EPA has assessed the overall protectiveness of 
modifying the Charleston ODMDS against the criteria established 
pursuant to the MPRSA to ensure that any adverse impact to the 
environment will be mitigated to the greatest extent practicable. We 
welcome comments on this proposed action related to this Executive 
Order.

List of Subjects in 40 CFR Part 228

    Environmental protection, Water pollution control.

    Authority: This action is issued under the authority of Section 
102 of the Marine Protection, Research, and Sanctuaries Act, as 
amended, 33 U.S.C. 1401, 1411, 1412.

    Dated: June 22, 2016.
Heather McTeer Toney,
Regional Administrator, Region 4.

    For the reasons set out in the preamble, the EPA proposes to amend 
chapter I, title 40 of the Code of Federal Register as follows:

PART 228--CRITERIA FOR THE MANAGEMENT OF DISPOSAL SITES FOR OCEAN 
DUMPING

0
1. The authority citation for part 228 continues to read as follows:

    Authority: 33 U.S.C. 1412 and 1418.

0
2. Section 228.15 is amended by revising paragraphs (h)(5)(i) through 
(iii) and (vi) to read as follows:


Sec.  228.15  Dumping sites designated on a final basis.

* * * * *
    (h) * * *
    (5) * * *
    (i) Location: 32[deg]36.280' N., 79[deg]43.662' W.; 32[deg]21.514' 
N., 79[deg]46.576' W.; 32[deg]20.515' N., 79[deg]45.068' W.; 
32[deg]20.515' N., 79[deg]42.152' W.
    (ii) Size: Approximately 7.4 square nautical miles in size.
    (iii) Depth: Ranges from approximately 30 to 45 feet (9 to 13.5 
meters).
* * * * *
    (vi) Restrictions: (A) Disposal shall be limited to dredged 
material from the Charleston, South Carolina, area;
    (B) Disposal shall be limited to dredged material determined to be 
suitable for ocean disposal according to 40 CFR 227.13;
    (C) Disposal shall be managed by the restrictions and requirements 
contained in the currently-approved Site Management and Monitoring Plan 
(SMMP);
    (D) Monitoring, as specified in the SMMP, is required.
* * * * *
[FR Doc. 2016-16584 Filed 7-12-16; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 6560-50-P