Postponement of Effectiveness of the Consolidated Federal Oil & Gas and Federal & Indian Coal Valuation Reform 2017 Valuation Rule, 11823-11824 [2017-03861]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 37 / Monday, February 27, 2017 / Rules and Regulations effective September 15, 2016, is amended as follows: Paragraph 6005 Class E Airspace Areas Extending Upward From 700 Feet or More Above the Surface of the Earth. * * * * * AGL SD E5 Wessington Springs, SD [New] Wessington Springs Airport, SD (Lat. 44°03′43″ N., long. 098°31′56″ W.) That airspace extending upward from 700 feet above the surface within a 6.5-mile radius of Wessington Springs Airport Issued in Fort Worth, Texas, on February 9, 2017. Vonnie L. Royal, Acting Manager, Operations Support Group, ATO Central Service Center. [FR Doc. 2017–03543 Filed 2–24–17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–13–P DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Office of Natural Resources Revenue 30 CFR Parts 1202 and 1206 [Docket No. ONRR–2012–0004; DS63644000 DR2000000.CH7000 178D0102R2] RIN 1012–AA13 Postponement of Effectiveness of the Consolidated Federal Oil & Gas and Federal & Indian Coal Valuation Reform 2017 Valuation Rule Office of Natural Resources Revenue (ONRR), Interior. ACTION: Notification; postponement of effectiveness. AGENCY: On July 1, 2016, the Office of Natural Resources Revenue (ONRR) published the Consolidated Federal Oil & Gas and Federal & Indian Coal Valuation Final Rule (2017 Valuation Rule or Rule) in the Federal Register. On December 29, 2016, three separate petitions challenging the 2017 Valuation Rule were filed in the United States District Court for the District of Wyoming. In light of the existence and potential consequences of the pending litigation, ONRR has concluded that justice requires it to postpone the effectiveness of the 2017 Valuation Rule pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 705 of the Administrative Procedure Act, pending judicial review. DATES: February 27, 2017. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Peter Christnacht, Royalty Valuation team B, at 303–231–3651 or email to peter.christnacht@onrr.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: On July 1, 2016, ONRR published the 2017 Valuation Rule in the Federal Register. sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with RULES SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:46 Feb 24, 2017 Jkt 241001 See 81 FR 43338. The 2017 Valuation Rule changes how lessees value their production for royalty purposes and revises revenue-reporting requirements. Although the 2017 Valuation Rule took effect on January 1, 2017, Federal and Indian Lessees are not required to report and pay royalties under the Rule until February 28, 2017. Under this notification, Lessees will not be required to report and pay royalties under the Rule as of that date. On December 29, 2016, three separate petitions were filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Wyoming.1 The petitions allege that certain provisions of the 2017 Valuation Rule are arbitrary, capricious, and contrary to the law. On February 17, 2017, the petitioners sent the ONRR Director a letter requesting that ONRR postpone the implementation of the 2017 Valuation Rule. The petitioners claim that lessees affected by the Rule face significant hardship and uncertainty in the face of reporting under the rule for the first time on February 28, 2017. The petitioners also claim that the new reporting and payment requirements in the Rule are difficult, and in some cases impossible, to comply with by the royalty reporting deadline; a difficulty exacerbated by the fact that noncompliant lessees may be exposed to significant civil penalties. Under Section 705 of the Administrative Procedure Act ‘‘[w]hen an agency finds that justice so requires, it may postpone the effective date of action taken by it, pending judicial review.’’ 5 U.S.C. 705. In light of the pending litigation, and for the following reasons, ONRR has concluded that justice requires it to postpone the effectiveness of the 2017 Valuation Rule until the judicial challenges to the Rule are resolved. First, the postponement will preserve the regulatory status quo while the litigation is pending and the Court decides whether to uphold the regulation. While ONRR believes the 2017 Valuation Rule was properly promulgated, the petitioners have raised serious questions concerning the validity of certain provisions of the Rule, including the expansion of the ‘‘default provision’’ and the use of the sales price of electricity for certain coalroyalty valuations. Given this legal uncertainty, maintaining the status quo 1 Cloud Peak Energy, Inc. v. United States Dep’t of the Interior, Case No. 16CV315–F (D. Wyo.); American Petroleum Inst. V. United States Dep’t of the Interior, Case No. 16CV316–F (D. Wyo.); TriState Generation and transmission Ass’n, Inc., Basin Electric Power Cooperative, and Western Fuels-Wyoming, Inc., v. United States Dep’t of the Interior, Case No. 16CV319–F (D. Wyo.) PO 00000 Frm 00035 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 11823 is critical for a number of reasons. First, a postponement will avoid the substantial cost of retroactively correcting and verifying all revenue reports if the 2017 Valuation Rule is invalidated, in whole or in part, as a result of the pending litigation. Federal and Indian lessees affected by the 2017 Valuation Rule submit approximately 450,000 reporting lines every production month. If the Court invalidates the 2017 Valuation Rule, affected lessees would be forced to correct and resubmit reporting lines for each production month that the Rule is in effect. ONRR would be required to review and verify the same. Thus, postponing the 2017 Valuation Rule will avoid forcing both the regulated community and ONRR to perform the complicated, time-consuming, and costly task of correcting and verifying revenue reports and payments if the 2017 Valuation Rule is invalidated as a result of the pending litigation.2 In addition, the postponement will enhance the lessees’ ability to timely and accurately report and pay royalties because they will be using a well-known system that has been in place for the last 25 years. ONRR has received numerous legitimate questions from lessees on how to apply the 2017 Valuation Rule, some of which will require additional consideration and time before ONRR can definitively answer them; thus increasing the likelihood that lessees will initially report incorrectly and later need to adjust their reports. In addition, the Court may resolve some of these issues differently than ONRR, again increasing the likelihood that lessees will need to submit corrected reports. Given these judicial and administrative uncertainties, relying on the previous regulatory system while the litigation is pending will reduce uncertainty and enhance ONRR’s ability to collect and verify natural resource revenues, which is in the best interest of all those who benefit from royalty payments, including States, Tribes, individual Indian lessors, and the general public. The United States will suffer no significant harm from postponing the effectiveness of the 2017 Valuation Rule while the litigation is pending. As noted in the preamble to the final rule, the implementation of the Rule is not expected to have a significant impact on 2 Some lessees have likely converted their accounting systems to report and pay royalties under the new rule. While these lessees will incur a cost to revert back to the pre-existing system, the cost of doing so now, before the first reporting period, will be much less than if the reversion is required later upon judicial order, and the lessee is required to correct its reporting for each month it reported under the Rule. E:\FR\FM\27FER1.SGM 27FER1 11824 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 37 / Monday, February 27, 2017 / Rules and Regulations the economy. 81 FR 43338, 43368. Thus, postponing the effectiveness of the Rule will not cause any appreciable economic harm to the general public. In fact, the interests of all royalty beneficiaries will be enhanced by the regulatory certainty provided by the postponement, as discussed above. In contrast, the regulated community will suffer harm without the postponement, especially if the Rule is later invalidated by the Court. If the Rule is invalidated, the regulated community would not only incur the unreimbursable costs of reverting back to the old system, but would also incur the substantial costs of correcting its reports and royalty payments for each production month. In sum, in light of the existence and consequences of the pending litigation, and given the potentially irreparable harm that could result if the 2017 Valuation Rule is immediately implemented, ONRR has determined that the public interest and justice requires postponing the effectiveness of the 2017 Valuation Rule until the litigation is resolved. Accordingly, pursuant to Section 705 of the Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. 705, ONRR has postponed the effectiveness of the Consolidated Federal Oil & Gas and Federal & Indian Coal Valuation Final Rule pending judicial review. Dated: February 22, 2017. Gregory J. Gould, Director, Office of Natural Resources Revenue. [FR Doc. 2017–03861 Filed 2–24–17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE P FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION 47 CFR Parts 80 and 95 [WT Docket No. 14–36; FCC 16–119] Marine Radio Equipment and Related Matters Federal Communications Commission. ACTION: Final rule; announcement of effective date. AGENCY: In this document, the Federal Communications Commission (Commission) announces that the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has approved, for a period of three years, information collection requirements adopted in the Commission’s Report and Order, FCC 16–119. This document is consistent with the Report and Order, which stated that the Commission would publish a document in the sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with RULES SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:46 Feb 24, 2017 Jkt 241001 Federal Register announcing OMB approval and the effective date of the rules. The rule amendments to 47 CFR 80.233, 80.1061, 95.1402 and 95.1403, published at 81 FR 90739, December 15, 2016, are effective on February 27, 2017. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Cathy Williams by email at Cathy.Williams@fcc.gov and telephone at (202) 418–2918. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: This document announces that, on February 13, 2017, OMB approved information collection requirements contained in the Commission’s Report and Order, FCC 16–119, published at 81 FR 90739. The OMB Control Number is 3060–1227. The Commission publishes this notice as an announcement of the effective date of those information collection requirements. DATES: Synopsis As required by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3507), the FCC is notifying the public that it received OMB approval on February 13, 2017, for the information collection requirements contained in 47 CFR 80.233, 80.1061, 95.1402, 95.1403, as amended in the Commission’s Report and Order, FCC 16–119. Under 5 CFR part 1320, an agency may not conduct or sponsor a collection of information unless it displays a current, valid OMB Control Number. No person shall be subject to any penalty for failing to comply with a collection of information subject to the Paperwork Reduction Act that does not display a current, valid OMB Control Number. The OMB Control Number is 3060–1227. The foregoing notice is required by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, Public Law 104–13, October 1, 1995, and 44 U.S.C. 3507. The total annual reporting burdens and costs for the respondents are as follows: OMB Control Number: 3060–1227. OMB Approval Date: February 13, 2017. OMB Expiration Date: February 29, 2020. Title: Sections 80.233, Technical Requirements for Automatic Identification System Search and Rescue Transmitter (AIS–SART) Equipment, 80.1061, Special requirements for 406.0–406.1 MHz EPIRB Stations, 95.1402, Special Requirements for 406 MHz PLBs and 95.1403, Special Requirements for Maritime Survivor Locating Devices. Form Number: N/A. Respondents: Business or other forprofit entities. PO 00000 Frm 00036 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 Number of Respondents and Responses: 80 respondents; 80 responses. Estimated Time per Response: 1 hour. Frequency of Response: Third party disclosure requirement and on-occasion reporting requirement. Obligation to Respond: Required to obtain or retain benefits. The statutory authority for this collection of information is contained in 47 U.S.C. 154, 303 unless otherwise noted. Total Annual Burden: 80 hours. Total Annual Cost: No cost. Nature and Extent of Confidentiality: There is no need for confidentiality with this collection of information. Privacy Act Impact Assessment: No impact(s). Needs and Uses: The information collections contained in these rule sections require manufacturers of certain emergency radio beacons to include supplemental information with their equipment certification application which are due to the information collection requirements which were adopted by the Federal Communications Commission in FCC 16–119 on August 30, 2016. Manufacturers of Automatic Identification System Search and Rescue Transmitters (AIS–SARTS), 406 MHz Emergency Position Indicating RadioBeacons (EPIRBs), and Maritime Survivor Locating Device (MSLDs) must provide a copy of letter from the U.S. Coast Guard stating their device satisfies technical requirements specified in the IEC 61097–17 technical standard for AIS–SARTs, or Radio Technical Commission for Maritime Services (RTCM) Standard 11000 for 406 MHz EPIRBs, or RTCM Standard 11901 for MSLDs. They must also provide a copy or the technical test data, and the instruction manual(s). For 406 MHz PLBs manufacturers must include documentation from COSPAS/SARSAT recognized test facility that the PLB satisfies the technical requirements specified in COSPAS–SARSAT Standard C/S T.001 and COSPAS– SARSAT Standard C/S T.007 standards and documentation from an independent test facility stating that the PLB complies RTCM Standard 11010.2. The information is used by Telecommunications Certification Bodies (TCBs) to determine if the devices meets the necessary international technical standards and insure compliance with applicable rules. If this information were not available, operation of marine safety equipment could be hindered threatening the ability of rescue personnel to locate vessels in distress. E:\FR\FM\27FER1.SGM 27FER1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 82, Number 37 (Monday, February 27, 2017)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 11823-11824]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2017-03861]


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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Office of Natural Resources Revenue

30 CFR Parts 1202 and 1206

[Docket No. ONRR-2012-0004; DS63644000 DR2000000.CH7000 178D0102R2]
RIN 1012-AA13


Postponement of Effectiveness of the Consolidated Federal Oil & 
Gas and Federal & Indian Coal Valuation Reform 2017 Valuation Rule

AGENCY: Office of Natural Resources Revenue (ONRR), Interior.

ACTION: Notification; postponement of effectiveness.

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

SUMMARY: On July 1, 2016, the Office of Natural Resources Revenue 
(ONRR) published the Consolidated Federal Oil & Gas and Federal & 
Indian Coal Valuation Final Rule (2017 Valuation Rule or Rule) in the 
Federal Register. On December 29, 2016, three separate petitions 
challenging the 2017 Valuation Rule were filed in the United States 
District Court for the District of Wyoming. In light of the existence 
and potential consequences of the pending litigation, ONRR has 
concluded that justice requires it to postpone the effectiveness of the 
2017 Valuation Rule pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 705 of the Administrative 
Procedure Act, pending judicial review.

DATES: February 27, 2017.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Peter Christnacht, Royalty Valuation 
team B, at 303-231-3651 or email to peter.christnacht@onrr.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: On July 1, 2016, ONRR published the 2017 
Valuation Rule in the Federal Register. See 81 FR 43338. The 2017 
Valuation Rule changes how lessees value their production for royalty 
purposes and revises revenue-reporting requirements. Although the 2017 
Valuation Rule took effect on January 1, 2017, Federal and Indian 
Lessees are not required to report and pay royalties under the Rule 
until February 28, 2017. Under this notification, Lessees will not be 
required to report and pay royalties under the Rule as of that date.
    On December 29, 2016, three separate petitions were filed in the 
U.S. District Court for the District of Wyoming.\1\ The petitions 
allege that certain provisions of the 2017 Valuation Rule are 
arbitrary, capricious, and contrary to the law. On February 17, 2017, 
the petitioners sent the ONRR Director a letter requesting that ONRR 
postpone the implementation of the 2017 Valuation Rule. The petitioners 
claim that lessees affected by the Rule face significant hardship and 
uncertainty in the face of reporting under the rule for the first time 
on February 28, 2017. The petitioners also claim that the new reporting 
and payment requirements in the Rule are difficult, and in some cases 
impossible, to comply with by the royalty reporting deadline; a 
difficulty exacerbated by the fact that non-compliant lessees may be 
exposed to significant civil penalties.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \1\ Cloud Peak Energy, Inc. v. United States Dep't of the 
Interior, Case No. 16CV315-F (D. Wyo.);
    American Petroleum Inst. V. United States Dep't of the Interior, 
Case No. 16CV316-F (D. Wyo.); Tri-State Generation and transmission 
Ass'n, Inc., Basin Electric Power Cooperative, and Western Fuels-
Wyoming, Inc., v. United States Dep't of the Interior, Case No. 
16CV319-F (D. Wyo.)
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Under Section 705 of the Administrative Procedure Act ``[w]hen an 
agency finds that justice so requires, it may postpone the effective 
date of action taken by it, pending judicial review.'' 5 U.S.C. 705. In 
light of the pending litigation, and for the following reasons, ONRR 
has concluded that justice requires it to postpone the effectiveness of 
the 2017 Valuation Rule until the judicial challenges to the Rule are 
resolved.
    First, the postponement will preserve the regulatory status quo 
while the litigation is pending and the Court decides whether to uphold 
the regulation. While ONRR believes the 2017 Valuation Rule was 
properly promulgated, the petitioners have raised serious questions 
concerning the validity of certain provisions of the Rule, including 
the expansion of the ``default provision'' and the use of the sales 
price of electricity for certain coal-royalty valuations. Given this 
legal uncertainty, maintaining the status quo is critical for a number 
of reasons. First, a postponement will avoid the substantial cost of 
retroactively correcting and verifying all revenue reports if the 2017 
Valuation Rule is invalidated, in whole or in part, as a result of the 
pending litigation. Federal and Indian lessees affected by the 2017 
Valuation Rule submit approximately 450,000 reporting lines every 
production month. If the Court invalidates the 2017 Valuation Rule, 
affected lessees would be forced to correct and resubmit reporting 
lines for each production month that the Rule is in effect. ONRR would 
be required to review and verify the same. Thus, postponing the 2017 
Valuation Rule will avoid forcing both the regulated community and ONRR 
to perform the complicated, time-consuming, and costly task of 
correcting and verifying revenue reports and payments if the 2017 
Valuation Rule is invalidated as a result of the pending litigation.\2\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \2\ Some lessees have likely converted their accounting systems 
to report and pay royalties under the new rule. While these lessees 
will incur a cost to revert back to the pre-existing system, the 
cost of doing so now, before the first reporting period, will be 
much less than if the reversion is required later upon judicial 
order, and the lessee is required to correct its reporting for each 
month it reported under the Rule.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    In addition, the postponement will enhance the lessees' ability to 
timely and accurately report and pay royalties because they will be 
using a well-known system that has been in place for the last 25 years. 
ONRR has received numerous legitimate questions from lessees on how to 
apply the 2017 Valuation Rule, some of which will require additional 
consideration and time before ONRR can definitively answer them; thus 
increasing the likelihood that lessees will initially report 
incorrectly and later need to adjust their reports. In addition, the 
Court may resolve some of these issues differently than ONRR, again 
increasing the likelihood that lessees will need to submit corrected 
reports. Given these judicial and administrative uncertainties, relying 
on the previous regulatory system while the litigation is pending will 
reduce uncertainty and enhance ONRR's ability to collect and verify 
natural resource revenues, which is in the best interest of all those 
who benefit from royalty payments, including States, Tribes, individual 
Indian lessors, and the general public.
    The United States will suffer no significant harm from postponing 
the effectiveness of the 2017 Valuation Rule while the litigation is 
pending. As noted in the preamble to the final rule, the implementation 
of the Rule is not expected to have a significant impact on

[[Page 11824]]

the economy. 81 FR 43338, 43368. Thus, postponing the effectiveness of 
the Rule will not cause any appreciable economic harm to the general 
public. In fact, the interests of all royalty beneficiaries will be 
enhanced by the regulatory certainty provided by the postponement, as 
discussed above. In contrast, the regulated community will suffer harm 
without the postponement, especially if the Rule is later invalidated 
by the Court. If the Rule is invalidated, the regulated community would 
not only incur the unreimbursable costs of reverting back to the old 
system, but would also incur the substantial costs of correcting its 
reports and royalty payments for each production month.
    In sum, in light of the existence and consequences of the pending 
litigation, and given the potentially irreparable harm that could 
result if the 2017 Valuation Rule is immediately implemented, ONRR has 
determined that the public interest and justice requires postponing the 
effectiveness of the 2017 Valuation Rule until the litigation is 
resolved.
    Accordingly, pursuant to Section 705 of the Administrative 
Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. 705, ONRR has postponed the effectiveness of 
the Consolidated Federal Oil & Gas and Federal & Indian Coal Valuation 
Final Rule pending judicial review.

    Dated: February 22, 2017.
Gregory J. Gould,
Director, Office of Natural Resources Revenue.
[FR Doc. 2017-03861 Filed 2-24-17; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE P