Establishment of Temporary Restricted Areas R-2509E, R-2509W, and R-2509N; Twentynine Palms, CA, 29380-29383 [2017-13566]

Download as PDF 29380 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 124 / Thursday, June 29, 2017 / Rules and Regulations document. FAA Order 7400.11A lists Class A, B, C, D, and E airspace areas, air traffic service routes, and reporting points. Authority: 49 U.S.C. 106(f), 106(g); 40103, 40113, 40120, E.O. 10854, 24 FR 9565, 3 CFR, 1959–1963 Comp., p. 389. The Rule ■ This amendment to Title 14, Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR) part 71 establishes Class E airspace extending upward from 700 feet above the surface within a 7.3-mile radius of Finleyville Airpark, Finleyville, PA, to support the new RNAV (GPS) standard instrument approach procedures for IFR operations at the airport. Regulatory Notices and Analyses The FAA has determined that this regulation only involves an established body of technical regulations for which frequent and routine amendments are necessary to keep them operationally current. It, therefore: (1) Is not a ‘‘significant regulatory action’’ under Executive Order 12866; (2) is not a ‘‘significant rule’’ under DOT Regulatory Policies and Procedures (44 FR 11034; February 26, 1979); and (3) does not warrant preparation of a regulatory evaluation as the anticipated impact is so minimal. Since this is a routine matter that only affects air traffic procedures and air navigation, it is certified that this rule, when promulgated, does not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities under the criteria of the Regulatory Flexibility Act. Environmental Review The FAA has determined that this action qualifies for categorical exclusion under the National Environmental Policy Act in accordance with FAA Order 1050.1F, ‘‘Environmental Impacts: Policies and Procedures,’’ paragraph 5–6.5a. This airspace action is not expected to cause any potentially significant environmental impacts, and no extraordinary circumstances exist that warrant preparation of an environmental assessment. Lists of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 71 Airspace, Incorporation by reference, Navigation (air). Adoption of the Amendment nlaroche on DSK30NT082PROD with RULES In consideration of the foregoing, the Federal Aviation Administration amends 14 CFR part 71 as follows: PART 71—DESIGNATION OF CLASS A, B, C, D, AND E AIRSPACE AREAS; AIR TRAFFIC SERVICE ROUTES; AND REPORTING POINTS 1. The authority citation for part 71 continues to read as follows: ■ VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:31 Jun 28, 2017 Jkt 241001 § 71.1 [Amended] 2. The incorporation by reference in 14 CFR 71.1 of FAA Order 7400.11A, Airspace Designations and Reporting Points, dated August 3, 2016, 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. * * * * * AEA PA E5 Finleyville, PA [New] Finleyville Airpark, PA (Lat. 40°14′45″ N., long. 80°00′44″ W.) That airspace extending upward from 700 feet above the surface within a 7.3-mile radius of Finleyville Airpark. Issued in College Park, Georgia, on June 22, 2017. Ryan W. Almasy, Manager, Operations Support Group, Eastern Service Center, Air Traffic Organization. [FR Doc. 2017–13568 Filed 6–28–17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–13–P DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration 14 CFR Part 73 [Docket No. FAA–2016–9536; Airspace Docket No. 16–AWP–27] Establishment of Temporary Restricted Areas R–2509E, R–2509W, and R– 2509N; Twentynine Palms, CA Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT. ACTION: Final rule. AGENCY: This action establishes temporary restricted areas (Temp RAs) R–2509E, R–2509W, and R–2509N, Twentynine Palms, CA, to support a Marine Expeditionary Brigade level Large Scale Exercise (LSE) planned for existing and newly acquired training lands at Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center (MCAGCC), Twentynine Palms from August 7 to August 26, 2017. SUMMARY: Effective date 0901 UTC, August 7, 2017. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Kenneth Ready, Airspace Policy and Regulations Group, Office of Airspace Services, Federal Aviation Administration, 800 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20591; telephone: (202) 267–8783. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: DATES: PO 00000 Frm 00018 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 Authority for This Rulemaking The FAA’s authority to issue rules regarding aviation safety is found in Title 49 of the United States Code. Subtitle I, Section 106 describes the authority of the FAA Administrator. Subtitle VII, Aviation Programs, describes in more detail the scope of the agency’s authority. This rulemaking is promulgated under the authority described in Subtitle VII, Part A, Subpart I, Section 40103. Under that section, the FAA is charged with prescribing regulations to assign the use of the airspace necessary to ensure the safety of aircraft and the efficient use of airspace. This regulation is within the scope of that authority as it would establish the temporary restricted area airspace at Twentynine Palms, CA, to support a Marine Expeditionary Brigade level LSE and accommodate essential USMC training requirements. History On February 23, 2017, the FAA published in the Federal Register a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) (82 FR 11414), Docket No. FAA–2016– 9536, to establish Temp RAs R–2509E, R–2509W, and R–2509N, Twentynine Palms, CA, to support a Marine Expeditionary Brigade level LSE. Interested parties were invited to participate in this rulemaking effort by submitting written comments on the proposal. Five comments were received; four from individuals and one from Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA). Discussion of Comments In their response to the NPRM, the commenters raised several substantive issues. The commenters contend the temporary restricted airspace design could be managed through alternative airspace management methods like temporary flight restrictions or controlled firing areas. Additionally, commenters contended that the location and lack of knowledge of temporary restricted areas would have a negative impact on general aviation aircraft. One commenter supported the exercise to allow warfighters the opportunity to practice tactics in preparation for actual war. The comments have been categorized in the following groupings: (1) Alternative designation of the airspace as a temporary flight restriction (TFR) or as a controlled firing area (CFA); (2) the general concern that R– 2509W creates a narrow funneling of traffic at a known ‘‘choke point’’ of airspace; and (3) the need for advanced notification of pilots of activation and awareness of temporary restricted areas. E:\FR\FM\29JNR1.SGM 29JNR1 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 124 / Thursday, June 29, 2017 / Rules and Regulations Having considered the issues and recommendations provided by the commenters, the FAA offers the following responses. nlaroche on DSK30NT082PROD with RULES Designation of the Airspace as a TFR or as a CFA Two commenters suggested the airspace would be better served as TFR because a TFR could be depicted graphically and would provide better notification to pilots. The commenters noted perceived limitations in the NOTAM system used to inform pilots of temporary restricted areas established under part 73. TFRs under 14 CFR 91.137 are not used for any pre-planned military operations involving hazardous activity. Additionally, a TFR issued under § 91.137 involves restrictions and limitations that are not appropriately applied to military operations. The fact that commenters perceive that a TFR permits better notification to a pilot about restricted airspace is not sufficient to warrant using § 91.137 for activity that it was not intended to cover. One commenter suggested a CFA as an alternative. CFAs are not intended for aerial activities which involve aircraft ordinance delivery which this LSE will involve. R–2509W Creates a Narrow Funneling of Traffic at a Known ‘‘Choke Point’’ of Airspace One commenter stated the corridor created by restricted airspace in the high desert of Southern California is already very narrow and congested and funnels high amounts of traffic today. The commenter noted that adding restricted areas that will reduce the corridor will exacerbate the problem. The commenter suggested expanding the existing restricted area into one of the already established military operations areas (MOA) on the eastern side of R–2509 and away from the already narrow funnel in the west. AOPA contends that the proposed restricted areas create an unnecessary and unacceptable risk to general aviation pilots. AOPA specifically noted that, because the proposed R–2509W overlies a valley, it will force general aviation pilots to fly closer to precipitous rising terrain and will provide a greater challenge to pilots needing to turn around safely. AOPA also commented that federal airway V– 386 which is heavily utilized by general aviation pilots will be impacted by the proposed restricted area. AOPA contended that the restricted area would force many pilots to deviate further to the west and into more complex and congested airspace. AOPA also noted that the FAA previously withdrew a VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:31 Jun 28, 2017 Jkt 241001 proposal for the same temporary restricted areas because efforts to mitigate the aeronautical impacts were unsuccessful. After the 2016 NPRM was withdrawn, LA Center negotiated certain mitigations with the Marine Corps in response to LA Center’s aeronautical study of the impact of the temporary restricted areas to non-participating aircraft operating within the corridor west of the proposed restricted areas. In response to the aeronautical study, the Marines met with LA Center and addressed internal boundary changes for R–2509N and R– 2509E which allow for arrivals and departures to fly over the restricted areas allowing better flow control and altitude stratum for Metroplex procedures. Additionally, the Marine Corps agreed to limit the maximum altitude for R–2509E to FL400 for only three days of the exercise otherwise the maximum altitude will be FL220. The FAA has further addressed the commenters concerns by restricting the airspace the Marine Corps will utilize within R–2509W to 8,000 feet MSL for the duration of the exercise and limiting the airspace above R–2509N to 16,000 feet MSL for the duration of the exercise. These changes account for the differences from the 2016 NPRM that could not be agreed upon prior to the August 2016 exercise. Those operations were cancelled and the NPRM withdrawn due to inability to alleviate aeronautical concerns. The mitigations agreed to by the Marine Corps have adequately addressed the FAA’s earlier concerns. In regard to the commenters’ recommendation to expand to the east rather than into the corridor in the west, the Marine Corps conducted an extensive land use study which included a review of the possible expansion to the east side of the current restricted area. The planned exercise requires land and airspace that allows for close air support, which is the use of aviation in support of ground units, surface fires and maneuver areas that are oriented for continual progression throughout the exercise area. The study found that the land to the east was not a feasible alternative for the conduct of the planned exercise. Additionally, the use of surface fires is required to integrate with both fixed and rotary winged aircraft that would require the use of land the Department of Defense does not possess. Lastly, the Safety Risk Management Panel conducted by FAA identified the proposal added minimal impact to the National Airspace System (NAS) compared to daily operations. PO 00000 Frm 00019 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 29381 Pilots Need Advanced Notifications of Activation and Awareness of Temp RAs AOPA stated concerns of the lack of awareness for pilots for Temp RAs as a whole. The infrequent use of Temp RAs in the past 20 years, lack of discussion within the aeronautical manuals for general aviation pilots, and lack of temporary special use airspace depicted electronically (most notably the electronic flight bag), all lead to the potential of a general aviation pilot to violate the Temp RAs. AOPA commented that the times of use in the NOTAM for the temporary restricted areas should be changed to provide 4 hours advance notice before the areas are activated. The FAA agrees and directed the Marine Corps to work within the current system to insure pilots are notified of the LSE by: 1. Working with Los Angeles Center to establish ‘‘Pointer NOTAMs’’ to enhance coverage and visibility of the activities taking place. 2. Publish Special Use Airspace NOTAMs no less than six hours prior to hazardous activity taking place. 3. Work with the FAA to ensure the Temp RAs will be reflected on the FAA’s SUA Web site: https:// sua.faa.gov/sua/siteFrame.app, for current flight planning information. 4. Coordinate with AOPA on public outreach matters. Additionally, the FAA has started the process to update aeronautical manuals to define what temporary special use airspace entails and developing a process to electronically display temporary special use airspace on the electronic flight bag. Differences From the NPRM In response to comments and the FAA aeronautical study completed by Los Angeles Center, the FAA changed the internal boundaries of two of the restricted areas (R–2509N and R– 2509W) that were proposed in the NPRM. Geographic lat./long. coordinates have been adjusted to accommodate traffic above and around the newly established temporary restricted areas ensure ample separation from non-participating traffic. The following restricted area updates are incorporated in this action. Three geographic lat./long. coordinates internal to R–2509N and R– 2509E have been changed and four new points were established. The Rule The FAA is amending 14 CFR part 73 to establish new temporary restricted areas (R–2509E, R–2509W, and R– E:\FR\FM\29JNR1.SGM 29JNR1 29382 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 124 / Thursday, June 29, 2017 / Rules and Regulations 2509N) at Twentynine Palms, CA. Subsequent to the NPRM, the FAA is also incorporating the restricted area updates noted in the Differences from the NPRM section. The FAA is taking this action to accommodate live fire from pistols, rifles, machine guns, antitank weapons, mortars, artillery, Unmanned Aircraft Systems, fixed wing, and rotary wing training activities including close air support and live ordnance delivery. These temporary restricted areas are required to effectively deconflict Department of Defense and civilian air traffic from hazards associated with live fire training. The amendments are as follows: Temporary R–2509E: The geographic coordinate lat. 34°40′30″ N., long. 116°29′43″ W., in the boundaries description proposed in the NPRM is replaced with lat. 34°39′24″ N., long. 116°29′19″ W.; Geographic coordinate lat. 34°34′17″ N., long. 116°35′52″ W.; in the boundaries description proposed in the NPRM is replaced with lat. 34°32′36″ N., long. 116°35′12″ W. Temporary R–2509N: The geographic coordinate lat. 34°39′24″ N., long. 116°29′19″ W.; was added to the proposed legal description. The geographic coordinate lat. 34°34′17″ N., long. 116°35′52″ W.; in the proposed boundaries description, is replaced with lat. 34°32′36″ N., long. 116°35′12″ W. Temporary R2509N/E/W: The ‘‘times of use’’ for each legal description has changed to read: Intermittent by NOTAM 6 hours in advance during the period from August 7 to August 26, 2017. nlaroche on DSK30NT082PROD with RULES Regulatory Notices and Analyses The FAA has determined that this regulation only involves an established body of technical regulations for which frequent and routine amendments are necessary to keep them operationally current. It, therefore: (1) Is not a ‘‘significant regulatory action’’ under Executive Order 12866; (2) is not a ‘‘significant rule’’ under Department of Transportation (DOT) Regulatory Policies and Procedures (44 FR 11034; February 26, 1979); and (3) does not warrant preparation of a regulatory evaluation as the anticipated impact is so minimal. Since this is a routine matter that only affects air traffic procedures and air navigation, it is certified that this rule, when promulgated, does not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities under the criteria of the Regulatory Flexibility Act. VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:31 Jun 28, 2017 Jkt 241001 Environmental Review In accordance with FAA Order 1050.1F, paragraphs 8–2 and 9–2, Adoption of Other Agencies’ National Environmental Policy Act Documents, and Written Re-evaluations, and 7400.2L, paragraph 32–2–3, the FAA, after conducting an independent review and evaluation of the United States Navy’s 2012 Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and the U.S. Navy’s 2017 Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (2017 EIS) and Written Re-evaluation for Land Acquisition and Airspace Establishment to Support Large-Scale Marine Air Ground Task Force Live-Fire and Maneuver Training at Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center, Twenty-nine Palms, California, has determined that the 2012 EIS and 2017 SEIS and their supporting documentation, as incorporated by reference, adequately assess and disclose the environmental impacts of the Proposed Action including evaluation of the establishment of airspace for six temporary restricted airspace areas R– 2509, 2509E, 2509W, and 2509N (aka R– 2509 E/W/N) Based on the evaluation for potential environmental impact in the abovementioned NEPA documents, the FAA, as the Cooperating Agency, concluded that adoption of the EIS for Land Acquisition and Airspace Establishment to Support Large-Scale Marine Air Ground Task Force Live-Fire and Maneuver Training at Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center, Twenty-nine Palms, California, with incorporation of its supporting documentation, is authorized in accordance with 40 CFR1506.3, Adoption. Accordingly, FAA adopts the 2012 EIS and 2017 EIS and takes full responsibility for the scope and content that address the FAA’s airspace establishment action. List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 73 Airspace, Prohibited areas, Restricted areas. Adoption of the Amendment In consideration of the foregoing, the Federal Aviation Administration amends 14 CFR part 73 as follows: PART 73—SPECIAL USE AIRSPACE 1. The authority citation for part 73 continues to read as follows: ■ Authority: 49 U.S.C. 106(f), 106(g); 40103, 40113, 40120; E.O. 10854, 24 FR 9565, 3 CFR, 1959–1963 Comp., p. 389. § 73.25 California [Amended] 2. § 73.25 is amended as follows: * * * * * ■ PO 00000 Frm 00020 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 R–2509E [New] Twentynine Palms, CA Boundaries. Beginning at lat. 34°39′24″ N., long. 116°29′19″ W.; to lat. 34°36′00″ N., long. 116°28′03″ W.; to lat. 34°31′30″ N., long. 116°26′48″ W.; to lat. 34°30′00″ N., long. 116°26′23″ W.; to lat. 34°21′35″ N., long. 116°21′38″ W.; to lat. 34°19′30″ N., long. 116°20′29″ W.; to lat. 34°17′38″ N., long. 116°19′19″ W.; to lat. 34°22′25″ N., long. 116°31′10″ W.; to lat. 34°32′36″ N., long. 116°35′12″ W.; to the point of beginning. Designated altitudes. Surface to FL 400. Time of designation. Intermittent by NOTAM 6 hours in advance from August 7 to August 26, 2017. Controlling agency. FAA, Los Angeles Air Route Traffic Control Center. Using agency. Commanding General, Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center (MCAGCC), Twentynine Palms, CA. R–2509W Twentynine Palms, CA [New] Boundaries. Beginning at lat. 34°35′03″ N., long. 116°36′10″ W.; to lat. 34°22′25″ N., long. 116°31′10″ W.; to lat. 34°27′38″ N., long. 116°40′34″ W.; to lat. 34°27′59″ N., long. 116°42′51″ W.; to lat. 34°29′44″ N., long. 116°42′51″ W.; to the point of beginning. Excluding that airspace within a 3.4-mile radius of point in space at lat. 34°25′32″ N., long. 116°36′52″ W.; surface to 1,500 feet AGL. Designated altitudes. Surface to 8,000 feet MSL. Time of designation. Intermittent by NOTAM 6 hours in advance from August 7 to August 26, 2017. Controlling agency. FAA, Los Angeles Air Route Traffic Control Center. Using agency. Commanding General, Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center (MCAGCC), Twentynine Palms, CA. R–2509N Twentynine Palms, CA [New] Boundaries. Beginning at lat. 34°35′03″ N., long. 116°36′10″ W.; to lat. 34°40′30″ N., long. 116°29′43″ W.; to lat. 34°39′24″ N., long. 116°29′19″ W.; to lat. 34°32′36″ N., long. 116°35′12″ W.; to the point of beginning. Designated altitudes. Surface to 16,000 feet MSL. Time of designation. Intermittent by NOTAM 6 hours in advance from August 7 to August 26, 2017. Controlling agency. FAA, Los Angeles Air Route Traffic Control Center. Using agency. Commanding General, Marine Corps Air Ground Combat E:\FR\FM\29JNR1.SGM 29JNR1 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 124 / Thursday, June 29, 2017 / Rules and Regulations Center (MCAGCC), Twentynine Palms, CA. * * * * * Issued in Washington, DC, on June 22, 2017. Rodger A. Dean, Jr., Manager, Airspace Policy Group. BILLING CODE 4910–13–P NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION 14 CFR Part 1261 [Document Number NASA–2017–0003; Notice: 17–040] RIN 2700–AD83 Processing of Monetary Claims National Aeronautics and Space Administration. ACTION: Direct final rule. AGENCY: This direct final rule makes changes to comply with statutory modifications increasing NASA’s approval authority for certain actions from $20,000 to $100,000 and makes nonsubstantive changes to clarify the existing notification and review procedures. Pursuant to statutory amendments, NASA’s authority to approve certain claims has increased from $20,000 to $100,000. NASA is amending its implementing regulation accordingly. Prior to this statutory change, amounts over $20,000 had to be forwarded to officials within the Department of Justice for approval. The additional changes to procedures were made to comply with ‘‘plain wording’’ criteria and to incorporate debt collection procedural changes implemented under the Debt Collection Improvement Act of 1996. No substantive changes were made to existing NASA provisions for notice and review of claims or indebtedness. The revision to this rule is part of NASA’s retrospective plan under Executive Order (E.O.) 13563 completed in August 2011. DATES: This direct final rule is effective August 28, 2017. Comments due on or before July 31, 2017. If adverse comments are received, NASA will publish a timely withdrawal of the rule in the Federal Register. ADDRESSES: NASA’s full plan can be accessed on the Agency’s open Government Web site at http:// www.nasa.gov/open/. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Bryan R. Diederich, Office of the nlaroche on DSK30NT082PROD with RULES VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:31 Jun 28, 2017 Jkt 241001 SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Direct Final Rule [FR Doc. 2017–13566 Filed 6–28–17; 8:45 am] SUMMARY: General Counsel, NASA Headquarters, telephone (202) 358–0216. NASA has determined this rulemaking meets the criteria for a direct final rule because it involves nondiscretionary statutory modifications to certain of NASA’s claims and indebtedness approval authorities and makes nonsubstantive and ‘‘plain wording’’ changes to existing notification and review procedures within NASA. However, if the Agency receives a significant adverse comment, it will withdraw this direct final rule by publishing a notice in the Federal Register. A significant adverse comment is one that explains: (1) Why the direct final rule is inappropriate, including challenges to the rule’s underlying premise or approach; or (2) why the direct final rule will be ineffective or unacceptable without a change. In determining whether a comment necessitates withdrawal of this direct final rule, NASA will consider whether it warrants a substantive response in a notice and comment process. 29383 List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 1261 Claims. Accordingly, 14 CFR part 1261 is amended as follows: PART 1261—PROCESSING OF MONETARY CLAIMS (GENERAL) 1. The authority citation for part 1261 is revised to read as follows: ■ Authority: Subparts 1261.4, 1261.5, and 1261.6 issued under 51 U.S.C. 20113; 31 U.S.C. 3711 et seq.; 5 U.S.C. 5514; 31 CFR parts 900 through 904; 5 CFR part 550, subpart K, §§ 550.1101 through 550.1107. Subpart 1261.3—Claims Against NASA or Its Employees for Damage to or Loss of Property or Personal Injury or Death—Accruing On or After January 18, 1967 2. The authority citation for subpart 1261.3 is revised to read as follows: ■ Authority: 28 U.S.C. 2671–2680, 51 U.S.C. 20113(m), and 28 CFR part 14. 3. Amend § 1261.301 by revising paragraphs (b) and (c) to read as follows: ■ § 1261.301 Authority. Executive Orders 13563 and 12866 direct agencies to assess all costs and benefits of available regulatory alternatives and, if regulation is necessary, to select regulatory approaches that maximize net benefits (including potential economic, environmental, public health and safety effects, distributive impacts, and equity). Executive Order 13563 emphasizes the importance of quantifying both costs and benefits, of reducing costs, of harmonizing rules, and of promoting flexibility. This final rule has been designated a ‘‘not significant.’’ * * * * (b) Under 51 U.S.C. 20113(m)(1), NASA is authorized to consider, ascertain, adjust, determine, settle, and pay, on behalf of the United States, in full satisfaction thereof, any claim for $25,000 or less against the United States for bodily injury, death, or damage to or loss of real or personal property resulting from the conduct of NASA’s functions as specified in 51 U.S.C. 20112. At the discretion of NASA, a claim may be settled and paid under this authority even though the United States could not be held legally liable to the claimant. (c) Under 51 U.S.C. 20113(m)(2), if NASA considers that a claim in excess of $25,000 is meritorious and would otherwise be covered by 51 U.S.C. 20113(m)(1), NASA may report the facts and circumstances of the claim to the Congress for its consideration or to the Comptroller General as provided in the ‘‘Supplemental Appropriations Act, 1978,’’ Public Law 95–240 (92 Stat. 107), 31 U.S.C. 724a. * * * * * ■ 4. Revise § 1261.304 to read as follows: Regulatory Flexibility Act § 1261.304 It has been certified that this final rule is not subject to the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601) because it would not, if promulgated, have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. A claim arising in the United States should be submitted to the Chief Counsel of the NASA installation whose activities are believed to have given rise to the claimed injury, loss, or death. If the identity of such installation is not Statutory Authority: Title 31, Subchapter II, Section 3711(a)(2) Collection and compromise. Regulatory Analysis Paperwork Reduction Act Statement This final rule does not contain an information collection requirement that is subject to the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.). Executive Order 12866 and Executive Order 13563 PO 00000 Frm 00021 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 * E:\FR\FM\29JNR1.SGM Place of filing claim. 29JNR1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 82, Number 124 (Thursday, June 29, 2017)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 29380-29383]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2017-13566]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Aviation Administration

14 CFR Part 73

[Docket No. FAA-2016-9536; Airspace Docket No. 16-AWP-27]


Establishment of Temporary Restricted Areas R-2509E, R-2509W, and 
R-2509N; Twentynine Palms, CA

AGENCY: Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

ACTION: Final rule.

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

SUMMARY: This action establishes temporary restricted areas (Temp RAs) 
R-2509E, R-2509W, and R-2509N, Twentynine Palms, CA, to support a 
Marine Expeditionary Brigade level Large Scale Exercise (LSE) planned 
for existing and newly acquired training lands at Marine Corps Air 
Ground Combat Center (MCAGCC), Twentynine Palms from August 7 to August 
26, 2017.

DATES: Effective date 0901 UTC, August 7, 2017.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Kenneth Ready, Airspace Policy and 
Regulations Group, Office of Airspace Services, Federal Aviation 
Administration, 800 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20591; 
telephone: (202) 267-8783.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Authority for This Rulemaking

    The FAA's authority to issue rules regarding aviation safety is 
found in Title 49 of the United States Code. Subtitle I, Section 106 
describes the authority of the FAA Administrator. Subtitle VII, 
Aviation Programs, describes in more detail the scope of the agency's 
authority. This rulemaking is promulgated under the authority described 
in Subtitle VII, Part A, Subpart I, Section 40103. Under that section, 
the FAA is charged with prescribing regulations to assign the use of 
the airspace necessary to ensure the safety of aircraft and the 
efficient use of airspace. This regulation is within the scope of that 
authority as it would establish the temporary restricted area airspace 
at Twentynine Palms, CA, to support a Marine Expeditionary Brigade 
level LSE and accommodate essential USMC training requirements.

History

    On February 23, 2017, the FAA published in the Federal Register a 
notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) (82 FR 11414), Docket No. FAA-
2016-9536, to establish Temp RAs R-2509E, R-2509W, and R-2509N, 
Twentynine Palms, CA, to support a Marine Expeditionary Brigade level 
LSE. Interested parties were invited to participate in this rulemaking 
effort by submitting written comments on the proposal. Five comments 
were received; four from individuals and one from Aircraft Owners and 
Pilots Association (AOPA).

Discussion of Comments

    In their response to the NPRM, the commenters raised several 
substantive issues. The commenters contend the temporary restricted 
airspace design could be managed through alternative airspace 
management methods like temporary flight restrictions or controlled 
firing areas. Additionally, commenters contended that the location and 
lack of knowledge of temporary restricted areas would have a negative 
impact on general aviation aircraft. One commenter supported the 
exercise to allow warfighters the opportunity to practice tactics in 
preparation for actual war. The comments have been categorized in the 
following groupings: (1) Alternative designation of the airspace as a 
temporary flight restriction (TFR) or as a controlled firing area 
(CFA); (2) the general concern that R-2509W creates a narrow funneling 
of traffic at a known ``choke point'' of airspace; and (3) the need for 
advanced notification of pilots of activation and awareness of 
temporary restricted areas.

[[Page 29381]]

    Having considered the issues and recommendations provided by the 
commenters, the FAA offers the following responses.

Designation of the Airspace as a TFR or as a CFA

    Two commenters suggested the airspace would be better served as TFR 
because a TFR could be depicted graphically and would provide better 
notification to pilots. The commenters noted perceived limitations in 
the NOTAM system used to inform pilots of temporary restricted areas 
established under part 73.
    TFRs under 14 CFR 91.137 are not used for any pre-planned military 
operations involving hazardous activity. Additionally, a TFR issued 
under Sec.  91.137 involves restrictions and limitations that are not 
appropriately applied to military operations. The fact that commenters 
perceive that a TFR permits better notification to a pilot about 
restricted airspace is not sufficient to warrant using Sec.  91.137 for 
activity that it was not intended to cover.
    One commenter suggested a CFA as an alternative. CFAs are not 
intended for aerial activities which involve aircraft ordinance 
delivery which this LSE will involve.

R-2509W Creates a Narrow Funneling of Traffic at a Known ``Choke 
Point'' of Airspace

    One commenter stated the corridor created by restricted airspace in 
the high desert of Southern California is already very narrow and 
congested and funnels high amounts of traffic today. The commenter 
noted that adding restricted areas that will reduce the corridor will 
exacerbate the problem. The commenter suggested expanding the existing 
restricted area into one of the already established military operations 
areas (MOA) on the eastern side of R-2509 and away from the already 
narrow funnel in the west. AOPA contends that the proposed restricted 
areas create an unnecessary and unacceptable risk to general aviation 
pilots. AOPA specifically noted that, because the proposed R-2509W 
overlies a valley, it will force general aviation pilots to fly closer 
to precipitous rising terrain and will provide a greater challenge to 
pilots needing to turn around safely. AOPA also commented that federal 
airway V-386 which is heavily utilized by general aviation pilots will 
be impacted by the proposed restricted area. AOPA contended that the 
restricted area would force many pilots to deviate further to the west 
and into more complex and congested airspace. AOPA also noted that the 
FAA previously withdrew a proposal for the same temporary restricted 
areas because efforts to mitigate the aeronautical impacts were 
unsuccessful.
    After the 2016 NPRM was withdrawn, LA Center negotiated certain 
mitigations with the Marine Corps in response to LA Center's 
aeronautical study of the impact of the temporary restricted areas to 
non-participating aircraft operating within the corridor west of the 
proposed restricted areas. In response to the aeronautical study, the 
Marines met with LA Center and addressed internal boundary changes for 
R-2509N and R-2509E which allow for arrivals and departures to fly over 
the restricted areas allowing better flow control and altitude stratum 
for Metroplex procedures. Additionally, the Marine Corps agreed to 
limit the maximum altitude for R-2509E to FL400 for only three days of 
the exercise otherwise the maximum altitude will be FL220. The FAA has 
further addressed the commenters concerns by restricting the airspace 
the Marine Corps will utilize within R-2509W to 8,000 feet MSL for the 
duration of the exercise and limiting the airspace above R-2509N to 
16,000 feet MSL for the duration of the exercise. These changes account 
for the differences from the 2016 NPRM that could not be agreed upon 
prior to the August 2016 exercise. Those operations were cancelled and 
the NPRM withdrawn due to inability to alleviate aeronautical concerns. 
The mitigations agreed to by the Marine Corps have adequately addressed 
the FAA's earlier concerns.
    In regard to the commenters' recommendation to expand to the east 
rather than into the corridor in the west, the Marine Corps conducted 
an extensive land use study which included a review of the possible 
expansion to the east side of the current restricted area. The planned 
exercise requires land and airspace that allows for close air support, 
which is the use of aviation in support of ground units, surface fires 
and maneuver areas that are oriented for continual progression 
throughout the exercise area. The study found that the land to the east 
was not a feasible alternative for the conduct of the planned exercise. 
Additionally, the use of surface fires is required to integrate with 
both fixed and rotary winged aircraft that would require the use of 
land the Department of Defense does not possess. Lastly, the Safety 
Risk Management Panel conducted by FAA identified the proposal added 
minimal impact to the National Airspace System (NAS) compared to daily 
operations.

Pilots Need Advanced Notifications of Activation and Awareness of Temp 
RAs

    AOPA stated concerns of the lack of awareness for pilots for Temp 
RAs as a whole. The infrequent use of Temp RAs in the past 20 years, 
lack of discussion within the aeronautical manuals for general aviation 
pilots, and lack of temporary special use airspace depicted 
electronically (most notably the electronic flight bag), all lead to 
the potential of a general aviation pilot to violate the Temp RAs. AOPA 
commented that the times of use in the NOTAM for the temporary 
restricted areas should be changed to provide 4 hours advance notice 
before the areas are activated.
    The FAA agrees and directed the Marine Corps to work within the 
current system to insure pilots are notified of the LSE by:
    1. Working with Los Angeles Center to establish ``Pointer NOTAMs'' 
to enhance coverage and visibility of the activities taking place.
    2. Publish Special Use Airspace NOTAMs no less than six hours prior 
to hazardous activity taking place.
    3. Work with the FAA to ensure the Temp RAs will be reflected on 
the FAA's SUA Web site: https://sua.faa.gov/sua/siteFrame.app, for 
current flight planning information.
    4. Coordinate with AOPA on public outreach matters.
    Additionally, the FAA has started the process to update 
aeronautical manuals to define what temporary special use airspace 
entails and developing a process to electronically display temporary 
special use airspace on the electronic flight bag.

Differences From the NPRM

    In response to comments and the FAA aeronautical study completed by 
Los Angeles Center, the FAA changed the internal boundaries of two of 
the restricted areas (R-2509N and R-2509W) that were proposed in the 
NPRM. Geographic lat./long. coordinates have been adjusted to 
accommodate traffic above and around the newly established temporary 
restricted areas ensure ample separation from non-participating 
traffic. The following restricted area updates are incorporated in this 
action.
    Three geographic lat./long. coordinates internal to R-2509N and R-
2509E have been changed and four new points were established.

The Rule

    The FAA is amending 14 CFR part 73 to establish new temporary 
restricted areas (R-2509E, R-2509W, and R-

[[Page 29382]]

2509N) at Twentynine Palms, CA. Subsequent to the NPRM, the FAA is also 
incorporating the restricted area updates noted in the Differences from 
the NPRM section. The FAA is taking this action to accommodate live 
fire from pistols, rifles, machine guns, anti-tank weapons, mortars, 
artillery, Unmanned Aircraft Systems, fixed wing, and rotary wing 
training activities including close air support and live ordnance 
delivery. These temporary restricted areas are required to effectively 
deconflict Department of Defense and civilian air traffic from hazards 
associated with live fire training. The amendments are as follows:
    Temporary R-2509E: The geographic coordinate lat. 34[deg]40'30'' 
N., long. 116[deg]29'43'' W., in the boundaries description proposed in 
the NPRM is replaced with lat. 34[deg]39'24'' N., long. 116[deg]29'19'' 
W.; Geographic coordinate lat. 34[deg]34'17'' N., long. 116[deg]35'52'' 
W.; in the boundaries description proposed in the NPRM is replaced with 
lat. 34[deg]32'36'' N., long. 116[deg]35'12'' W.
    Temporary R-2509N: The geographic coordinate lat. 34[deg]39'24'' 
N., long. 116[deg]29'19'' W.; was added to the proposed legal 
description. The geographic coordinate lat. 34[deg]34'17'' N., long. 
116[deg]35'52'' W.; in the proposed boundaries description, is replaced 
with lat. 34[deg]32'36'' N., long. 116[deg]35'12'' W.
    Temporary R2509N/E/W: The ``times of use'' for each legal 
description has changed to read: Intermittent by NOTAM 6 hours in 
advance during the period from August 7 to August 26, 2017.

Regulatory Notices and Analyses

    The FAA has determined that this regulation only involves an 
established body of technical regulations for which frequent and 
routine amendments are necessary to keep them operationally current. 
It, therefore: (1) Is not a ``significant regulatory action'' under 
Executive Order 12866; (2) is not a ``significant rule'' under 
Department of Transportation (DOT) Regulatory Policies and Procedures 
(44 FR 11034; February 26, 1979); and (3) does not warrant preparation 
of a regulatory evaluation as the anticipated impact is so minimal. 
Since this is a routine matter that only affects air traffic procedures 
and air navigation, it is certified that this rule, when promulgated, 
does not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of 
small entities under the criteria of the Regulatory Flexibility Act.

Environmental Review

    In accordance with FAA Order 1050.1F, paragraphs 8-2 and 9-2, 
Adoption of Other Agencies' National Environmental Policy Act 
Documents, and Written Re-evaluations, and 7400.2L, paragraph 32-2-3, 
the FAA, after conducting an independent review and evaluation of the 
United States Navy's 2012 Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) 
and the U.S. Navy's 2017 Final Supplemental Environmental Impact 
Statement (2017 EIS) and Written Re-evaluation for Land Acquisition and 
Airspace Establishment to Support Large-Scale Marine Air Ground Task 
Force Live-Fire and Maneuver Training at Marine Corps Air Ground Combat 
Center, Twenty-nine Palms, California, has determined that the 2012 EIS 
and 2017 SEIS and their supporting documentation, as incorporated by 
reference, adequately assess and disclose the environmental impacts of 
the Proposed Action including evaluation of the establishment of 
airspace for six temporary restricted airspace areas R-2509, 2509E, 
2509W, and 2509N (aka R-2509 E/W/N)
    Based on the evaluation for potential environmental impact in the 
above-mentioned NEPA documents, the FAA, as the Cooperating Agency, 
concluded that adoption of the EIS for Land Acquisition and Airspace 
Establishment to Support Large-Scale Marine Air Ground Task Force Live-
Fire and Maneuver Training at Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center, 
Twenty-nine Palms, California, with incorporation of its supporting 
documentation, is authorized in accordance with 40 CFR1506.3, Adoption. 
Accordingly, FAA adopts the 2012 EIS and 2017 EIS and takes full 
responsibility for the scope and content that address the FAA's 
airspace establishment action.

List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 73

    Airspace, Prohibited areas, Restricted areas.

Adoption of the Amendment

    In consideration of the foregoing, the Federal Aviation 
Administration amends 14 CFR part 73 as follows:

PART 73--SPECIAL USE AIRSPACE

0
1. The authority citation for part 73 continues to read as follows:

    Authority:  49 U.S.C. 106(f), 106(g); 40103, 40113, 40120; E.O. 
10854, 24 FR 9565, 3 CFR, 1959-1963 Comp., p. 389.


Sec.  73.25  California [Amended]

0
2. Sec.  73.25 is amended as follows:
* * * * *

R-2509E Twentynine Palms, CA [New]

    Boundaries. Beginning at lat. 34[deg]39'24'' N., long. 
116[deg]29'19'' W.; to lat. 34[deg]36'00'' N., long. 116[deg]28'03'' 
W.; to lat. 34[deg]31'30'' N., long. 116[deg]26'48'' W.; to lat. 
34[deg]30'00'' N., long. 116[deg]26'23'' W.; to lat. 34[deg]21'35'' N., 
long. 116[deg]21'38'' W.; to lat. 34[deg]19'30'' N., long. 
116[deg]20'29'' W.; to lat. 34[deg]17'38'' N., long. 116[deg]19'19'' 
W.; to lat. 34[deg]22'25'' N., long. 116[deg]31'10'' W.; to lat. 
34[deg]32'36'' N., long. 116[deg]35'12'' W.; to the point of beginning.
    Designated altitudes. Surface to FL 400.
    Time of designation. Intermittent by NOTAM 6 hours in advance from 
August 7 to August 26, 2017.
    Controlling agency. FAA, Los Angeles Air Route Traffic Control 
Center.
    Using agency. Commanding General, Marine Corps Air Ground Combat 
Center (MCAGCC), Twentynine Palms, CA.

R-2509W Twentynine Palms, CA [New]

    Boundaries. Beginning at lat. 34[deg]35'03'' N., long. 
116[deg]36'10'' W.; to lat. 34[deg]22'25'' N., long. 116[deg]31'10'' 
W.; to lat. 34[deg]27'38'' N., long. 116[deg]40'34'' W.; to lat. 
34[deg]27'59'' N., long. 116[deg]42'51'' W.; to lat. 34[deg]29'44'' N., 
long. 116[deg]42'51'' W.; to the point of beginning. Excluding that 
airspace within a 3.4-mile radius of point in space at lat. 
34[deg]25'32'' N., long. 116[deg]36'52'' W.; surface to 1,500 feet AGL.
    Designated altitudes. Surface to 8,000 feet MSL.
    Time of designation. Intermittent by NOTAM 6 hours in advance from 
August 7 to August 26, 2017.
    Controlling agency. FAA, Los Angeles Air Route Traffic Control 
Center.
    Using agency. Commanding General, Marine Corps Air Ground Combat 
Center (MCAGCC), Twentynine Palms, CA.

R-2509N Twentynine Palms, CA [New]

    Boundaries. Beginning at lat. 34[deg]35'03'' N., long. 
116[deg]36'10'' W.; to lat. 34[deg]40'30'' N., long. 116[deg]29'43'' 
W.; to lat. 34[deg]39'24'' N., long. 116[deg]29'19'' W.; to lat. 
34[deg]32'36'' N., long. 116[deg]35'12'' W.; to the point of beginning.
    Designated altitudes. Surface to 16,000 feet MSL.
    Time of designation. Intermittent by NOTAM 6 hours in advance from 
August 7 to August 26, 2017.
    Controlling agency. FAA, Los Angeles Air Route Traffic Control 
Center.
    Using agency. Commanding General, Marine Corps Air Ground Combat

[[Page 29383]]

Center (MCAGCC), Twentynine Palms, CA.
* * * * *

    Issued in Washington, DC, on June 22, 2017.
Rodger A. Dean, Jr.,
Manager, Airspace Policy Group.
[FR Doc. 2017-13566 Filed 6-28-17; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-13-P