Port Access Route Study: Alaskan Arctic Coast, 65701-65703 [2018-27604]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 245 / Friday, December 21, 2018 / Notices national-advisory-council, or by contacting the CSAT National Advisory Council Designated Federal Officer; Tracy Goss (see contact information below). Council Name: SAMHSA’s Center for Substance Abuse Treatment National Advisory Council. Date/Time/Type: February 27, 2019, 9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m. EDT, Open. Place: SAMHSA, 5600 Fishers Lane, 5N54, Rockville, Maryland 20857. Contact: Tracy Goss, Designated Federal Officer, CSAT National Advisory Council, 5600 Fishers Lane, Rockville, Maryland 20857 (mail), Telephone: (240) 276–0759, Fax: (240) 276–2252, Email: tracy.goss@ samhsa.hhs.gov. Carlos Castillo, Committee Management Officer, SAMHSA. [FR Doc. 2018–27637 Filed 12–20–18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4162–20–P You may submit comments identified by docket number USCG– 2018–1058 using the Federal eRulemaking Portal at http:// www.regulations.gov. See the ‘‘Public Participation and Request for Comments’’ portion of the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section for further instructions on submitting comments. ADDRESSES: For information about this document call or email LCDR Michael Newell, Seventeenth Coast Guard District (dpw); telephone (907) 463–2263; email Michael.D.Newell@uscg.mil or Mr. David Seris, Seventeenth Coast Guard District (dpw); telephone (907) 463– 2267; email David.M.Seris@uscg.mil or LT Stephanie Bugyis, Seventeenth Coast Guard District (dpw); telephone (907) 463–2265; email Stephanie.M.Bugyis@ uscg.mil. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY Public Participation and Comments Coast Guard [USCG–2018–1058] Port Access Route Study: Alaskan Arctic Coast Coast Guard, DHS. Notice of study; request for comments. AGENCY: ACTION: In order to provide safe access routes for the movement of vessel traffic along the Arctic Coast of the United States for vessels proceeding to or from ports or places of the United States and transiting within the United States Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), the Coast Guard is conducting an Alaskan Arctic Coast Port Access Route Study (AACPARS) to evaluate the need for establishing vessel routing measures. The information gathered during this AACPARS may result in the establishment of one or more vessel routing measures. The goal of the AACPARS is to enhance navigational safety by examining existing shipping routes and waterway uses, and, to the extent practicable, reconciling the paramount right of navigation with other reasonable waterway uses. The recommendations of the study may lead to future rulemaking action or appropriate international agreements. DATES: Comments must be submitted to the online docket via http:// www.regulations.gov, or reach the Docket Management Facility, on or before September 1, 2019. amozie on DSK3GDR082PROD with NOTICES1 SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 00:00 Dec 21, 2018 Jkt 247001 We encourage you to submit comments (or related materials) on the AACPARS. We will consider all submissions and may adjust our final action based on your comments. If you submit a comment, please include the docket number for this notice, indicate the specific section of this document to which each comment applies, and provide a reason for each suggestion or recommendation. Comments should be submitted through the Federal eRulemaking Portal at http://www.regulations.gov. If your material cannot be submitted using http://www.regulations.gov, contact the person in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section of this document for alternate instructions. Documents mentioned in this notice, and all public comments, are in our online docket at http://www.regulations.gov and can be viewed by following that website’s instructions. Additionally, if you go to the online docket and sign up for email alerts, you will be notified when comments are posted or a final rule is published. We accept anonymous comments. All comments received will be posted without change to http:// www.regulations.gov and will include any personal information you have provided. For more about privacy and the docket, you may review a Privacy Act notice regarding the Federal Docket Management System in the March 24, 2005, issue of the Federal Register (70 FR 15086). PO 00000 Frm 00080 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 65701 Public Meeting(s) If requested, we plan to hold public meetings to receive oral comments on this NPRM and would announce the dates, times, and locations in a separate document published in the Federal Register. To receive an email notice whenever a comment or notice— including the notice announcing when any meetings are to be held, are submitted or issued, go to the online docket and select the sign-up-for-emailalerts option. When it is published, we will place a copy of the announcement in the docket and you will receive an email alert from www.regulations.gov. Definitions The following definitions (except as noted by an asterisk) are from the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO’s) publication ‘‘Ships’ Routing’’ Twelfth Edition 2017 and should help you review this notice: Area to be avoided (ATBA): A routing measure comprising an area within defined limits in which either navigation is particularly hazardous or it is exceptionally important to avoid casualties and which should be avoided by all ships, or certain classes of ships. Deep-water route: A route within defined limits which has been accurately surveyed for clearance of sea bottom and submerged obstacles as indicated on the chart. Exclusive economic zone (EEZ)*: The zone established by Presidential Proclamation 5030, dated March 10, 1983 and delineated in the August 23, 1995, issue of the Federal Register (60 FR 43825). Inshore traffic zone: A routing measure comprising a designated area between the landward boundary of a traffic separation scheme and the adjacent coast, to be used in accordance with the provisions of Rule 10(d), as amended, of the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea, 1972 (Collision Regulations). Mandatory routing system: A routing system adopted by the Organization, in accordance with the requirements of regulation V/10 of the International Convention for Safety of Life at Sea 1974, for mandatory use by all ships, certain categories of ships or ships carrying certain cargoes. Obstruction*: Anything that restricts, endangers, or interferes with navigation (33 CFR 64.06). Precautionary area: A routing measure comprising an area within defined limits where ships must navigate with particular caution and within which the direction of traffic flow may be recommended. E:\FR\FM\21DEN1.SGM 21DEN1 65702 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 245 / Friday, December 21, 2018 / Notices Recommended route: A route of undefined width, for the convenience of ships in transit, which is often marked by centerline buoys. Recommended track: A route which has been specially examined to ensure so far as possible that it is free of dangers and along which vessels are advised to navigate. Regulated Navigation Area (RNA)*: A water area within a defined boundary for which regulations for vessels navigating within the area have been established under 33 CFR part 165. Roundabout: A routing measure comprising a separation point or circular separation zone and a circular traffic lane within defined limits. Traffic within the roundabout is separated by moving in a counterclockwise direction around the separation point or zone. Routing system: Any system of one or more routes or routing measures aimed at reducing the risk of casualties; it includes traffic separation schemes, two way routes, recommended tracks, areas to be avoided, no anchoring areas, inshore traffic zones, roundabouts, precautionary areas and deep-water routes. Separation zone or separation line: A zone or line separating the traffic lanes in which ships are proceeding in opposite or nearly opposite directions; or separating a traffic lane from the adjacent sea area; or separating traffic lanes designated for particular classes of ship proceeding in the same direction. Structure*: Any fixed or floating obstruction, intentionally placed in the water, which may interfere with or restrict marine navigation (33 CFR 64.06). Traffic lane: An area within defined limits in which one-way traffic is established. Natural obstacles, including those forming separation zones, may constitute a boundary. Traffic Separation Scheme (TSS): A routing measure aimed at the separation of opposing streams of traffic by appropriate means and by the establishment of traffic lanes. Two-way route: A route within defined limits inside which two-way traffic is established, aimed at providing safe passage of ships through waters where navigation is difficult or dangerous. amozie on DSK3GDR082PROD with NOTICES1 Background and Purpose Requirement for Port Access Route Studies Under the Ports and Waterways Safety Act (PWSA) (33 U.S.C. 1223(c)), the Commandant of the Coast Guard may designate necessary fairways and traffic separation schemes (TSSs) to provide VerDate Sep<11>2014 00:00 Dec 21, 2018 Jkt 247001 safe access routes for vessels proceeding to and from U.S. ports. Previous Port Access Route Studies The Coast Guard conducted a PARS in 1981 which focused on localized approaches for some Alaskan ports and Unimak Pass in the Aleutian Island Chain. Another PARS was conducted for the Bering Sea and Bering Strait region of Alaska to analyze the need and suitability of a vessel routing system for that region. Neither of these studies focused on the United States Arctic coast to analyze vessel traffic proceeding to or from ports and places of the United States and transiting within the United States Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), which will be the focus of this study. Necessity for a New Port Access Route Study Sea ice extent in the Arctic Ocean, Chukchi Sea, and Beaufort Sea is declining. These changes in the arctic are affecting the people, wildlife and habitat of the region which in turn has resulted in increased levels of government attention, media attention, scientific research, natural resource exploration, eco and adventure tourism, and increasing commercial use of the Northwest Passage and the Northern Sea Route as alternative shipping routes. As the federal agency most responsible for coastal and marine spatial planning, the Coast Guard, via the PARS process, is initiating the study to analyze current vessel patterns, predict future vessel needs and balance the needs of all waterway users by developing and recommending vessel routing measures for the arctic coast. PARS Timeline, Study Area, and Process The PARS will begin upon publication of this Federal Register notice. The study is expected to take in excess of 48 months to complete due to the size and remoteness of the study area, expected difficulty in accessing and communicating with regional stakeholders at times when discussions will be most productive, the proximity to Canada, difficulty in predicting expected future changes in international shipping and other waterway uses, and the highly technical nature of scientific data available on the Arctic. The study will encompass the entire EEZ of the United States Arctic coast from the border between the United States and Canada to Cape Prince of Wales on Alaska’s Seward Peninsula. As part of the study, the Coast Guard may analyze commercial vessel traffic, fishing vessel traffic, subsistence PO 00000 Frm 00081 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 hunting and fishing activities, recreational activities, military activities, existing and potential outer continental shelf activities, port activities, environmental factors, economic effects and impacts, as well as other topics that may arise during the study process. Specific areas of interest for initial public comment: The lack of historical information about actual vessel traffic patterns in U.S. Arctic waters, and how those patterns have changed over time, makes this PARS study unique. There are few instances where actual vessel track and density information will be available to analyze as potential routing measures are considered. Generic comments on vessels operating in U.S. Arctic waters are welcome and will be given due consideration, but at this stage in the AACPARS study, the Coast Guard is particularly interested in identifying specific locations, times, or instances where future vessel activity could increase significantly in density or cause specific undesirable consequences. Specific areas of concern include, but are not limited to: 1. Times and/or locations where vessel operations could cause significant consequences to species of concern, subsistence activities, marine mammal migration routes, or other equities. 2. Areas of known biological importance, such as the area of the Hanna Shoal, and whether they are of importance year round or only during specific times. 3. Specific times and locations of current and expected future subsistence activity. 4. Areas identified or expected to have high potential for Outer Continental Shelf resource development, to include oil/gas development, development of renewable energy sources, and extraction of seabed resources. 5. Onshore areas of particular environmental concern. 6. Areas where extreme weather or ice conditions that could impact navigation are expected to be present, now or in the future. 7. Any information on prevailing wind/current patterns and how they might change in the future in varying scenarios of decreasing or increasing sea ice coverage. 8. Any information on specific habitat characteristics (for example, water depth, ocean currents, or distances to or from land or sea ice) that tend to attract higher concentrations of marine mammals. The Coast Guard will publish the results of the PARS in the Federal E:\FR\FM\21DEN1.SGM 21DEN1 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 245 / Friday, December 21, 2018 / Notices Register. It is possible that the study may validate the status quo (no routing measures) and conclude that no changes are necessary. It is also possible that the study may recommend one or more changes to enhance navigational safety and the efficiency of vessel traffic management. The recommendations may lead to future rulemakings or appropriate international agreements. This notice is published under the authority of 5 U.S.C. 552(a). Dated: December 4, 2018. Melissa L. Rivera, Captain, U.S. Coast Guard, Chief of Staff, Seventeenth Coast Guard District. [FR Doc. 2018–27604 Filed 12–20–18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9110–04–P DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY U.S. Customs and Border Protection [Docket No. USCBP–2018–0045] Public Meeting: 21st Century Customs Framework U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Department of Homeland Security (DHS). ACTION: Notice of public meeting and request for public comments. AGENCY: U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is cognizant of the need to stay modern in order to meet the challenges of an evolving trade landscape. New actors, industries, and modes of conducting business have emerged, disrupting the traditional global supply chain. To continue to effectively fulfill CBP’s mission, CBP is pursuing an initiative titled ‘‘The 21st Century Customs Framework.’’ ‘‘The 21st Century Customs Framework’’ will seek to address and enhance numerous aspects of CBP’s trade mission to better position CBP to operate in the 21st century trade environment. Through preliminary efforts, CBP has identified key themes for which CBP seeks public input: Emerging Roles in the Global Supply Chain, Intelligent Enforcement, Cutting-Edge Technology, Data Access and Sharing, 21st Century Processes, and Self-Funded Customs Infrastructure. To that end, CBP is announcing a public meeting to discuss these themes. CBP will use the public comments received in response to this notice to initiate discussion at the public meeting for CBP to consider possible policy, regulatory, and statutory improvements to further the trade mission. CBP is already pursuing related efforts through the Border Interagency Executive Council and the amozie on DSK3GDR082PROD with NOTICES1 SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 00:00 Dec 21, 2018 Jkt 247001 Commercial Customs Operations Advisory Committee and is ensuring coordination among these initiatives. DATES: Meeting: The meeting to discuss ‘‘The 21st Century Customs Framework’’ will be held on Friday, March 1, 2019, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. EST. Pre-registration: Members of the public wishing to attend the meeting whether in-person or via teleconference must register as indicated in the ADDRESSES section by 5:00 p.m. EST, February 4, 2019. Cancellation of pre-registration: Members of the public who are preregistered to attend in-person or via teleconference and later need to cancel, please do so by 5:00 p.m. EST, February 22, 2019. Submission of comments: Members of the public wishing to submit comments must do so by 5:00 p.m. EST, February 4, 2019 by the methods described in the ADDRESSES section. ADDRESSES: Meeting: The meeting will be conducted in-person and via teleconference. The in-person meeting will be held at the U.S. International Trade Commission, 500 E Street SW, Washington, DC 20436. The teleconference number will be provided to all registrants by 5:00 p.m. EST on February 28, 2019. For information on services for individuals with disabilities or to request special assistance at the meeting, contact Mr. Brandon Lord, Office of Trade, U.S. Customs & Border Protection, at (202) 325–6432 or email, 21CCF@cbp.dhs.gov as soon as possible. Pre-registration: Meeting participants may attend either in-person or via teleconference after pre-registering using one of the methods indicated below. All in-person attendees must pre-register by 5:00 p.m. EST, February 4, 2019; on-site registration is not permitted. For members of the public who plan to attend the meeting in-person, please register online at https://teregistration. cbp.gov/index.asp?w=145. For members of the public who plan to participate via teleconference, please register online at https://teregistration. cbp.gov/index.asp?w=146 by 5:00 p.m. EST, February 4, 2019. Please feel free to share this information with other interested members of your organization or association. Members of the public who are preregistered to attend and later need to cancel, please do so by 5:00 p.m. EST, February 22, 2019, utilizing the following links: https:// teregistration.cbp.gov/cancel.asp?w=145 to cancel an in-person registration or PO 00000 Frm 00082 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 65703 https://teregistration.cbp.gov/cancel. asp?w=146 to cancel a teleconference registration. Submission of comments: To facilitate public participation, we are inviting public comment on the six themes described below. Comments must be submitted in writing no later than February 4, 2019, must be identified by Docket No. USCBP–2018–0045, and may be submitted by one (1) of the following methods: • Federal eRulemaking Portal: http:// www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments. • Email: 21CCF@cbp.dhs.gov. Include the docket number (USCBP–2018–0045) in the subject line of the message. • Mail: Mr. Brandon Lord, Office of Trade, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, 1331 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Suite 950N, Washington, DC 20229. Instructions: All submissions received must include the words ‘‘Department of Homeland Security’’ and the docket number (USCBP–2018–0045) for this action. If you wish to give a public statement in-person during the meeting, please do not send your comments through the Federal eRulemaking portal as certain identification information is required for CBP to contact you, and all comments sent to the portal will be posted without change. Please do not submit personal information to the Federal eRulemaking portal. For those who wish to give a public statement inperson during the meeting, please send your comments to the email or mail address above, indicate your interest in speaking and include the following information: First and last name; title/ position; phone number; email address; name and type of organization; and identify the theme you will speak to (each individual will be limited to one public statement on one theme). CBP will then post your comment on the docket without the personal information. Docket: For access to the docket or to read background documents or comments, go to http:// www.regulations.gov and search for Docket Number USCBP–2018–0045. To submit a comment, click the ‘‘Comment Now!’’ button located on the top-right hand side of the docket page. Mr. Brandon Lord, Office of Trade, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, 1331 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Suite 950N, Washington, DC 20229; telephone (202) 325–6432 or email 21CCF@cbp.dhs.gov. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: E:\FR\FM\21DEN1.SGM 21DEN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 83, Number 245 (Friday, December 21, 2018)]
[Notices]
[Pages 65701-65703]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2018-27604]


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DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY

Coast Guard

[USCG-2018-1058]


Port Access Route Study: Alaskan Arctic Coast

AGENCY: Coast Guard, DHS.

ACTION: Notice of study; request for comments.

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

SUMMARY: In order to provide safe access routes for the movement of 
vessel traffic along the Arctic Coast of the United States for vessels 
proceeding to or from ports or places of the United States and 
transiting within the United States Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), the 
Coast Guard is conducting an Alaskan Arctic Coast Port Access Route 
Study (AACPARS) to evaluate the need for establishing vessel routing 
measures. The information gathered during this AACPARS may result in 
the establishment of one or more vessel routing measures. The goal of 
the AACPARS is to enhance navigational safety by examining existing 
shipping routes and waterway uses, and, to the extent practicable, 
reconciling the paramount right of navigation with other reasonable 
waterway uses. The recommendations of the study may lead to future 
rulemaking action or appropriate international agreements.

DATES: Comments must be submitted to the online docket via http://www.regulations.gov, or reach the Docket Management Facility, on or 
before September 1, 2019.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments identified by docket number USCG-
2018-1058 using the Federal eRulemaking Portal at http://www.regulations.gov. See the ``Public Participation and Request for 
Comments'' portion of the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section for further 
instructions on submitting comments.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For information about this document 
call or email LCDR Michael Newell, Seventeenth Coast Guard District 
(dpw); telephone (907) 463-2263; email Michael.D.Newell@uscg.mil or Mr. 
David Seris, Seventeenth Coast Guard District (dpw); telephone (907) 
463-2267; email David.M.Seris@uscg.mil or LT Stephanie Bugyis, 
Seventeenth Coast Guard District (dpw); telephone (907) 463-2265; email 
Stephanie.M.Bugyis@uscg.mil.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Public Participation and Comments

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

Public Meeting(s)

    If requested, we plan to hold public meetings to receive oral 
comments on this NPRM and would announce the dates, times, and 
locations in a separate document published in the Federal Register. To 
receive an email notice whenever a comment or notice--including the 
notice announcing when any meetings are to be held, are submitted or 
issued, go to the online docket and select the sign-up-for-email-alerts 
option. When it is published, we will place a copy of the announcement 
in the docket and you will receive an email alert from 
www.regulations.gov.

Definitions

    The following definitions (except as noted by an asterisk) are from 
the International Maritime Organization's (IMO's) publication ``Ships' 
Routing'' Twelfth Edition 2017 and should help you review this notice:
    Area to be avoided (ATBA): A routing measure comprising an area 
within defined limits in which either navigation is particularly 
hazardous or it is exceptionally important to avoid casualties and 
which should be avoided by all ships, or certain classes of ships.
    Deep-water route: A route within defined limits which has been 
accurately surveyed for clearance of sea bottom and submerged obstacles 
as indicated on the chart.
    Exclusive economic zone (EEZ)*: The zone established by 
Presidential Proclamation 5030, dated March 10, 1983 and delineated in 
the August 23, 1995, issue of the Federal Register (60 FR 43825).
    Inshore traffic zone: A routing measure comprising a designated 
area between the landward boundary of a traffic separation scheme and 
the adjacent coast, to be used in accordance with the provisions of 
Rule 10(d), as amended, of the International Regulations for Preventing 
Collisions at Sea, 1972 (Collision Regulations).
    Mandatory routing system: A routing system adopted by the 
Organization, in accordance with the requirements of regulation V/10 of 
the International Convention for Safety of Life at Sea 1974, for 
mandatory use by all ships, certain categories of ships or ships 
carrying certain cargoes.
    Obstruction*: Anything that restricts, endangers, or interferes 
with navigation (33 CFR 64.06).
    Precautionary area: A routing measure comprising an area within 
defined limits where ships must navigate with particular caution and 
within which the direction of traffic flow may be recommended.

[[Page 65702]]

    Recommended route: A route of undefined width, for the convenience 
of ships in transit, which is often marked by centerline buoys.
    Recommended track: A route which has been specially examined to 
ensure so far as possible that it is free of dangers and along which 
vessels are advised to navigate.
    Regulated Navigation Area (RNA)*: A water area within a defined 
boundary for which regulations for vessels navigating within the area 
have been established under 33 CFR part 165.
    Roundabout: A routing measure comprising a separation point or 
circular separation zone and a circular traffic lane within defined 
limits. Traffic within the roundabout is separated by moving in a 
counterclockwise direction around the separation point or zone.
    Routing system: Any system of one or more routes or routing 
measures aimed at reducing the risk of casualties; it includes traffic 
separation schemes, two way routes, recommended tracks, areas to be 
avoided, no anchoring areas, inshore traffic zones, roundabouts, 
precautionary areas and deep-water routes.
    Separation zone or separation line: A zone or line separating the 
traffic lanes in which ships are proceeding in opposite or nearly 
opposite directions; or separating a traffic lane from the adjacent sea 
area; or separating traffic lanes designated for particular classes of 
ship proceeding in the same direction.
    Structure*: Any fixed or floating obstruction, intentionally placed 
in the water, which may interfere with or restrict marine navigation 
(33 CFR 64.06).
    Traffic lane: An area within defined limits in which one-way 
traffic is established. Natural obstacles, including those forming 
separation zones, may constitute a boundary.
    Traffic Separation Scheme (TSS): A routing measure aimed at the 
separation of opposing streams of traffic by appropriate means and by 
the establishment of traffic lanes.
    Two-way route: A route within defined limits inside which two-way 
traffic is established, aimed at providing safe passage of ships 
through waters where navigation is difficult or dangerous.

Background and Purpose

Requirement for Port Access Route Studies

    Under the Ports and Waterways Safety Act (PWSA) (33 U.S.C. 
1223(c)), the Commandant of the Coast Guard may designate necessary 
fairways and traffic separation schemes (TSSs) to provide safe access 
routes for vessels proceeding to and from U.S. ports.

Previous Port Access Route Studies

    The Coast Guard conducted a PARS in 1981 which focused on localized 
approaches for some Alaskan ports and Unimak Pass in the Aleutian 
Island Chain. Another PARS was conducted for the Bering Sea and Bering 
Strait region of Alaska to analyze the need and suitability of a vessel 
routing system for that region. Neither of these studies focused on the 
United States Arctic coast to analyze vessel traffic proceeding to or 
from ports and places of the United States and transiting within the 
United States Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), which will be the focus of 
this study.

Necessity for a New Port Access Route Study

    Sea ice extent in the Arctic Ocean, Chukchi Sea, and Beaufort Sea 
is declining. These changes in the arctic are affecting the people, 
wildlife and habitat of the region which in turn has resulted in 
increased levels of government attention, media attention, scientific 
research, natural resource exploration, eco and adventure tourism, and 
increasing commercial use of the Northwest Passage and the Northern Sea 
Route as alternative shipping routes.
    As the federal agency most responsible for coastal and marine 
spatial planning, the Coast Guard, via the PARS process, is initiating 
the study to analyze current vessel patterns, predict future vessel 
needs and balance the needs of all waterway users by developing and 
recommending vessel routing measures for the arctic coast.

PARS Timeline, Study Area, and Process

    The PARS will begin upon publication of this Federal Register 
notice. The study is expected to take in excess of 48 months to 
complete due to the size and remoteness of the study area, expected 
difficulty in accessing and communicating with regional stakeholders at 
times when discussions will be most productive, the proximity to 
Canada, difficulty in predicting expected future changes in 
international shipping and other waterway uses, and the highly 
technical nature of scientific data available on the Arctic.
    The study will encompass the entire EEZ of the United States Arctic 
coast from the border between the United States and Canada to Cape 
Prince of Wales on Alaska's Seward Peninsula.
    As part of the study, the Coast Guard may analyze commercial vessel 
traffic, fishing vessel traffic, subsistence hunting and fishing 
activities, recreational activities, military activities, existing and 
potential outer continental shelf activities, port activities, 
environmental factors, economic effects and impacts, as well as other 
topics that may arise during the study process.
    Specific areas of interest for initial public comment: The lack of 
historical information about actual vessel traffic patterns in U.S. 
Arctic waters, and how those patterns have changed over time, makes 
this PARS study unique. There are few instances where actual vessel 
track and density information will be available to analyze as potential 
routing measures are considered. Generic comments on vessels operating 
in U.S. Arctic waters are welcome and will be given due consideration, 
but at this stage in the AACPARS study, the Coast Guard is particularly 
interested in identifying specific locations, times, or instances where 
future vessel activity could increase significantly in density or cause 
specific undesirable consequences. Specific areas of concern include, 
but are not limited to:
    1. Times and/or locations where vessel operations could cause 
significant consequences to species of concern, subsistence activities, 
marine mammal migration routes, or other equities.
    2. Areas of known biological importance, such as the area of the 
Hanna Shoal, and whether they are of importance year round or only 
during specific times.
    3. Specific times and locations of current and expected future 
subsistence activity.
    4. Areas identified or expected to have high potential for Outer 
Continental Shelf resource development, to include oil/gas development, 
development of renewable energy sources, and extraction of seabed 
resources.
    5. Onshore areas of particular environmental concern.
    6. Areas where extreme weather or ice conditions that could impact 
navigation are expected to be present, now or in the future.
    7. Any information on prevailing wind/current patterns and how they 
might change in the future in varying scenarios of decreasing or 
increasing sea ice coverage.
    8. Any information on specific habitat characteristics (for 
example, water depth, ocean currents, or distances to or from land or 
sea ice) that tend to attract higher concentrations of marine mammals.
    The Coast Guard will publish the results of the PARS in the Federal

[[Page 65703]]

Register. It is possible that the study may validate the status quo (no 
routing measures) and conclude that no changes are necessary. It is 
also possible that the study may recommend one or more changes to 
enhance navigational safety and the efficiency of vessel traffic 
management. The recommendations may lead to future rulemakings or 
appropriate international agreements.
    This notice is published under the authority of 5 U.S.C. 552(a).

    Dated: December 4, 2018.
Melissa L. Rivera,
Captain, U.S. Coast Guard, Chief of Staff, Seventeenth Coast Guard 
District.
[FR Doc. 2018-27604 Filed 12-20-18; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 9110-04-P