Port Access Route Study: Seacoast of North Carolina Including Offshore Approaches to the Cape Fear River and Beaufort Inlet, North Carolina, 15487-15489 [2020-05653]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 53 / Wednesday, March 18, 2020 / Notices Coast Guard and planned improvements, increased vessel traffic, existing and potential anchorage areas, changing vessel traffic patterns, weather conditions, or navigational difficulty. The aim of vessel routing measures are to reduce the risk of casualties. Examples of potential measures include traffic separation schemes, two-way routes, recommended tracks, deep-water routes, precautionary areas, and areas to be avoided. The recommendations of the study may lead to future rulemakings or appropriate international agreements. DATES: Comments and related material must be received on or before May 18, 2020. Requests for a public meeting must be submitted on or before April 17, 2020. ADDRESSES: You may submit comments identified by docket number USCG– 2020–0093 using the Federal eRulemaking Portal http:// www.regulations.gov. See the ‘‘Public Participation and Request for Comments’’ portion of the SUPPLEMENTAL INFORMATION section for further instructions on submitting comments. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: If you have questions about this notice or study, call or email Mr. Jerry Barnes, Fifth Coast Guard District (dpw), U.S. Coast Guard; telephone (757) 398–6230, email Jerry.R.Barnes@uscg.mil; or Mr. Matt Creelman, Fifth Coast Guard District (dpw), U.S. Coast Guard; telephone (757) 398–6225, email Matthew.K.Creelman2@uscg.mil. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: [Docket No. USCG–2020–0093] I. Table of Abbreviations Port Access Route Study: Seacoast of North Carolina Including Offshore Approaches to the Cape Fear River and Beaufort Inlet, North Carolina ACPARS Atlantic Coast Port Access Route Study AIS Automatic Identification System COMDTINST Commandant Instruction DHS Department of Homeland Security EEZ Exclusive Economic Zone MTS Marine Transportation System NCPARS North Carolina Port Access Route Study PARS Port Access Route Study TSS Traffic Separation Scheme USCG United States Coast Guard Discussion of Comments On December 26, 2019, the Coast Guard published a Notice; Request for comments titled ‘‘Application for Recertification of Prince William Sound Regional Citizens’ Advisory Council’’ in the Federal Register (82 FR 29572). We received 69 comments, all in support of the PWSRCAC recertification. No public meeting was requested. The comments consistently cited PWSRCAC’s broad representation of the respective communities’ interest, appropriate actions to keep the public informed, improvements to both spill response preparation and spill prevention, and oil spill industry monitoring efforts that combat complacency—as intended by the Act. Recertification By letter dated February 25, 2020, the Commander, Seventeenth Coast Guard District, certified that the PWSRCAC qualifies as an alternative voluntary advisory group under 33 U.S.C. 2732(o). This recertification terminates on February 28, 2021. Dated: February 25, 2020. Matthew T. Bell, Jr., Rear Admiral, U.S. Coast Guard, Commander, Seventeenth Coast Guard District. [FR Doc. 2020–05652 Filed 3–17–20; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9110–04–P DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY Coast Guard, DHS. Notice of study; request for comments. AGENCY: ACTION: The Coast Guard is conducting a Port Access Route Study (PARS) to determine whether existing or additional vessel routing measures are necessary along the seacoast of North Carolina and in the approaches to the Cape Fear River and Beaufort Inlet (hereinafter, ‘‘NCPARS’’). The study is focused on routes between port approaches and international entry and departure transit areas affecting North Carolina ports. The NCPARS will consider whether existing or additional routing measures are necessary to improve navigation safety due to factors such as planned or potential offshore development, current port capabilities jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with NOTICES SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:54 Mar 17, 2020 Jkt 250001 II. Public Participation and Request for Comments We encourage you to participate in this study by submitting comments and related materials. All comments received will be posted without change to http://www.regulations.gov and will include any personal information you have provided. A. Submitting Comments: If you submit comments to the online public docket, please include the docket number for this a notice (USCG–2020– 0093), indicate the specific section of PO 00000 Frm 00075 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 15487 this document to which each comment applies, and provide a reason for each suggestion or recommendation. We accept anonymous comments. To submit your comment online, go to http://www.regulations.gov, and insert ‘‘USCG–2020–0093’’ in the ‘‘search box.’’ Click ‘‘Search’’ and then click ‘‘Comment Now.’’ We will consider all comments and material received during the comment period. B. Public Meetings: The Coast Guard may hold public meeting(s) if there is sufficient public interest. You must submit a request for one on or before April 17, 2020. You may submit your request for a public meeting online via http://www.regulations.gov. Please explain why you believe a public meeting would be beneficial. If we determine that a public meeting would aid in the study, we will hold a meeting at a time and place announced by a later notice in the Federal Register. C. Viewing Comments and Documents: To view the comments and documents mentioned in this preamble as being available in the docket, go to http://www.regulations.gov, click on the ‘‘read comments’’ box, which will then become highlighted in blue. In the ‘‘Keyword’’ box insert ‘‘USCG–2020– 0093’’ and click ‘‘Search.’’ Click the ‘‘Open Docket Folder’’ in the ‘‘Actions’’ column. D. Privacy Act: We accept anonymous comments. All comments received will be posted without change to https:// www.regulations.gov and will include any personal information you have provided. For more about privacy and submissions in response to this document, see DHS’s Correspondence System of Records notice (84 FR 48645, September 26, 2018). Documents mentioned in this notice as being available in the docket, and all public comments, will be in our online docket at https://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. III. Background and Purpose A. Requirements for Port Access Route Studies: Under Section 70003 of Title 46 of the United States Code, 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. The designation of fairways and TSSs recognizes the paramount right of navigation over all other uses in the designated areas. E:\FR\FM\18MRN1.SGM 18MRN1 jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with NOTICES 15488 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 53 / Wednesday, March 18, 2020 / Notices Before establishing or adjusting fairways or TSSs, the Coast Guard must conduct a PARS, i.e., a study of potential traffic density and the need for safe access routes for vessels. Through the study process, the Coast Guard must coordinate with federal, state, and foreign state agencies (as appropriate) and consider the views of maritime community representatives, environmental groups, and other interested stakeholders. The primary purpose of this coordination is, to the extent practicable, to reconcile the need for safe access routes with other reasonable waterway uses such as construction and operation of renewable energy facilities and other uses. In addition to aiding the Coast Guard in establishing new or adjusting fairways or TSSs, the NCPARS may recommend establishing or amending other vessel routing measures. Examples of other routing measures, among others, include two-way routes, recommended tracks, deep-water routes (for the benefit primarily of ships whose ability to maneuver is constrained by their draft), precautionary areas (where ships must navigate with particular caution), and areas to be avoided (for reasons of exceptional danger or especially sensitive ecological and environmental factors). B. Previous Port Access Route Studies: The Coast Guard last studied the approaches to the Cape Fear River and Beaufort Inlet in 2002, and published the final results in 2004 (69 FR 18476, April 8, 2004). The study was conducted in response to an increase in vessel size, traffic density and channel depth and width since the initial 1981 PARS. Study available at https:// www.navcen.uscg.gov/pdf/PARS/CAPE_ FEAR_RIVER_PARS.pdf. In 2016, the Coast Guard published a notice of its Atlantic Coast Port Access Route Study (ACPARS) (81 FR 13307, March 14, 2016) that analyzed the Atlantic Coast waters seaward of existing port approaches within the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and announced the report as final in 2017 (82 FR 16510, April 5, 2017). This multiyear study began in 2011, included public participation, and identified the navigation routes customarily followed by ships engaged in commerce between international and domestic U.S. ports. Study available at https:// navcen.uscg.gov/ ?pageName=PARSReports. The ACPARS analyzed waters located seaward of existing port approaches within the EEZ along the entire Atlantic Coast. Automatic Identification System (AIS) data and information from stakeholders were used to identify and VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:54 Mar 17, 2020 Jkt 250001 verify deep draft and coastwise navigation routes that are typically followed by ships engaged in commerce between international and domestic U.S. ports. Additional analysis of sea space for vessels to maneuver in compliance with the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea led to development of marine planning guidelines and recommendations for shipping safety fairways. C. Need for a New Port Access Route Study: In 2019, the Coast Guard announced a new study of routes used by ships to access ports on the Atlantic Coast of the United States (84 FR 9541, March 15, 2019). This new study of routes supplements and builds on the ACPARS. As part of the study, the Coast Guard will conduct several PARS, including the NCPARS, to examine ports along the Atlantic coast that are economically significant, support military operations or critical national defense and related international entry and departure transit areas that are integral to the safe and efficient and unimpeded flow of commerce to/from major international shipping lanes. Vessel size, traffic density, and cargo volume have increased significantly since the 2002 study. Major channel depth, width and alignment changes are anticipated to occur in the Cape Fear River and Port of Wilmington, NC. Potential federal navigation project improvements under consideration by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers include deepening the existing federal navigation channel to the Port of Wilmington, extending the ocean entrance channel farther offshore, and widening channels in the Cape Fear River where needed.1 The purpose of this notice is to announce commencement of the NCPARS to examine the seacoast of North Carolina and the offshore approaches to the Cape Fear River and Beaufort Inlet, in conjunction with the implementation of recommendations of the ACPARS, and to solicit public comments. Similar to the ACPARS, the NCPARS will use automatic identification system (AIS) data and information from stakeholders to identify and verify customary navigation routes as well as potential conflicts involving alternative activities, such as wind energy generation and offshore mineral exploitation and 1 84 FR 48132, Sept. 12, 2019 (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers ‘‘Notice of Intent to Prepare a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the Wilmington Harbor Navigation Improvement Project Integrated Feasibility Study and Environmental Report, New Hanover and Brunswick Counties, NC’’). PO 00000 Frm 00076 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 exploration. We encourage you to participate in the study process by submitting comments in response to this notice. Comments should address impacts to navigation along the seacoast of North Carolina and the approaches to the Cape Fear River and Beaufort Inlet resulting from factors such as: Planned or potential offshore development including turbine placements and transmission corridors, current port capabilities and planned improvements, increased vessel traffic, changing vessel traffic patterns, weather conditions, potential conflicts or disruptions in uncharted or informal anchorage areas, or navigational difficulty. IV. Cape Fear and Beaufort Inlet, NC PARS: Timeline, Study Area, and Process The Fifth Coast Guard District and Coast Guard Sector North Carolina will conduct this PARS. The study will commence upon publication of this notice and may take 12 months or more to complete. The study area is described as an area bounded by a line connecting the following geographic positions: • 75°30′ W, 35°19′ N; • 71°16′ W, 35°19′ N; • 74° W, 32° N; • 78°40′ W, 32°52′ N; • 79°11′ W, 33°12′ N; thence along the coast line back to the origin. This area extends approximately 200 nautical miles seaward of Cape Fear including the offshore area of North Carolina and South Carolina used by commercial and public vessels transiting to and from these ports. An illustration showing the study area is available in the docket where indicated under ADDRESSES. Additionally, the study area is available for viewing on the Mid-Atlantic Ocean Data Portal at http://portal.midatlanticocean.org/ visualize/. See the ‘‘Maritime’’ portion of the Data Layers section. The NCPARS will analyze navigation routes to/from the seacoast of North Carolina and the approaches to the Cape Fear River and Beaufort Inlet, to the proposed fairways outlined in the ACPARS including international routes to/from the United States. Current capabilities and planned improvements to handle maritime conveyances will be considered. Analyses will be conducted in accordance with COMDTINST 16003.2B, Marine Planning to Operate and Maintain the Marine Transportation System (MTS) and Implement National Policy. Instruction available at https:// media.defense.gov/2019/Jul/10/ 2002155400/-1/-1/0/CI_16003_2B.PDF. E:\FR\FM\18MRN1.SGM 18MRN1 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 53 / Wednesday, March 18, 2020 / Notices We will publish the results of the NCPARS in the Federal Register. It is possible that the study may validate the status quo (no additional fairways or routing measures) and conclude that no changes are necessary. It is also possible that the study may recommend one or more changes to address 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). Keith M. Smith, Rear Admiral, U.S. Coast Guard, Commander, Fifth Coast Guard District. [FR Doc. 2020–05653 Filed 3–17–20; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9110–04–P DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT [Docket No. FR–6198–N–01] Announcement of Tenant Protection Voucher Funding Awards for Fiscal Year 2019 for the Housing Choice Voucher Program Office of the Assistant Secretary for Public and Indian Housing, HUD. ACTION: Announcement of Fiscal Year 2019 awards. AGENCY: In accordance with Section 102(a)(4)(C) of the Department of Housing and Urban Development Reform Act of 1989, this document notifies the public of Tenant Protection Voucher (TPV) funding awards for Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 to public housing agencies (PHAs) under the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program (HCVP). The purpose of this notice is to publish the names and addresses of awardees, and the amount of their noncompetitive funding awards for assisting households affected by housing conversion actions, public housing relocations and replacements, moderate rehabilitation replacements, and Choice Neighborhoods and HOPE VI voucher awards. SUMMARY: FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with NOTICES Danielle L. Bastarache, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Office of Public Housing and VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:54 Mar 17, 2020 Jkt 250001 Voucher Programs, Office of Public and Indian Housing, Department of Housing and Urban Development, 451 Seventh Street SW, Room 4204, Washington, DC 20410–5000, telephone (202) 402–1380 (this is not a toll-free number). Persons with hearing or speech impairments may access this number via TTY by calling the Federal Relay Service at 800– 877–8389 (toll-free number). SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The regulations governing the HCVP are published at 24 CFR 982. The purpose of the rental assistance program is to assist eligible families to pay their rent for decent, safe, and sanitary housing in the private rental market. The regulations for allocating housing assistance budget authority under Section 213(d) of the Housing and Community Development Act of 1974 are published at 24 CFR part 791, subpart D. The FY 2019 awardees announced in this notice were provided HCVP tenant protection vouchers (TPVs) funds on an as-needed, non-competitive basis, i.e., not under the provisions of a Notice of Funding Availability (NOFAs). TPV awards made to PHAs for program actions that displace families living in public housing were made on a firstcome, first-served basis in accordance with PIH Notice 2018–04, Voucher Funding in Connection with the Demolition or Disposition of Occupied Public Housing Units, and PIH Notice 2018–09, ‘‘Implementation of the Federal Fiscal Year (FFY) 2019 Funding Provision for the Housing Choice Voucher Program.’’ Awards for the Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) were provided for Rental Supplement and Rental Assistance Payment Projects (RAD Second Component) consistent with PIH Notice H–2019–09 PIH–2019– 23(HA), REV–4, ‘‘Rental Assistance Demonstration-Final Implementation, Revision 4.’’ Announcements of awards provided under the NOFA process for Mainstream, Designated Housing, Family Unification (FUP), and Veterans Assistance Supportive Housing (VASH) programs are published in a separate Federal Register notice. Awards published under this notice were provided to assist families: (1) Living in federal public housing units previously owned by PHAs and PO 00000 Frm 00077 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 15489 subsequently demolished, converted to Section 8 assistance, sold, or otherwise disposed; (2) affected by the expiration or termination of their Project-based Section 8 and Moderate Rehabilitation contracts; (3) in properties where the owner has prepaid the HUD mortgage; (4) in projects where the Rental Supplement and Rental Assistance Payments contracts are expiring (RAD— Second Component); (5) relocated in connection with the demolition of public housing; (6) provided replacement housing assistance for single room occupancy (SRO) units that fail housing quality standards (HQS); (7) in public housing developments scheduled for demolition in connection with a HUD-approved Choice Neighborhoods or HOPE VI revitalization and (8) consistent with PIH Notice 2019–01, ‘‘Funding Availability for Tenant Protection Voucher for Certain At-Risk Households in Low Vacancy Areas-Fiscal Year 2019.’’ A special administrative fee of $200 per occupied unit was provided to PHAs to compensate for any extraordinary HCVP administrative costs associated with the Multifamily Housing conversion actions. The Department awarded total new budget authority of $118,418,829 to recipients under all the abovementioned categories for 12,111 housing choice vouchers. This budget authority includes $620,877 of unobligated commitments made in FY 2018. These funds were reserved by September 30, 2018, but not contracted until FY 2019, and thus have been included with obligated commitments for FY 2019. In accordance with Section 102(a)(4)(C) of the Department of Housing and Urban Development Reform Act of 1989 (103 Stat. 1987, 42 U.S.C. 3545), the Department is publishing the names and addresses of awardees, and their award amounts in Appendix A. The awardees are listed alphabetically by State for each type of TPV award. Dated: March 2, 2020. R. Hunter Kurtz, Assistant Secretary for Public and Indian Housing. BILLING CODE 4210–67–P E:\FR\FM\18MRN1.SGM 18MRN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 85, Number 53 (Wednesday, March 18, 2020)]
[Notices]
[Pages 15487-15489]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2020-05653]


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

DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY

Coast Guard

[Docket No. USCG-2020-0093]


Port Access Route Study: Seacoast of North Carolina Including 
Offshore Approaches to the Cape Fear River and Beaufort Inlet, North 
Carolina

AGENCY: Coast Guard, DHS.

ACTION: Notice of study; request for comments.

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

SUMMARY: The Coast Guard is conducting a Port Access Route Study (PARS) 
to determine whether existing or additional vessel routing measures are 
necessary along the seacoast of North Carolina and in the approaches to 
the Cape Fear River and Beaufort Inlet (hereinafter, ``NCPARS''). The 
study is focused on routes between port approaches and international 
entry and departure transit areas affecting North Carolina ports. The 
NCPARS will consider whether existing or additional routing measures 
are necessary to improve navigation safety due to factors such as 
planned or potential offshore development, current port capabilities 
and planned improvements, increased vessel traffic, existing and 
potential anchorage areas, changing vessel traffic patterns, weather 
conditions, or navigational difficulty. The aim of vessel routing 
measures are to reduce the risk of casualties. Examples of potential 
measures include traffic separation schemes, two-way routes, 
recommended tracks, deep-water routes, precautionary areas, and areas 
to be avoided. The recommendations of the study may lead to future 
rulemakings or appropriate international agreements.

DATES: Comments and related material must be received on or before May 
18, 2020. Requests for a public meeting must be submitted on or before 
April 17, 2020.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments identified by docket number USCG-
2020-0093 using the Federal eRulemaking Portal http://www.regulations.gov. See the ``Public Participation and Request for 
Comments'' portion of the SUPPLEMENTAL INFORMATION section for further 
instructions on submitting comments.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: If you have questions about this 
notice or study, call or email Mr. Jerry Barnes, Fifth Coast Guard 
District (dpw), U.S. Coast Guard; telephone (757) 398-6230, email 
[email protected]; or Mr. Matt Creelman, Fifth Coast Guard 
District (dpw), U.S. Coast Guard; telephone (757) 398-6225, email 
[email protected].

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Table of Abbreviations

ACPARS Atlantic Coast Port Access Route Study
AIS Automatic Identification System
COMDTINST Commandant Instruction
DHS Department of Homeland Security
EEZ Exclusive Economic Zone
MTS Marine Transportation System
NCPARS North Carolina Port Access Route Study
PARS Port Access Route Study
TSS Traffic Separation Scheme
USCG United States Coast Guard

II. Public Participation and Request for Comments

    We encourage you to participate in this study by submitting 
comments and related materials. All comments received will be posted 
without change to http://www.regulations.gov and will include any 
personal information you have provided.
    A. Submitting Comments: If you submit comments to the online public 
docket, please include the docket number for this a notice (USCG-2020-
0093), indicate the specific section of this document to which each 
comment applies, and provide a reason for each suggestion or 
recommendation. We accept anonymous comments.
    To submit your comment online, go to http://www.regulations.gov, 
and insert ``USCG-2020-0093'' in the ``search box.'' Click ``Search'' 
and then click ``Comment Now.'' We will consider all comments and 
material received during the comment period.
    B. Public Meetings: The Coast Guard may hold public meeting(s) if 
there is sufficient public interest. You must submit a request for one 
on or before April 17, 2020. You may submit your request for a public 
meeting online via http://www.regulations.gov. Please explain why you 
believe a public meeting would be beneficial. If we determine that a 
public meeting would aid in the study, we will hold a meeting at a time 
and place announced by a later notice in the Federal Register.
    C. Viewing Comments and Documents: To view the comments and 
documents mentioned in this preamble as being available in the docket, 
go to http://www.regulations.gov, click on the ``read comments'' box, 
which will then become highlighted in blue. In the ``Keyword'' box 
insert ``USCG-2020-0093'' and click ``Search.'' Click the ``Open Docket 
Folder'' in the ``Actions'' column.
    D. Privacy Act: We accept anonymous comments. All comments received 
will be posted without change to https://www.regulations.gov and will 
include any personal information you have provided. For more about 
privacy and submissions in response to this document, see DHS's 
Correspondence System of Records notice (84 FR 48645, September 26, 
2018). Documents mentioned in this notice as being available in the 
docket, and all public comments, will be in our online docket at 
https://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.

III. Background and Purpose

    A. Requirements for Port Access Route Studies: Under Section 70003 
of Title 46 of the United States Code, 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. The designation of fairways and TSSs recognizes the 
paramount right of navigation over all other uses in the designated 
areas.

[[Page 15488]]

    Before establishing or adjusting fairways or TSSs, the Coast Guard 
must conduct a PARS, i.e., a study of potential traffic density and the 
need for safe access routes for vessels. Through the study process, the 
Coast Guard must coordinate with federal, state, and foreign state 
agencies (as appropriate) and consider the views of maritime community 
representatives, environmental groups, and other interested 
stakeholders. The primary purpose of this coordination is, to the 
extent practicable, to reconcile the need for safe access routes with 
other reasonable waterway uses such as construction and operation of 
renewable energy facilities and other uses.
    In addition to aiding the Coast Guard in establishing new or 
adjusting fairways or TSSs, the NCPARS may recommend establishing or 
amending other vessel routing measures. Examples of other routing 
measures, among others, include two-way routes, recommended tracks, 
deep-water routes (for the benefit primarily of ships whose ability to 
maneuver is constrained by their draft), precautionary areas (where 
ships must navigate with particular caution), and areas to be avoided 
(for reasons of exceptional danger or especially sensitive ecological 
and environmental factors).
    B. Previous Port Access Route Studies: The Coast Guard last studied 
the approaches to the Cape Fear River and Beaufort Inlet in 2002, and 
published the final results in 2004 (69 FR 18476, April 8, 2004). The 
study was conducted in response to an increase in vessel size, traffic 
density and channel depth and width since the initial 1981 PARS. Study 
available at https://www.navcen.uscg.gov/pdf/PARS/CAPE_FEAR_RIVER_PARS.pdf.
    In 2016, the Coast Guard published a notice of its Atlantic Coast 
Port Access Route Study (ACPARS) (81 FR 13307, March 14, 2016) that 
analyzed the Atlantic Coast waters seaward of existing port approaches 
within the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and announced the report 
as final in 2017 (82 FR 16510, April 5, 2017). This multiyear study 
began in 2011, included public participation, and identified the 
navigation routes customarily followed by ships engaged in commerce 
between international and domestic U.S. ports. Study available at 
https://navcen.uscg.gov/?pageName=PARSReports. The ACPARS analyzed 
waters located seaward of existing port approaches within the EEZ along 
the entire Atlantic Coast. Automatic Identification System (AIS) data 
and information from stakeholders were used to identify and verify deep 
draft and coastwise navigation routes that are typically followed by 
ships engaged in commerce between international and domestic U.S. 
ports. Additional analysis of sea space for vessels to maneuver in 
compliance with the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions 
at Sea led to development of marine planning guidelines and 
recommendations for shipping safety fairways.
    C. Need for a New Port Access Route Study: In 2019, the Coast Guard 
announced a new study of routes used by ships to access ports on the 
Atlantic Coast of the United States (84 FR 9541, March 15, 2019). This 
new study of routes supplements and builds on the ACPARS. As part of 
the study, the Coast Guard will conduct several PARS, including the 
NCPARS, to examine ports along the Atlantic coast that are economically 
significant, support military operations or critical national defense 
and related international entry and departure transit areas that are 
integral to the safe and efficient and unimpeded flow of commerce to/
from major international shipping lanes.
    Vessel size, traffic density, and cargo volume have increased 
significantly since the 2002 study. Major channel depth, width and 
alignment changes are anticipated to occur in the Cape Fear River and 
Port of Wilmington, NC. Potential federal navigation project 
improvements under consideration by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers 
include deepening the existing federal navigation channel to the Port 
of Wilmington, extending the ocean entrance channel farther offshore, 
and widening channels in the Cape Fear River where needed.\1\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \1\ 84 FR 48132, Sept. 12, 2019 (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers 
``Notice of Intent to Prepare a Draft Environmental Impact Statement 
(DEIS) for the Wilmington Harbor Navigation Improvement Project 
Integrated Feasibility Study and Environmental Report, New Hanover 
and Brunswick Counties, NC'').
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The purpose of this notice is to announce commencement of the 
NCPARS to examine the seacoast of North Carolina and the offshore 
approaches to the Cape Fear River and Beaufort Inlet, in conjunction 
with the implementation of recommendations of the ACPARS, and to 
solicit public comments. Similar to the ACPARS, the NCPARS will use 
automatic identification system (AIS) data and information from 
stakeholders to identify and verify customary navigation routes as well 
as potential conflicts involving alternative activities, such as wind 
energy generation and offshore mineral exploitation and exploration. We 
encourage you to participate in the study process by submitting 
comments in response to this notice. Comments should address impacts to 
navigation along the seacoast of North Carolina and the approaches to 
the Cape Fear River and Beaufort Inlet resulting from factors such as: 
Planned or potential offshore development including turbine placements 
and transmission corridors, current port capabilities and planned 
improvements, increased vessel traffic, changing vessel traffic 
patterns, weather conditions, potential conflicts or disruptions in 
uncharted or informal anchorage areas, or navigational difficulty.

IV. Cape Fear and Beaufort Inlet, NC PARS: Timeline, Study Area, and 
Process

    The Fifth Coast Guard District and Coast Guard Sector North 
Carolina will conduct this PARS. The study will commence upon 
publication of this notice and may take 12 months or more to complete.
    The study area is described as an area bounded by a line connecting 
the following geographic positions:

 75[deg]30' W, 35[deg]19' N;
 71[deg]16' W, 35[deg]19' N;
 74[deg] W, 32[deg] N;
 78[deg]40' W, 32[deg]52' N;
 79[deg]11' W, 33[deg]12' N;

thence along the coast line back to the origin.
    This area extends approximately 200 nautical miles seaward of Cape 
Fear including the offshore area of North Carolina and South Carolina 
used by commercial and public vessels transiting to and from these 
ports. An illustration showing the study area is available in the 
docket where indicated under ADDRESSES. Additionally, the study area is 
available for viewing on the Mid-Atlantic Ocean Data Portal at http://portal.midatlanticocean.org/visualize/. See the ``Maritime'' portion of 
the Data Layers section.
    The NCPARS will analyze navigation routes to/from the seacoast of 
North Carolina and the approaches to the Cape Fear River and Beaufort 
Inlet, to the proposed fairways outlined in the ACPARS including 
international routes to/from the United States. Current capabilities 
and planned improvements to handle maritime conveyances will be 
considered. Analyses will be conducted in accordance with COMDTINST 
16003.2B, Marine Planning to Operate and Maintain the Marine 
Transportation System (MTS) and Implement National Policy. Instruction 
available at https://media.defense.gov/2019/Jul/10/2002155400/-1/-1/0/CI_16003_2B.PDF.

[[Page 15489]]

    We will publish the results of the NCPARS in the Federal Register. 
It is possible that the study may validate the status quo (no 
additional fairways or routing measures) and conclude that no changes 
are necessary. It is also possible that the study may recommend one or 
more changes to address 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).

Keith M. Smith,
Rear Admiral, U.S. Coast Guard, Commander, Fifth Coast Guard District.
[FR Doc. 2020-05653 Filed 3-17-20; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 9110-04-P