[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 126 (Friday, June 29, 2012)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 38718-38723]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-15950]


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DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY

Coast Guard

33 CFR Part 147

[Docket No. USCG-2012-0024]
RIN 1625-AA00


Safety Zone; NOBLE DISCOVERER, Outer Continental Shelf Drillship, 
Chukchi and/or Beaufort Seas, AK

AGENCY: Coast Guard, DHS.

ACTION: Temporary final rule.

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SUMMARY: The Coast Guard is establishing a 500-meter safety zone in the 
navigable waters, from the surface to seabed, around the DRILLSHIP 
NOBLE DISCOVERER, while anchored or deploying and recovering moorings 
on location in order to drill exploratory wells at various prospects 
located in the Chukchi and/or Beaufort Seas Outer Continental Shelf, 
Alaska, on or about July 1, 2012 through November 30, 2012. See TABLE 
1. The purpose of the temporary safety zone is to protect the drillship 
from vessels operating outside the normal shipping channels and 
fairways. Placing a safety zone around the drillship will significantly 
reduce the threat of allisions, which could result in oil spills, and 
releases of natural gas, and thereby protect the safety of life, 
property, and the environment. Lawful demonstrations may be conducted 
outside of the safety zone.

DATES: The temporary safety zone becomes effective on July 1, 2012, and 
terminates on December 1, 2012, unless sooner terminated by the 
Commander, Seventeenth Coast Guard District.

ADDRESSES: Comments and material received from the public, as well as 
documents mentioned in this preamble as being available in the docket, 
are part of docket USCG-2012-0024 and are available online by going to 
http://www.regulations.gov, inserting USCG-2012-0024 in the ``Keyword'' 
box, and then clicking ``Search.'' This material is also available for 
inspection or copying at the Docket Management Facility (M-30), U.S. 
Department of Transportation, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 
1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590, between 9 a.m. and 5 
p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: If you have questions on this rule, 
call or email LT Jason Smilie, Seventeenth Coast Guard District (dpi); 
telephone 907-463-2809, Jason.A.Smilie@uscg.mil. If you have questions 
on viewing or submitting material to the docket, call Renee V. Wright, 
Program Manager, Docket Operations, telephone 202-366-9826.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Regulatory Information

    On February 23, 2012 the Coast Guard published a notice of proposed 
rulemaking (NPRM) entitled ``Safety Zone; NOBLE DISCOVERER, Outer 
Continental Shelf Drillship, Chukchi and Beaufort Seas, Alaska'' in the 
Federal Register (77 FR 10707). The NPRM included a 30-day comment 
period. We received 3 (three) submissions with comments on the proposed 
rule. No public meeting was requested, and none was held.
    Under 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3), the Coast Guard finds that good cause 
exists for making this rule effective less than 30 days after 
publication in the Federal Register. The Coast Guard finds that good 
cause exists for making this rule effective less than 30 days after 
publication because to do otherwise would be contrary to the public 
interest since immediate action is required to protect mariners, 
vessels, and the environment from potential harm while the NOBLE 
DISCOVERER is anchored or deploying and recovering moorings on 
location.

Basis and Purpose

    The legal basis for the rule is 14 U.S.C. 85; 43 U.S.C. 1333; 
Department of Homeland Security Delegation No. 0170.1. Collectively 
they provide the authority for the Coast Guard to establish safety 
zones on the Outer Continental Shelf.
    The Coast Guard is establishing a temporary safety zone in the 
navigable waters, from the surface to seabed, around the DRILLSHIP 
NOBLE DISCOVERER while anchored or deploying and recovering moorings on 
location in order to drill exploratory wells in several prospects 
located in the Chukchi and/or Beaufort Seas during the 2012 drilling 
season.
    The request for the temporary safety zone was made by Shell 
Exploration & Production Company due to safety concerns for both the 
personnel aboard the NOBLE DISCOVERER and the environment. Shell 
Exploration & Production Company indicated that it is highly likely 
that any allision or inability to identify, monitor or mitigate any 
risks or threats, including ice-related hazards that might be 
encountered, could result in a catastrophic event. Incursions into the 
safety zone by unapproved vessels could degrade the ability to monitor 
and mitigate such risks. In evaluating this request, the Coast Guard 
explored relevant safety factors and considered several criteria, 
including but not limited to: (1) The level of shipping activity around 
the operation; (2) safety concerns for personnel aboard the vessel; (3) 
concerns for the environment given the sensitivity of the environmental 
and subsistence importance to the indigenous population; (4) the lack 
of any established shipping fairways, fueling and supply storage/
operations, and size of the crew increase the likelihood that an 
allision could result in a catastrophic event; (5) the recent and 
potential future maritime traffic in the vicinity of the areas; (6) the 
types of vessels navigating in the vicinity of the area; (7) the 
structural configuration of the vessel, and (8) the need to allow for 
lawful demonstrations without endangering the safe operation of the 
NOBLE DISCOVERER. For any group or individual intending to conduct 
lawful demonstrations in the vicinity of the NOBLE DISCOVERER, these 
demonstrations must be conducted outside the safety zone.
    Results from a thorough and comprehensive examination of the 
criteria, IMO guidelines, and existing regulations warrant the 
establishment of the temporary safety zone. The regulation will 
significantly reduce the threat of allisions that could result in oil 
spills, and releases. Furthermore, the regulation will increase the 
safety of life, property, and the environment in the Chukchi and/or 
Beaufort Seas by prohibiting entry into the zone unless specifically 
authorized by the Commander, Seventeenth Coast Guard District, or a 
designated representative. Due to the remote location and the need to 
protect the environment, the Coast Guard may use criminal sanctions to 
enforce the safety zone as appropriate.

[[Page 38719]]

    The temporary safety zone will be around the NOBLE DISCOVERER while 
anchored or deploying and recovering moorings on location in order to 
drill exploratory wells in various locations in the Chukchi and/or 
Beaufort Seas Outer Continental Shelf, Alaska during the 2012 
timeframe.
    Shell Exploration & Production Company has ten drill sites within 
the Burger, Sivulliq and Torpedo prospects of the Chukchi and Beaufort 
Seas, Alaska (See Table 1).

                                                               Table 1--Prospect Locations
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
            Prospect                 Well            Area            Block            Lease No.               Latitude                 Longitude
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Burger.........................  A            Posey.............         6764  OCS-Y-2280              N71[deg]18'30.92''      W163[deg]12'43.17''
Burger.........................  F            Posey.............         6714  OCS-Y-2267              N71[deg]20'13.96''      W163[deg]12'21.75''
Burger.........................  J            Posey.............         6912  OCS-Y-2321              N71[deg]10'24.03''      W163[deg]28'18.52''
Burger.........................  R            Posey.............         6812  OCS-Y-2294              N71[deg]16'06.57''      W163[deg]30'39.44''
Burger.........................  S            Posey.............         6762  OCS-Y-2278              N71[deg]19'25.79''      W163[deg]28'40.84''
Burger.........................  V            Posey.............         6915  OCS-Y-2324              N71[deg]10'33.39''      W163[deg]04'21.23''
Sivulliq.......................  G            Flaxman Is........         6658  OCS-Y 1805              N70[deg]23'46.82''      W146[deg]01'03.46''
Sivulliq.......................  N            Flaxman Is........         6658  OCS-Y 1805              N70[deg]23'29.58''      W145[deg]58'52.53''
Torpedo........................  H            Flaxman Is........         6610  OCS-Y 1941              N70[deg]27'01.62''      W145[deg]49'32.07''
Torpedo........................  J            Flaxman Is........         6559  OCS-Y 1936              N70[deg]28'56.94''      W145[deg]53'47.15''
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    During the 2012 timeframe, Shell Exploration & Production Company 
has proposed drilling up to two exploration wells at the identified 
Chukchi and Beaufort Sea prospects depending on favorable ice 
conditions, weather, sea state, and any other pertinent factors. Each 
of these drill sites will be permitted for drilling in 2012 to allow 
for operational flexibility in the event sea ice conditions prevent 
access to one of the locations. The number of actual wells that will be 
drilled will depend on ice conditions and the length of time available 
for the 2012 drilling season. The predicted ``average'' drilling 
season, constrained by prevailing ice conditions and regulatory 
restrictions, is long enough for two to three typical exploration wells 
to be drilled.
    The actual order of drilling activities will be controlled by an 
interplay between actual ice conditions immediately prior to movement 
of the NOBLE DISCOVERER, ice forecasts, any regulatory restrictions 
with respect to the dates of allowed operating windows, whether the 
planned drilling activity involves only drilling the shallow non-
objective section or penetrating potential hydrocarbon zones, the 
availability of permitted sites having approved shallow hazards 
clearance, the anticipated duration of each contemplated drilling 
activity, the results of preceding wells and Marine Mammal Monitoring 
and Mitigation plan requirements.
    The planned exploration drilling in the identified lease blocks 
will be conducted with the NOBLE DISCOVERER. The NOBLE DISCOVERER is a 
true drillship, and is a large self-contained drilling vessel that 
offers full accommodations for up to 124 persons. The hull has been 
reinforced for ice resistance.
    The NOBLE DISCOVERER has a ``persons on board'' capacity of 124, 
and it is expected to be at capacity for most of its operating period. 
The NOBLE DISCOVERER's personnel will include its crew, as well as 
Shell employees, third party contractors, Alaska Native Marine Mammal 
Observers and possibly Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation 
and Enforcement (BOEMRE) personnel.
    While conducting exploration drilling operations, the NOBLE 
DISCOVERER will be anchored. The NOBLE DISCOVERER uses an anchoring 
system consisting of an 8-point anchored mooring spread attached to the 
onboard turret and could have a maximum anchor radius of 3,600 ft 
(1,100 m). The anchor spread, which radiates from the center of the 
NOBLE DISCOVERER, may pose a fouling hazard to any vessel attempting to 
anchor within the anchor spread. Fouling of the NOBLE DISCOVERER anchor 
lines may endanger the drillship, its 124 persons onboard the third 
party vessel, persons onboard the third party vessel and the 
environment.
    The center point of the NOBLE DISCOVERER will be positioned within 
the prospect location in the Beaufort or Chukchi Sea at the coordinates 
listed below (See Table 1).
    The NOBLE DISCOVERER will transit through the Bering Strait on or 
about July 1, 2012 and onto a prospect location when ice allows. 
Drilling will be curtailed on or before October 31, 2012. The drillship 
and support vessels will depart the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas at the 
conclusion of the 2012 drilling season.

Discussion of Comments and Changes

    Three submissions with comments on the proposed rule were received. 
No public meeting was requested, and none was held.
    One comment was received suggesting that the safety zone be issued 
for a multi-year period similar to safety zones in the Gulf of Mexico. 
The Coast Guard disagrees. While the Coast Guard understands that the 
underlying justifications for the safety zone are not likely to change 
from year to year, we find that there are several operational and 
permitting variables with respect to these activities to support not 
continuing the safety zones period beyond the current 2012 drilling 
season as originally requested. Many of these variables would be 
considered substantive changes. Some of the factors that dictate a 
season by season publication of the safety zone include the possibility 
that a different vessel will be utilized for the exploratory wells; 
changes in the published prospect/drilling locations and corresponding 
latitude/longitude coordinates; significant changes in any approved 
future Outer Continental Shelf Lease Exploration Plans, and the limited 
timeframe each year (approximately 4 to 5 months) associated with 
actual on site activity. The nature of this activity as noted above is 
not currently comparable to the ``manned production facility'' 
operations in the Gulf of Mexico in that those safety zones are 
established for year-round operations on permanent structures that are 
engaged in the exploration and production of sub-sea resources. The 
Coast Guard will reconsider the temporary nature of these safety zones 
should the nature of the operations significantly change from solely 
seasonal exploratory drilling operations.
    One comment asked for a clarification with regard to the 
probability of a catastrophic event resulting from an

[[Page 38720]]

incident. The Coast Guard agrees and has amended the ``Basis and 
Purpose'' section of the Final Rule by changing the word ``would'' to 
``could'' as it relates to the outcome of an ``allision or inability to 
identify, monitor or mitigate ice-related hazards that might be 
encountered.''
    One comment requested flexibility with respect to the effective 
dates of the temporary safety zone to allow for certain non-drilling 
demobilization activities. The Coast Guard understands the nature of 
the post-drilling activity and agrees that the safety zone effective 
period should be extended to provide that needed flexibility through 
November 30, 2012, but only while the vessel is on location as listed 
in Table 1 of the rule. The purpose of this change is to ensure the 
rule remains effective while the KULLUK completes demobilization 
activities on location, thereby enhancing the safety of the personnel 
aboard the OCS facility and the environment. The Coast Guard has 
amended the final rule to reflect the new effective termination date of 
December 1, 2012, so long as the vessel is on location and engaged in 
exploratory drilling demobilization activities until this date.
    One comment requested flexibility with respect to dates the 
drilling rigs will be engaged in exploratory drilling, noting that the 
commencement of drilling activities may not be on July 1, 2012. The 
Coast Guard agrees and is amending language relating to the 
commencement of drilling activity to be ``on or about'' July 1, 2012.
    One comment requested flexibility with respect to locations 
drilling rigs will be operating to state ``Chukchi and/or Beaufort 
Seas'' as opposed to ``Chukchi and Beaufort Seas,'' to avoid possible 
confusion. The Coast Guard agrees and is amending the regulation 
accordingly.
    One comment requested the rule be amended to have the safety zone 
in effect once the vessels is ``on location'' while the mooring system 
is being deployed or recovered not only when the vessel is anchored. 
The Coast Guard agrees. The safety factors that were evaluated in 
determining that a safety zone was warranted while the vessel was 
anchored on location are substantially similar for when the vessel is 
on location and the mooring system is in the process of being deployed 
or recovered. The Coast Guard has amended Sec.  147-T17.0024 to read: 
``The navigable waters, from the surface to seabed, within 500 meters 
(1,640.4 feet) from each point on the outer edge of the vessel, while 
anchored or deploying and recovering moorings on location, is a safety 
zone.''
    Two comments recommended an extension of the outer boundaries of 
the safety zone to include the anchor chain extending from the OCS 
facilities; one comment recommended an extension to 1,500 meters from 
the vessel, the other recommended the zone extend to 50 meters beyond 
the anchor marker buoys of the mobile drilling vessel. The safety zone 
extends the maximum distance permitted as per 33 CFR Sec.  147.15, 
which establishes the limits of a safety zone at a distance of ``500 
meters around the OCS facility.'' Further, the determination that the 
outer edge of the OCS facility is marked by the physical structure of 
the drilling rig not to include any area encompassed by the anchor 
spread is consistent with other safety zones established for other 
similar OCS facilities operating on the Outer Continental Shelf, which 
is a 500 meter enforcement radius from the outer edge of the OCS 
facility structure.
    One comment stated the safety zone should be a moving safety zone 
and that it should be extended to all support and tow vessels involved 
in the operation and referenced previous safety zones established by 
the Coast Guard as precedent. The safety zones referenced by the 
commenter were established under the Ports and Waterways Safety Act 
(PWSA) (33 U.S.C. 1226(b)), under which the Coast Guard agrees it has 
the authority to establish moving safety zones for any vessel operating 
within the U.S. territorial seas. The safety zone encompasses areas 
outside of the U.S. territorial seas and extends to the maximum extent 
permitted by 33 CFR 147.10 which provides a maximum enforcement area of 
500 meters from the OCS facility. 33 CFR Sec.  147 does not permit 
establishment of safety zones for non-OCS facilities. With respect to 
moving safety zones, safety zones may only be enforced while the OCS 
facility is being constructed, maintained, or operated on the Outer 
Continental Shelf. The Coast Guard, in conjunction with the Department 
of State, has determined that this definition does not include times 
where the OCS facility is in transit and not directly engaged in 
activity related to the exploration or extraction of mineral resources. 
Accordingly, the safety zone cannot be implemented or enforced during 
times where the OCS facility is in transit. With respect to vessel 
movements within the U.S. territorial seas, the Coast Guard is 
establishing separate moving safety zones under the PWSA through a 
separate rulemaking process which will include safety zones for support 
and tow vessels in addition to OCS facilities during periods of transit 
within the 12 nautical mile territorial sea in the vicinity of Dutch 
Harbor, Alaska.
    One comment requested specific language granting State and Local 
officer's enforcement authority under 46 U.S.C. 70118, similar to 
safety zones established by the Coast Guard for the Columbia and Snake 
Rivers. Title 46 U.S.C. 70118 provides authority for state or local law 
enforcement officers to make arrests for safety zones established under 
the PWSA or Deepwater Port Act of 1974 (DPA) (33 U.S.C. 1509(d)). The 
PWSA does not apply for safety zones established outside of the 
territorial seas of the United States, and the DPA does not apply to 
the drillship to which the safety zone applies. The authority to 
implement this particular safety zone is based upon the Outer 
Continental Shelf Lands Act and 33 CFR 147. Accordingly, State and 
Local law enforcement officers do not have the authority to take law 
enforcement action due to the location of the safety zone.
    One comment stated that the safety zone is overbroad and 
unnecessarily restricts first amendment rights. We disagree. The safety 
zones were created to facilitate safe navigation and promote the 
conduct of safe operations for entities engaging in lawful activities. 
However, actions taken which may potentially endanger or threaten 
either the individuals operating within this zone or the OCS facility 
within this zone will be subject to law enforcement action. There are 
no prohibitions on persons exercising free speech; however, actions 
that endanger persons or property within the safety zone are 
prohibited. Unauthorized vessels operating within this safety zone 
create an unnecessary risk to all vessels within the zone, including 
themselves. The Coast Guard determined this to be the best course of 
action given the complexities in the Arctic, which includes ice 
management issues, Marine Mammal Monitoring and Mitigation plan 
requirements, the lack of infrastructure in the Arctic, and a harsh, 
dynamic offshore environment. These complexities dictate reducing 
unnecessary risks associated with vessels not engaged in natural 
resource extraction activities operating near the NOBLE DISCOVERER in 
order to significantly reduce the threat of allisions and oil spills, 
and at the same time increase the safety of life, property, and the 
environment in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas. The Coast Guard believes 
that the 500-meter safety zone is ideal because it still provides 
sufficient area for persons to peacefully assemble or engage in 
legitimate protest activities outside of the safety zone.

[[Page 38721]]

    One comment opined that the Coast Guard should be required to 
prepare an Environmental Assessment (EA) and Environmental Impact 
Statement (EIS) under NEPA. While safety zones are typically 
categorically excluded from NEPA analysis, the Coast Guard anticipates 
that it will have more assets operating in the Arctic than normal due 
to increased vessel traffic in the Arctic. Consequently, the Coast 
Guard has undertaken an EA to determine the environmental impacts of 
its operations in the Arctic during the summer of 2012, and the 
enforcement of the subject safety zones has been included for 
consideration of cumulative impacts.
    One comment pointed out that a preliminary environmental analysis 
checklist and categorical exclusion determination were stated to be 
available in the online record, but was not available. A preliminary 
determination was not completed. The Coast Guard is not required to 
provide a preliminary environmental analysis checklist and categorical 
exclusion determination for a temporary safety zone until publication 
of the Final Rule. The reasoning is that safety zones are generally 
categorically excluded, and the Coast Guard wanted to review all public 
comments before completing the environmental analysis checklist and 
categorical exclusion determination in order to ensure that it 
accounted for all concerns. The environmental analysis checklist and 
categorical exclusion determination for this temporary safety zone is 
available in the docket, and can be obtained online following the 
direction provided in the ADDRESSES section above.
    One comment stated that the safety zones will cause increased air 
pollution because the air permits issued for the NOBLE DISCOVERER 
exclude air within the safety zones, and, therefore, the Coast Guard 
must undertake a ``NEPA analysis'' to determine the affects of any air 
emissions within the safety zone. The Coast Guard does not have the 
authority or agency expertise to issue air permits, and, therefore, 
does not have the authority to determine whether the issuance of those 
permits is appropriate. The safety zones are being implemented to 
enhance the safety of vessel operations during a period of increased 
vessel traffic at locations where any marine casualty will present 
unique challenges due to the remote locations, lack of infrastructure 
and unforgiving environmental variables.
    One comment supported the determination to prohibit all vessels, 
irrespective of size from the safety zone. The Coast Guard determined 
this to be the best course of action given the complexities of this 
Arctic operation, which includes ice management issues, Marine Mammal 
and Mitigation plan requirements, and a harsh, dynamic offshore 
environment. The safety zones will significantly reduce the threat of 
allisions and oil spills, and at the same time increase the safety of 
life, property, and the environment in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas. A 
change was also made to clarify that the subject safety zones include 
``the navigable waters, from the surface to seabed.''

Regulatory Analyses

    The Coast Guard developed this rule after considering numerous 
statutes and executive orders related to rulemaking. Below we summarize 
our analyses based on 13 of these statutes or executive orders.

Regulatory Planning and Review

    This rule is not a significant regulatory action under section 3(f) 
of Executive Order 12866, Regulatory Planning and Review, and does not 
require an assessment of potential costs and benefits under section 
6(a)(3) of that Order. The Office of Management and Budget has not 
reviewed it under that Order.
    This rule is not a significant regulatory action due to the 
location of the NOBLE DISCOVERER on the Outer Continental Shelf and its 
distance from both land and safety fairways. Additional considerations 
were the relatively short period of time that the safety zone will be 
in effect and the limited size of the safety zone. Vessels traversing 
waters near the safety zone will be able to safely travel around the 
zone without incurring additional costs.

Small Entities

    Under the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601-612), the Coast 
Guard has considered whether this rule would have a significant 
economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. The term 
``small entities'' comprises small businesses, not-for-profit 
organizations that are independently owned and operated and are not 
dominant in their fields, and governmental jurisdictions with 
populations of less than 50,000.
    The Coast Guard certifies under 5 U.S.C. 605(b) that this rule 
would not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of 
small entities. This rule could affect the following entities, some of 
which might be small entities: The owners or operators of vessels 
intending to transit or anchor in the Sivulliq and Torpedo Prospect of 
the Beaufort Sea, including Flaxman Island blocks 6610, 6658 and 6659, 
and Posey Blocks 6714, 6762, 6764, 6812, 6912, and 6915 in the Chukchi 
Sea. (See Table 1).
    This safety zone will not have a significant economic impact on a 
substantial number of small entities for the following reasons: This 
rule will enforce a temporary safety zone around a drillship facility 
near Flaxman Island of the Beaufort Sea and/or at the Burger Prospect 
in the Chukchi Sea, which are both areas not frequented by vessel 
traffic and are not in close proximity to a safety fairway. Further, 
vessel traffic can pass safely around the safety zone without incurring 
additional costs.

Assistance for Small Entities

    Under section 213(a) of the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement 
Fairness Act of 1996 (Public Law 104-121), in the NPRM we offered to 
assist small entities in understanding the rule so that they could 
better evaluate its effects on them and participate in the rulemaking 
process.
    Small businesses may send comments on the actions of Federal 
employees who enforce, or otherwise determine compliance with, Federal 
regulations to the Small Business and Agriculture Regulatory 
Enforcement Ombudsman and the Regional Small Business Regulatory 
Fairness Boards. The Ombudsman evaluates these actions annually and 
rates each agency's responsiveness to small business. If you wish to 
comment on actions by employees of the Coast Guard, call 1-888-REG-FAIR 
(1-888-734-3247). The Coast Guard will not retaliate against small 
entities that question or complain about this rule or any policy or 
action of the Coast Guard.

Collection of Information

    This rule would call for no new collection of information under the 
Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501-3520).

Federalism

    A rule has implications for federalism under Executive Order 13132, 
Federalism, if it has a substantial direct effect on State or local 
governments and would either preempt State law or impose a substantial 
direct cost of compliance on them. We have analyzed this rule under 
that Order and have determined that it does not have implications for 
federalism.

Unfunded Mandates Reform Act

    The Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (2 U.S.C. 1531-1538) 
requires Federal agencies to assess the effects of their discretionary 
regulatory actions. In particular, the Act addresses actions

[[Page 38722]]

that may result in the expenditure by a State, local, or tribal 
government, in the aggregate, or by the private sector of $100,000,000 
(adjusted for inflation) or more in any one year. Though this rule 
would not result in such expenditure, we do discuss the effects of this 
rule elsewhere in this preamble.

Taking of Private Property

    This rule would not cause a taking of private property or otherwise 
have taking implications under Executive Order 12630, Governmental 
Actions and Interference with Constitutionally Protected Property 
Rights.

Civil Justice Reform

    This rule meets applicable standards in sections 3(a) and 3(b)(2) 
of Executive Order 12988, Civil Justice Reform, to minimize litigation, 
eliminate ambiguity, and reduce burden.

Protection of Children

    The Coast Guard has analyzed this rule under Executive Order 13045, 
Protection of Children from Environmental Health Risks and Safety 
Risks. This rule is not an economically significant rule and would not 
create an environmental risk to health or risk to safety that might 
disproportionately affect children.

Indian Tribal Governments

    This rule does not have tribal implications under Executive Order 
13175, Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribal Governments, 
because it would not have a substantial direct effect on one or more 
Indian tribes, on the relationship between the Federal Government and 
Indian tribes, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities 
between the Federal Government and Indian tribes.

Energy Effects

    The Coast Guard analyzed this rule under Executive Order 13211, 
Actions Concerning Regulations That Significantly Affect Energy Supply, 
Distribution, or Use. We have determined that it is not a ``significant 
energy action'' under that order because it is not a ``significant 
regulatory action'' under Executive Order 12866 and is not likely to 
have a significant adverse effect on the supply, distribution, or use 
of energy. The Administrator of the Office of Information and 
Regulatory Affairs has not designated it as a significant energy 
action. Therefore, it does not require a Statement of Energy Effects 
under Executive Order 13211.

Technical Standards

    The National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act (NTTAA) (15 
U.S.C. 272 note) directs agencies to use voluntary consensus standards 
in their regulatory activities unless the agency provides Congress, 
through the Office of Management and Budget, with an explanation of why 
using these standards would be inconsistent with applicable law or 
otherwise impractical. Voluntary consensus standards are technical 
standards (e.g., specifications of materials, performance, design, or 
operation; test methods; sampling procedures; and related management 
systems practices) that are developed or adopted by voluntary consensus 
standards bodies. This rule does not use technical standards. 
Therefore, we did not consider the use of voluntary consensus 
standards.

Environment

    We have analyzed this rule under Department of Homeland Security 
Management Directive 023-01 and Commandant Instruction M16475.lD, which 
guide the Coast Guard in complying with the National Environmental 
Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) (42 U.S.C. 4321-4370f), and have concluded 
this action is one of a category of actions that do not individually or 
cumulatively have a significant effect on the human environment. This 
rule is categorically excluded, under figure 2-1, paragraph (34)(g), of 
the Instruction. This rule involves a temporary final rule for a safety 
zone that will be established for 1 week or longer. An environmental 
analysis checklist and a categorical exclusion determination are 
included in the docket, and can be obtained online by following the 
directions delineated in the ``ADDRESSES'' section above. Nevertheless, 
while safety zones are typically categorically excluded from NEPA 
analysis the Coast Guard anticipates that it will have more assets 
operating in the Arctic Ocean than normal due to increased vessel 
traffic in the Arctic Ocean. Consequently, the Coast Guard has 
undertaken an Environmental Assessment (EA) to determine the 
environmental impacts of its overall operations in the Arctic Ocean 
during the summer of 2012, and the enforcement of the subject safety 
zones has been included for consideration of cumulative impacts. Public 
hearings on the draft EA were held on May 30, 2012, in Anchorage, 
Alaska, and on May 31, 2012, in Barrow, Alaska.

List of Subjects in 33 CFR Part 147

    Continental shelf, Marine safety, Navigation (water).

    For the reasons discussed in the preamble, the Coast Guard amends 
33 CFR part 147 as follows:

PART 147--SAFETY ZONES

0
1. The authority citation for part 147 continues to read as follows:

    Authority:  14 U.S.C. 85; 43 U.S.C. 1333; Department of Homeland 
Security Delegation No. 0170.1.

0
2. Add Sec.  147.T17-0024 to read as follows:


Sec.  147.T17-0024  Safety Zone; NOBLE DISCOVERER, Outer Continental 
Shelf Drillship, Chukchi and/or Beaufort Seas, Alaska.

    (a) Description. The NOBLE DISCOVERER will be engaged in 
exploratory drilling operations at various locations in the Chukchi 
and/or Beaufort Seas on or about July 1, 2012 through November 30, 
2012. The DRILLSHIP will be anchored while conducting exploratory 
drilling operations with the center point of the vessel located at the 
coordinates listed in Table 1. These coordinates are based upon [NAD 
83] UTM Zone 3.

                                                               Table 1--Prospect Locations
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
            Prospect                 Well            Area            Block            Lease No.               Latitude                 Longitude
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Burger.........................  A            Posey.............         6764  OCS-Y-2280              N71[deg] 18' 30.92''    W163[deg] 12' 43.17''
Burger.........................  F            Posey.............         6714  OCS-Y-2267              N71[deg] 20' 13.96''    W163[deg] 12' 21.75''
Burger.........................  J            Posey.............         6912  OCS-Y-2321              N71[deg] 10' 24.03''    W163[deg] 28' 18.52''
Burger.........................  R            Posey.............         6812  OCS-Y-2294              N71[deg] 16' 06.57''    W163[deg] 30' 39.44''
Burger.........................  S            Posey.............         6762  OCS-Y-2278              N71[deg] 19' 25.79''    W163[deg] 28' 40.84''
Burger.........................  V            Posey.............         6915  OCS-Y-2324              N71[deg] 10' 33.39''    W163[deg] 04' 21.23''
Sivulliq.......................  G            Flaxman Is........         6658  OCS-Y 1805              N70[deg] 23' 46.82''    W146[deg] 01' 03.46''
Sivulliq.......................  N            Flaxman Is........         6658  OCS-Y 1805              N70[deg] 23' 29.58''    W145[deg] 58' 52.53''
Torpedo........................  H            Flaxman Is........         6610  OCS-Y 1941              N70[deg] 27' 01.62''    W145[deg] 49' 32.07''

[[Page 38723]]

 
Torpedo........................  J            Flaxman Is........         6559  OCS-Y 1936              N70[deg] 28' 56.94''    W145[deg] 53' 47.15''
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

     (b) The navigable waters, from the surface to seabed, within 500 
meters (1,640.4 feet) from each point on the outer edge of the vessel, 
while anchored or deploying and recovering moorings on location, is a 
safety zone. Lawful demonstrations may be conducted outside of the 
safety zone.
    (c) Regulation. No vessel may enter or remain in this safety zone 
except the following:
    (1) An attending vessel; or
    (2) A vessel authorized by the Commander, Seventeenth Coast Guard 
District, or a designated representative. A ``designated 
representative'' is any Coast Guard commissioned, warrant or petty 
officer of the U.S. Coast Guard who has been designated by the 
Commander, Seventeenth Coast Guard District to act on his or her 
behalf.
    (d) Penalties. Violation of this regulation may result in criminal 
or civil penalties, or both.
    (e) Effective Period. This rule is effective from July 1, 2012, and 
terminates on December 1, 2012, unless sooner terminated by the 
Commander, Seventeenth Coast Guard District.

    Dated: June 13, 2012.
Thomas P. Ostebo,
Rear Admiral, U.S. Coast Guard, Commander, Seventeenth Coast Guard 
District.
[FR Doc. 2012-15950 Filed 6-28-12; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 9110-04-P