[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 126 (Friday, June 29, 2012)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 38729-38731]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-15976]


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DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY

Coast Guard

46 CFR Part 126

[Docket No. USCG-2011-0966]
RIN 1625-AB82


Alternate Tonnage Threshold for Oil Spill Response Vessels

AGENCY: Coast Guard, DHS.

ACTION: Final rule; Interpretation.

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SUMMARY: The Coast Guard is establishing an alternate size threshold 
based on the measurement system established under the International 
Convention on Tonnage Measurement of Ships, 1969, for oil spill 
response vessels, which are properly certificated under 46 CFR chapter 
I, subchapter L. The present size threshold of 500 gross register tons 
is based on the U.S. regulatory measurement system. This final rule 
provides an alternative for owners and operators of offshore supply 
vessels that may result in an increase in oil spill response capacity 
and capability. This final rule adopts, without change, the interim 
rule amending 46 CFR part 126 published in the Federal Register on 
Monday, December 12, 2011.

DATES: This final rule is effective June 29, 2012.

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-2011-0966 and are 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. You may also find this 
docket on the Internet by going to http://www.regulations.gov, 
inserting USCG-2011-0966 in the ``Keyword'' box, and then clicking 
``Search.''

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: If you have questions on this final 
rule, call or email Mr. Brian T. Ellis, Coast Guard Marine Safety 
Center; telephone 202-475-5636, email Brian.T.Ellis@uscg.mil. If you 
have questions on viewing the docket, call Renee V. Wright, Program 
Manager, Docket Operations, telephone 202-366-9826.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Table of Contents for Preamble

I. Abbreviations
II. Regulatory History
III. Basis and Purpose
IV. Background
V. Regulatory Analyses
    A. Regulatory Planning and Review
    B. Small Entities
    C. Assistance for Small Entities
    D. Collection of Information
    E. Federalism
    F. Unfunded Mandates Reform Act
    G. Taking of Private Property
    H. Civil Justice Reform
    I. Protection of Children
    J. Indian Tribal Governments
    K. Energy Effects
    L. Technical Standards
    M. Environment

I. Abbreviations

DHS Department of Homeland Security
FR Federal Register
GT ITC Gross Tonnage International Tonnage Convention, 1969
OSV Offshore Supply Vessel
OSRV Oil Spill Response Vessel
U.S.C. United States Code

II. Regulatory History

    On Monday, December 12, 2011, the Coast Guard published an interim 
rule with request for comments entitled Alternate Tonnage Threshold for 
Oil Spill Response Vessels in the Federal Register (76 FR 77128). We 
received no comments on the interim rule. No public meeting was 
requested and none was held. This rule is considered to be an 
interpretive rule under the Administrative Procedure Act (5 U.S.C. 551 
et seq.) and, therefore, the 30-day delay of the effective date is not 
required under 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(2).

III. Basis and Purpose

    The interim final rule published in the Federal Register on Monday, 
December 12, 2011 (76 FR 77128) provides a discussion of the basis and 
purpose of this rulemaking, but a summary of that discussion follows.
    This final rule establishes an alternate tonnage threshold at 6000 
Gross Tonnage International Tonnage Convention (GT ITC) for oil spill 
response vessels (OSRVs) that are also certificated as offshore supply 
vessels (OSVs). The selected alternate tonnage threshold is consistent 
with a 6000 GT ITC alternate threshold established for OSVs in 1996.\1\ 
This final rule will allow owners of OSVs regulated under the alternate 
tonnage framework to also have their vessels certificated as OSRVs, 
without the need to meet significantly higher standards applicable to 
tank vessels.
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    \1\ See Offshore Supply Vessels: Alternate Tonnage, 61 FR 66613 
(Dec. 18, 1996), amending 46 CFR 125.160.
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    Because this final rule provides for optional use of an alternative 
approach to meet an existing requirement, there is no mandatory cost to 
the public. The authority for this final rule is the 1996 Coast Guard 
Authorization Act (the Act) (Pub. L. 104-324), as codified in 46 U.S.C. 
3702(f)(2)(A) and 14104(b).

IV. Background

    The interim final rule, published in the Federal Register on 
Monday, December 12, 2011 (76 FR 77128), provides a discussion of the 
background of this rulemaking. No comments were received on the interim 
final rule and,

[[Page 38730]]

therefore, this final rule adopts, without change, that interim rule 
amending 46 CFR part 126.

V. Regulatory Analyses

    We developed this final rule after considering numerous statutes 
and executive orders related to rulemaking. Below we summarize our 
analyses based on 14 of these statutes or executive orders.

A. Regulatory Planning and Review

    Executive Orders 12866 (``Regulatory Planning and Review'') and 
13563 (``Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review'') direct agencies 
to assess the costs and benefits of available regulatory alternatives 
and, if regulation is necessary, to select regulatory approaches that 
maximize net benefits (including potential economic, environmental, 
public health and safety effects, distributive impacts, and equity). 
Executive Order 13563 emphasizes the importance of quantifying both 
costs and benefits, of reducing costs, of harmonizing rules, and of 
promoting flexibility.
    This final rule 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 reviewed it under that Order.
    This final rule establishes a tonnage threshold of 6000 GT ITC for 
OSRVs under the alternate tonnage framework, which offers a mechanism 
for the Coast Guard to regulate vessels under tonnages assigned using 
the convention measurement system, instead of the regulatory 
measurement system. Therefore, this final rule provides an option to 
owners of vessels certificated as OSVs (under 46 CFR subchapter L) to 
seek OSRV certification based on this alternate tonnage threshold. We 
believe that a vessel owner will opt to use the alternate tonnage 
framework described in this final rule only if it will be beneficial to 
the owner's business.
    We expect this final rule to be beneficial to the public and to the 
maritime industry because it provides the opportunity to increase oil 
spill response capacity and capability.
    This final rule provides for optional and voluntary use of an 
alternative approach to meet an existing requirement. Accordingly, 
there is no mandatory cost to the public.

B. Small Entities

    Under the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601-612), this rule 
is considered an interpretive rule and is not subject to the 
requirement under 5 U.S.C. 553(b) for publication of a general notice 
of proposed rulemaking. Therefore, under 5 U.S.C. 601, it is not a rule 
that is subject to the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et 
seq.).
    The Coast Guard issued this rule as an interpretive rule on 
December 12, 2011, as authorized by section 702 of the Act (Pub. L. 
104-324; October 19, 1996). The Conference Report on the Act (H. Rept. 
104-854) states that, because this rule is considered to be an 
interpretive rule under the Administrative Procedure Act (5 U.S.C. 551 
et seq.), the notice of proposed rulemaking and comment requirements 
and the 30-day delay of effective date under 5 U.S.C. 553 would not be 
required in order to expedite this rulemaking.
    This final rule provides for optional and voluntary use of an 
alternative approach to owners of vessels certificated as OSVs to seek 
an OSRV certification based on an alternate tonnage threshold. We 
believe that a vessel owner will opt to use the alternate tonnage 
framework described in this final rule only if it will be beneficial to 
the owner's business. We expect this final rule to be beneficial to the 
public and to the maritime industry because it provides the opportunity 
to increase the availability and capacity of OSRVs.

C. Assistance for Small Entities

    Under section 213(a) of the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement 
Fairness Act of 1996 (Pub. L. 104-121), we want to assist small 
entities in understanding this rule so that they can better evaluate 
its effects on them and participate in the rulemaking. If the rule will 
affect your small business, organization, or governmental jurisdiction 
and you have questions concerning its provisions or options for 
compliance, please consult Brian T. Ellis, U.S. Coast Guard Marine 
Safety Center, Tonnage Division, 202-475-5636, Brian.T.Ellis@uscg.mil. 
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.
    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).

D. Collection of Information

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

E. Federalism

    A rule has implications for federalism under Executive Order 13132, 
Federalism, if it has a substantial direct effect on the States, on the 
relationship between the national government and the States, or on the 
distribution of power and responsibilities among the various levels of 
government. We have analyzed this rule under that Order and have 
determined that it does not have implications for federalism. It is 
well settled that States may not establish alternate tonnages for oil 
spill response vessels pursuant to 46 U.S.C. 3702(f)(2)(A). Therefore, 
preemption is not an issue under Executive Order 13132.

F. 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 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 will not result in 
such an expenditure, we do discuss the effects of this rule elsewhere 
in this preamble.

G. Taking of Private Property

    This rule will 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.

H. 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.

I. Protection of Children

    We have 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 does not create an 
environmental risk to health or risk to safety that may 
disproportionately affect children.

[[Page 38731]]

J. Indian Tribal Governments

    This rule does not have tribal implications under Executive Order 
13175, Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribal Governments, 
because it does 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.

K. Energy Effects

    We have 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.

L. Technical Standards

    The National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act (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.

M. Environment

    We have analyzed this final 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 (42 U.S.C. 4321-4370f), and have 
concluded that this action is one of a category of actions that do not 
individually or cumulatively have a significant effect on the human 
environment. This final rule is categorically excluded under section 
2.B.2, figure 2-1, paragraph (34)(d) of the Instruction. Exclusion 
under paragraph (34)(d) applies because this final rule pertains to 
regulations concerning documentation and admeasurement of vessels. An 
environmental analysis checklist and a categorical exclusion 
determination are available in the docket where indicated under 
ADDRESSES.

List of Subjects in 46 CFR Part 126

    Cargo vessels, Marine safety, Reporting and recordkeeping 
requirements.

PART 126-INSPECTION AND CERTIFICATION

    Accordingly, the interim rule amending 46 CFR part 126, which was 
published at 76 FR 77128 on December 12, 2011, is adopted as a final 
rule without change.

    Dated: May 24, 2012.
F. J. Sturm,
Acting Director of Commercial Regulations and Standards, U.S. Coast 
Guard.
[FR Doc. 2012-15976 Filed 6-28-12; 8:45 am]
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