[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 152 (Tuesday, August 7, 2012)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 46985-46986]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-19105]


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Proposed Rules
                                                Federal Register
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This section of the FEDERAL REGISTER contains notices to the public of 
the proposed issuance of rules and regulations. The purpose of these 
notices is to give interested persons an opportunity to participate in 
the rule making prior to the adoption of the final rules.

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Federal Register / Vol. 77, No. 152 / Tuesday, August 7, 2012 / 
Proposed Rules

[[Page 46985]]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

15 CFR Part 922


Revisions of Boundaries for the Monterey Bay National Marine 
Sanctuary; Intent To Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement; Scoping 
Meetings

AGENCY: Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, National Ocean Service, 
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of 
Commerce.

ACTION: Notice of Intent to Revise Boundaries; Intent to Prepare an 
Environmental Impact Statement; Scoping Meetings.

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SUMMARY: In accordance with section 304 of the National Marine 
Sanctuaries Act, as amended, (NMSA) (16 U.S.C. 1431 et seq.), the 
Office of National Marine Sanctuaries (ONMS) of the National Oceanic 
and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has initiated a review of the 
Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary (MBNMS or sanctuary) boundaries, 
to evaluate the opportunity and effects of expanding the sanctuary's 
boundary. The process required by NMSA will be conducted concurrently 
with a public process under the National Environmental Policy Act 
(NEPA) (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.). This notice also informs the public 
that NOAA will coordinate its responsibilities under section 106 of the 
National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) (16 U.S.C. 470) with its 
ongoing NEPA process, pursuant to 36 CFR 800.8(a), including the use of 
NEPA documents and public and stakeholder meetings to also meet the 
requirements of section 106. NOAA anticipates completion of the final 
environmental impact statement and concomitant documents will require 
approximately twelve months from the date of publication of this Notice 
of Intent.

DATES: Comments must be received by October 10, 2012. Dates for scoping 
meetings are:

(1) August 16, 2012
(2) August 23, 2012
    (3) September 12, 2012


ADDRESSES: Comments may be submitted by any one of the following 
methods:
--Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Submit 
electronic comments via the Federal eRulemaking Portal with Docket 
Number NOAA-NOS-2012-0153.
--Mail: Maria Brown, Sanctuary Superintendent, Gulf of the Farallones 
National Marine Sanctuary, 991 Marine Drive, The Presidio, San 
Francisco, CA 94129.

    Instructions: All comments received are a part of the public 
record. All Personal Identifying Information (for example, name, 
address, etc.) voluntarily submitted by the commenter may be publicly 
accessible. Do not submit confidential business information or 
otherwise sensitive or protected information. NOAA will accept 
anonymous comments (enter N/A in the required fields to remain 
anonymous). Attachments to electronic comments will be accepted in 
Microsoft Word, Excel, Wordperfect, or Adobe PDF file formats only.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Leslie Abramson, Advisory Council 
Coordinator, at Leslie.Abramson@noaa.gov or 415-561-6622 x306.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Background Information

    The Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary (MBNMS), designated in 
1992, is a Federally protected marine area offshore of California's 
central coast. Stretching from Marin to Cambria, the MBNMS encompasses 
a shoreline length of 276 miles and 6,094 square miles of ocean, 
extending an average distance of 30 miles from shore. At its deepest 
point, the MBNMS reaches down 12,713 feet (more than two miles). The 
Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary (GFNMS) has 
administrative jurisdiction over the northern portion of the MBNMS from 
the San Mateo/Santa Cruz County line northward to the existing boundary 
between the two sanctuaries, and maintains an office in San Francisco.
    When the MBNMS was designated, the urban waters of San Francisco, 
Daly City, and Pacifica were deemed incompatible with sanctuary 
regulations and excluded from MBNMS designation. This unprotected area 
is referred to as the San Francisco-Pacifica Exclusion Area. The 
following activities taking place at the time of MBNMS designation were 
listed as reasons for excluding the region:
    1. Pollution problems stemming from the combined sewer overflow 
component of the City and County of San Francisco's sewage treatment 
program;
    2. High vessel traffic in the area;
    3. Potential pollutants from dredge spoils deposited in the 
exclusion area.
    The Sanctuary has received reports that these three conditions are 
no longer valid issues for exclusion of this area. The San Francisco 
Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) Oceanside Wastewater Treatment 
Plant has functioned for 17 years without a permit violation and is 
viewed as a national model of environmental sustainability. Recommended 
vessel traffic patterns have been moved offshore of the exclusion area 
and dredge materials are reported to be clean and are permitted under 
the Environmental Protection Agency.
    In 2008, the Joint Management Plan Review for Cordell Bank, Gulf of 
the Farallones and Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuaries determined 
that GFNMS would ``facilitate a public process in the next five years 
to consider whether the exclusion area should be incorporated into the 
MBNMS.'' At the February 23, 2012 and June 7, 2012 GFNMS Advisory 
Council meetings, the Sanctuary Advisory Council (SAC) unanimously 
recommended that the sanctuary superintendent explore the option of 
incorporating the exclusion area into MBNMS boundaries.
    In accordance with Section 304 of the NMSA, ONMS is initiating a 
review of the MBNMS boundaries to ``evaluate and assess a proposed 
expansion'' for the sanctuary. NOAA is proposing to administratively 
add the exclusion area to the sanctuary as a way to protect additional 
nationally-significant seascape, wildlife, shipwrecks, and to promote 
ecotourism. An expanded sanctuary could protect up to an additional 
seventy-seven square nautical miles (101 square statute

[[Page 46986]]

miles), from the waters west of the Golden Gate Bridge to the current 
sanctuary boundaries, and would support the Administration's focus on 
growing travel and tourism in the United States and in particular in 
the San Francisco Bay Area.

Review Process

    The review process is composed of four primary stages:
    1. Information collection and characterization, including public 
scoping meetings.
    2. Preparation and release of a draft environmental impact 
statement (DEIS) as required by Section 304(a) of the NMSA that 
identifies boundary expansion alternatives, as well as a notice of 
proposed rulemaking (NPRM) to amend the sanctuary regulations to 
reflect any new boundary if proposed.
    3. Public review and comment on the DEIS and NPRM; and
    4. Preparation and release of a final environmental impact 
statement, including a response to public comments, with a final rule 
if appropriate.
    NOAA anticipates that the completion of the final environmental 
impact statement and concomitant documents will require approximately 
twelve months.
    At this time, NOAA is opening a public comment period to:
    1. Gather information and public comments from individuals, 
organizations, and government agencies on whether MBNMS should expand 
its boundary and the potential effects of a boundary expansion;
    2. Help determine the scope of issues to be addressed in the 
preparation of an environmental impact statement (EIS) pursuant to the 
NEPA, if warranted; and
    3. Conduct a series of public scoping meetings to collect public 
comment. The public scoping meeting schedule is presented below.
    Public Scoping Meetings: The public scoping meetings will be held 
on the following dates and at the following locations and times:

1. Santa Cruz, CA

    Date: August 16, 2012.
    Location: Louden Nelson Community Center.
    Address: 301 Center Street,
    Santa Cruz, CA 95060.
    Time: 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.

2. San Francisco, CA

    Date: August 23, 2012.
    Location: Golden Gate National Recreation Area Headquarters.
    Address: Upper Fort Mason, Bldg. 201, San Francisco, CA.
    Time: 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

3. Pacifica, CA

    Date: September 12, 2012.
    Location: Pacifica Community Center, The Card Room.
    Address: 540 Crespi Drive Pacifica, CA 94044.
    Time: 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Consultation Under National Historic Preservation Act

    This notice confirms that NOAA will fulfill its responsibility 
under section 106 of the NHPA through the ongoing NEPA process, 
pursuant to 36 CFR 800.8(a), including the use of NEPA documents and 
public and stakeholder meetings to meet the section 106 requirements. 
The NHPA specifically applies to any agency undertaking that may affect 
historic properties. Pursuant to 36 CFR 800.16(1)(1), historic 
properties includes: ``any prehistoric or historic district, site, 
building, structure or object included in, or eligible for inclusion 
in, the National Register of Historic Places maintained by the 
Secretary of the Interior. The term includes artifacts, records, and 
remains that are related to and located within such properties. The 
term includes properties of traditional religious and cultural 
importance to an Indian tribe or Native Hawaiian organization and that 
meet the National Register criteria.''
    In fulfilling its responsibility under the NHPA and NEPA, NOAA 
intends to identify consulting parties; identify historic properties 
and assess the effects of the undertaking on such properties; initiate 
formal consultation with the State Historic Preservation Officer, the 
Advisory Council of Historic Preservation, and other consulting 
parties; involve the public in accordance with NOAA's NEPA procedures, 
and develop in consultation with identified consulting parties 
alternatives and proposed measures that might avoid, minimize or 
mitigate any adverse effects on historic properties and describe them 
in any environmental assessment or draft environmental impact 
statement.

    Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1431 et seq.; 16 U.S.C. 470.

    Dated: July 30, 2012.
Daniel J. Basta,
Director for the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries.
[FR Doc. 2012-19105 Filed 8-6-12; 8:45 am]
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