[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 197 (Thursday, October 11, 2012)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 61721-61723]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-24991]


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DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE

Department of the Army, Corps of Engineers

33 CFR Part 334


Atlantic Ocean off Wallops Island and Chincoteague Inlet, VA; 
Danger Zone

AGENCY: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Department of Defense.

ACTION: Final rule.

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[[Page 61722]]

SUMMARY: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) is amending an 
existing permanent danger zone in the waters of the Atlantic Ocean off 
Wallops Island and Chincoteague Inlet, Virginia. The National 
Aeronautics and Space Administration, Goddard Space Flight Center, 
Wallops Flight Facility flight range capabilities have been expanded to 
accommodate larger classes of orbital rockets. This amendment increases 
the permanent danger zone to a 30 nautical mile sector and is necessary 
to protect the public from hazards associated with rocket-launching 
operations.

DATES: Effective Date: October 12, 2012.

ADDRESSES: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Attn: CECW-CO-R (David B. 
Olson), 441 G Street NW., Washington, DC 20314-1000.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. David Olson, Headquarters, 
Operations and Regulatory Community of Practice, Washington, DC at 202-
761-4922, or Ms. Nancy Hankins, Corps of Engineers, Norfolk District, 
Regulatory Branch, at 757-201-6048.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Executive Summary

    The purpose of this regulatory action is to amend an existing 
danger zone to accommodate larger classes of orbital rockets. This 
amendment increases the permanent danger zone to a 30 nautical mile 
sector and is necessary to protect the public from hazards associated 
with rocket-launching operations.
    The Corps authority to amend this restricted area is Section 7 of 
the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1917 (40 Stat. 266; 33 U.S.C. 1) and 
Chapter XIX of the Army Appropriations Act of 1919 (40 Stat. 892; 33 
U.S.C. 3).

Background

    Pursuant to its authorities in Section 7 of the Rivers and Harbors 
Act of 1917 (40 Stat. 266; 33 U.S.C. 1) and Chapter XIX of the Army 
Appropriations Act of 1919 (40 Stat. 892; 33 U.S.C. 3), the Corps is 
amending the regulations in 33 CFR part 334 by establishing a new 
permanent danger zone, in the waters of the Atlantic Ocean off Wallops 
Island and Chincoteague Inlet, Virginia. The modification to the 
regulations is described below.
    The proposed rule was published in the October 11, 2011, issue of 
the Federal Register (76 FR 62692), and its regulations.gov docket 
number is COE-2011-0019. There were two comments received in response 
to the proposed rule. First, we received a response from the 
Commonwealth of Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation 
stating that they do not anticipate that the project will adversely 
impact natural resources. Second, we received comments from the Town of 
Chincoteague, Virginia informing us of their space tourism plan and 
requesting confirmation that their proposed tourist viewing areas would 
not be in conflict with the new danger zone. In response, NASA met with 
the Town of Chincoteague and together they developed a communication 
plan that will ensure public safety during launching operations.

Procedural Requirements

    a. Review under Executive Order 12866. This rule is issued with 
respect to a military function of the Defense Department and the 
provisions of Executive Order 12866 do not apply.
    b. Review under the Regulatory Flexibility Act. This rule has been 
reviewed under the Regulatory Flexibility Act (Pub. L. 96-354) which 
requires the preparation of a regulatory flexibility analysis for any 
regulation that will have a significant economic impact on a 
substantial number of small entities (i.e., small businesses and small 
governments). The Corps determined that this regulation would have 
practically no economic impact on the public nor would it result in any 
anticipated navigational hazard or interference with existing waterway 
traffic. This regulation will have no significant economic impact on 
small entities.
    c. Review under the National Environmental Policy Act. This rule 
will not have a significant impact to the quality of the human 
environment and, therefore, preparation of an environmental impact 
statement will not be required. An environmental assessment has been 
prepared and it may be reviewed at the district office listed at the 
end of the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT above.
    d. Unfunded Mandates Act. This rule does not impose an enforceable 
duty on the private sector and, therefore, it is not a Federal private 
sector mandate and is not subject to the requirements of either Section 
202 or Section 205 of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act. (Pub. L. 104-4, 
109 Stat. 48, 2 U.S.C. 1501 et seq.) We have also found under Section 
203 of the Act, that small governments will not be significantly or 
uniquely affected by this rulemaking.

List of Subjects in 33 CFR Part 334

    Danger zones, Marine safety, Navigation (water), Restricted areas, 
Waterways.

    For the reasons set out in the preamble, the Corps amends 33 CFR 
part 334 as follows:

PART 334--DANGER ZONE AND RESTRICTED AREA REGULATIONS

0
1. The authority citation for 33 CFR part 334 continues to read as 
follows:

    Authority: 40 Stat. 266 (33 U.S.C. 1) and 40 Stat. 892 (33 
U.S.C. 3).


0
2. Revise Sec.  334.130 to read as follows:


Sec.  334.130  Atlantic Ocean off Wallops Island and Chincoteague 
Inlet, Va.; danger zone.

    (a) The area. An area immediately behind and directly offshore from 
Wallops Island defined by lines drawn as follows: Beginning at latitude 
37[deg]53'00'' N, longitude 75[deg]29'48'' W; thence to latitude 
37[deg]53'03'' N, longitude 74[deg]50'52'' W; thence to latitude 
37[deg]38'28'' N, longitude 74[deg]51'48'' W; thence to latitude 
37[deg]22'00'' N, longitude 75[deg]09'35'' W; thence to latitude 
37[deg]19'11'' N, longitude 75[deg]30'00'' W; thence to latitude 
37[deg]47'57'' N, longitude 75[deg]32'19'' W; and thence to latitude 
37[deg]53'00'' N, longitude 75[deg]29'48'' W.
    (b) The regulations. (1) Persons and vessels shall only be 
prohibited from entering the area when launch operations are being 
conducted.
    (2) In advance of scheduled launch operations which, in the opinion 
of the enforcing agency, may be dangerous to persons and watercraft, 
appropriate warnings will be issued to navigation interests through 
official government and civilian channels or in such other manner as 
the District Engineer, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, may direct. Such 
warnings will specify the location, time, and duration of operations, 
and give other pertinent information as may be required in the 
interests of safety. Announcement of area of closure will appear in the 
weekly ``Notice to Mariners.''
    (3) The intent to conduct rocket-launching operations in the area 
shall also be indicated by visual signals consisting of a large orange-
colored ``blimp-shaped'' balloon by day and a rotating alternately red 
and white beacon by night. The balloon shall be flown at latitude 
37[deg]50'38'' N, longitude 75[deg]28'47'' W and the beacon shall be 
displayed about 200 feet above mean high water at latitude 
37[deg]50'16'' N, longitude 75[deg]29'07'' W. The appropriate signals 
shall be displayed 30 minutes prior to rocket-launching time and shall 
remain displayed until the danger no longer exists.
    (4) In addition to visual signals and prior to conducting launch 
operations, the area will be patrolled by aircraft or surface vessels 
and monitored by radars and cameras to ensure no persons or watercraft 
are within the danger zone or

[[Page 61723]]

designated area of interest within the danger zone. Patrol aircraft and 
surface vessels are equipped with marine band radios and may attempt to 
hail watercraft and request that they leave the designated area and 
remain clear of the area at a safe distance until launch operations are 
complete, and launch will not occur until the designated area is clear. 
Patrol aircraft may also employ the method of warning known as 
``buzzing'' which consists of low flight by the airplane and repeated 
opening and closing of the throttle. Surveillance vessels may also come 
close to watercraft and employ flashing light to establish 
communications to indicate that the watercraft is entering the 
designated hazard area.
    (5) Any watercraft being so warned shall immediately leave the 
designated area until the conclusion of launch operations, and shall 
remain at a distance to ensure that it will be safe from falling 
debris.
    (6) Nothing in this regulation shall be intended to prevent 
commercial fishing or the lawful use of approved waterfowl hunting 
blinds along the shorelines of the Wallops Flight Facility at Wallops 
Island, Virginia, provided that all necessary licenses and permits have 
been obtained from the Virginia Marine Resources Commission, Virginia 
Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service. Commercial fishermen and waterfowl hunters must observe all 
warnings and range clearances during hazardous range operations.
    (c) Enforcement. The regulations in this section shall be enforced 
by the Director, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Goddard 
Space Flight Center, Wallops Flight Facility Wallops Island, Va., or 
such agencies as he or she may designate.

    Dated: October 2, 2012.
James R. Hannon,
Chief, Operations and Regulatory, Directorate of Civil Works.
[FR Doc. 2012-24991 Filed 10-10-12; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3720-58-P