[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 68 (Wednesday, April 9, 2014)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 19462-19464]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-07979]



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DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Commodity Credit Corporation

7 CFR Part 1463

RIN 0560-AH30


Tobacco Transition Program Assessments; Final Appeals and 
Revisions Procedures

AGENCY: Commodity Credit Corporation, USDA.

ACTION: Final rule, technical amendment.

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SUMMARY: The Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) is amending the 
regulations for the Tobacco Transition Program (TTP) to clarify the 
final administrative actions required for the orderly close-out of the 
program. Through the Tobacco Transition Payment Program (TTPP), which 
is part of the TTP, eligible former tobacco quota holders and producers 
of quota tobacco receive payments from funds that CCC collects through 
quarterly assessments on domestic manufacturers and importers of 
tobacco products as required by the Fair and Equitable Tobacco Reform 
Act of 2004 (FETRA). This rule clarifies final dates and deadlines for 
the assessments and related program actions, including when CCC will 
make any final revisions to the quarterly assessments, when 
documentation is required for administrative appeals filed after FY 
2014, when final appeals may be filed, and when CCC decisions on final 
appeals will take place.

DATES: Effective date: April 9, 2014.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Darlene Soto; telephone: (202) 720-
0542. Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for 
communications (Braille, large print, audio tape, etc.) should contact 
the USDA Target Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice and TDD).

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Background

    The TTP regulations are specified in 7 CFR part 1463. TTP was 
authorized by Title VI of the American Jobs Creation Act of 2004 (Pub. 
L. 108-357). Title VI is also known as FETRA (7 U.S.C. 518-519a). FETRA 
repeals the tobacco marketing quota and related price support programs 
authorized by Title III of the Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1938 and 
by the Agricultural Act of 1949, and provides for payments to persons 
who were owners of farms with tobacco quotas (referred to as tobacco 
quota holders), or who were producers of quota tobacco. The payments 
end in calendar year 2014. As specified in FETRA, TTPP uses funds from 
assessments collected quarterly on domestic tobacco manufacturers and 
importers (also referred to here as ``entities'') to make the payments 
referred to above.
    Administrative support for the assessment portion of TTP will end 
in March 2016. Therefore, CCC needs to clarify a few final procedures 
and dates for the orderly close-out of the program. This rule clarifies 
administrative issues about how assessments and appeals will be handled 
after FY 2014. Specifically:
     Procedures and dates for issuance of final revised, or 
``trued,'' quarterly assessment revisions;
     When supporting documents are required for administrative 
appeals filed after FY 2014;
     Final dates for filing appeals; and
     When final CCC decisions on appeals will take place.

All the changes in this rule are administrative in nature; the basic 
procedures for assessments and appeals are not changing with this rule. 
This rule simply amends the regulations to specify the final dates for 
appeals and submission of supporting documents for appeals, and the 
final appeals procedures, including clarifying the address to which 
appeals and supporting documents must be sent. Those final dates and 
procedures will be added to 7 CFR 1463.11, ``Appeals and Judicial 
Review.'' The dates and procedures for final revisions to the 
assessments are clarified in this document, but do not require any 
change to the regulations.
    Additional clarifying information about final assessment procedures 
and other actions for the close-out of TTPP was provided in a notice 
published in the Federal Register on August 2, 2013 [78 FR 46905].

Issuance of Final Revised, or ``Trued,'' Quarterly Assessment Revisions

    After the end of each fiscal year, CCC requests tobacco import and 
tax data from the U.S. Department of Treasury's Alcohol and Tobacco Tax 
and Trade Bureau, and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's 
Customs and Border Protection. CCC uses this data to determine any 
errors or omissions in the data it used to calculate the TTP 
assessments, identify and assess non-reporting entities, finalize the 
payments to tobacco quota holders or persons who were producers of 
quota tobacco, and compute the borrowed daily net interest amount. CCC 
then determines any necessary changes to entities' market shares for 
all four quarters of the fiscal year and issues final revised, or 
``trued,'' assessments. The revisions are typically issued on June 1 
after a given fiscal year. For example, FY 2014's final revised, or 
``trued,'' assessments will be issued on June 1, 2015.
    Occasionally, a second assessment revision, i.e., a revision of 
what has been referred to here as the ``final revised'' assessment, is 
needed, due to data updates or reporting errors. For FY 2005-2010, 
second assessment revisions, or ``second trued'' assessments, have 
already been calculated and issued to all entities, taking into account 
reporting errors which required correction. Assessments for FY2011-
FY2014 may require a ``second trued'' assessment. If necessary, CCC 
will make any necessary revisions for all ten fiscal years and issue 
revised assessments on or before December 1, 2015. After that date, 
there will be no revised assessments for any fiscal years issued.

Final Appeals Documentation Required Within 30 Days

    As specified in 7 CFR 1463.11, entities have 30 business days after 
receiving notice of an assessment or other decision, to submit a 
written statement appealing that determination, including any dispute 
about the amount of the determination. That is not changing with this 
rule. However, the previous version of the regulation did not specify a 
timeframe within which entities are required to provide supporting 
documentation to CCC to support an appeal. Accordingly, this rule 
amends 7 CFR 1463.11 to clarify that for appeals filed after October 1, 
2014, appellants have 30 calendar days after submission of the written 
statement of appeal to CCC to provide any supporting documentation to 
CCC. Any documents received after that time will not be considered by 
the hearing officer. This clarification is necessary for an orderly end 
to the program.
    This 30 calendar day window to provide supporting documentation 
only applies to appeals made after October 1, 2014, regardless of the 
date of the relevant assessment. For example, if CCC issues an entity 
its March 2014 final revised, or ``trued'' assessment, on June 1, 2015, 
and that entity files an appeal of that trued assessment with CCC on 
July 10, 2015, then that entity will have 30 calendar days thereafter--
or until August 9, 2015--to provide any supporting documentation, 
either as requested by CCC or as the company deems relevant. In all 
cases, CCC will render an administrative determination within 30 
calendar days after receiving the supporting documentation. In the

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event CCC has not rendered a decision in such time, all administrative 
remedies available to the appellant will be deemed to be exhausted. In 
this example, CCC would make a ruling on the appeal by September 8, 
2015.
    Appeals must be submitted to the address specified in 7 CFR 
1463.11(a), which is clarified in this rule to provide the current room 
number of the TTPP staff.

Final Dates for All Appeals

    This rule amends 7 CFR 1463.11 to specify the final dates for 
appeals and other actions. It specifies that the final date that 
entities may file an administrative appeal is January 14, 2016; that is 
30 business days after CCC will issue any last revised assessments.

Notice and Comment

    These regulations are exempt from the notice and comment 
requirements of the Administrative Procedure Act (5 U.S.C. 553), as 
specified in section 642(b) of FETRA (Pub. L. 108-357), which requires 
that the regulations are to be promulgated without regard to the notice 
and comment provisions of 5 U.S.C. 553 or the Statement of Policy of 
the Secretary of Agriculture effective July 24, 1971, (36 FR 13804) 
relating to notice and comment rulemaking and public participation in 
rulemaking. These regulations are therefore issued as final.

Executive Order 12866 and 13563

    Executive Order 12866, ``Regulatory Planning and Review,'' and 
Executive Order 13563, ``Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review,'' 
direct agencies to assess all 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 emphasized the importance 
of quantifying both costs and benefits, reducing costs, harmonizing 
rules, and promoting flexibility. This rule is a technical amendment, 
which is administrative in nature and is not expected to have costs or 
benefits. This technical amendment did not require Office of Management 
and Budget (OMB) designation under Executive Order 12866, ``Regulatory 
Planning and Review,'' and therefore OMB has not reviewed this rule.

Regulatory Flexibility Act

    The Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601-612), as amended by 
the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996 
(SBREFA), generally requires an agency to prepare a regulatory 
flexibility analysis of any rule subject to the notice and comment 
rulemaking requirements under the Administrative Procedure Act (5 
U.S.C. 553) or any other statute, unless the agency certifies that the 
rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial 
number of small entities. This rule is not subject to the Regulatory 
Flexibility Act because CCC is not required by any law to publish a 
proposed rule for public comments on this rule.

Environmental Review

    The environmental impacts of this final rule have been considered 
in a manner consistent with the provisions of the National 
Environmental Policy Act (NEPA, 42 U.S.C. 4321-4347), the regulations 
of the Council on Environmental Quality (40 CFR parts 1500-1508), and 
the FSA regulations for compliance with NEPA (7 CFR part 799). FSA has 
determined that the provisions identified in this final rule are 
administrative in nature, intended to ensure the orderly close-out of 
the program, and do not constitute a major Federal action that would 
significantly affect the quality of the human environment, individually 
or cumulatively. Therefore, FSA will not prepare an environmental 
assessment or environmental impact statement.

Executive Order 12372

    Executive Order 12372, ``Intergovernmental Review of Federal 
Programs,'' requires consultation with State and local officials. The 
objectives of the Executive Order are to foster an intergovernmental 
partnership and a strengthened Federalism, by relying on State and 
local processes for State and local government coordination and review 
of proposed Federal Financial assistance and direct Federal 
development. For reasons specified in the Notice to 7 CFR part 3015, 
subpart V (48 FR 29115, June 24, 1983), the programs and activities 
within this rule are excluded from the scope of Executive Order 12372 
which requires intergovernmental consultation with State and local 
officials.

Executive Order 12988

    This rule has been reviewed under Executive Order 12988, ``Civil 
Justice Reform.'' This rule will not preempt State or local laws, 
regulations, or policies unless they represent an irreconcilable 
conflict with this rule. The rule will not have retroactive effect.

Executive Order 13132

    This rule has been reviewed under Executive Order 13132, 
``Federalism.'' The policies contained in this rule do not have any 
substantial direct effect on States, on the relationship between the 
Federal government and the States, or on the distribution of power and 
responsibilities among the various levels of government, except as 
required by law. Nor does this rule impose substantial direct 
compliance costs on State and local governments. Therefore, 
consultation with the States is not required.

Executive Order 13175

    This rule has been reviewed for compliance with Executive Order 
13175, ``Consultation and Coordination With Indian Tribal 
Governments.'' This Executive Order imposes requirements on the 
development of regulatory policies that have Tribal implications or 
preempt Tribal laws. The policies contained in this rule do not preempt 
Tribal law.
    The policies contained in this rule do not, to our knowledge, 
impose substantial unreimbursed direct compliance costs on Indian 
Tribal governments, have Tribal implications, or preempt Tribal law. 
USDA continues to consult with Tribal officials to have a meaningful 
consultation and collaboration on the development and strengthening of 
USDA regulations. USDA will respond in a timely and meaningful manner 
to all Tribal government requests for consultation concerning this rule 
and will provide additional venues, such as Webinars and 
teleconferences, to periodically host collaborative conversations with 
Tribal leaders and their representatives concerning ways to improve 
this rule in Indian country.

The Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995

    Title II of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (UMRA, Pub. L. 
104-4) requires Federal agencies to assess the effects of their 
regulatory actions on State, local, and Tribal governments or the 
private sector. Agencies generally must prepare a written statement, 
including a cost benefit analysis, for proposed and final rules with 
Federal mandates that may result in expenditures of $100 million or 
more in any 1 year for State, local, or Tribal governments, in the 
aggregate, or to the private sector. UMRA generally requires agencies 
to consider alternatives and adopt the more cost effective or least 
burdensome alternative that achieves the objectives of the rule.

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This rule contains no Federal mandates, as defined in Title II of UMRA, 
for State, local, and Tribal governments or the private sector. 
Therefore, this rule is not subject to the requirements of sections 202 
and 205 of UMRA.

Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996 (SBREFA)

    This rule is not a major rule under the Small Business Regulatory 
Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996, (Pub. L. 104-121, SBREFA). Therefore, 
CCC is not required to delay the effective date for 60 days from the 
date of publication to allow for Congressional review. Accordingly, 
this rule is effective on the date of publication in the Federal 
Register.

Federal Assistance Programs

    The title and number of the Federal Domestic Assistance Program 
found in the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance to which this rule 
applies is Tobacco Transition Payment Program --10.085.

Paperwork Reduction Act

    These regulations are exempt from the requirements of the Paperwork 
Reduction Act (44 U.S.C. Chapter 35), as specified in section 642 of 
Public Law 108-357 (7 U.S.C. 519a), which provides that these 
regulations, which are necessary to implement TTPP, be promulgated and 
administered without regard to the Paperwork Reduction Act.

E-Government Act Compliance

    CCC is committed to complying with the E-Government Act, to promote 
the use of the Internet and other information technologies to provide 
increased opportunities for citizen access to Government information 
and services, and for other purposes.

List of Subjects in 7 CFR Part 1463

    Agriculture, Agricultural commodities, Acreage allotments, 
Marketing quotas, Price support programs, Tobacco, Tobacco transition 
payments.

    For the reasons discussed in the preamble, CCC amends 7 CFR part 
1463 as follows:

PART 1463--2005-2014 TOBACCO TRANSITION PROGRAM

0
1. The authority citation for part 1463 continues to read as follows:

    Authority:  7 U.S.C. 518-519a, 714b, and 714c.

Subpart A--Tobacco Transition Assessments

0
2. Amend Sec.  1463.11 by revising paragraphs (a) and (c) to read as 
follows:


Sec.  1463.11  Appeals and judicial review.

    (a) An entity may appeal any adverse determination made under this 
subpart, including with respect to the amount of the assessment, by 
submitting a written statement that sets forth the basis of the dispute 
to Darlene Soto, Tobacco Transition Assessment Program Manager, U.S. 
Department of Agriculture, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., Room 3722, 
Mail Stop 0515, Washington DC 20250-0514, within 30 business days of 
the date of receipt of the notification by CCC of its determination.
* * * * *
    (c) For any appeals filed after October 1, 2014, appellants must 
submit all supporting documentation within 30 calendar days following 
the date of the initial written appeal to CCC. Any documents received 
after that time will not be considered by the hearing officer.
    (1) The final date that entities may file an appeal is January 14, 
2016.
    (2) If 30 calendar days elapse following receipt by CCC of the 
final submission of supporting documentation by an appellant with 
respect to any appeal filed under this section regarding an assessment 
imposed on a domestic manufacturer or importer of tobacco products, 
without a final administrative decision by CCC, then all administrative 
remedies available to the appellant will be deemed to be exhausted; 
except, if the 30th calendar day would fall on a weekend day or federal 
holiday, then the 30th calendar day will be deemed the next business 
day following such weekend day or federal holiday.
* * * * *

    Signed on April 3, 2014.
Juan M. Garcia,
Administrator, Farm Service Agency, and Executive Vice President, 
Commodity Credit Corporation.
[FR Doc. 2014-07979 Filed 4-8-14; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3410-05-P