[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 8 (Friday, January 11, 2013)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 2350-2354]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-00325]


=======================================================================
-----------------------------------------------------------------------

DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Forest Service

36 CFR Part 242

DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Fish and Wildlife Service

50 CFR Part 100

[Docket No. FWS-R7-SM-2012-0104; FXFR13350700640-134-FF07J00000]
RIN 1018-AY85


Subsistence Management Regulations for Public Lands in Alaska--
2014-15 and 2015-16 Subsistence Taking of Wildlife Regulations

AGENCY: Forest Service, Agriculture; Fish and Wildlife Service, 
Interior.

ACTION: Proposed rule.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: This proposed rule would establish regulations for hunting and 
trapping seasons, harvest limits, methods and means related to taking 
of wildlife for subsistence uses during the 2014-15 and 2015-16 
regulatory years. The Federal Subsistence Board is on a schedule of 
completing the process of revising subsistence taking of wildlife 
regulations in even-numbered years and subsistence taking of fish and 
shellfish regulations in odd-numbered years; public proposal and review 
processes take place during the preceding year. The Board also 
addresses customary and traditional use determinations during the 
applicable cycle. When final, the resulting rulemaking will replace the 
existing subsistence wildlife taking regulations. This rule would also 
amend the general regulations on subsistence taking of fish and 
wildlife.

DATES: Public meetings: The Federal Subsistence Regional Advisory 
Councils will hold public meetings to receive comments and make 
proposals to change this proposed rule on several dates between 
February 12 and March 26, 2013, and then hold another round of public 
meetings to discuss and receive comments on the proposals, and make 
recommendations on the proposals to the Federal Subsistence Board, on 
several dates between August 19 and October 30, 2013. The Board will 
discuss and evaluate proposed regulatory changes during a public 
meeting in Anchorage, AK, in January 2014. See SUPPLEMENTARY 
INFORMATION for specific information on dates and locations of the 
public meetings.
    Public comments: Comments and proposals to change this proposed 
rule must be received or postmarked by March 29, 2013.

ADDRESSES: Public meetings: The Federal Subsistence Board and the 
Federal Subsistence Regional Advisory Councils' public meetings will be 
held at various locations in Alaska. See SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION for 
specific information on dates and locations of the public meetings.
    Public comments: You may submit comments by one of the following 
methods:
     Electronically: Go to the Federal eRulemaking Portal: 
http://www.regulations.gov and search for FWS-R7-SM-2012-0104, which is 
the docket number for this rulemaking.
     By hard copy: U.S. mail or hand-delivery to: USFWS, Office 
of Subsistence Management, 1011 East Tudor Road, MS 121, Attn: Theo 
Matuskowitz, Anchorage, AK 99503-6199, or hand delivery to the 
Designated Federal Official attending any of the

[[Page 2351]]

Federal Subsistence Regional Advisory Council public meetings. See 
SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION for additional information on locations of 
the public meetings.
    We will post all comments on http://www.regulations.gov. This 
generally means that we will post any personal information you provide 
us (see the Public Review Process section below for more information).

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Chair, Federal Subsistence Board, c/o 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Attention: Peter J. Probasco, Office of 
Subsistence Management; (907) 786-3888 or subsistence@fws.gov. For 
questions specific to National Forest System lands, contact Steve 
Kessler, Regional Subsistence Program Leader, USDA, Forest Service, 
Alaska Region; (907) 743-9461 or skessler@fs.fed.us.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Background

    Under Title VIII of the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation 
Act (ANILCA) (16 U.S.C. 3111-3126), the Secretary of the Interior and 
the Secretary of Agriculture (Secretaries) jointly implement the 
Federal Subsistence Management Program. This program provides a 
preference for take of fish and wildlife resources for subsistence uses 
on Federal public lands and waters in Alaska. The Secretaries published 
temporary regulations to carry out this program in the Federal Register 
on June 29, 1990 (55 FR 27114), and final regulations were published in 
the Federal Register on May 29, 1992 (57 FR 22940). The Program has 
subsequently amended these regulations a number of times. Because this 
program is a joint effort between Interior and Agriculture, these 
regulations are located in two titles of the Code of Federal 
Regulations (CFR): Title 36, ``Parks, Forests, and Public Property,'' 
and Title 50, ``Wildlife and Fisheries,'' at 36 CFR 242.1-28 and 50 CFR 
100.1-28, respectively. The regulations contain subparts as follows: 
Subpart A, General Provisions; Subpart B, Program Structure; Subpart C, 
Board Determinations; and Subpart D, Subsistence Taking of Fish and 
Wildlife.
    Consistent with subpart B of these regulations, the Secretaries 
established a Federal Subsistence Board to administer the Federal 
Subsistence Management Program. The Board comprises:
     A Chair appointed by the Secretary of the Interior with 
concurrence of the Secretary of Agriculture;
     The Alaska Regional Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service;
     The Alaska Regional Director, U.S. National Park Service;
     The Alaska State Director, U.S. Bureau of Land Management;
     The Alaska Regional Director, U.S. Bureau of Indian 
Affairs; and
     The Alaska Regional Forester, U.S. Forest Service.
     Two public members appointed by the Secretary of the 
Interior with concurrence of the Secretary of Agriculture.
    Through the Board, these agencies and public members participate in 
the development of regulations for subparts C and D, which, among other 
things, set forth program eligibility and specific harvest seasons and 
limits.
    In administering the program, the Secretaries divided Alaska into 
10 subsistence resource regions, each of which is represented by a 
Regional Advisory Council. The Regional Advisory Councils provide a 
forum for rural residents with personal knowledge of local conditions 
and resource requirements to have a meaningful role in the subsistence 
management of fish and wildlife on Federal public lands in Alaska. The 
Regional Advisory Council members represent varied geographical, 
cultural, and user interests within each region.

Public Review Process--Comments, Proposals, and Public Meetings

    The Federal Subsistence Regional Advisory Councils have a 
substantial role in reviewing this proposed rule and making 
recommendations for the final rule. The Federal Subsistence Board, 
through the Federal Subsistence Regional Advisory Councils, will hold 
public meetings on this proposed rule at the following locations in 
Alaska, on the following dates:

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Region 1--Southeast Regional Council.....  Ketchikan...................  March 12, 2013.
Region 2--Southcentral Regional Council..  Anchorage...................  February 20, 2013.
Region 3--Kodiak/Aleutians Regional        Kodiak......................  March 26, 2013.
 Council.
Region 4--Bristol Bay Regional Council...  Naknek......................  February 12, 2013.
Region 5--Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta Regional   Hooper Bay..................  February 27, 2013.
 Council.
Region 6--Western Interior Regional        Galena......................  March 5, 2013.
 Council.
Region 7--Seward Peninsula Regional        Nome........................  March 12, 2013.
 Council.
Region 8--Northwest Arctic Regional        Kotzebue....................  March 5, 2013.
 Council.
Region 9--Eastern Interior Regional        Tok.........................  February 20, 2013.
 Council.
Region 10--North Slope Regional Council..  Barrow......................  February 26, 2013.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    During April 2013, the written proposals to change the subpart D, 
take of wildlife regulations and subpart C, customary and traditional 
use determinations, will be compiled and distributed for public review. 
During the 30-day public comment period, which is presently scheduled 
to end on June 7, 2013, written public comments will be accepted on the 
distributed proposals.
    The Board, through the Regional Advisory Councils, will hold a 
second series of public meetings in August through October 2013, to 
receive comments on specific proposals and to develop recommendations 
to the Board at the following locations in Alaska, on the following 
dates:

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Region 1--Southeast Regional Council.....  Petersburg..................  September 24, 2013.
Region 2--Southcentral Regional Council..  Copper Center...............  October 2, 2013.
Region 3--Kodiak/Aleutians Regional        Cold Bay....................  September 24, 2013.
 Council.
Region 4--Bristol Bay Regional Council...  Dillingham..................  October 29, 2013.
Region 5--Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta Regional   St. Marys...................  September 25, 2013.
 Council.
Region 6--Western Interior Regional        Fairbanks...................  October 8, 2013.
 Council.
Region 7--Seward Peninsula Regional        Nome........................  October 8, 2013.
 Council.
Region 8--Northwest Arctic Regional        Kiana.......................  August 21, 2013.
 Council.
Region 9--Eastern Interior Regional        Fairbanks...................  October 16, 2013.
 Council.
Region 10--North Slope Regional Council..  Barrow......................  August 19, 2013.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


[[Page 2352]]

    A notice will be published of specific dates, times, and meeting 
locations in local and statewide newspapers prior to both series of 
meetings. Locations and dates may change based on weather or local 
circumstances. The amount of work on each Regional Advisory Council's 
agenda determines the length of each Regional Advisory Council meeting.
    The Board will discuss and evaluate proposed changes to the 
subsistence management regulations during a public meeting scheduled to 
be held in Anchorage, Alaska, in January 2014. The Federal Subsistence 
Regional Advisory Council Chairs, or their designated representatives, 
will present their respective Councils' recommendations at the Board 
meeting. Additional oral testimony may be provided on specific 
proposals before the Board at that time. At that public meeting, the 
Board will deliberate and take final action on proposals received that 
request changes to this proposed rule.
    Proposals to the Board to modify the general fish and wildlife 
regulations, wildlife harvest regulations, and customary and 
traditional use determinations must include the following information:
    a. Name, address, and telephone number of the requestor;
    b. Each section and/or paragraph designation in this proposed rule 
for which changes are suggested, if applicable;
    c. A description of the regulatory change(s) desired;
    d. A statement explaining why each change is necessary;
    e. Proposed wording changes; and
    f. Any additional information that you believe will help the Board 
in evaluating the proposed change.
    The Board immediately rejects proposals that fail to include the 
above information, or proposals that are beyond the scope of 
authorities in Sec.  ----.24, subpart C (the regulations governing 
customary and traditional use determinations), and Sec. Sec.  ----.25 
and ------.26, subpart D (the general and specific regulations 
governing the subsistence take of wildlife). If a proposal needs 
clarification, prior to being distributed for public review, the 
proponent may be contacted, and the proposal could be revised based on 
their input. Once distributed for public review no additional changes 
may be made as part of the original submission. During the January 2014 
meeting, the Board may defer review and action on some proposals to 
allow time for cooperative planning efforts, or to acquire additional 
needed information. The Board may elect to defer taking action on any 
given proposal if the workload of staff, Regional Advisory Councils, or 
the Board becomes excessive. These deferrals may be based on 
recommendations by the affected Regional Advisory Council(s) or staff 
members, or on the basis of the Board's intention to do least harm to 
the subsistence user and the resource involved. A proponent of a 
proposal may withdraw the proposal provided it has not been considered, 
and a recommendation has not been made, by a Regional Advisory Council. 
The Board may consider and act on alternatives that address the intent 
of a proposal while differing in approach.

Tribal Consultation and Comment

    As expressed in Executive Order 13175, ``Consultation and 
Coordination with Indian Tribal Governments,'' the Federal officials 
that have been delegated authority by the Secretaries are committed to 
honoring the unique government-to-government political relationship 
that exists between the Federal Government and Federally Recognized 
Indian Tribes (Tribes) as listed in 75 FR 60810 (October 1, 2010). 
Consultation with Alaska Native corporations is based on Public Law 
108-199, div. H, Sec. 161, Jan. 23, 2004, 118 Stat. 452, as amended by 
Public Law 108-447, div. H, title V, Sec. 518, Dec. 8, 2004, 118 Stat. 
3267, which provides that: ``The Director of the Office of Management 
and Budget and all Federal agencies shall hereafter consult with Alaska 
Native corporations on the same basis as Indian tribes under Executive 
Order No. 13175.''
    The Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act does not 
provide specific rights to Tribes for the subsistence taking of 
wildlife, fish, and shellfish. However, because tribal members are 
affected by subsistence fishing, hunting, and trapping regulations, the 
Secretaries, through the Board, will provide Federally recognized 
Tribes and Alaska Native corporations an opportunity to consult on this 
rule.
    The Board will engage in outreach efforts for this rule, including 
a notification letter, to ensure that Tribes and Alaska Native 
corporations are advised of the mechanisms by which they can 
participate. The Board provides a variety of opportunities for 
consultation: Proposing changes to the existing rule; commenting on 
proposed changes to the existing rule; engaging in dialogue at the 
Regional Council meetings; engaging in dialogue at the Board's 
meetings; and providing input in person, by mail, email, or phone at 
any time during the rulemaking process. The Board will commit to 
efficiently and adequately providing an opportunity to Tribes and 
Alaska Native corporations for consultation in regard to subsistence 
rulemaking.
    The Board will consider Tribes' and Alaska Native corporations' 
information, input, and recommendations, and address their concerns as 
much as practicable.

Developing the 2014-15 and 2015-16 Wildlife Seasons and Harvest Limit 
Regulations

    Subpart C and D regulations are subject to periodic review and 
revision. The Federal Subsistence Board currently completes the process 
of revising subsistence take of wildlife regulations in even-numbered 
years and fish and shellfish regulations in odd-numbered years; public 
proposal and review processes take place during the preceding year. The 
Board also addresses customary and traditional use determinations 
during the applicable cycle.
    The text of the final rule published June 13, 2012 (77 FR 35482) 
for the 2012-14 subparts C and D regulations is the text of this 
proposed rule. These regulations will remain in effect until subsequent 
Board action changes elements as a result of the public review process 
outlined above in this document.

Compliance With Statutory and Regulatory Authorities

National Environmental Policy Act

    A Draft Environmental Impact Statement that described four 
alternatives for developing a Federal Subsistence Management Program 
was distributed for public comment on October 7, 1991. The Final 
Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) was published on February 28, 
1992. The Record of Decision (ROD) on Subsistence Management for 
Federal Public Lands in Alaska was signed April 6, 1992. The selected 
alternative in the FEIS (Alternative IV) defined the administrative 
framework of an annual regulatory cycle for subsistence regulations.
    A 1997 environmental assessment dealt with the expansion of Federal 
jurisdiction over fisheries and is available at the office listed under 
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT. The Secretary of the Interior, with 
concurrence of the Secretary of Agriculture, determined that expansion 
of Federal jurisdiction does not constitute a major Federal action 
significantly affecting the human

[[Page 2353]]

environment and, therefore, signed a Finding of No Significant Impact.

Section 810 of ANILCA

    An ANILCA Sec.  810 analysis was completed as part of the FEIS 
process on the Federal Subsistence Management Program. The intent of 
all Federal subsistence regulations is to accord subsistence uses of 
fish and wildlife on public lands a priority over the taking of fish 
and wildlife on such lands for other purposes, unless restriction is 
necessary to conserve healthy fish and wildlife populations. The final 
Sec.  810 analysis determination appeared in the April 6, 1992, ROD and 
concluded that the Federal Subsistence Management Program, under 
Alternative IV with an annual process for setting subsistence 
regulations, may have some local impacts on subsistence uses, but will 
not likely restrict subsistence uses significantly.
    During the subsequent environmental assessment process for 
extending fisheries jurisdiction, an evaluation of the effects of this 
rule was conducted in accordance with Sec.  810. That evaluation also 
supported the Secretaries' determination that the rule will not reach 
the ``may significantly restrict'' threshold that would require notice 
and hearings under ANILCA Sec.  810(a).

Paperwork Reduction Act

    An agency may not conduct or sponsor and you are not required to 
respond to a collection of information unless it displays a currently 
valid Office of Management and Budget (OMB) control number. This 
proposed rule does not contain any new collections of information that 
require OMB approval. OMB has reviewed and approved the following 
collections of information associated with the subsistence regulations 
at 36 CFR 242 and 50 CFR 100: Subsistence hunting and fishing 
applications, permits, and reports, Federal Subsistence Regional 
Advisory Council Membership Application/Nomination and Interview Forms 
(OMB Control No. 1018-0075 expires January 31, 2013).

Regulatory Planning and Review (Executive Order 12866)

    The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has determined that this 
proposed rule is not significant and has not reviewed this rule under 
Executive Order 12866. OMB bases its determination upon the following 
four criteria:
    (a) Whether the rule will have an annual effect of $100 million or 
more on the economy or adversely affect an economic sector, 
productivity, jobs, the environment, or other units of the government.
    (b) Whether the rule will create inconsistencies with other 
agencies' actions.
    (c) Whether the rule will materially affect entitlements, grants, 
user fees, loan programs, or the rights and obligations of their 
recipients.
    (d) Whether the rule raises novel legal or policy issues.

Regulatory Flexibility Act

    The Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980 (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.) 
requires preparation of flexibility analyses for rules that will have a 
significant effect on a substantial number of small entities, which 
include small businesses, organizations, or governmental jurisdictions. 
In general, the resources to be harvested under this rule are already 
being harvested and consumed by the local harvester and do not result 
in an additional dollar benefit to the economy. However, we estimate 
that two million pounds of meat are harvested by subsistence users 
annually and, if given an estimated dollar value of $3.00 per pound, 
this amount would equate to about $6 million in food value statewide. 
Based upon the amounts and values cited above, the Departments certify 
that this rulemaking will not have a significant economic effect on a 
substantial number of small entities within the meaning of the 
Regulatory Flexibility Act.

Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act

    Under the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act (5 
U.S.C. 801 et seq.), this rule is not a major rule. It does not have an 
effect on the economy of $100 million or more, will not cause a major 
increase in costs or prices for consumers, and does not have 
significant adverse effects on competition, employment, investment, 
productivity, innovation, or the ability of U.S.-based enterprises to 
compete with foreign-based enterprises.

Executive Order 12630

    Title VIII of ANILCA requires the Secretaries to administer a 
subsistence priority on public lands. The scope of this program is 
limited by definition to certain public lands. Likewise, these 
regulations have no potential takings of private property implications 
as defined by Executive Order 12630.

Unfunded Mandates Reform Act

    The Secretaries have determined and certify pursuant to the 
Unfunded Mandates Reform Act, 2 U.S.C. 1502 et seq., that this 
rulemaking will not impose a cost of $100 million or more in any given 
year on local or State governments or private entities. The 
implementation of this rule is by Federal agencies and there is no cost 
imposed on any State or local entities or tribal governments.

Executive Order 12988

    The Secretaries have determined that these regulations meet the 
applicable standards provided in Sec. Sec.  3(a) and 3(b)(2) of 
Executive Order 12988, regarding civil justice reform.

Executive Order 13132

    In accordance with Executive Order 13132, the proposed rule does 
not have sufficient Federalism implications to warrant the preparation 
of a Federalism Assessment. Title VIII of ANILCA precludes the State 
from exercising subsistence management authority over fish and wildlife 
resources on Federal lands unless it meets certain requirements.

Executive Order 13175

    The Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act, Title VIII, 
does not provide specific rights to tribes for the subsistence taking 
of wildlife, fish, and shellfish. However, the Board will provide 
Federally recognized Tribes and Alaska Native corporations an 
opportunity to consult on this rule. Consultation with Alaska Native 
corporations are based on Public Law 108-199, div. H, Sec. 161, Jan. 
23, 2004, 118 Stat. 452, as amended by Public Law 108-447, div. H, 
title V, Sec. 518, Dec. 8, 2004, 118 Stat. 3267, which provides that: 
``The Director of the Office of Management and Budget and all Federal 
agencies shall hereafter consult with Alaska Native corporations on the 
same basis as Indian tribes under Executive Order No. 13175.''
    The Secretaries, through the Board, will provide a variety of 
opportunities for consultation: Commenting on proposed changes to the 
existing rule; engaging in dialogue at the Regional Council meetings; 
engaging in dialogue at the Board's meetings; and providing input in 
person, by mail, email, or phone at any time during the rulemaking 
process.

Executive Order 13211

    This Executive Order requires agencies to prepare Statements of 
Energy Effects when undertaking certain actions. However, this proposed 
rule is not a significant regulatory action under E.O. 13211, affecting 
energy supply, distribution, or use, and no Statement of Energy Effects 
is required.

[[Page 2354]]

Drafting Information

    Theo Matuskowitz drafted these regulations under the guidance of 
Peter J. Probasco of the Office of Subsistence Management, Alaska 
Regional Office, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Anchorage, Alaska. 
Additional assistance was provided by:
     Daniel Sharp, Alaska State Office, Bureau of Land 
Management;
     Sandy Rabinowitch and Nancy Swanton, Alaska Regional 
Office, National Park Service;
     Dr. Glenn Chen, Alaska Regional Office, Bureau of Indian 
Affairs;
     Jerry Berg and Jack Lorrigan, Alaska Regional Office, U.S. 
Fish and Wildlife Service; and
     Steve Kessler, Alaska Regional Office, U.S. Forest 
Service.

List of Subjects

36 CFR Part 242

    Administrative practice and procedure, Alaska, Fish, National 
forests, Public lands, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, 
Wildlife.

50 CFR Part 100

    Administrative practice and procedure, Alaska, Fish, National 
forests, Public lands, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, 
Wildlife.

Proposed Regulation Promulgation

    For the reasons set out in the preamble, the Federal Subsistence 
Board proposes to amend 36 CFR 242 and 50 CFR 100 for the 2014-15 and 
2015-16 regulatory years. The text of the proposed amendments to 36 CFR 
242.24, 242.25, and 242.26 and 50 CFR 100.24, 100.25, and 100.26 is the 
final rule for the 2012-14 regulatory period (77 FR 35482; June 13, 
2012).

    Dated: December 11, 2012.
Peter J. Probasco,
Assistant Regional Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Acting 
Chair, Federal Subsistence Board.
Steve Kessler,
Subsistence Program Leader, USDA-Forest Service.
[FR Doc. 2013-00325 Filed 1-10-13; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3410-11-P; 4310-55-P