[Federal Register Volume 82, Number 5 (Monday, January 9, 2017)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 2248-2249]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2016-31891]



46 CFR PART 503

[Docket No. 16-18]
RIN 3072-AC66

Amendments to Regulations Governing Access to Commission 
Information and Records; Freedom of Information Act

AGENCY: Federal Maritime Commission.

ACTION: Final rule.


SUMMARY: The Federal Maritime Commission amends its regulations for 
processing requests for information and records under the Freedom of 
Information Act (FOIA). The regulations are being revised to 
incorporate changes brought by amendments to the FOIA under the FOIA 
Improvement Act of 2016. The Act requires agencies to review their FOIA 
regulations and issue regulations implementing the amendments no later 
than 180 days after enactment.

DATES: This rule is effective January 30, 2017.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mail: Rachel E. Dickon, Assistant 
Secretary, Federal Maritime Commission, 800 North Capitol Street NW., 
Washington, DC 20573-0001. Phone: (202) 523-5725. Email: 
[email protected].

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: On June 30, 2016, the President signed into 
law the FOIA Improvement Act of 2016. The Act prescribes a range of 
procedural requirements that affect the Commission's FOIA regulations, 
and which this final rule implements, including requirements that the 
     Provide publically available documents and its FOIA Annual 
Reports in an electronic format;
     provide FOIA requesters the right to seek dispute 
resolution services from the Commission's FOIA Public Liaison and/or 
the Office of Government Information Services during the FOIA process;
     provide a minimum of 90 days for FOIA requesters to file 
an administrative appeal; and
     not apply the deliberative process privilege to records 
created 25 years or more before the date on which the records were 

Regulatory Analysis and Notices

Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA)

    The Regulatory Flexibility Act requires an agency to review 
regulations to assess their impact on small entities and prepare an 
initial regulatory flexibility analysis, unless the agency determines 
that a rule is not expected to have a significant impact on a 
substantial number of small entities. This final rule will affect only 
persons who file FOIA requests, and therefore, the Commission certifies 
that this final rule will not have a significant or negative economic 
impacts on a substantial number of small entities.

Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA)

    The Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 requires an agency to seek and 
receive approval from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) before 
making most requests for information if the agency is requesting 
information from more than ten persons. 44 U.S.C. 3507. The agency must 
submit collections of information in proposed rules to OMB in 
conjunction with the publication of the proposed rulemaking. 5 CFR 
1320.11. This final rule does not impose any collections of 
information, as defined by 44 U.S.C. 3502(3) and 5 CFR 1320.3(c).

National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)

    This final rule will have no physical impact upon the environment, 
and therefore, will not require any further review under NEPA.

Regulation Identifier Number

    The Commission assigns a regulation identifier number (RIN) to each 
regulatory action listed in the Unified Agenda of Federal Regulatory 
and Deregulatory Actions (Unified Agenda). The Regulatory Information 
Service Center publishes the Unified Agenda in April and October of 
each year. The RIN contained in the heading of this document may be 
used to find this action in the Unified Agenda, available at http://www.reginfo.gov/public/do/eAgendaMain.

List of Subjects in 46 CFR Part 503

    Administrative practices and procedures, Archives and records, 
Classified information, Confidential business information, Freedom of 
information, Information, Privacy, Records, Reporting and recordkeeping 
requirements, Sunshine Act.

    For the reasons set forth in the preamble, the Federal Maritime 
Commission amends 46 CFR part 503 as follows:


1. The authority citation for part 503 continues to read as follows:

    Authority:  5 U.S.C. 552, 552a, 552b, 553; 31 U.S.C. 9701; E.O. 
13526, 75 FR 707, 3 CFR, 2010 Comp., p. 298.

Subpart C--Records, Information and Materials Generally Available 
to the Public Without Resort to Freedom of Information Act 

2. Amend Sec.  503.21 by revising paragraphs (a) introductory text and 
(c) introductory text to read as follows:

Sec.  503.21  Mandatory public records.

    (a) The Commission, as required by the Freedom of Information Act, 
5 U.S.C. 552, is responsible for determining which of its records must 
be made publicly available, for identifying additional records of 
interest to the public that are appropriate for public disclosure, for 
posting and indexing such records, and for reviewing and updating 
posted records and indices on an ongoing basis. The Commission makes 
the following materials available for public inspection in electronic 
format on its Web site at www.fmc.gov:
* * * * *
    (c) The Commission maintains and makes available for public 
inspection in an electronic format, a current log or index providing 
identifying information for the public as to any matter which is 
issued, adopted, or promulgated, and which is required by paragraph (a) 
of this section to be made available or published.
* * * * *

Subpart D--Requests for Records Under the Freedom of Information 

3. Amend Sec.  503.32 by revising paragraphs (a)(1) and (2), 
(a)(3)(i)(B), and (b)(3) to read as follows:

Sec.  503.32  Procedures for responding to requests made under the 
Freedom of Information Act.

    (a) * * *
    (1) Such determination shall be made by the Secretary within twenty 
(20) business days after receipt of such request, except as provided in 
paragraphs (b) and (e)(4) of this section, and the Secretary shall 
immediately notify the requester of:
    (i) Such determination and the reasons therefor;
    (ii) The right of such person to seek assistance from the agency's 
FOIA Public Liaison; and
    (iii) In the case of an adverse determination, the right of such

[[Page 2249]]

requester to appeal to the Chairman no less than 90 days after the date 
of such adverse determination, and the right of such requester to seek 
dispute resolution services from the agency's FOIA Public Liaison or 
the Office of Government Information Services.
    (2) Upon granting a request, the Secretary shall promptly make 
records available to the requestor. Upon denial of such a request the 
Secretary shall promptly notify the requestor of the determination, 
explain the reason for denial, give an estimate of the volume of matter 
denied, and set forth the names and titles or positions of each person 
responsible for the denial of the request.
    (3)(i) * * *
    (B) Be filed not later than 90 days following receipt of 
notification of full or partial denial of records requested.
* * * * *
    (b) * * *
    (3) If the time limit is extended as prescribed under this section, 
and the request cannot be processed within the extended time limit, the 
Secretary shall notify the requestor, and either provide the requestor 
with an opportunity to limit the scope of the request so that it may be 
processed within the time limit, or provide the requestor an 
opportunity to arrange with the Secretary an alternative time frame for 
processing the request or a modified request. To aid the requester, the 
Commission will make available its FOIA Public Liaison, who shall 
assist in the resolution of any dispute between the requester and the 
Commission, and notify the requester of the right of the requester to 
seek dispute resolution services from the Office of Government 
Information Services.
* * * * *

4. Amend Sec.  503.33 by revising paragraph (a)(5) and adding 
paragraphs (a)(8) and (9) to read as follows:

Sec.  503.33   Exceptions to availability of records.

    (a) * * *
    (5) Inter-agency or intra-agency memoranda or letters that would 
not be available by law to a party other than an agency in litigation 
with the Commission, provided that the deliberative process privilege 
shall not apply to records created 25 years or more before the date on 
which the records were requested.
* * * * *
    (8) Contained in or related to examination, operating, or condition 
reports prepared by, on behalf of, or for the use of an agency 
responsible for the regulation or supervision of financial 
institutions; or
    (9) Geological and geophysical information and data, including 
maps, concerning wells.
* * * * *

5. Amend Sec.  503.34 by revising paragraph (b) to read as follows:

Sec.  503.34  Annual report of public information request activity.

* * * * *
    (b) Each such report shall be made available to the public in 
electronic format.

    By the Commission.
 Rachel E. Dickon,
Assistant Secretary.
[FR Doc. 2016-31891 Filed 1-6-17; 8:45 am]