[Federal Register Volume 82, Number 196 (Thursday, October 12, 2017)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 47401-47402]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2017-21902]


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NATIONAL TRANSPORTATION SAFETY BOARD

49 CFR Part 831

[Docket No.: NTSB-GC-2017-0001]
RIN 3147-AA20


Civil Monetary Penalty Catch Up Inflation Adjustment and Annual 
Inflation Adjustment

AGENCY: National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).

ACTION: Interim Final Rule with request for comments.

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SUMMARY: This Interim Final Rule adjusts for inflation the maximum 
civil penalty that the NTSB may assess against a person for violating 
certain NTSB statutes and regulations.

DATES: This Interim Final Rule is effective on October 12, 2017. The 
NTSB will accept written comments on this Interim Final Rule on or 
before October 27, 2017.

ADDRESSES: A copy of this Interim Final Rule, published in the Federal 
Register (FR), is available for inspection and copying in the NTSB's 
public reading room, located at 490 L'Enfant Plaza SW., Washington, DC 
20594-003. Alternatively, a copy is available on the government-wide 
Web site on regulations at http://www.regulations.gov (Docket ID Number 
NTSB-GC-2017-0001).
    You may send comments identified by Docket ID Number NTSB-GC-2017-
0001 using any of the following methods:
    1. Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to http://www.regulations.gov and 
follow the instructions for sending your comments electronically.
    2. Mail: Send comments to NTSB Office of General Counsel, 490 
L'Enfant Plaza East SW., Washington, DC 20594-003.
    3. Facsimile: Fax comments to 202-314-6090.
    4. Hand Delivery: Bring comments to 490 L'Enfant Plaza East SW., 
6th Floor, Washington, DC, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through 
Friday, except Legal public holidays.
    Privacy: We will post all comments we receive, without change, to 
http://www.regulations.gov, including any personal information 
provided.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Sean Dalton, Acting General Counsel, 
(202) 314-6389.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

I. Background

    Pursuant to 49 U.S.C. 1155(a), the NTSB may impose a civil penalty 
up to $1,000 on a person who violates 49 U.S.C. 1132 (prescribing the 
NTSB's general authority to investigate aircraft accidents); 1134(b) 
(governing NTSB inspection and testing of aircraft and property on an 
aircraft); 1134(f)(1) (permitting the NTSB to conduct or order 
autopsies); 1136(g) (prohibiting attorneys from sending unsolicited 
communications to victims of aircraft accidents or their family 
members).
    The $1,000 maximum civil penalty amount must be adjusted for 
inflation in several ways. First, the NTSB must publish a catch-up 
adjustment to account for the effect of inflation since the maximum 
amount was established by Congress. Federal Civil Penalties Inflation 
Adjustment Act of 1990, Public Law 101-410, 104 Stat. 890, as amended 
by the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements 
Act of 2015, Public Law 114-74, sec. 701, 129 Stat. 584 (codified at 28 
U.S.C. 2461 note) (hereinafter ``Inflation Adjustment Act'').\1\ 
Second, the NTSB must publish an annual inflationary adjustment no 
later than January 15th of each year, beginning in 2017. The Office of 
Management and Budget (OMB) has published guidance on the initial 
catch-up adjustment, OMB, M 16-06, Implementation of the Federal Civil 
Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act of 2015 (2016) 
(hereinafter ``OMB catch-up guidance''), and the 2017 yearly 
adjustment. OMB, M 17-11, Implementation of the 2017 annual adjustment 
pursuant to the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act 
Improvements Act of 2015 (2016) (hereinafter ``OMB annual guidance''). 
This Interim Final Rule combines the NTSB's catch-up adjustment that 
was due by July 1, 2016, and the NTSB's 2017 annual inflation 
adjustment. See OMB annual guidance, supra, at 4 (stating that agencies 
can finalize their catch-up adjustments in the same rulemaking as their 
annual adjustments).
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    \1\ The 2015 Act replaced inflation adjustment procedures 
established by the Debt Collection Improvement Act of 1996, Public 
Law 104-134, sec. 31001(s)(1), 110 Stat. 1321-373.
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II. The Catch-Up Adjustment

A. The Catch-Up Adjustment Increases the NTSB's $1,000 Maximum Penalty 
Amount to $1,591

    In order to complete the catch-up adjustment required by the 
Inflation Adjustment Act, the NTSB must first identify the year in 
which the $1,000 maximum penalty amount was either (1) established by 
Congress, or (2) last adjusted by Congress or the agency through 
regulation, other than pursuant to the Inflation Adjustment Act, 
whichever is later. Next, the NTSB must modify the maximum penalty 
amount based on the percentage by which the Consumer Price Index for 
all Urban Consumers (CPI-U) for the month of October 2015, not 
seasonally adjusted, exceeds the CPI-U for the month of October for the 
calendar year when the penalty amount was established or last adjusted. 
28 U.S.C. 2461 note, sec 4(a), 5(b)(2); OMB catch-up guidance, supra, 
at 3. The OMB catch-up guidance contains a table listing multipliers 
that can be used to adjust the maximum penalty amount based on the year 
the penalty was established or last adjusted (the ``CPI-U 
Multiplier''). OMB catch-up guidance, supra, at 6. After applying this 
multiplier, the NTSB must round all penalty amounts to the nearest 
dollar. 28 U.S.C. 2461 note, sec. 5(a).
    The $1,000 maximum penalty amount was established in 1994, Public 
Law 103-272, sec. 1(d), 108 Stat. 745 (1994), and has not since been 
modified. 49 U.S.C. 1155(a). OMB's CPI-U Multiplier for 1994 is 
1.59089. OMB catch-up guidance, supra, at 6. A maximum penalty amount 
of $1,000 multiplied by 1.59089 equals $1,590.89. Rounding to the 
nearest dollar equals $1,591. This is less than a 150% increase, and 
therefore does not need to be reduced. 28 U.S.C. 2461 note, sec. 
5(b)(2)(C); OMB catch-up guidance, supra, at 8.

[[Page 47402]]

B. The NTSB Will Not Seek an Adjustment Below the Otherwise Required 
Catch-Up Adjustment Amount

    The Inflation Adjustment Act permits the NTSB to adjust the maximum 
civil penalty amount by less than the required amount if OMB concurs 
and the NTSB determines that the required adjustment will have a 
negative economic impact, or the social costs will outweigh the 
benefits. 28 U.S.C. 2461 note, sec. 4(c). The NTSB is not seeking an 
adjustment below the otherwise required amount. The required catch-up 
adjustment amount is sufficient to deter violations of the NTSB's 
statutes and regulations, and the NTSB does not perceive that a 
negative economic impact or social cost will result from the catch-up 
adjustment.

III. The Annual Adjustment

    The maximum civil penalty amount established by the catch-up 
adjustment, $1,591, must be adjusted annually for inflation by January 
15th of each year, beginning in 2017. 28 U.S.C. 2461 note, sec. 4(b); 
OMB annual guidance, supra, at 1. The OMB annual guidance states that 
the CPI-U multiplier representing the increase from the October 2015 
CPI-U to the October 2016 CPI-U is 1.01636. OMB annual guidance, supra, 
at 1. Multiplying $1,591 times 1.01636 equals $1617.02876. Rounding to 
the nearest dollar equals $1,617.
    The new maximum penalty amount applies only to civil penalties 
assessed after the effective date of this Interim Final Rule. The NTSB 
will next adjust this amount for inflation by January 15, 2018.

IV. Regulatory Analysis

    The Inflation Adjustment Act requires the NTSB to complete its 
catch-up adjustment in an Interim Final Rule. 28 U.S.C. 2461 note, sec. 
4(b)(1)(A). Similarly, the Act provides that annual adjustments shall 
be completed ``notwithstanding [5 U.S.C. 553]''. 28 U.S.C. 2461 note, 
sec. 4(b)(2).
    This rule does not require an assessment of its potential costs and 
benefits under section 6(a)(3) of E.O. 12866, Regulatory Planning and 
Review, 58 FR 51735 (Sept. 30, 1993), because it is not a ``significant 
regulatory action'' under section 3(f) of that Order. Thus, the Office 
of Management and Budget has not reviewed this rule under E.O. 12866. 
Likewise, this rule does not require an analysis under the Unfunded 
Mandates Reform Act, 2 U.S.C. 1501-71, or the National Environmental 
Policy Act, 42 U.S.C. 4321-47.
    The NTSB does not anticipate this rule will have a substantial, 
direct effect on state or local governments or will preempt state law; 
as such, this rule does not have implications for federalism under E.O. 
13132, Federalism, 64 FR 43255 (Aug. 4, 1999).
    This rule also complies with all applicable standards in sections 
3(a) and 3(b)(2) of E.O. 12988, Civil Justice Reform, 61 FR 4729 (Feb. 
5, 1996), to minimize litigation, eliminate ambiguity, and reduce 
burden.
    NTSB has evaluated this rule under: E.O. 12630, Governmental 
Actions and Interference With Constitutionally Protected Property 
Rights, 53 FR 8859 (Mar. 15, 1988); E.O. 13045, Protection of Children 
From Environmental Health Risks and Safety Risks, 62 FR 19885 (Apr. 21, 
1997); E.O. 13175, Consultation and Coordination With Indian Tribal 
Governments, 65 FR 67249 (Nov. 6, 2000); E.O. 13211, Actions Concerning 
Regulations That Significantly Affect Energy Supply, Distribution, or 
Use, 66 FR 28355 (May 18, 2001); and the National Technology Transfer 
and Advancement Act, Public Law 104-113, 110 Stat. 775, Mar. 7, 1996. 
The NTSB has concluded that this Interim Final Rule neither violates, 
nor requires further consideration under those Orders and statutes.
    The NTSB invites comments relating to any of the foregoing 
determinations and notes the most helpful comments reference a specific 
portion of this Interim Final Rule, explain the reason for any 
recommended change, and include supporting data.

List of Subjects in 49 CFR Part 831

    Aircraft accidents, Aircraft incidents, Aviation safety, Hazardous 
materials transportation, Highway safety, Investigations, Marine 
safety, Pipeline safety, Railroad safety.

    Accordingly, for the reasons stated in the Preamble, the NTSB 
amends 49 CFR part 831 as follows:

PART 831--INVESTIGATION PROCEDURES

0
1. The authority citation for part 831 is revised to read as follows:

    Authority:  49 U.S.C. 1113(f).
    Section 831.15 also issued under Pub. L. 101-410, 104 Stat. 890, 
amended by Pub. L. 114-74, sec. 701, 129 Stat. 584 (28 U.S.C. 2461 
note).


0
2. Add Sec.  831.15 to read as follows:


Sec.  831.15  Civil penalties.

    The NTSB is required by the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation 
Adjustment Act of 1990, Public Law 101-410, 104 Stat. 890, as amended 
by the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements 
Act of 2015, Public Law 114-74, sec. 701, 129 Stat. 584 (codified at 28 
U.S.C. 2461 note) to adjust the maximum amount of each civil monetary 
penalty within its jurisdiction by the rate of inflation. Accordingly, 
for violations of 49 U.S.C. 1132, 1134(b), 1134(f)(1), or 1136(g), the 
NTSB may assess a civil penalty pursuant to 49 U.S.C. 1155(a) no 
greater than $1,617 against any person, except a member of the armed 
forces of the United States or an employee of the Department of Defense 
subject to the Uniform Code of Military Justice, when the member or 
employee is performing official duties.

Robert L. Sumwalt III,
Chairman.
[FR Doc. 2017-21902 Filed 10-11-17; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 7533-01-P