[Federal Register Volume 64, Number 93 (Friday, May 14, 1999)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 26349-26350]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 99-12275]



Coast Guard

33 CFR Part 117

RIN 2115-AE47

Drawbridge Operation Regulations; Sassafras River, Georgetown, MD

AGENCY: Coast Guard, DOT.

ACTION: Notice of proposed rulemaking.


SUMMARY: At the request of the Maryland Department of Transportation 
(MDOT), the Coast Guard is proposing to change the regulations that 
govern the operation of the Maryland Route 213 drawbridge across the 
Sassafras River, Mile 10.0, at Georgetown, Maryland. The proposed rule 
would restrict drawbridge openings from November 1 through March 31, 
from midnight to 8 a.m., by requiring a six-hour advance notice for 
drawbridge openings. This change is intended to eliminate the need to 
have the bridge constantly manned during times of minimal use while 
still providing for the reasonable needs of navigation.

DATES: Comments must reach the Coast Guard on or before July 13, 1999.

ADDRESSES: Comments may be mailed to Commander (Aowb), Fifth Coast 
Guard District, Federal Building, 4th Floor, 431 Crawford Street, 
Portsmouth, Virginia 23704-5004, or may be hand delivered to the same 
address between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, except 
Federal holidays. The telephone number is (757) 398-6222. Comments will 
become a part of this docket and will be available for inspection and 
copying at the above address.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ann B. Deaton, Bridge Administrator, 
Fifth Coast Guard District, at 757-398-6222.


Request for Comments

    The Coast Guard encourages interested parties to participate in 
this rulemaking by submitting written data, views, or arguments. 
Persons submitting comments should include their names and addresses, 
identify this rulemaking (CGD05-99-006) and the specific section of 
this proposal to which each comment applies, and give the reason for 
each comment. Please submit two copies of all comments and attachments 
in an unbound format, no larger than 8\1/2\ by 11 inches, suitable for 
copying and electronic filing. If not practical, a second copy of any 
bound material is requested. Persons wanting acknowledgment of receipt 
of comments should enclose stamped, self-addressed postcards or 
    The Coast Guard will consider all comments received during the 
comment period. It may change this proposal in view of the comments.
    The Coast Guard plans no public hearing. Persons may request a 
public hearing by writing to the Commander, Fifth Coast Guard District, 
at the address under ADDRESSES. The request should include reasons why 
a hearing would be beneficial. If it determines that the opportunity 
for oral presentations will aid this rulemaking, the Coast Guard will 
hold a public hearing at a time and place announced by a later notice 
in the Federal Register.

Background and Purpose

    The Maryland Route 213 drawbridge across the Sassafras River, Mile 
10.0, at Georgetown, Maryland, is currently required to open on signal 
year-round. The Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) has 
requested that the Coast Guard change the operating schedule for the 
drawbridge by requiring a six-hour advance notice to open the bridge 
from November 1 to March 31, from midnight to 8 a.m. Review of MDOT's 
bridge logs from 1993 to 1997 reveals a total of 29 bridge openings for 
the five year period during the months from November 1 through March 
31, an average of 1.2 openings per month. Considering the low number of 
openings that have occurred during the November through March time 
period, the Coast Guard believes that these proposed changes will not 
unduly restrict navigation.

Discussion of Proposed Amendment

    The Coast Guard proposes a new regulation governing the operation 
of the Maryland Route 213 drawbridge across the Sassafras River, mile 
10.0, at Georgetown, Maryland. The proposed regulation would restrict 
openings of the Sassafras River drawbridge from November 1 through 
March 31, from midnight to 8 a.m. During this period, the bridge need 
only open if a six-hour notice is given to MDOT. A sign would be posted 
at the bridge to provide MDOT's 24-hour telephone number.

Regulatory Evaluation

    This proposed rule is not a significant regulatory action under 
section 3(f) of Executive Order 12866 and does not require an 
assessment of potential costs and benefits under section 6(a)(3) of 
that Order. It has not been reviewed by the Office of Management and 
Budget under that Order. It is not significant under the regulatory 
policies and procedures of the Department of Transportation (DOT) (44 
FR 11040; February 26, 1979). The Coast Guard reached this conclusion 
based on the fact that the proposed changes will not prevent mariners 
from transiting the bridge, but merely require mariners to adhere to 
the proposed new operation procedures during times of minimal use of 
the bridge. The Coast Guard expects the economic impact of this 
proposed rule to be so minimal that a full Regulatory Evaluation under 
paragraph 10e of the regulatory policies and procedures of DOT is 

Small Entities

    Under the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.), the 
Coast Guard considered whether this proposed rule, if adopted, will 
have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small 
entities. ``Small entities'' include small businesses, not-for-profit 
organizations that are independently owned and operated and are not 
dominant in their fields, and governmental jurisdictions with 
populations of less than 50,000. Because it expects the impact of this 
proposal to be minimal, the Coast Guard certifies under 5 U.S.C. 605(b) 
that this proposed rule, if adopted, will not have a significant 
economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. If, however, 
you think that your business or organization qualifies as a small 
entity and that this proposed rule will have a significant economic 
impact on your business or organization, please submit a comment (see 
ADDRESSES) explaining why you think it qualified

[[Page 26350]]

and in what way and to what degree this proposed rule will economically 
affect it.

Assistance for Small Entities

    In accordance with section 213(a) of the Small Business Regulatory 
Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996 (Pub. L. 104-121), the Coast Guard 
wants to assist small entities in understanding this proposed rule so 
that they can better evaluate its effects on them and participate in 
the rulemaking process. If your small business or organization is 
affected by this rule and you have questions concerning its provisions 
or options for compliance, please contact the Commander, Fifth Coast 
Guard District, at the address under ADDRESSES.

Unfunded Mandates

    Under section 201 of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA) (2 
U.S.C. 1531), the Coast Guard assessed the effects of this proposed 
rule on State, local, and tribal governments, in the aggregate, and the 
private sector. The Coast Guard determined that this regulatory action 
requires no written statement under section 202 of the UMRA (2 U.S.C. 
1532) because it will not result in the expenditure of $100,000,000 in 
any one year by State, local, or tribal governments, in the aggregate, 
or the private sector.

Collection of Information

    This proposed rule does not provide for a collection of information 
under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (14 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.).


    The Coast Guard has analyzed this proposed rule under the 
principles and criteria contained in Executive Order 12612, and has 
determined that this proposed rule does not have sufficient federalism 
implications to warrant the preparation of a Federalism Assessment.


    The Coast Guard considered the environmental impact of this 
proposal and concluded that under figure 2-1, paragraph (32)(e) of 
Commandant Instruction M16475.1C, this proposed rule is categorically 
excluded from further environmental documentation because it is a 
drawbridge operating regulation. A ``Categorical Exclusion 
Determination'' is available in the docket for inspection or copying 
where indicated under addresses.

List of Subjects in 33 CFR Part 117



    For the reasons discussed in the preamble, the Coast Guard proposes 
to amend 33 CFR part 117 as follows:


    1. The authority citation for part 117 continues to read as 

    Authority: 33 U.S.C. 499; 49 CFR 1.46; 33 CFR 1.05-1(g); Section 
117.255 also issued under the authority of Pub. L. 102-587, 106 
Stat. 5039.

    2. A new Sec. 117.570 is added to read as follows:

Sec. 117.570  Sassafras River.

    The draw of the Sassafras River (Route 213) bridge, mile 10.0, at 
Georgetown, Maryland shall open on signal; except that from November 1 
through March 31, from midnight to 8 a.m., the draw need only open if 
at least a six-hour advance notice is given.

    Dated: May 4, 1999.
Roger T. Rufe, Jr.,
Vice Admiral, U.S. Coast Guard, Commander, Fifth Coast Guard District.
[FR Doc. 99-12275 Filed 5-13-99; 8:45 am]