[Federal Register Volume 82, Number 234 (Thursday, December 7, 2017)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 57674-57676]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2017-26431]



Coast Guard

33 CFR Part 117

[Docket No. USCG-2017-0595]
RIN 1625-AA09

Drawbridge Operation Regulation; Jamaica Bay, Queens, NY

AGENCY: Coast Guard, DHS.

ACTION: Temporary interim rule with request for comments.


SUMMARY: The Coast Guard is modifying the operating schedule that 
governs the Marine Parkway (Gil Hodges) Bridge across Jamaica Bay 
(Rockaway Inlet), mile 3.0, at Queens, NY. This temporary interim rule 
is necessary to accomodate Metropolitan Transportation Authority's 
(MTA) (the owner of the Marine Parkway Bridge) unexpected emergency 
repairs requiring a complete closure of the Bridge and an extension of 
time for their completion. The active deviation allows for opening of 
the bridge with two-hours of advance notice and expires at the 180th 
day. Existing federal

[[Page 57675]]

regulations do not allow back-to-back deviations.

DATES: This temporary interim rule is effective without actual notice 
from December 7, 2017 through 11:59 p.m. on May 25, 2018. For the 
purposes of enforcement, actual notice will be used from 12:01 a.m. on 
November 27, 2017 until December 7, 2017.
    Comments and related material must reach the Coast Guard on or 
before February 5, 2018.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments or view documents mentioned in this 
preamble as being available in the docket, go to http://www.regulations.gov. Type USCG-2017-0595 in the ``SEARCH'' box and 
click ``SEARCH.'' Click on Open Docket Folder on the line associated 
with this rulemaking.
    See the ``Public Participation and Request for Comments'' portion 
of the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section below for instructions on 
submitting comments.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: If you have questions on this 
temporary final rule, call or email Judy K. Leung-Yee, Bridge 
Management Specialist, U.S. Coast Guard; telephone 212-514-4336, email 


I. Table of Abbreviations

CFR Code of Federal Regulations
DHS Department of Homeland Security
FR Federal Register
NPRM Notice of proposed rulemaking
Sec.  Section
U.S.C. United States Code

II. Background Information and Regulatory History

    On July 6, 2017, we published a temporary deviation entitled, 
``Drawbridge Operation Regulation; Marine Parkway Bridge, Jamaica Bay, 
Queens, NY'' in the Federal Register (82 FR 31255). Although we did not 
request public comments, we conducted a public outreach and received no 
objections to the temporary deviation. No complaints have been 
submitted during the current temporary deviation's operation.
    The Coast Guard is issuing this temporary interim rule without 
prior notice and opportunity to comment pursuant to authority under 
section 4(a) of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) (5 U.S.C. 
553(b)). This provision authorizes an agency to issue a rule without 
prior notice and opportunity to comment when the agency for good cause 
finds that those procedures are ``impracticable, unnecessary, or 
contrary to the public interest.'' Under 5 U.S.C. 553(b), the Coast 
Guard finds that good cause exists for not publishing a notice of 
proposed rulemaking (NPRM) with respect to this rule because it is 
impracticable. During the recent replacement/rehabilitation of lift 
span systems, water was discovered inside the power and communication 
cables from the main electrical rooms on the lower level of the towers 
to the machinery rooms at the tops of the towers. In addition, 
structural steel for riser conduit support is also in need of immediate 
repairs and/or replacement. We must modify the opration schedule of the 
Bridge by November 27, 2017 to allow the bridge owner to conduct 
emergency repairs, but we lack sufficient time to provide a reasonable 
comment period and then consider those comments before issuing the 
    We are issuing this rule and under 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3) and for the 
reasons stated above, the Coast Guard finds that good cause exists for 
making it effective in less than 30 days after publication in the 
Federal Register.

III. Legal Authority and Need for Rule

    The Coast Guard is issuing this rule under authority 33 U.S.C. 499. 
The Coast Guard is modifying the operating schedule that governs the 
Marine Parkway Bridge across Jamaica Bay, mile 3.0, at Queens, New 
York. The Marine Parkway Bridge is a vertical lift bridge offering 
mariners a vertical clearance of 55 feet at mean high water and 59 feet 
at mean low water in the closed position.
    The normal operating schedule for the Bridge is listed at 33 CFR 
117.795(a). MTA, the bridge owner, has requested this modification as 
additional time is required to perform the emergency repairs as 
described above.
    The waterway is transited by seasonal recreational traffic as well 
as commercial vessels, largely tug and barge combinations. The 55 foot 
vertical clearance while the bridge is in the closed position offers 
the bulk of commercial traffic sufficient room to transit under the 
bridge in the closed position. During the time period of October 2016 
to October 2017, there have been twelve (12) scheduled bridge openings 
for commercial vessel transit, two of which were cancelled prior to 
operation. Vessels that can pass under the bridge without an opening 
may do so at all times. The bridge will not be able to open for 
emergencies. There is no immediate alternate route for vessels unable 
to pass through the bridge when in the closed position.

IV. Discussion of the Temporary Interim Rule

    The Coast Guard has issued a Temporary Interim Rule from the 
operating schedule that governs the the Marine Parkway Bridge across 
Jamaica Bay, mile 3.0, at Queens, New York, in order to complete 
emergency repairs. The rule is necessary to accommodate the completion 
of the emergency repairs before the next boating season begins. This 
rule allows the bridge to remain in the closed position from 12:01 a.m. 
on November 27, 2017 through 11:59 p.m. on May 25, 2018.

V. Regulatory Analyses

    We developed this rule after considering numerous statutes and 
Executive Orders related to rulemaking. Below we summarize our analyses 
based on a number of these statutes and Executive Orders, and we 
discuss First Amendment rights of protesters.

A. Regulatory Planning and Review

    Executive Orders 12866 and 13563 direct agencies to assess the 
costs and benefits of available regulatory alternatives and, if 
regulation is necessary, to select regulatory approaches that maximize 
net benefits. Executive Order 13771 directs agencies to control 
regulatory costs through a budgeting process. This rule has not been 
designated a ``significant regulatory action,'' under Executive Order 
12866. Accordingly, it has not been reviewed by the Office of 
Management and Budget (OMB) and pursuant to OMB guidance it is exempt 
from the requirements of Executive Order 13771.
    This regulatory action determination is based on the fact that the 
emergency bridge closure period is in the winter season and the 
majority of vessels will be able to successfully transit through the 
draw of the bridge without an opening.

B. Impact on Small Entities

    The Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980 (RFA), 5 U.S.C. 601-612, as 
amended, requires federal agencies to consider the potential impact of 
regulations on small entities during rulemaking. The term ``small 
entities'' comprises 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. The Coast Guard certifies under 5 U.S.C. 605(b) that this rule 
will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of 
small entities.
    While some owners or operators of vessels intending to transit the 

[[Page 57676]]

may be small entities, for the reasons stated in section V.A above, 
this interim rule will not have a significant economic impact on any 
vessel owner or operator due to the clearance level while in the closed 
position and the fact the rule would be applied during at a time of 
year when vessel traffic is at its lowest.
    Under section 213(a) of the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement 
Fairness Act of 1996 (Pub. L. 104-121), we want to assist small 
entities in understanding this rule. If the rule would affect your 
small business, organization, or governmental jurisdiction and you have 
questions concerning its provisions or options for compliance, please 
contact the person listed in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT, 
    Small businesses may send comments on the actions of Federal 
employees who enforce, or otherwise determine compliance with, Federal 
regulations to the Small Business and Agriculture Regulatory 
Enforcement Ombudsman and the Regional Small Business Regulatory 
Fairness Boards. The Ombudsman evaluates these actions annually and 
rates each agency's responsiveness to small business. If you wish to 
comment on actions by employees of the Coast Guard, call 1-888-REG-FAIR 
(1-888-734-3247). The Coast Guard will not retaliate against small 
entities that question or complain about this rule or any policy or 
action of the Coast Guard.

C. Collection of Information

    This rule calls for no new collection of information under the 
Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501-3520).

D. Federalism and Indian Tribal Government

    A rule has implications for federalism under Executive Order 13132, 
Federalism, if it has a substantial direct effect on the States, on the 
relationship between the national government and the States, or on the 
distribution of power and responsibilities among the various levels of 
government. We have analyzed this rule under that Order and have 
determined that it is consistent with the fundamental federalism 
principles and preemption requirements described in Executive Order 
    Also, this rule does not have tribal implications under Executive 
Order 13175, Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribal 
Governments, because it does not have a substantial direct effect on 
one or more Indian tribes, on the relationship between the Federal 
Government and Indian tribes, or on the distribution of power and 
responsibilities between the Federal Government and Indian tribes.

E. Unfunded Mandates Reform Act

    The Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (2 U.S.C. 1531-1538) 
requires Federal agencies to assess the effects of their discretionary 
regulatory actions. In particular, the Act addresses actions that may 
result in the expenditure by a State, local, or tribal government, in 
the aggregate, or by the private sector of $100,000,000 (adjusted for 
inflation) or more in any one year. Though this rule will not result in 
such an expenditure, we do discuss the effects of this rule elsewhere 
in this preamble.

F. Environment

    We have analyzed this rule under Department of Homeland Security 
Management Directive 023-01 and Commandant Instruction M16475.lD, which 
guides the Coast Guard in complying with the National Environmental 
Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) (42 U.S.C. 4321-4370f), and have made a 
determination that this action is one of a category of actions which do 
not individually or cumulatively have a significant effect on the human 
environment. This rule simply promulgates the operating regulations or 
procedures for drawbridges. This action is categorically excluded from 
further review, under figure 2-1, paragraph (32)(e), of the 
Instruction. We seek any comments or information that may lead to the 
discovery of a significant environmental impact from this rule.

G. Protest Activities

    The Coast Guard respects the First Amendment rights of protesters. 
Protesters are asked to contact the person listed in the FOR FURTHER 
INFORMATION CONTACT section to coordinate protest activities so that 
your message can be received without jeopardizing the safety or 
security of people, places or vessels.

VI. Public Participation and Request for Comments

    We view public participation as essential to effective rulemaking, 
and will consider all comments and material received during the comment 
period. Your comment can help shape the outcome of this rulemaking. If 
you submit a comment, please include the docket number for this 
rulemaking, indicate the specific section of this document to which 
each comment applies, and provide a reason for each suggestion or 
    We encourage you to submit comments through the Federal eRulemaking 
Portal at http://www.regulations.gov. If your material cannot be 
submitted using http://www.regulations.gov, contact the person in the 
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section of this document for alternate 
    We accept anonymous comments. All comments received will be posted 
without change to http://www.regulations.gov and will include any 
personal information you have provided. For more about privacy and the 
docket, visit http://www.regulations.gov/privacyNotice.
    Documents mentioned in this Temporary Interim Rule as being 
available in this docket and all public comments, will be in our online 
docket at http://www.regulations.gov and can be viewed by following 
that Web site's instructions. Additionally, if you go to the online 
docket and sign up for email alerts, you will be notified when comments 
are posted or a final rule is published.

List of Subjects in 33 CFR Part 117


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


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

    Authority:  33 U.S.C. 499; 33 CFR 1.05-1; Department of Homeland 
Security Delegation No. 0170.1.

2. In Sec.  117.795, effective from December 7, 2017 to 11:59 p.m. on 
May 25, 2018, suspend paragraph (a) and add paragraph (d) to read as 

Sec.  117.795   Jamaica Bay and connecting waterways.

* * * * *
    (d) The draw of the Marine Parkway Bridge, mile 3.0 over Rockaway 
Inlet, will not open for the passage of the vessels. The drawbridge 
will return to its regular operating schedule on May 26, 2018.

    Dated: November 21, 2017.
S.D. Poulin,
Rear Admiral, U.S. Coast Guard Commander, First Coast Guard District.
[FR Doc. 2017-26431 Filed 12-6-17; 8:45 am]