Drawbridge Operation Regulation; Niantic River, Niantic, CT

Federal Register, Volume 84 Issue 246 (Monday, December 23, 2019)
[Federal Register Volume 84, Number 246 (Monday, December 23, 2019)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 70426-70428]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2019-27272]
Coast Guard
33 CFR Part 117
[Docket No. USCG-2019-0545]
RIN 1625-AA09
Drawbridge Operation Regulation; Niantic River, Niantic, CT
AGENCY: Coast Guard, DHS.
ACTION: Final rule.
SUMMARY: The Coast Guard is modifying the operating schedule that
governs the S156 Bridge across the Niantic River, mile 0.1 at Niantic,
CT. The bridge owner, the Connecticut Department of Transportation,
submitted a request to allow six hours notice for night time transits
during the months of November and April due to infrequent bridge
openings. This final rule will approve the request and align the
regulations for the S156 Bridge with other Connecticut Department of
Transportation Bridges.
DATES: This rule is effective January 22, 2020.
ADDRESSES: To view documents mentioned in this preamble as being
available in the docket, go to http://www.regulations.gov. Type USCG-
2019-0545 in the ``SEARCH'' box and click ``SEARCH.'' Click on Open
Docket Folder on the line associated with this rulemaking.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: If you have questions on this rule,
call or email Mr. Jeffrey Stieb, First Coast Guard District Bridge
Management Specialist; telephone 617-223-8364, email
[email protected].
I. Table of Abbreviations
CFR Code of Federal Regulations
CT DOT Connecticut Department of Transportation
DHS Department of Homeland Security
FR Federal Register
OMB Office of Management and Budget
NPRM Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (Advance, Supplemental)
Sec.  Section
U.S.C. United States Code
II. Background Information and Regulatory History
    On August 20, 2019, the Coast Guard published a notice of proposed
rulemaking entitled ``Drawbridge Operation Regulation; Niantic River,
Niantic, CT'' in the Federal Register (84 FR 43093). In the NPRM,
incorrect clearances for the bridge were provided. The correct
clearances are provided below in Section III. No comments were received
in response to the NPRM and no comments were made concerning the more
constrictive clearances in the NPRM.
III. Legal Authority and Need for Rule
    The Coast Guard is issuing this rule under the authority of 33
U.S.C. 499. The S156 Bridge at mile 0.1 over the Niantic River at
Niantic, Connecticut, has a vertical clearance of 32 feet at mean high
water and 34 feet at mean low water. Vertical clearance is unlimited
when the draw is open. Horizontal clearance is approximately 100 feet.
Waterway users include recreational and small commercial vessels.
    The existing regulation, 33 CFR 117.215(b), requires that from
December 1 through March 31, from 8 p.m. to 4 a.m., the draw shall open
on signal if at least six hours notice is given. CT DOT requested that
the start of the winter schedule begin one month sooner and end one
month later than presently allowed by the regulation. This rule change
will align the winter operation and staffing of the three CT DOT
drawbridges located in the same operational area by extending the range
of months during which six hours notice is required to include November
and April. This rule change will allow for more efficient and economic
operation of the bridge while meeting the reasonable needs of
    The bridge logs show that during the last three years only three
requests to open occurred between 8 p.m. and 4 a.m. in November and no
request to open were received between 8 p.m. and 4 a.m. in April. None
of the requests were from commercial vessels. CT DOT and the Coast
Guard conducted outreach to stakeholders with no objections received.
IV. Discussion of Comments, Changes and the Final Rule
    The Coast Guard provided 60 days for comment and no comments were
received. There are no changes in the regulatory text of this rule from
the proposed rule in the NPRM.
    The final rule provides that from November 1 through April 30,
between the hours of 8:00 p.m. and 4:00 a.m., the draw shall open on
signal if at least six hours notice is given. It is our opinion that
the proposed rule meets the reasonable needs of marine traffic.
[[Page 70427]]
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 only
three vessel transits would have been affected over the past three
years. We believe that this change to the drawbridge operation
regulation at 33 CFR 117.215(b) will meet the reasonable needs of
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 received no comment from the Small Business
Administration on this rule. 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.
    The bridge will continue to open on signal with six hours notice
between the hours of 8 p.m. and 4 a.m. during the months of November
and April. Based on the last three years of records, an average of one
vessel annually will be affected by the change. While some owners or
operators of vessels intending to transit the bridge may be small
entities, for the reasons stated in section V.A above, this rule will
not have a significant economic impact on any vessel owner or operator.
    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. If
you believe this rule has implications for federalism or Indian tribes,
please call or email the person listed in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION
CONTACT section.
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 Environmental Planning COMDTINST 5090.1
(series) which guide the Coast Guard in complying with the National
Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) (42 U.S.C. 4321-4370f). We have
made a determination that this action is one of a category of actions
that do not individually or cumulatively have a significant effect on
the human environment. This rule promulgates the operating regulations
or procedures for drawbridges. This action is categorically excluded
from further review, under paragraph L49, of Chapter 3, Table 3-1 of
the U.S. Coast Guard Environmental Planning Implementation Procedures.
    Neither a Record of Environmental Consideration nor a Memorandum
for the Record are required for 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.
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; and Department of
Homeland Security Delegation No. 0170.1.
2. Revise Sec.  117.215(b) to read as follows:
Sec.  117.215  Niantic River.
* * * * *
[[Page 70428]]
    (b) The draw of the S156 Bridge, mile 0.1, at Niantic, shall open
on signal; except that, from 7 a.m. to 8 a.m., and 4 p.m. to 5 p.m.,
Monday through Friday, except holidays, the draw shall open only for
the passage of commercial vessels. From November 1 through April 30,
from 8 p.m. to 4 a.m., the draw shall open on signal if at least six
hours notice is given by calling the number posted at the bridge.
    Dated: December 4, 2019.
R.W. Warren,
Captain, U.S. Coast Guard, Acting Commander, First Coast Guard
[FR Doc. 2019-27272 Filed 12-20-19; 8:45 am]