Introduction to the Unified Agenda of Federal Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions

 
CONTENT

Federal Register, Volume 79 Issue 245 (Monday, December 22, 2014)

Federal Register Volume 79, Number 245 (Monday, December 22, 2014)

Unknown Section

Pages 76455-76672

From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office www.gpo.gov

FR Doc No: 2014-28927

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Vol. 79

Monday,

No. 245

December 22, 2014

Part II

Regulatory Information Service Center

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Introduction to the Regulatory Plan and the Unified Agenda of Federal Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions

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REGULATORY INFORMATION SERVICE CENTER

Introduction to the Unified Agenda of Federal Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions

AGENCY: Regulatory Information Service Center.

ACTION: Introduction to the Regulatory Plan and the Unified Agenda of Federal Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions.

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SUMMARY: The Regulatory Flexibility Act requires that agencies publish semiannual regulatory agendas in the Federal Register describing regulatory actions they are developing that may have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities (5 U.S.C. 602). Executive Order 12866 ``Regulatory Planning and Review,'' signed September 30, 1993 (58 FR 51735), and incorporated in Executive Order 13563, ``Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review'' issued on January 18, 2011 (76 FR 3821) establish guidelines and procedures for agencies' agendas, including specific types of information for each entry.

The Unified Agenda of Federal Regulator and Deregulatory Actions (Unified Agenda) helps agencies fulfill these requirements. All Federal regulatory agencies have chosen to publish their regulatory agendas as part of the Unified Agenda. The complete 2014 Unified Agenda and Regulatory Plan, which contains the regulatory agendas for Federal agencies, is available to the public at http://reginfo.gov.

The fall 2014 Unified Agenda publication appearing in the Federal Register consists of The Regulatory Plan and agency regulatory flexibility agendas, in accordance with the publication requirements of the Regulatory Flexibility Act. Agency regulatory flexibility agendas contain only those Agenda entries for rules that are likely to have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities and entries that have been selected for periodic review under section 610 of the Regulatory Flexibility Act.

The complete fall 2014 Unified Agenda contains the Regulatory Plans of 30 Federal agencies and the regulatory agendas of 31 other Federal agencies.

ADDRESSES: Regulatory Information Service Center (MVE), General Services Administration, 1800 F Street NW., 2219F, Washington, DC 20405.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For further information about specific regulatory actions, please refer to the agency contact listed for each entry.

To provide comment on or to obtain further information about this publication, contact: John C. Thomas, Executive Director, Regulatory Information Service Center (MVE), General Services Administration, 1800 F Street NW., 2219F, Washington, DC 20405, (202) 482-7340. You may also send comments to us by email at: risc@gsa.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Introduction to the Regulatory Plan and the Unified Agenda of Federal Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions

  1. What are The Regulatory Plan and the Unified Agenda?

  2. Why are The Regulatory Plan and the Unified Agenda published?

  3. How are The Regulatory Plan and the Unified Agenda organized?

  4. What Information appears for each entry?

  5. Abbreviations

  6. How can users get copies of the Plan and the Agenda?

    Introduction to the Fall 2014 Regulatory Plan

    AGENCY REGULATORY PLANS

    Cabinet Departments

    Department of Agriculture

    Department of Commerce

    Department of Defense

    Department of Education

    Department of Energy

    Department of Health and Human Services

    Department of Homeland Security

    Department of Housing and Urban Development

    Department of the Interior

    Department of Justice

    Department of Labor

    Department of Transportation

    Department of the Treasury

    Department of Veterans Affairs

    Other Executive Agencies

    Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board

    Environmental Protection Agency

    Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

    General Services Administration

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration

    National Archives and Records Administration

    Office of Personnel Management

    Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation

    Small Business Administration

    Social Security Administration

    Independent Regulatory Agencies

    Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

    Consumer Product Safety Commission

    Federal Trade Commission

    National Indian Gaming Commission

    Nuclear Regulatory Commission

    AGENCY AGENDAS

    Cabinet Departments

    Department of Agriculture

    Department of Commerce

    Department of Defense

    Department of Education

    Department of Energy

    Department of Health and Human Services

    Department of Homeland Security

    Department of the Interior

    Department of Justice

    Department of Labor

    Department of Transportation

    Other Executive Agencies

    Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board

    Environmental Protection Agency

    General Services Administration

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration

    Small Business Administration

    Joint Authority

    Department of Defense/General Services Administration/National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Federal Acquisition Regulation)

    Independent Regulatory Agencies

    Commodity Futures Trading Commission

    Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

    Federal Communications Commission

    Federal Reserve System

    Nuclear Regulatory Commission

    Securities and Exchange Commission

    Surface Transportation Board

    INTRODUCTION TO THE REGULATORY PLAN AND THE UNIFIED AGENDA OF FEDERAL REGULATORY AND DEREGULATORY ACTIONS

  7. What are the Regulatory Plan and the Unified Agenda?

    The Regulatory Plan serves as a defining statement of the Administration's regulatory and deregulatory policies and priorities. The Plan is part of the fall edition of the Unified Agenda. Each participating agency's regulatory plan contains: (1) A narrative statement of the agency's regulatory and deregulatory priorities, and, for the most part, (2) a description of the most important significant regulatory and deregulatory actions that the agency reasonably expects to issue in proposed or final form during the upcoming fiscal year. This edition includes the regulatory plans of 30 agencies.

    The Unified Agenda provides information about regulations that the Government is considering or reviewing. The Unified Agenda has appeared in the Federal Register twice each year since 1983 and has been available online since 1995. The complete Unified Agenda is available to the public at http://reginfo.gov. The online Unified Agenda offers flexible search tools and access to the historic Unified Agenda database to 1995.

    The fall 2014 Unified Agenda publication appearing in the Federal Register consists of The Regulatory Plan and agency regulatory flexibility

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    agendas, in accordance with the publication requirements of the Regulatory Flexibility Act. Agency regulatory flexibility agendas contain only those Agenda entries for rules that are likely to have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities and entries that have been selected for periodic review under section 610 of the Regulatory Flexibility Act. Printed entries display only the fields required by the Regulatory Flexibility Act. Complete agenda information for those entries appears, in a uniform format, in the online Unified Agenda at http://reginfo.gov.

    These publication formats meet the publication mandates of the Regulatory Flexibility Act and Executive Order 12866 (incorporated in Executive Order 13563), as well as moved the Agenda process to the goal of online availability, resulting in a reduced cost in printing. The current online format does not reduce the amount of information available to the public. The complete online edition of the Unified Agenda includes regulatory agendas from 61 Federal agencies. Agencies of the United States Congress are not included.

    The following agencies have no entries identified for inclusion in the printed regulatory flexibility agenda. An asterisk (*) indicates agencies that appear in The Regulatory Plan. The regulatory agendas of these agencies are available to the public at http://reginfo.gov.

    Department of Housing and Urban Development*

    Department of State

    Department of Treasury*

    Department of Veterans Affairs*

    Advisory Council on Historic Preservation

    Agency for International Development

    Commission on Civil Rights

    Committee for Purchase From People Who Are Blind or Severely Disabled

    Corporation for National and Community Service

    Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency for the District of Columbia

    Equal Employment Opportunity Commission*

    Institute of Museum and Library Services

    National Archives and Records Administration*

    National Endowment for the Arts

    National Endowment for the Humanities

    National Science Foundation

    Office of Government Ethics

    Office of Management and Budget

    Office of Personnel Management*

    Peace Corps

    Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation*

    Railroad Retirement Board

    Social Security Administration*

    Consumer Financial Protection Bureau*

    Consumer Product Safety Commission*

    Farm Credit Administration

    Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation

    Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

    Federal Housing Finance Agency

    Federal Maritime Commission

    Federal Trade Commission*

    Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration CouncilNational Credit Union Administration

    National Credit Union Administration

    National Indian Gaming Commission*

    National Labor Relations Board

    National Transportation Safety Board

    Postal Regulatory Commission

    Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board

    The Regulatory Information Service Center compiles the Unified Agenda for the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA), part of the Office of Management and Budget. OIRA is responsible for overseeing the Federal Government's regulatory, paperwork, and information resource management activities, including implementation of Executive Order 12866 (incorporated in Executive Order 13563). The Center also provides information about Federal regulatory activity to the President and his Executive Office, the Congress, agency officials, and the public.

    The activities included in the Agenda are, in general, those that will have a regulatory action within the next 12 months. Agencies may choose to include activities that will have a longer timeframe than 12 months. Agency agendas also show actions or reviews completed or withdrawn since the last Unified Agenda. Executive Order 12866 does not require agencies to include regulations concerning military or foreign affairs functions or regulations related to agency organization, management, or personnel matters.

    Agencies prepared entries for this publication to give the public notice of their plans to review, propose, and issue regulations. They have tried to predict their activities over the next 12 months as accurately as possible, but dates and schedules are subject to change. Agencies may withdraw some of the regulations now under development, and they may issue or propose other regulations not included in their agendas. Agency actions in the rulemaking process may occur before or after the dates they have listed. The Regulatory Plan and Unified Agenda do not create a legal obligation on agencies to adhere to schedules in this publication or to confine their regulatory activities to those regulations that appear within it.

  8. Why Are The Regulatory Plan and the Unified Agenda published?

    The Regulatory Plan and the Unified Agenda helps agencies comply with their obligations under the Regulatory Flexibility Act and various Executive orders and other statutes.

    Regulatory Flexibility Act

    The Regulatory Flexibility Act requires agencies to identify those rules that may have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities (5 U.S.C. 602). Agencies meet that requirement by including the information in their submissions for the Unified Agenda. Agencies may also indicate those regulations that they are reviewing as part of their periodic review of existing rules under the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 610). Executive Order 13272 entitled ``Proper Consideration of Small Entities in Agency Rulemaking,'' signed August 13, 2002 (67 FR 53461), provides additional guidance on compliance with the Act.

    Executive Order 12866

    Executive Order 12866 entitled ``Regulatory Planning and Review,'' signed September 30, 1993 (58 FR 51735), requires covered agencies to prepare an agenda of all regulations under development or review. The Order also requires that certain agencies prepare annually a regulatory plan of their ``most important significant regulatory actions,'' which appears as part of the fall Unified Agenda. Executive Order 13497, signed January 30, 2009 (74 FR 6113), revoked the amendments to Executive Order 12866 that were contained in Executive Order 13258 and Executive Order 13422.

    Executive Order 13563

    Executive Order 13563 entitled ``Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review,'' issued on January 18, 2011, supplements and reaffirms the principles, structures, and definitions governing contemporary regulatory review that were established in Executive Order 12866, which includes the general principles of regulation and public participation, and orders integration and innovation in coordination across agencies; flexible approaches where relevant, feasible, and consistent with regulatory approaches; scientific integrity in any scientific or technological information and processes used to support the agencies' regulatory actions; and retrospective analysis of existing regulations.

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    Executive Order 13132

    Executive Order 13132 entitled ``Federalism,'' signed August 4, 1999 (64 FR 43255), directs agencies to have an accountable process to ensure meaningful and timely input by State and local officials in the development of regulatory policies that have ``federalism implications'' as defined in the Order. Under the Order, an agency that is proposing a regulation with federalism implications, which either preempt State law or impose non-statutory unfunded substantial direct compliance costs on State and local governments, must consult with State and local officials early in the process of developing the regulation. In addition, the agency must provide to the Director of the Office of Management and Budget a federalism summary impact statement for such a regulation, which consists of a description of the extent of the agency's prior consultation with State and local officials, a summary of their concerns and the agency's position supporting the need to issue the regulation, and a statement of the extent to which those concerns have been met. As part of this effort, agencies include in their submissions for the Unified Agenda information on whether their regulatory actions may have an effect on the various levels of government and whether those actions have federalism implications.

    Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995

    The Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (Pub. L. 104-4, title II) requires agencies to prepare written assessments of the costs and benefits of significant regulatory actions ``that may result in the expenditure by State, local, and tribal governments, in the aggregate, or by the private sector, of $100,000,000 or more . . . in any 1 year . . . . '' The requirement does not apply to independent regulatory agencies, nor does it apply to certain subject areas excluded by section 4 of the Act. Affected agencies identify in the Unified Agenda those regulatory actions they believe are subject to title II of the Act.

    Executive Order 13211

    Executive Order 13211 entitled ``Actions Concerning Regulations That Significantly Affect Energy Supply, Distribution, or Use,'' signed May 18, 2001 (66 FR 28355), directs agencies to provide, to the extent possible, information regarding the adverse effects that agency actions may have on the supply, distribution, and use of energy. Under the Order, the agency must prepare and submit a Statement of Energy Effects to the Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Office of Management and Budget, for ``those matters identified as significant energy actions.'' As part of this effort, agencies may optionally include in their submissions for the Unified Agenda information on whether they have prepared or plan to prepare a Statement of Energy Effects for their regulatory actions.

    Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act

    The Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act (Pub. L. 104-121, title II) established a procedure for congressional review of rules (5 U.S.C. 801 et seq.), which defers, unless exempted, the effective date of a ``major'' rule for at least 60 days from the publication of the final rule in the Federal Register. The Act specifies that a rule is ``major'' if it has resulted, or is likely to result, in an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more or meets other criteria specified in that Act. The Act provides that the Administrator of OIRA will make the final determination as to whether a rule is major.

  9. How Are The Regulatory Plan and the Unified Agenda organized?

    The Regulatory Plan appears in part II in a daily edition of the Federal Register. The Plan is a single document beginning with an introduction, followed by a table of contents, followed by each agency's section of the Plan. Following the Plan in the Federal Register, as separate parts, are the regulatory flexibility agendas for each agency whose agenda includes entries for rules which are likely to have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities or rules that have been selected for periodic review under section 610 of the Regulatory Flexibility Act. Each printed agenda appears as a separate part. The sections of the Plan and the parts of the Unified Agenda are organized alphabetically in four groups: Cabinet departments; other executive agencies; the Federal Acquisition Regulation, a joint authority (Agenda only); and independent regulatory agencies. Agencies may in turn be divided into subagencies. Each printed agency agenda has a table of contents listing the agency's printed entries that follow. Each agency's part of the Agenda contains a preamble providing information specific to that agency. Each printed agency agenda has a table of contents listing the agency's printed entries that follow.

    Each agency's section of the Plan contains a narrative statement of regulatory priorities and, for most agencies, a description of the agency's most important significant regulatory and deregulatory actions. Each agency's part of the Agenda contains a preamble providing information specific to that agency plus descriptions of the agency's regulatory and deregulatory actions.

    The online, complete Unified Agenda contains the preambles of all participating agencies. Unlike the printed edition, the online Agenda has no fixed ordering. In the online Agenda, users can select the particular agencies whose agendas they want to see. Users have broad flexibility to specify the characteristics of the entries of interest to them by choosing the desired responses to individual data fields. To see a listing of all of an agency's entries, a user can select the agency without specifying any particular characteristics of entries.

    Each entry in the Agenda is associated with one of five rulemaking stages. The rulemaking stages are:

    1. Prerule Stage--actions agencies will undertake to determine whether or how to initiate rulemaking. Such actions occur prior to a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) and may include Advance Notices of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRMs) and reviews of existing regulations.

    2. Proposed Rule Stage--actions for which agencies plan to publish a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking as the next step in their rulemaking process or for which the closing date of the NPRM Comment Period is the next step.

    3. Final Rule Stage--actions for which agencies plan to publish a final rule or an interim final rule or to take other final action as the next step.

    4. Long-Term Actions--items under development but for which the agency does not expect to have a regulatory action within the 12 months after publication of this edition of the Unified Agenda. Some of the entries in this section may contain abbreviated information.

    5. Completed Actions--actions or reviews the agency has completed or withdrawn since publishing its last agenda. This section also includes items the agency began and completed between issues of the Agenda.

    Long-Term Actions are rulemakings reported during the publication cycle that are outside of the required 12-month reporting period for which the Agenda was intended. Completed Actions in the publication cycle are rulemakings that are ending their lifecycle either by Withdrawal or completion of the rulemaking process. Therefore, the Long-Term and Completed RINs do not represent the

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    ongoing, forward-looking nature intended for reporting developing rulemakings in the Agenda pursuant to Executive Order 12866, section 4(b) and 4(c). To further differentiate these two stages of rulemaking in the Unified Agenda from active rulemakings, Long-Term and Completed Actions are reported separately from active rulemakings, which can be any of the first three stages of rulemaking listed above. A separate search function is provided on http://reginfo.gov to search for Completed and Long-Term Actions apart from each other and active RINs.

    A bullet () preceding the title of an entry indicates that the entry is appearing in the Unified Agenda for the first time.

    In the printed edition, all entries are numbered sequentially from the beginning to the end of the publication. The sequence number preceding the title of each entry identifies the location of the entry in this edition. The sequence number is used as the reference in the printed table of contents. Sequence numbers are not used in the online Unified Agenda because the unique Regulation Identifier Number (RIN) is able to provide this cross-reference capability.

    Editions of the Unified Agenda prior to fall 2007 contained several indexes, which identified entries with various characteristics. These included regulatory actions for which agencies believe that the Regulatory Flexibility Act may require a Regulatory Flexibility Analysis, actions selected for periodic review under section 610(c) of the Regulatory Flexibility Act, and actions that may have federalism implications as defined in Executive Order 13132 or other effects on levels of government. These indexes are no longer compiled, because users of the online Unified Agenda have the flexibility to search for entries with any combination of desired characteristics. The online edition retains the Unified Agenda's subject index based on the Federal Register Thesaurus of Indexing Terms. In addition, online users have the option of searching Agenda text fields for words or phrases.

  10. What information appears for each entry?

    All entries in the online Unified Agenda contain uniform data elements including, at a minimum, the following information:

    Title of the Regulation--a brief description of the subject of the regulation. In the printed edition, the notation ``Section 610 Review'' following the title indicates that the agency has selected the rule for its periodic review of existing rules under the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 610(c)). Some agencies have indicated completions of section 610 reviews or rulemaking actions resulting from completed section 610 reviews. In the online edition, these notations appear in a separate field.

    Priority--an indication of the significance of the regulation. Agencies assign each entry to one of the following five categories of significance.

    (1) Economically Significant

    As defined in Executive Order 12866, a rulemaking action that will have an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more or will adversely affect in a material way the economy, a sector of the economy, productivity, competition, jobs, the environment, public health or safety, or State, local, or tribal governments or communities. The definition of an ``economically significant'' rule is similar but not identical to the definition of a ``major'' rule under 5 U.S.C. 801 (Pub. L. 104-121). (See below.)

    (2) Other Significant

    A rulemaking that is not Economically Significant but is considered Significant by the agency. This category includes rules that the agency anticipates will be reviewed under Executive Order 12866 or rules that are a priority of the agency head. These rules may or may not be included in the agency's regulatory plan.

    (3) Substantive, Nonsignificant

    A rulemaking that has substantive impacts but is neither Significant, nor Routine and Frequent, nor Informational/

    Administrative/Other.

    (4) Routine and Frequent

    A rulemaking that is a specific case of a multiple recurring application of a regulatory program in the Code of Federal Regulations and that does not alter the body of the regulation.

    (5) Informational/Administrative/Other

    A rulemaking that is primarily informational or pertains to agency matters not central to accomplishing the agency's regulatory mandate but that the agency places in the Unified Agenda to inform the public of the activity.

    Major--whether the rule is ``major'' under 5 U.S.C. 801 (Pub. L. 104-121) because it has resulted or is likely to result in an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more or meets other criteria specified in that Act. The Act provides that the Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs will make the final determination as to whether a rule is major.

    Unfunded Mandates--whether the rule is covered by section 202 of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (Pub. L. 104-4). The Act requires that, before issuing an NPRM likely to result in a mandate that may result in expenditures by State, local, and tribal governments, in the aggregate, or by the private sector of more than $100 million in 1 year, agencies, other than independent regulatory agencies, shall prepare a written statement containing an assessment of the anticipated costs and benefits of the Federal mandate.

    Legal Authority--the section(s) of the United States Code (U.S.C.) or Public Law (Pub. L.) or the Executive order (E.O.) that authorize(s) the regulatory action. Agencies may provide popular name references to laws in addition to these citations.

    CFR Citation--the section(s) of the Code of Federal Regulations that will be affected by the action.

    Legal Deadline--whether the action is subject to a statutory or judicial deadline, the date of that deadline, and whether the deadline pertains to an NPRM, a Final Action, or some other action.

    Abstract--a brief description of the problem the regulation will address; the need for a Federal solution; to the extent available, alternatives that the agency is considering to address the problem; and potential costs and benefits of the action.

    Timetable--the dates and citations (if available) for all past steps and a projected date for at least the next step for the regulatory action. A date displayed in the form 12/00/14 means the agency is predicting the month and year the action will take place but not the day it will occur. In some instances, agencies may indicate what the next action will be, but the date of that action is ``To Be Determined.'' ``Next Action Undetermined'' indicates the agency does not know what action it will take next.

    Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required--whether an analysis is required by the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.) because the rulemaking action is likely to have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities as defined by the Act.

    Small Entities Affected--the types of small entities (businesses, governmental jurisdictions, or organizations) on which the rulemaking action is likely to have an impact as defined by the Regulatory Flexibility Act. Some agencies have chosen to indicate likely effects on small entities even though they believe

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    that a Regulatory Flexibility Analysis will not be required.

    Government Levels Affected--whether the action is expected to affect levels of government and, if so, whether the governments are State, local, tribal, or Federal.

    International Impacts--whether the regulation is expected to have international trade and investment effects, or otherwise may be of interest to the Nation's international trading partners.

    Federalism--whether the action has ``federalism implications'' as defined in Executive Order 13132. This term refers to actions ``that have substantial direct effects 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.'' Independent regulatory agencies are not required to supply this information.

    Included in the Regulatory Plan--whether the rulemaking was included in the agency's current regulatory plan published in fall 2014.

    Agency Contact--the name and phone number of at least one person in the agency who is knowledgeable about the rulemaking action. The agency may also provide the title, address, fax number, email address, and TDD for each agency contact.

    Some agencies have provided the following optional information:

    RIN Information URL--the Internet address of a site that provides more information about the entry.

    Public Comment URL--the Internet address of a site that will accept public comments on the entry. Alternatively, timely public comments may be submitted at the Governmentwide e-rulemaking site, http://www.regulations.gov.

    Additional Information--any information an agency wishes to include that does not have a specific corresponding data element.

    Compliance Cost to the Public--the estimated gross compliance cost of the action.

    Affected Sectors--the industrial sectors that the action may most affect, either directly or indirectly. Affected sectors are identified by North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) codes.

    Energy Effects--an indication of whether the agency has prepared or plans to prepare a Statement of Energy Effects for the action, as required by Executive Order 13211 ``Actions Concerning Regulations That Significantly Affect Energy Supply, Distribution, or Use,'' signed May 18, 2001 (66 FR 28355).

    Related RINs--one or more past or current RIN(s) associated with activity related to this action, such as merged RINs, split RINs, new activity for previously completed RINs, or duplicate RINs.

    Statement of Need--a description of the need for the regulatory action.

    Summary of the Legal Basis--a description of the legal basis for the action, including whether any aspect of the action is required by statute or court order.

    Alternatives--a description of the alternatives the agency has considered or will consider as required by section 4(c)(1)(B) of Executive Order 12866.

    Anticipated Costs and Benefits--a description of preliminary estimates of the anticipated costs and benefits of the action.

    Risks--a description of the magnitude of the risk the action addresses, the amount by which the agency expects the action to reduce this risk, and the relation of the risk and this risk reduction effort to other risks and risk reduction efforts within the agency's jurisdiction.

  11. Abbreviations

    The following abbreviations appear throughout this publication:

    ANPRM--An Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking is a preliminary notice, published in the Federal Register, announcing that an agency is considering a regulatory action. An agency may issue an ANPRM before it develops a detailed proposed rule. An ANPRM describes the general area that may be subject to regulation and usually asks for public comment on the issues and options being discussed. An ANPRM is issued only when an agency believes it needs to gather more information before proceeding to a notice of proposed rulemaking.

    CFR--The Code of Federal Regulations is an annual codification of the general and permanent regulations published in the Federal Register by the agencies of the Federal Government. The Code is divided into 50 titles, each title covering a broad area subject to Federal regulation. The CFR is keyed to and kept up to date by the daily issues of the Federal Register.

    EO--An Executive order is a directive from the President to Executive agencies, issued under constitutional or statutory authority. Executive orders are published in the Federal Register and in title 3 of the Code of Federal Regulations.

    FR--The Federal Register is a daily Federal Government publication that provides a uniform system for publishing Presidential documents, all proposed and final regulations, notices of meetings, and other official documents issued by Federal agencies.

    FY--The Federal fiscal year runs from October 1 to September 30.

    NPRM--A Notice of Proposed Rulemaking is the document an agency issues and publishes in the Federal Register that describes and solicits public comments on a proposed regulatory action. Under the Administrative Procedure Act (5 U.S.C. 553), an NPRM must include, at a minimum:

    A statement of the time, place, and nature of the public rulemaking proceeding;

    a reference to the legal authority under which the rule is proposed; and

    either the terms or substance of the proposed rule or a description of the subjects and issues involved.

    Public Law (or Pub. L.)--A public law is a law passed by Congress and signed by the President or enacted over his veto. It has general applicability, unlike a private law that applies only to those persons or entities specifically designated. Public laws are numbered in sequence throughout the 2-year life of each Congress; for example, Pub. L. 112-4 is the fourth public law of the 112th Congress.

    RFA--A Regulatory Flexibility Analysis is a description and analysis of the impact of a rule on small entities, including small businesses, small governmental jurisdictions, and certain small not-

    for-profit organizations. The Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.) requires each agency to prepare an initial RFA for public comment when it is required to publish an NPRM and to make available a final RFA when the final rule is published, unless the agency head certifies that the rule would not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities.

    RIN--The Regulation Identifier Number is assigned by the Regulatory Information Service Center to identify each regulatory action listed in the Regulatory Plan and the Unified Agenda, as directed by Executive Order 12866 (section 4(b)). Additionally, OMB has asked agencies to include RINs in the headings of their Rule and Proposed Rule documents when publishing them in the Federal Register, to make it easier for the public and agency officials to track the publication history of regulatory actions throughout their development.

    Seq. No.--The sequence number identifies the location of an entry in the printed edition of the Regulatory Plan and the Unified Agenda. Note that a specific regulatory action will have the

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    same RIN throughout its development but will generally have different sequence numbers if it appears in different printed editions of the Unified Agenda. Sequence numbers are not used in the online Unified Agenda.

    U.S.C.--The United States Code is a consolidation and codification of all general and permanent laws of the United States. The U.S.C. is divided into 50 titles, each title covering a broad area of Federal law.

  12. How can users get copies of the plan and the agenda?

    Copies of the Federal Register issue containing the printed edition of The Regulatory Plan and the Unified Agenda (agency regulatory flexibility agendas) are available from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, P.O. Box 371954, Pittsburgh, PA 15250-7954. Telephone: (202) 512-1800 or 1-866-512-1800 (toll-free).

    Copies of individual agency materials may be available directly from the agency or may be found on the agency's Web site. Please contact the particular agency for further information.

    All editions of The Regulatory Plan and the Unified Agenda of Federal Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions since fall 1995 are available in electronic form at http://reginfo.gov, along with flexible search tools.

    The Government Printing Office's GPO FDsys Web site contains copies of the Agendas and Regulatory Plans that have been printed in the Federal Register. These documents are available at http://www.fdsys.gov.

    Dated: September 19, 2014.

    John C. Thomas,

    Executive Director.

    INTRODUCTION TO THE 2014 REGULATORY PLAN

    Executive Order 12866, issued in 1993, requires the production of a Unified Regulatory Agenda and Regulatory Plan. Executive Order 13563, issued in 2011, reaffirmed the requirements of Executive Order 12866.

    Consistent with these Executive Orders, the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs is providing the 2014 Unified Regulatory Agenda (Agenda) and the Regulatory Plan (Plan) for public review. The Agenda and Plan are preliminary statements of regulatory and deregulatory policies and priorities under consideration. The Agenda and Plan include ``active rulemakings'' that agencies could possibly conclude over the next year. As in previous years, however, this list may also include some rules that agencies will not end up issuing in the coming year.

    The Plan provides a list of important regulatory actions that agencies are considering for issuance in proposed or final form during the 2015 fiscal year. In contrast, the Agenda is a more inclusive list, including numerous ministerial actions and routine rulemakings, as well as long-term initiatives that agencies do not plan to complete in the coming year but on which they are actively working.

    A central purpose of the Agenda is to involve the public, including State, local, and tribal officials, in federal regulatory planning. The public examination of the Agenda and Plan will facilitate public participation in a regulatory system that, in the words of Executive Order 13563, protects ``public health, welfare, safety, and our environment while promoting economic growth, innovation, competitiveness, and job creation.'' We emphasize that rules listed on the Agenda must still undergo significant development and review before they are issued. No regulatory action can become effective until it has gone through the legally required processes, which generally include public notice and comment. Any proposed or final action must also satisfy the requirements of relevant statutes, Executive Orders, and Presidential Memoranda. Those requirements, public comments, and new information may or may not lead an agency to go forward with an action that is currently under contemplation.

    Among other information, the Agenda also provides an initial classification of whether a rulemaking is ``significant'' or ``economically significant'' under the terms of Executive Orders 12866 and 13563. Whether a regulation is listed on the Agenda as ``economically significant'' within the meaning of Executive Order 12866 (generally, having an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more) does not necessarily indicate whether it imposes high costs on the private sector. Economically significant actions may impose small costs or even no costs.

    Regulations may count as economically significant because they confer large benefits or remove significant burdens. For example, the Department of Health and Human Services issues regulations on an annual basis, pursuant to statute, to govern annual changes in Medicare payments. These payment regulations effectively authorize transfers of billions of dollars to hospitals and other health care providers each year. Regulations might therefore count as economically significant not because they impose significant regulatory costs on the private sector, but because they involve transfer payments as required or authorized by law.

    EOs 13563 and 13610: The Retrospective Review of Regulation

    Executive Order 13563 reaffirms the principles, structures, and definitions in Executive Order 12866, which has long governed regulatory review. Executive Order 13563 explicitly points to the need for predictability and certainty, as well as for use of the least burdensome means to achieving regulatory ends. These Executive Orders include the requirement that, to the extent permitted by law, agencies should not proceed with rulemaking in the absence of a reasoned determination that the benefits justify the costs; they establish public participation, integration and innovation, flexible approaches, scientific integrity, and retrospective review as areas of emphasis in regulation. In particular, Executive Order 13563 explicitly draws attention to the need to measure and to improve ``the actual results of regulatory requirements''--a clear reference to the importance of retrospective evaluation.

    Executive Order 13563 addresses new regulations that are under development as well as retrospective review of existing regulations that are already in place. With respect to agencies' review of existing regulations, the Executive Order calls for careful reassessment based on empirical analysis. The prospective analysis required by Executive Order 13563 may depend on a degree of prediction and speculation about a rule's likely impacts, and the actual costs and benefits of a regulation may be lower or higher than what was anticipated when the rule was originally developed.

    Executive Order 13610, Identifying and Reducing Regulatory Burdens, issued in 2012, institutionalizes the retrospective or lookback mechanism set out in Executive Order 13563 by requiring agencies to report to OMB and the public twice each year (January and July) on the status of their retrospective review efforts, to ``describe progress, anticipated accomplishments, and proposed timelines for relevant actions.''

    Executive Orders 13563 and 13610 recognize that circumstances may change in a way that requires reconsideration of regulatory requirements. Lookback analysis allows agencies to reevaluate existing rules and to streamline, modify, or eliminate those regulations that do not make sense in their current form. The agencies' lookback efforts so far during this Administration have yielded nearly $20 billion in near term savings for the

    Page 76462

    American public, with significantly more to come.

    The Administration is continuing to work with agencies to institutionalize retrospective review so that agencies regularly review existing rules on the books to ensure they remain effective, cost-

    justified, and based on the best available science. By institutionalizing retrospective review of regulations, the Administration will continue to examine what is working and what is not, and eliminate unjustified and outdated regulations.

    Regulatory lookback is an ongoing exercise, and continues to be a high priority for the Administration. As part of that prioritization, the Administration requires that agencies regularly report about recent progress and coming initiatives. In accordance with Executive Order 13610 and Executive Order 13563, in July 2014, agencies submitted to OIRA the latest updates of their retrospective review plans. Federal agencies will again update their retrospective review plans this winter. We have also asked agencies to continue to emphasize regulatory lookbacks in their latest Regulatory Plans.

    Reflecting that focus, the current agenda lists 83 rules that are characterized as retroactively reviewing existing programs. Below are some examples of agency plans to reevaluate current practices, in accordance with Executive Orders 13563 and 13610:

    --The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is working on a rule to revise the requirements that Long-Term Care facilities must meet to participate in the Medicare and Medicaid programs. These proposed changes are necessary to reflect the substantial advances that have been made over the past several years in the theory and practice of service delivery and safety. These proposals are also an integral part of HHS's efforts to achieve broad-based improvements both in the quality of health care furnished through Federal programs, and in patient safety, while at the same time reducing procedural burdens on providers.

    --The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is working on a final rule to streamline the inspection and home warranty requirements for Federal Housing Administration (FHA) single family mortgage insurance and, in doing so, would increase choice and lower the costs for FHA borrowers. First, HUD would remove regulations that require the use of an inspector from the FHA Inspector Roster as a condition for FHA mortgage insurance. This change is based on the recognition of the sufficiency and quality of inspections carried out by local jurisdictions, and HUD expects the rule will increase competition and choice of inspectors among lenders. Second, this rule would also remove the regulations requiring homeowners to purchase 10-year protection plans from FHA-approved warranty issuers in order to qualify for high loan-to-value FHA-insured mortgages. This change is based on the increased quality of construction materials and the standardization of building codes and building code enforcement, and HUD expects the rule will reduce burden on homeowners that do not want to purchase warranties and increase choice for the homeowners that still want to purchase warranties. In total, HUD estimates up to $29 million in warranty expenditures avoided, $100,000 in paperwork burden savings for the public, and $50,000 in administrative cost savings for HUD.

    --The Department of Labor is working to revise existing Sex Discrimination Guidelines, which have not been substantively updated since 1973, and to replace them with regulations that align with current law and legal principles in order to address their application to current workplace practices and issues.

    E.O. 13609: International Regulatory Cooperation

    In addition to using regulatory lookback as a tool to make our regulatory system more efficient, the Administration has been focused on promoting international regulatory cooperation. International regulatory cooperation supports economic growth, job creation, innovation, trade and investment, while also protecting public health, safety, and welfare. In May 2012 President Obama issued Executive Order 13609, Promoting International Regulatory Cooperation, which emphasizes the importance of these efforts as a key tool for eliminating unnecessary differences in regulation between the United States and its major trading partners. Additionally, as part of the regulatory lookback initiative, Executive Order 13609 requires agencies to ``consider reforms to existing significant regulations that address unnecessary differences in regulatory requirements between the United States and its major trading partners . . . when stakeholders provide adequate information to the agency establishing that the differences are unnecessary.''

    Executive Order 13609 also directed agencies to submit a Regulatory Plan that includes ``a summary of its international regulatory cooperation activities that are reasonably anticipated to lead to significant regulations, with an explanation of how these activities advance the purposes of Executive Order 13563,'' and Executive Order 13609. Further, Executive Order 13609 requires agencies to ``ensure that significant regulations that the agency identifies as having significant international impacts are designated as such'' in the Regulatory Agenda. In furtherance of this focus on international regulatory cooperation, this summer, the Administration and Canada released the U.S.-Canada Regulatory Cooperation Council (RCC) Joint Forward Plan.\1\ The Forward Plan represents a significant pivot point for the Administration's regulatory cooperation relationships with Canada, and outlines new Federal agency-level partnership arrangements to help institutionalize the way our regulators work together. The Forward Plan will help remove duplicative requirements, develop common standards, and identify potential areas where future regulation may unnecessarily differ. This kind of international cooperation on regulations between the United States and Canada will help eliminate barriers to doing business in the United States or with U.S. companies, grow the economy, and create jobs. The Forward Plan identifies 24 areas of cooperation where the United States and Canada will work together to implement over the next three to five years in order to modernize our thinking around international regulatory cooperation and develop a toolbox of strategies to address international regulatory issues as they arise. We expect that future Agendas will reflect strong evidence of this partnership.

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \1\ Available at: http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/omb/oira/irc/us-canada-rcc-joint-forward-plan.pdf.

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The Administration continues to foster a regulatory system that emphasizes that careful consideration of costs and benefits, public participation, integration and innovation, flexible approaches, and science. These requirements are meant to produce a regulatory system that draws on recent learning, that is driven by evidence, and that is suited to the distinctive circumstances of the twenty-first century.

    Page 76463

    Department of Agriculture

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Regulation

    Sequence No. Title identifier No. Rulemaking stage

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    1............................. National Organic Program, 0581-AD08 Proposed Rule Stage.

    Origin of Livestock, NOP-

    11-0009.

    2............................. National Organic Program, 0581-AD20 Proposed Rule Stage.

    Organic Pet Food

    Standards.

    3............................. National Organic Program, 0581-AD31 Proposed Rule Stage.

    Organic Apiculture

    Practice Standard, NOP-

    12-0063.

    4............................. National Organic 0581-AD34 Proposed Rule Stage.

    Program_Organic

    Aquaculture Standards.

    5............................. Exemption of Producers 0581-AD37 Proposed Rule Stage.

    and Handlers of Organic

    Products From Assessment

    Under a Commodity

    Promotion Law.

    6............................. Noninsured Crop Disaster 0560-AI20 Final Rule Stage.

    Assistance Program.

    7............................. Conservation Compliance.. 0560-AI26 Final Rule Stage.

    8............................. Conservation Reserve 0560-AI30 Final Rule Stage.

    Program (CRP).

    9............................. Brucellosis and Bovine 0579-AD65 Proposed Rule Stage.

    Tuberculosis; Update of

    General Provisions.

    10............................ Establishing a 0579-AD71 Proposed Rule Stage.

    Performance Standard for

    Authorizing the

    Importation and

    Interstate Movement of

    Fruits and Vegetables.

    11............................ Viruses, Serums, Toxins, 0579-AD64 Final Rule Stage.

    and Analogous Products;

    Single Label Claim for

    Veterinary Biological

    Products.

    12............................ User Fees for 0579-AD77 Final Rule Stage.

    Agricultural Quarantine

    and Inspection Services.

    13............................ Emergency Supplemental 0584-AE00 Proposed Rule Stage.

    Nutrition Assistance for

    Victims of Disasters

    Procedures.

    14............................ Child Nutrition Program 0584-AE08 Proposed Rule Stage.

    Integrity.

    15............................ Child and Adult Care Food 0584-AE18 Proposed Rule Stage.

    Program: Meal Pattern

    Revisions Related to the

    Healthy, Hunger-Free

    Kids Act of 2010.

    16............................ Enhancing Retailer 0584-AE27 Proposed Rule Stage.

    Eligibility Standards in

    SNAP.

    17............................ Supplemental Nutrition 0584-AD88 Final Rule Stage.

    Assistance Program: Farm

    Bill of 2008 Retailer

    Sanctions.

    18............................ Child Nutrition Programs: 0584-AE25 Final Rule Stage.

    Local School Wellness

    Policy Implementation

    Under the Healthy,

    Hunger-Free Kids Act of

    2010.

    19............................ SNAP: Employment and 0584-AE33 Final Rule Stage.

    Training (E&T)

    Performance Measurement,

    Monitoring and Reporting

    Requirements.

    20............................ Requirements for the 0583-AD54 Proposed Rule Stage.

    Disposition of Non-

    Ambulatory Disabled Veal

    Calves.

    21............................ Mandatory Inspection of 0583-AD36 Final Rule Stage.

    Fish of the order

    Siluriformes and

    Products Derived From

    Such Fish.

    22............................ Electronic Export 0583-AD41 Final Rule Stage.

    Application and

    Certification as a

    Reimbursable Service and

    Flexibility in the

    Requirements for

    Official Export

    Inspection Marks,

    Devices, and

    Certificates.

    23............................ Descriptive Designation 0583-AD45 Final Rule Stage.

    for Needle- or Blade-

    Tenderized (Mechanically

    Tenderized) Beef

    Products.

    24............................ Records to be Kept by 0583-AD46 Final Rule Stage.

    Official Establishments

    and Retail Stores That

    Grind Raw Beef Products.

    25............................ Forest Service Manual 0596-AC82 Final Rule Stage.

    2020_Ecological

    Restoration and

    Resilience Policy.

    26............................ Land Management Planning 0596-AD06 Final Rule Stage.

    Rule Policy.

    27............................ Rural Energy for America 0570-AA76 Final Rule Stage.

    Program.

    28............................ Business and Industry 0570-AA85 Final Rule Stage.

    (B&I) Guaranteed Loan

    Program.

    29............................ Biorefinery, Renewable 0570-AA93 Final Rule Stage.

    Chemical, and Biobased

    Product Manufacturing

    Assistance Program.

    30............................ Agricultural Conservation 0578-AA61 Final Rule Stage.

    Easement Program.

    31............................ Environmental Quality 0578-AA62 Final Rule Stage.

    Incentives Program

    (EQIP) Interim Rule.

    32............................ Conservation Stewardship 0578-AA63 Final Rule Stage.

    Program Interim Rule.

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Department of Commerce

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Regulation

    Sequence No. Title identifier No. Rulemaking stage

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    33............................ Requirements for 0648-AY15 Proposed Rule Stage.

    Importation of Fish and

    Fish Product under the

    U.S. Marine Mammal

    Protection Act.

    34............................ Designation of Critical 0648-AY54 Proposed Rule Stage.

    Habitat for the North

    Atlantic Right Whale.

    35............................ Revision of Hawaiian Monk 0648-BA81 Proposed Rule Stage.

    Seal Critical Habitat.

    36............................ Revision of the National 0648-BB92 Proposed Rule Stage.

    Standard 1 Guidelines.

    37............................ Fishery Management Plan 0648-AS65 Final Rule Stage.

    for Regulating Offshore

    Marine Aquaculture in

    the Gulf of Mexico.

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Department of Defense

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Regulation

    Sequence No. Title identifier No. Rulemaking stage

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    38............................ Limitations on Terms of 0790-AJ10 Proposed Rule Stage.

    Consumer Credit Extended

    to Service Members and

    Dependents.

    39............................ Defense Industrial Base 0790-AJ14 Proposed Rule Stage.

    (DIB) Cyber Security/

    Information Assurance

    (CS/IA) Activities:

    Amendment.

    40............................ Service Academies........ 0790-AI19 Final Rule Stage.

    Page 76464

    41............................ Foreign Commercial 0750-AI32 Final Rule Stage.

    Satellite Services

    (DFARS Case 2014-D010).

    42............................ CHAMPUS/TRICARE: Pilot 0720-AB60 Final Rule Stage.

    Program for Refills of

    Maintenance Medications

    for TRICARE For Life

    Beneficiaries Through

    the TRICARE Mail Order

    Program.

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Department of Education

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Regulation

    Sequence No. Title identifier No. Rulemaking stage

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    43............................ Pay As You Earn.......... 1840-AD18 Proposed Rule Stage.

    44............................ Workforce Innovation and 1830-AA21 Proposed Rule Stage.

    Opportunity Act.

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Department of Energy

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Regulation

    Sequence No. Title identifier No. Rulemaking stage

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    45............................ Energy Conservation 1904-AD09 Prerule Stage.

    Standards for General

    Service Lamps.

    46............................ Energy Efficiency 1904-AC11 Proposed Rule Stage.

    Standards for

    Manufactured Housing.

    47............................ Energy Conservation 1904-AD20 Proposed Rule Stage.

    Standards for

    Residential Non-

    weatherized Gas Furnaces.

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Department of Health and Human Services

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Regulation

    Sequence No. Title identifier No. Rulemaking stage

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    48............................ Current Good 0910-AG10 Proposed Rule Stage.

    Manufacturing Practice

    and Hazard Analysis and

    Risk-Based Preventive

    Controls for Food for

    Animals.

    49............................ Standards for the 0910-AG35 Proposed Rule Stage.

    Growing, Harvesting,

    Packing, and Holding of

    Produce for Human

    Consumption.

    50............................ Current Good 0910-AG36 Proposed Rule Stage.

    Manufacturing and Hazard

    Analysis, and Risk-Based

    Preventive Controls for

    Human Food.

    51............................ Reports of Distribution 0910-AG45 Proposed Rule Stage.

    and Sales Information

    for Antimicrobial Active

    Ingredients Used in Food-

    Producing Animals.

    52............................ Foreign Supplier 0910-AG64 Proposed Rule Stage.

    Verification Program.

    53............................ ``Tobacco Products'' 0910-AG38 Final Rule Stage.

    Subject to the Federal

    Food, Drug, and Cosmetic

    Act, as Amended by the

    Family Smoking

    Prevention and Tobacco

    Control Act.

    54............................ Food Labeling: Calorie 0910-AG56 Final Rule Stage.

    Labeling of Articles of

    Food Sold in Vending

    Machines.

    55............................ Food Labeling: Nutrition 0910-AG57 Final Rule Stage.

    Labeling of Standard

    Menu Items in

    Restaurants and Similar

    Retail Food

    Establishments.

    56............................ Accreditation of Third- 0910-AG66 Final Rule Stage.

    Party Auditors/

    Certification Bodies to

    Conduct Food Safety

    Audits and to Issue

    Certifications.

    57............................ Revision of Postmarketing 0910-AG88 Final Rule Stage.

    Reporting Requirements

    Discontinuance or

    Interruption in Supply

    of Certain Products

    (Drug Shortages).

    58............................ Supplemental Applications 0910-AG94 Final Rule Stage.

    Proposing Labeling

    Changes for Approved

    Drugs and Biological

    Products.

    59............................ Veterinary Feed Directive 0910-AG95 Final Rule Stage.

    60............................ Reform of Requirements 0938-AR61 Proposed Rule Stage.

    for Long-Term Care

    Facilities (CMS-3260-P).

    61............................ Mental Health Parity and 0938-AS24 Proposed Rule Stage.

    Addiction Equity Act of

    2008; the Application to

    Medicaid Managed Care,

    CHIP, and Alternative

    Benefit Plans (CMS-2333-

    P).

    62............................ Electronic Health Record 0938-AS26 Proposed Rule Stage.

    (EHR) Incentive

    Programs_Stage 3 (CMS-

    3310-P).

    63............................ CY 2016 Revisions to 0938-AS40 Proposed Rule Stage.

    Payment Policies under

    the Physician Fee

    Schedule and Other

    Revisions to Medicare

    Part B (CMS-1631-P).

    64............................ Hospital Inpatient 0938-AS41 Proposed Rule Stage.

    Prospective Payment

    System for Acute Care

    Hospitals and the Long-

    Term Care Hospital

    Prospective Payment

    System and FY 2016 Rates

    (CMS-1632-P).

    65............................ CY 2016 Hospital 0938-AS42 Proposed Rule Stage.

    Outpatient PPS Policy

    Changes and Payment

    Rates and Ambulatory

    Surgical Center Payment

    System Policy Changes

    and Payment Rates (CMS-

    1633-P).

    66............................ Eligibility Notices, Fair 0938-AS27 Final Rule Stage.

    Hearing and Appeal

    Processes for Medicaid

    and Exchange Eligibility

    Appeals, and Other

    Eligibility and

    Enrollment Provisions

    (CMS-2334-F2).

    67............................ Child Care and 0970-AC53 Final Rule Stage.

    Development Fund Reforms

    to Support Child

    Development and Working

    Families.

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Page 76465

    Department of Homeland Security

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Regulation

    Sequence No. Title identifier No. Rulemaking stage

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    68............................ Ammonium Nitrate Security 1601-AA52 Final Rule Stage.

    Program.

    69............................ Asylum and Withholding 1615-AA41 Proposed Rule Stage.

    Definitions.

    70............................ New Classification for 1615-AA67 Proposed Rule Stage.

    Victims of Criminal

    Activity; Eligibility

    for the U Nonimmigrant

    Status.

    71............................ Exception to the 1615-AB89 Proposed Rule Stage.

    Persecution Bar for

    Asylum, Refugee, and

    Temporary Protected

    Status, and Withholding

    of Removal.

    72............................ Administrative Appeals 1615-AB98 Proposed Rule Stage.

    Office: Procedural

    Reforms to Improve

    Efficiency.

    73............................ Classification for 1615-AA59 Final Rule Stage.

    Victims of Severe Forms

    of Trafficking in

    Persons; Eligibility for

    T Nonimmigrant Status.

    74............................ Application of 1615-AB77 Final Rule Stage.

    Immigration Regulations

    to the Commonwealth of

    the Northern Mariana

    Islands.

    75............................ Special Immigrant 1615-AB81 Final Rule Stage.

    Juvenile Petitions.

    76............................ Employment Authorization 1615-AB92 Final Rule Stage.

    for Certain H-4

    Dependent Spouses.

    77............................ Enhancing Opportunities 1615-AC00 Final Rule Stage.

    for H-1B1, CW-1, and E-3

    Nonimmigrants and EB-1

    Immigrants.

    78............................ Vessel Requirements for 1625-AA99 Final Rule Stage.

    Notices of Arrival and

    Departure, and Automatic

    Identification System.

    79............................ Inspection of Towing 1625-AB06 Final Rule Stage.

    Vessels.

    80............................ Transportation Worker 1625-AB21 Final Rule Stage.

    Identification

    Credential (TWIC); Card

    Reader Requirements.

    81............................ Amendments to Importer 1651-AA98 Proposed Rule Stage.

    Security Filing and

    Additional Carrier

    Requirements.

    82............................ Air Cargo Advance 1651-AB04 Proposed Rule Stage.

    Screening (ACAS).

    83............................ Changes to the Visa 1651-AA72 Final Rule Stage.

    Waiver Program To

    Implement the Electronic

    System for Travel

    Authorization (ESTA)

    Program.

    84............................ Implementation of the 1651-AA77 Final Rule Stage.

    Guam-CNMI Visa Waiver

    Program.

    85............................ Definition of Form I-94 1651-AA96 Final Rule Stage.

    to Include Electronic

    Format.

    86............................ Security Training for 1652-AA55 Proposed Rule Stage.

    Surface Mode Employees.

    87............................ Standardized Vetting, 1652-AA61 Proposed Rule Stage.

    Adjudication, and

    Redress Services.

    88............................ Passenger Screening Using 1652-AA67 Final Rule Stage.

    Advanced Imaging

    Technology.

    89............................ Adjustments to 1653-AA63 Final Rule Stage.

    Limitations on

    Designated School

    Official Assignment and

    Study By F-2 and M-2

    Nonimmigrants.

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Department of Housing and Urban Development

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Regulation

    Sequence No. Title identifier No. Rulemaking stage

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    90............................ Economic Opportunities 2529-AA91 Proposed Rule Stage.

    for Low- and Very Low-

    Income Persons (FR-4893).

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Department of Justice

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Regulation

    Sequence No. Title identifier No. Rulemaking stage

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    91............................ Implementation of the ADA 1190-AA60 Proposed Rule Stage.

    Amendments Act of 2008

    (Section 504 of the

    Rehabilitation Act of

    1973).

    92............................ Nondiscrimination on the 1190-AA61 Proposed Rule Stage.

    Basis of Disability;

    Accessibility of Web

    Information and Services

    of Public Accommodations.

    93............................ Nondiscrimination on the 1190-AA63 Proposed Rule Stage.

    Basis of Disability;

    Movie Captioning and

    Audio Description.

    94............................ Nondiscrimination on the 1190-AA65 Proposed Rule Stage.

    Basis of Disability:

    Accessibility of Web

    Information and Services

    of State and Local

    Governments.

    95............................ Implementation of the ADA 1190-AA59 Final Rule Stage.

    Amendments Act of 2008

    (Title II and Title III

    of the ADA).

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Department of Labor

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Regulation

    Sequence No. Title identifier No. Rulemaking stage

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    96............................ Workforce Innovation and 1205-AB73 Proposed Rule Stage.

    Opportunity Act.

    97............................ Respirable Crystalline 1219-AB36 Proposed Rule Stage.

    Silica.

    98............................ Criteria and Procedures 1219-AB72 Proposed Rule Stage.

    for Proposed Assessment

    of Civil Penalties.

    99............................ Proximity Detection 1219-AB78 Proposed Rule Stage.

    Systems for Mobile

    Machines in Underground

    Mines.

    100........................... Proximity Detection 1219-AB65 Final Rule Stage.

    Systems for Continuous

    Mining Machines in

    Underground Coal Mines.

    101........................... Infectious Diseases...... 1218-AC46 Prerule Stage.

    102........................... Occupational Exposure to 1218-AB70 Proposed Rule Stage.

    Crystalline Silica.

    Page 76466

    103........................... Improve Tracking of 1218-AC49 Final Rule Stage.

    Workplace Injuries and

    Illnesses.

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Department of Transportation

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Regulation

    Sequence No. Title identifier No. Rulemaking stage

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    104........................... Operation and 2120-AJ60 Proposed Rule Stage.

    Certification of Small

    Unmanned Aircraft

    Systems (sUAS).

    105........................... Slot Management and 2120-AJ89 Proposed Rule Stage.

    Transparency for

    LaGuardia Airport, John

    1. Kennedy International

      Airport, and Newark

      Liberty International

      Airport.

      106........................... Drug and Alcohol Testing 2120-AK09 Proposed Rule Stage.

      of Certain Maintenance

      Provider Employees

      Located Outside of the

      United States.

      107........................... Pilot Records Database 2120-AK31 Proposed Rule Stage.

      (HR 5900).

      108........................... Safety Management Systems 2120-AJ86 Final Rule Stage.

      for Certificate Holders.

      109........................... National Goals and 2125-AF53 Proposed Rule Stage.

      Performance Management

      Measures (MAP-21).

      110........................... National Goals and 2125-AF54 Proposed Rule Stage.

      Performance Management

      Measures (MAP-21).

      111........................... Carrier Safety Fitness 2126-AB11 Proposed Rule Stage.

      Determination.

      112........................... Electronic Logging 2126-AB20 Proposed Rule Stage.

      Devices and Hours of

      Service Supporting

      Documents (MAP-21).

      113........................... Commercial Driver's 2126-AB18 Final Rule Stage.

      License Drug and Alcohol

      Clearinghouse (MAP-21).

      114........................... Fuel Efficiency Standards 2127-AL52 Proposed Rule Stage.

      for Medium- and Heavy-

      Duty Vehicles and Work

      Trucks: Phase 2.

      115........................... Sound for Hybrid and 2127-AK93 Final Rule Stage.

      Electric Vehicles.

      116........................... Electronic Stability 2127-AK97 Final Rule Stage.

      Control Systems for

      Heavy Vehicles (MAP-21).

      117........................... State Safety Oversight 2132-AB19 Proposed Rule Stage.

      (MAP-21).

      118........................... Pipeline Safety: Safety 2137-AE66 Proposed Rule Stage.

      of On-Shore Liquid

      Hazardous Pipelines.

      119........................... Pipeline Safety: Gas 2137-AE72 Proposed Rule Stage.

      Transmission (RRR).

      120........................... Hazardous Materials: 2137-AE91 Final Rule Stage.

      Enhanced Tank Car

      Standards and

      Operational Controls for

      High-Hazard Flammable

      Trains.

      ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

      Department of Veterans Affairs

      ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

      Regulation

      Sequence No. Title identifier No. Rulemaking stage

      ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

      121........................... Expedited Senior 2900-AP30 Final Rule Stage.

      Executive Removal

      Authority.

      ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

      Environmental Protection Agency

      ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

      Regulation

      Sequence No. Title identifier No. Rulemaking stage

      ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

      122........................... Review of the National 2060-AP38 Proposed Rule Stage.

      Ambient Air Quality

      Standards for Ozone.

      123........................... Review of the National 2060-AQ44 Proposed Rule Stage.

      Ambient Air Quality

      Standards for Lead.

      124........................... Carbon Pollution Emission 2060-AR33 Proposed Rule Stage.

      Guidelines for Existing

      Stationary Sources: EGUs

      in Indian Country and

      U.S. Territories.

      125........................... Greenhouse Gas Emissions 2060-AS16 Proposed Rule Stage.

      and Fuel Efficiency

      Standards for Medium-

      and Heavy-Duty Engines

      and Vehicles_Phase 2.

      126........................... Renewable Fuel 2015 2060-AS22 Proposed Rule Stage.

      Volume Standards.

      127........................... Pesticides; Certification 2070-AJ20 Proposed Rule Stage.

      of Pesticide Applicators.

      128........................... Polychlorinated Biphenyls 2070-AJ38 Proposed Rule Stage.

      (PCBs); Reassessment of

      Use Authorizations.

      129........................... Lead; Renovation, Repair, 2070-AJ56 Proposed Rule Stage.

      and Painting Program for

      Public and Commercial

      Buildings.

      130........................... Revisions to the National 2050-AE87 Proposed Rule Stage.

      Oil and Hazardous

      Substances Pollution

      Contingency Plan;

      Subpart J Product

      Schedule Listing

      Requirements.

      131........................... User Fee Schedule for 2050-AG80 Proposed Rule Stage.

      Electronic Hazardous

      Waste Manifest.

      132........................... Modernization of the 2050-AG82 Proposed Rule Stage.

      Accidental Release

      Prevention Regulations

      Under Clean Air Act.

      133........................... Petroleum Refinery Sector 2060-AQ75 Final Rule Stage.

      Risk and Technology

      Review and New Source

      Performance Standards.

      134........................... Standards of Performance 2060-AQ91 Final Rule Stage.

      for Greenhouse Gas

      Emissions From New

      Stationary Sources:

      Electric Utility

      Generating Units.

      135........................... Implementation of the 2060-AR34 Final Rule Stage.

      2008 National Ambient

      Air Quality Standards

      for Ozone: State

      Implementation Plan

      Requirements.

      136........................... Carbon Pollution 2060-AR88 Final Rule Stage.

      Standards for Modified

      and Reconstructed

      Stationary Sources:

      Electric Utility

      Generating Units.

      137........................... Pesticides; Agricultural 2070-AJ22 Final Rule Stage.

      Worker Protection

      Standard Revisions.

      138........................... Formaldehyde; Third-Party 2070-AJ44 Final Rule Stage.

      Certification Framework

      for the Formaldehyde

      Standards for Composite

      Wood Products.

      Page 76467

      139........................... Formaldehyde Emissions 2070-AJ92 Final Rule Stage.

      Standards for Composite

      Wood Products.

      140........................... Standards for the 2050-AE81 Final Rule Stage.

      Management of Coal

      Combustion Residuals

      Generated by Commercial

      Electric Power Producers.

      141........................... Revising Underground 2050-AG46 Final Rule Stage.

      Storage Tank

      Regulations_Revisions to

      Existing Requirements

      and New Requirements for

      Secondary Containment

      and Operator Training.

      142........................... Effluent Limitations 2040-AF14 Final Rule Stage.

      Guidelines and Standards

      for the Steam Electric

      Power Generating Point

      Source Category.

      143........................... Water Quality Standards 2040-AF16 Final Rule Stage.

      Regulatory Revisions.

      144........................... Definition of ``Waters of 2040-AF30 Final Rule Stage.

      the United States''

      Under the Clean Water

      Act.

      ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

      Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

      ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

      Regulation

      Sequence No. Title identifier No. Rulemaking stage

      ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

      145........................... Federal Sector Equal 3046-AB00 Prerule Stage.

      Employment Opportunity

      Process.

      146........................... The Federal Sector's 3046-AA94 Proposed Rule Stage.

      Obligation To Be a Model

      Employer of Individuals

      With Disabilities.

      147........................... Amendments to Regulations 3046-AB01 Proposed Rule Stage.

      Under the Americans With

      Disabilities Act.

      148........................... Amendments to Regulations 3046-AB02 Proposed Rule Stage.

      Under the Genetic

      Information

      Nondiscrimination Act of

      2008.

      ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

      Social Security Administration

      ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

      Regulation

      Sequence No. Title identifier No. Rulemaking stage

      ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

      149........................... Revised Medical Criteria 0960-AG65 Proposed Rule Stage.

      for Evaluating Digestive

      Disorders (3441P).

      150........................... Revisions to 0960-AH63 Proposed Rule Stage.

      Representative Code of

      Conduct (3835P).

      151........................... Revised Medical Criteria 0960-AF35 Final Rule Stage.

      for Evaluating

      Neurological Impairments

      (806F).

      152........................... Revised Medical Criteria 0960-AF88 Final Rule Stage.

      for Evaluating

      Hematological Disorders

      (974F).

      153........................... Revised Medical Criteria 0960-AG28 Final Rule Stage.

      for Evaluating Growth

      Disorders and Weight

      Loss in Children (3163F).

      154........................... Use of Date of Written 0960-AG58 Final Rule Stage.

      Statement as Filing Date

      (3431F).

      155........................... Revised Medical Criteria 0960-AG71 Final Rule Stage.

      for Evaluating Immune

      (HIV) System Disorders

      (3466F).

      156........................... Revised Medical Criteria 0960-AH43 Final Rule Stage.

      for Evaluating Cancer

      (Malignant Neoplastic

      Diseases) (3757F).

      157........................... Submission of Evidence in 0960-AH53 Final Rule Stage.

      Disability Claims

      (3802F).

      158........................... Social Security Number 0960-AH68 Final Rule Stage.

      Card Applications

      (3855I).

      ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

      Nuclear Regulatory Commission

      ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

      Regulation

      Sequence No. Title identifier No. Rulemaking stage

      ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

      159........................... Revision of Fee 3150-AJ44 Proposed Rule Stage.

      Schedules: Fee Recovery

      for FY 2015 NRC-2014-

      0200.

      ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

      BILLING CODE 6820-27-P

      DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE (USDA)

      Statement of Regulatory Priorities

      In FY 2015, USDA will focus on a number of high-priority regulations necessary to implement the Agricultural Act of 2014 (Farm Bill). This legislation, which was signed into law on February 7, 2014, provides authorization for services and programs that impact every American and millions of people around the world. The new Farm Bill builds on historic economic gains in rural America over the past five years, while achieving meaningful reform and billions of dollars in savings for the taxpayer. The new Farm Bill will allow USDA to continue record accomplishments on behalf of the American people, while providing new opportunity and creating jobs across rural America. It will enable USDA to further expand markets for agricultural products at home and abroad, strengthen conservation efforts, create new opportunities for local and regional food systems and grow the biobased economy. It will provide a dependable safety net for America's farmers, ranchers and growers. It will maintain important agricultural research and ensure access to safe and nutritious food for all Americans. USDA's regulatory efforts in the coming year will modify existing regulations and introduce new regulatory actions necessary to implement the 2014 Farm Bill and to achieve the following goals identified in the Department's Strategic Plan for 2010-2015:

      Assist rural communities to create prosperity so they are self-sustaining, re-populating, and economically thriving. USDA is the leading advocate for rural America. The Department supports rural communities and enhances quality of life for rural residents by improving

      Page 76468

      their economic opportunities, community infrastructure, environmental health, and the sustainability of agricultural production. The common goal is to help create thriving rural communities with good jobs where people want to live and raise families where children have economic opportunities and a bright future.

      Ensure our national forests and private working lands are conserved, restored, and made more resilient to climate change, while enhancing our water resources. America's prosperity is inextricably linked to the health of our lands and natural resources. Forests, farms, ranches, and grasslands offer enormous environmental benefits as a source of clean air, clean and abundant water, and wildlife habitat. These lands generate economic value by supporting the vital agriculture and forestry sectors, attracting tourism and recreational visitors, sustaining green jobs, and producing ecosystem services, food, fiber, timber and non-timber products. They are also of immense social importance, enhancing rural quality of life, sustaining scenic and culturally important landscapes, and providing opportunities to engage in outdoor activity and reconnect with the land.

      Help America promote agricultural production and biotechnology exports as America works to increase food security. A productive agricultural sector is critical to increasing global food security. For many crops, a substantial portion of domestic production is bound for overseas markets. USDA helps American farmers and ranchers use efficient and sustainable production, biotechnology, and other emergent technologies to enhance food security around the world and find export markets for their products.

      Ensure that all of America's children have access to safe, nutritious, and balanced meals. A plentiful supply of safe and nutritious food is essential to the well-being of every family and the healthy development of every child in America. USDA provides nutrition assistance to children and low-income people who need it and works to improve the healthy eating habits of all Americans, especially children. In addition, the Department safeguards the quality and wholesomeness of meat, poultry, and processed egg products, and it addresses and prevents loss or damage from pests and disease outbreaks.

      Important regulatory activities supporting the accomplishment of these goals in 2015 will include the following:

      Strengthening Food Safety Inspection. USDA will continue to develop science-based regulations that improve the safety of meat, poultry, and processed egg products in the least burdensome and most cost-effective manner. Existing regulations will be revised to address emerging food safety challenges, streamlined to remove excessively prescriptive requirements, and updated to be made consistent with Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point principles. Among other actions, USDA will amend regulations so that information presented on food packaging is useful in assisting consumers with purchasing and preparation decisions. The agency will also use technology to streamline and improve the integrity of export certificates. To help small businesses comply with food safety regulatory requirements, FSIS will continue its collaboration with other USDA and State partners in its small business outreach program.

      Improving Access to Nutrition Assistance and Dietary Behaviors. As changes are made to the nutrition assistance programs, USDA will work to ensure access to program benefits, strengthen program integrity, improve diets and healthy eating, and promote physical activity consistent with the national effort to reduce obesity. In support of these activities in 2014, the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) plans to publish a proposed rule updating meal pattern revisions for the Child and Adult Care Food Program, as well as a proposal to enhance the eligibility standards for SNAP retailers to increase access to more healthful foods. FNS will continue to work to implement rules that minimize participant and vendor fraud in its nutrition assistance programs.

      Collaborating with Producers to Conserve Natural Resources. The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is amending the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) and Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) regulations to incorporate programmatic changes as authorized by the Farm Bill. CSP promotes consultation at the local level to identify priority resource concerns in geographic areas within a State. CSP encourages producers to address environmental concerns while improving and conserving the quality and condition of natural resources in a comprehensive manner. EQIP provides assistance to landowners to address natural resource issues that impact soil, water and related natural resources, including grazing lands, wetlands, and wildlife habitat. The Farm Bill folded the former Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program (WHIP) into EQIP.

      Promoting Innovation through Partnerships. NRCS has a long history of providing science-based, technically sound, and proven conservation practices, advice, and alternatives to America's farmers and ranchers. Traditionally, NRCS has worked with USDA agencies, universities, and other nongovernmental organizations to identify and refine new cutting-edge technology through on-farm trials and research. Using this approach, NRCS continually reviews and revises conservation practices based on new research or changes in technology.

      Through the Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) component of EQIP, NRCS involves additional partners in identifying and demonstrating new approaches for possible NRCS adoption. CIG's purpose is to stimulate the adoption of innovative conservation approaches and technologies in agricultural production and leverage additional investments in conservation. Partners assist NRCS with meeting the CIG goals of identifying new conservation technologies and practices, conducting demonstrations and field tests, and integrating widely applicable technologies and practices into NRCS' toolkit of practices and activities to help agricultural producers better address natural resource concerns. NRCS is updating the CIG section of the EQIP regulation to be consistent with Farm Bill amendments.

      Protecting Productive Agricultural Lands and Wetlands. The Farm Bill combined several NRCS easement programs, including the Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP), the Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program (FRPP), and the Grassland Reserve Program (GRP) into the new Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP). ACEP will require its own regulation to replace those of the repealed WRP, FRPP, and GRP programs. ACEP will have two components: an agricultural land easement component under which NRCS assists eligible entities to protect agricultural land by limiting non-agricultural land uses and a wetland reserve easement component under which NRCS provides technical and financial assistance directly to landowners to restore, protect and enhance wetlands through the purchase of wetlands reserve easements. NRCS will maintain the existing easements and contracts formed under the previous programs; however, they will all be considered part of ACEP enrollment.

      Addressing Conservation Concerns on a Regional Level. The Farm Bill established the Regional Conservation

      Page 76469

      Partnership Program (RCPP) to promote the implementation of conservation activities through providing support for agreements between producers and partner groups. Producers receive technical and financial assistance through RCPP while NRCS and its partners help producers install and maintain conservation activities. These projects may focus on water quality and quantity, soil erosion, wildlife habitat, drought mitigation, flood control, and other regional priorities. Partners include producer associations, State or local governments, Indian tribes, non-governmental organizations, and institutions of higher education. RCPP projects affect multiple agricultural or nonindustrial private forest operations on a local, regional, State, or multistate level. The Farm Bill combined several regional conservation initiatives into this program. RCPP is implemented through an announcement of program funding through Grants.gov; however, NRCS is publishing updates in the CSP, EQIP and ACEP regulations to indicate that these are covered programs through which RCPP can operate.

      Establish Framework for Managing our Nation's Forests and Grasslands. The Forest Service will publish proposed guidance for implementation of the 2012 Land Management Planning Rule. This guidance will provide the detailed monitoring, assessment, and documentation requirements that the managers of our national forests and grasslands require to begin revising their land management plans under the 2012 Planning Rule. Currently 70 of the 120 Forest Service's Land Management Plans are expired and in need of revision.

      Making Marketing and Regulatory Programs More Focused. The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) plans to amend its veterinary biologics regulations to provide for the use of a simpler, uniform label format to better meet the needs of veterinary biologics consumers. APHIS also plans to revise tuberculosis and brucellosis regulations to better reflect the distribution of these diseases and thereby minimize the impacts on livestock producers while continuing to address these livestock diseases. In the area of plant health, APHIS proposes to expand the streamlined method of considering the importation and interstate movement of fruits and vegetables. The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) will support the organic sector by updating the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances as advised by the National Organic Standards Board, streamlining organic regulatory enforcement actions, developing organic pet food standards, and proposing that all existing and replacement dairy animals from which milk or milk products are intended to be sold as organic must be managed organically from the last third of gestation.

      Promoting Biobased Products. USDA will continue to promote sustainable economic opportunities to create jobs in rural communities through the purchase and use of biobased products through the BioPreferredsupreg program. USDA will finalize regulations to revise the BioPreferredsupreg program guidelines to continue adding designated product categories to the preferred procurement program, including intermediates and feedstocks and finished products made of intermediates and feedstocks. The Federal preferred procurement and the certified label parts of the program are voluntary; both are designed to assist biobased businesses in securing additional sales.

      Retrospective Review of Existing Regulations

      Pursuant to section 6 of Executive Order 13563 ``Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review (Jan. 18, 2011), the following initiatives are identified in the Department's Final Plan for Retrospective Analysis. The final agency plans, as well as periodic status updates for each initiative, are available online at http://www.whitehouse.gov/21stcenturygov/actions/21st-century-regulatory-system.

      ------------------------------------------------------------------------

      Significantly

      RIN Title reduce burdens on

      small businesses

      ------------------------------------------------------------------------

      0583-AC59................ Prior Labeling Approval Yes.

      System: Generic Label

      Approval.

      0583-AD41................ Electronic Export Yes.

      Application and

      Certification Fee.

      0583-AD32................ Modernization of Poultry Yes.

      Slaughter Inspection.

      0570-AA76................ Rural Energy America Yes.

      Program.

      0570-AA85................ Business and Industry Yes.

      Loan Guaranteed Program.

      0575-AC91................ Community Facilities Yes.

      Loan and Grants.

      0596-AD01................ National Environmental Yes.

      Policy Act (NEPA)

      Efficiencies.

      ------------------------------------------------------------------------

      Subsequent to EO 13563 and consistent with its goals as well as the importance of public participation, President Obama issued Executive Order 13610 on Identifying and Reducing Regulatory Burdens in May 2012. Executive Order 13610 directs agencies, in part, to give priority consideration to those initiatives that will produce cost savings or significant reductions in paperwork burdens. Accordingly, reducing the regulatory burden on the American people and our trading partners is a priority for USDA, and we will continually work to improve the effectiveness of our existing regulations. As a result of our ongoing regulatory review and burden reduction efforts, USDA has identified the following burden-reducing initiatives:

      Increase Use of Generic Approval and Regulations Consolidation. FSIS is finalizing a rule that will expand the circumstances in which the labels of meat and poultry products will be deemed to be generically approved by FSIS. The rule will reduce regulatory burdens and generate a discounted Agency cost savings of $3.3 million over 10 years (discounted at 7 percent).

      Implement Electronic Export Application for Meat and Poultry Products. FSIS is finalizing a rule to provide exporters a fee-

      based option for transmitting U.S. certifications to foreign importers and governments electronically. Automating the export application and certification process will facilitate the export of U.S. meat, poultry, and egg products by streamlining the processes that are used while ensuring that foreign regulatory requirements are met.

      Streamline Forest Service National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) Compliance. The Forest Service, in cooperation with the Council on Environmental Quality, is promulgating rulemaking to establish three new Categorical Exclusions for simple restoration activities. These Categorical Exclusions will improve and streamline the NEPA process and reduce the paperwork burden, as it applies to Forest Service projects without reducing environmental protection.

      Page 76470

      Increase Accessibility to the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP). Under REAP, Rural Development provides guaranteed loans and grants to support the purchase, construction, or retrofitting of a renewable energy system. This rulemaking will streamline the application process for grants, lessening the burden on the applicant. The rulemaking is expected to reduce the information collection.

      Reduced Duplication in Farm Programs. The Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services (FFAS) mission area is reducing the paperwork burden on program participants by consolidating the information collections required to participate in farm programs administered by the Farm Service Agency (FSA) and the Federal crop insurance program administered by the Risk Management Agency (RMA). As a result, producers will be able to spend less time reporting information to USDA. Additionally, FSA and RMA will be better able to share information, thus improving operational efficiency. FFAS is simplifying and standardizing, to the extent practical, acreage reporting processes, program dates, and data definitions across the various USDA programs and agencies. FFAS is making improvements to allow producers to use information from their farm-management and precision agriculture systems for reporting production, planted and harvested acreage, and other key information needed to participate in USDA programs. FFAS is also streamlining the collection of producer information by FSA and RMA with the agricultural production information collected by the National Agricultural Statistics Service. These process changes allow for program data that is common across agencies to be collected once and utilized or redistributed to agency programs in which the producer chooses to participate. FFAS will conduct a pilot project in spring 2015 to test the ability of FSA county offices to receive electronic acreage reports through a third-party service provider; the pilot will add additional States following the 2014 small ``proof-of-concept'' in Illinois.

      Periodic status updates for these burden-reducing initiatives can be found online at: http://www.whitehouse.gov/21stcenturygov/actions/21st-century-regulatory-system.

      In addition to regulatory review initiatives identified under Executive Order 13563 and the paper work burden reduction initiatives identified under the Executive Order 13610, USDA has plans to initiate the following additional streamlining initiatives in 2015.

      Simplify FSA NEPA Compliance. FSA proposed revisions to its regulations that implement NEPA to update, improve, and clarify requirements. It also proposed new categorical exclusions and removing obsolete provisions. FSA will revise the regulations with any additional improvements being made based on public comments to the proposed rule. Annual cost savings to FSA as a result of this rule could be $345,000 from conducting 314 fewer environmental assessments per year, while retaining strong environmental protection.

      Simplify Equipment Contracts for Rural Utilities Service (RUS) Loans. RUS is proposing a rule that would result in a new standard Equipment Contract Form for use by Telecommunications Program borrowers. This new standardized contract would ensure that certain standards and specifications are met, and this new form would replace the current process that requires all construction providers to use their own resources to develop a contract for each project.

      Consolidate Community Facilities Programs Loan and Grant Requirements. The Rural Housing Service (RHS) is proposing to consolidate seven of the regulations used to service Community Facilities direct loans and grants into one streamlined regulation. This rule will reduce the time burden on RHS staff and provide the public with a single document that clearly outlines the requirements for servicing Community Facilities direct loans and grants.

      Update Tuberculosis and Brucellosis Programs. Given the success USDA has had in nearly eradicating tuberculosis and brucellosis in ruminants, APHIS will propose rulemaking to update and consolidate its regulations regarding these diseases to better reflect the current distribution of these diseases and the changes in which cattle, bison, and captive cervid are produced in the United States.

      Promoting International Regulatory Cooperation Under Executive Order 13609:

      President Obama issued Executive Order 13609 on promoting international regulatory cooperation in May 2012. The Executive order charges the Regulatory Working Group, an interagency working group chaired by the Administrator of Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA), with examining appropriate strategies and best practices for international regulatory cooperation. The Executive order also directs agencies to identify factors that should be taken into account in evaluating the effectiveness of regulatory approaches used by trading partners with whom the U.S. is engaged in regulatory cooperation. At this time, USDA is identifying international regulatory cooperation activities that are reasonably anticipated to lead to significant regulations, while working closely with the Administration to refine the guidelines implementing the Executive order. Apart from international regulatory cooperation, the Department has continued to identify regulations with international impacts, as it has done in the past. Such regulations are those that are expected to have international trade and investment effects or otherwise may be of interest to our international trading partners.

      USDA is diligently working to carry out the President's Executive order mandate with regard to regulatory cooperation as new regulations are developed. Several agencies within the Department are also actively engaged in interagency and Departmental regulatory cooperation initiatives being pursued as part of the U.S.-Mexico High Level Regulatory Cooperation Council (HLRCC) and the U.S.-Canada Regulatory Cooperation Council (RCC), as well as other fora. Specific projects are being pursued by USDA agencies such as AMS, APHIS, and FSIS and address a variety of regulatory oversight processes and requirements related to meat, poultry, and animal and plant health. Projects related to electronic certification, equivalence, meat nomenclature, and the efficient and safe flow of plants, animals and food across our shared borders are all regulatory cooperation pursuits these agencies are undertaking in order to secure better alignment among our countries without compromising the high standards of safety we have in place in the U.S. relative to food safety and public health, as well as plant and animal health, that are so critical to American agriculture.

      Major Regulatory Priorities

      This following represents summary information on prospective priority regulations as called for in Executive Orders 12866 and 13563:

      Food and Nutrition Service

      Mission: FNS works to end hunger and obesity through the administration of federal nutrition assistance programs including WIC, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and school meals.

      Page 76471

      Priorities: In addition to responding to provisions of legislation authorizing and modifying Federal nutrition assistance programs, FNS's 2015 regulatory plan supports USDA's Strategic Goal to ``ensure that all of America's children have access to safe, nutritious and balanced meals'' and its related objectives:

      Increase Access to Nutritious Food. This objective represents FNS's efforts to improve nutrition by providing access to program benefits (food consumed at home, school meals, commodities) and distributing State administrative funds to support program operations. To advance this objective, FNS plans to publish a final rule implementing the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010's Community Eligibility Provision, which eliminates the burden of household applications and increases access to free school lunches and breakfasts for children in eligible high-poverty schools. FNS will also publish a proposed rule to codify procedures for providing temporary SNAP benefits during emergencies for victims of disasters.

      Improve Program Integrity. FNS also plans to publish a number of rules to increase efficiency, reduce the burden of program operations, and further reduce improper payments. Program integrity provisions will continue to be strengthened in the SNAP and Child Nutrition programs to ensure Federal taxpayer dollars are spent effectively. To support this objective, FNS plans to publish a final rule from the 2008 Farm Bill that increases the penalty for SNAP authorized stores that are involved in the trafficking of Program benefits. Additionally, FNS plans to publish a proposed rule to establish consistent, outcome-focused performance measures for the SNAP Employment and Training Program. For Child Nutrition, FNS plans to publish a proposed rule to strengthen oversight requirements and institution disqualification procedures, allow the imposition of fines by USDA or State agencies for egregious and/or repeated program violations, and address several deficiencies identified through program audits and reviews.

      Promote Healthy Diet and Physical Activity Behaviors. This objective represents FNS's efforts to ensure that program benefits meet appropriate standards to effectively improve nutrition for program participants, to improve the diets of its clients through nutrition education, and to support the national effort to reduce obesity by promoting healthy eating and physical activity. To implement provisions included in the Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act of 2010. FNS plans to publish a proposed rule that updates the meal patterns for the Child and Adult Care Food Program to align them with the latest Dietary Guidelines for Americans and final rules that establish professional standards for school food service and State child nutrition program directors, require schools to develop local wellness policies that promote the health of students and address the growing problem of childhood obesity. Additionally, FNS plans to publish a proposed rule to implement the 2014 Farm Bill governing the eligibility of retail food stores participating in SNAP that will improve SNAP participants' access to healthy food options.

      Food Safety and Inspection Service

      Mission: FSIS is responsible for ensuring that meat, poultry, and processed egg products in interstate and foreign commerce are wholesome, not adulterated, and are properly marked, labeled, and packaged.

      Priorities: FSIS is committed to developing and issuing science-

      based regulations intended to ensure that meat, poultry, and processed egg products are wholesome and not adulterated or misbranded. FSIS regulatory actions support the objective to protect public health by ensuring that food is safe under USDA's goal to ensure access to safe food. To reduce the number of foodborne illnesses and increase program efficiencies, FSIS will continue to review its existing authorities and regulations to ensure that it can address emerging food safety challenges, to streamline excessively prescriptive regulations, and to revise or remove regulations that are inconsistent with the FSIS's Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) regulations. FSIS is also working with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to improve coordination and increase the effectiveness of inspection activities. FSIS's priority initiatives are as follows:

      Implement Inspection of Certain Fish, Including Catfish and Catfish Products. FSIS plans to issue a final rule to implement a new inspection system for all fish of the order Siluriformes, as required by the 2014 Farm Bill. The rule will define inspection requirements for this type of fish and will take into account the conditions under which the fish is raised and transported to a processing establishment.

      Streamline Export Application Processes through the Public Health Information System (PHIS). To support its food safety inspection activities, FSIS is continuing to implement PHIS, a user-friendly and Web-based system that automates many of the Agency's business processes. PHIS also enables greater exchange of information between FSIS and other Federal agencies, such as U.S. Customs and Border Protection, which is involved alongside FSIS in tracking cross-border movement of import and export shipments of meat, poultry, and processed egg products. To facilitate the implementation of some PHIS components, FSIS is finalizing regulations to provide for electronic export application and certification processes.

      Update Nutrition Facts Panels for Meat and Poultry Products. FSIS will propose to amend its regulations so that the nutrition labeling requirements for meat and poultry products reflect recent scientific research and dietary recommendations and to improve the presentation of nutrition information to assist consumers in maintaining healthy dietary practices. These revisions will be consistent with the recent changes that the Food and Drug Administration proposed for conventional foods and will ensure that there is consistency in how nutrition information is presented across the food supply.

      Ensure Accurate Labeling of Mechanically Tenderized Beef. FSIS has concluded that without proper labeling, raw or partially cooked mechanically tenderized beef products could be mistakenly perceived by consumers to be whole, intact muscle cuts. The fact that a cut of beef has been needle or blade-tenderized is a characterizing feature of the product and, as such, is a material fact likely to affect consumers' purchase decisions and should affect their preparation of the product. FSIS has also concluded that the addition of validated cooking instruction is required to ensure that potential pathogens throughout the product are destroyed. Without thorough cooking, pathogens that may have been introduced to the interior of the product during the tenderization process may remain in the product. The Agency will finalize regulations requiring that raw, mechanically tenderized (needle or blade) beef products be labeled to indicate that they are ``mechanically tenderized.''

      Improve the Efficiency of Product Recalls. FSIS is developing a final rule that will amend recordkeeping regulations to specify that all official establishments and retail stores that grind or chop raw beef products for sale in commerce must keep records that disclose the identity of the supplier of all source materials that they use in the preparation of each lot of raw ground or chopped product and identify the names of those source materials. FSIS

      Page 76472

      investigators and public health officials frequently use records kept by all levels of the food distribution chain, including the retail level, to identify and trace back product that is the source of the illness to the suppliers that produced the source material for the product. Access to this information will improve FSIS's ability to conduct timely and effective consumer foodborne illness investigations and other public health activities throughout the stream of commerce.

      Improve Compliance with the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act. FSIS has concluded that prohibiting the slaughter of all non-

      ambulatory disabled veal calves will improve compliance with the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act of 1978 (7 U.S.C. 1901 et seq.) and will also improve the Agency's inspection efficiency by eliminating the time that FSIS inspection program personnel spend re-inspecting non-ambulatory disabled veal calves. FSIS plans to propose to amend its regulations on ante-mortem inspection to remove a provision that permits establishments to set apart and hold for treatment veal calves that are unable to rise from a recumbent position and walk because they are tired or cold (9 CFR 309.13(b)). Under the proposed rule, non-

      ambulatory disabled veal calves that are offered for slaughter will be condemned and promptly euthanized.

      FSIS Small Business Implications. The great majority of businesses regulated by FSIS are small businesses. FSIS conducts a small business outreach program that provides critical training, access to food safety experts, and information resources, such as compliance guidance and questions and answers on various topics, in forms that are uniform, easily comprehended, and consistent. FSIS collaborates in this effort with other USDA agencies and cooperating State partners. For example, FSIS makes plant owners and operators aware of loan programs available through USDA's Rural Business and Cooperative programs to help them in upgrading their facilities. FSIS employees will meet with small and very small plant operators to learn more about their specific needs and explore how FSIS can tailor regulations to better meet the needs of small and very small establishments, while maintaining the highest level of food safety.

      Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service

      Mission: A major part of the mission of APHIS is to protect the health and value of American agricultural and natural resources. APHIS conducts programs to prevent the introduction of exotic pests and diseases into the United States and conducts surveillance, monitoring, control, and eradication programs for pests and diseases in this country. These activities enhance agricultural productivity and competitiveness and contribute to the national economy and the public health. APHIS also conducts programs to ensure the humane handling, care, treatment, and transportation of animals under the Animal Welfare Act.

      Priorities: APHIS continues to pursue initiatives to update its regulations to make them more flexible and performance-based. For example, in the area of animal health, APHIS is preparing a final rule to amend its veterinary biologics regulations to provide for the use of a simpler, uniform label format that would allow biologics licensees and permittees to more clearly communicate product performance information to the end user. In addition, the rule would simplify the evaluation of efficacy studies and reduce the amount of time required by APHIS to evaluate study data, thus allowing manufacturers to market their products sooner. APHIS has also prepared a proposed rule that would revise and consolidate its regulations regarding bovine tuberculosis and brucellosis to better reflect the distribution of these diseases and the current nature of cattle, bison, and captive cervid production in the United States. In the area of plant health, APHIS has prepared a proposed rule that would establish performance standards and a notice-based process for approving the interstate movement of fruits and vegetables from Hawaii and the U.S. Territories and the importation of those articles from other countries. In addition, APHIS will revise agricultural quarantine and inspection user fees so that fees collected are commensurate with the cost of providing the activity.

      Agricultural Marketing Service

      Mission: AMS's mission is to facilitate the competitive and efficient marketing of agricultural products. AMS provides marketing services to producers, manufacturers, distributors, importers, exporters, and consumers of food products. AMS also manages the government's food purchases, supervises food quality grading, maintains food quality standards, supervises the Federal research and promotion programs, and oversees the country of origin labeling program as well as the National Organic Program (NOP).

      Priorities: AMS intends to support the government's initiative to streamline regulatory actions by establishing a process to communicate fees for our voluntary user fee programs annually through publication of a Federal Register notice. AMS is also committed to ensuring the integrity of USDA organic products in the U.S. and throughout the world. In addition to its ongoing work to develop organic pet food, apiculture, and aquaculture standards, the Agency is moving forward with the following priority rulemakings that affect the organic industry:

      Research and Promotion Programs Organic Exemption. USDA intends to implement the 2014 Farm Bill provision to expand the organic exemption for research and promotion program assessments. This action would exempt organic operations with ``100 percent organic'' and ``organic'' products, including certain split operations, from paying research and promotion program assessments.

      Transitioning Dairy Animals into Organic Production. Members of the organic community, including dairy producers, organic interest groups, and the National Organic Standards Board have advocated for rulemaking on the allowance for transitioning dairy animals into organic production. Stakeholders have interpreted the current standard differently, creating inconsistencies across dairy producers. AMS has submitted a proposed rule for clearance on this issue. This proposed change to the organic standards is intended to level the playing field for organic dairy producers.

      Farm Service Agency

      Mission: FSA's mission is to deliver timely, effective programs and services to America's farmers and ranchers to support them in sustaining our Nation's vibrant agricultural economy, as well as to provide first-rate support for domestic and international food aid efforts. FSA has successfully expedited the implementation of several major regulatory priorities resulting from the 2014 Farm Bill, including new programs such as the Agriculture Risk Coverage Program, Price Loss Coverage Program, Margin Protection Program for Dairy, Dairy Product Donation Program, Cotton Transition Assistance Program, and improvements to existing programs such as disaster assistance programs, entity eligibility for Farm Loan Programs, and Microloans. FSA supports USDA's strategic goals by stabilizing farm income, providing credit to new or existing farmers and ranchers who are temporarily unable to obtain credit from commercial sources, and helping farm operations recover from the effects of disaster. FSA administers several conservation programs directed toward

      Page 76473

      agricultural producers. The largest program is the Conservation Reserve Program, which protects up to 32 million acres of environmentally sensitive land.

      Priorities: FSA is focused on continuing to implement the 2014 Farm Bill while providing the best possible service to producers while protecting the environment by updating and streamlining environmental compliance. FSA's priority initiatives are as follows:

      Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP). FSA will revise its NAP regulations to implement the 2014 Farm Bill changes. The 2014 Farm Bill changes include enhanced protection under NAP, which is also known as NAP buy-up to allow producers to buy additional NAP coverage for an additional premium; revised NAP eligibility requirements for coverage on tilled native sod; added coverage for sweet sorghum and biomass sorghum; service fee waivers for beginning and socially disadvantaged farmers.

      Conservation Compliance. FSA, working in coordination with NRCS and RMA, will revise the USDA conservation compliance regulations to implement the 2014 Farm Bill changes. The 2014 Farm Bill changes linking eligibility for any premium subsidy paid by FCIC on a policy or plan of federally reinsured crop insurance to be in compliance with Highly Erodible Land Conservation and Wetlands Conservation provisions. Since enactment of the 1985 Farm Bill, eligibility for most commodity, disaster, and conservation programs has been linked to compliance with the Highly Erodible Land Conservation and Wetland Conservation provisions. The 2014 Farm Bill continues the requirement that producers adhere to conservation compliance guidelines to be eligible for most programs administered by FSA and NRCS.

      Marketing Assistance Loans (MAL) and Loan Deficiency Payments (LDP). FSA will revise its MAL and LDP regulations to implement the 2014 Farm Bill changes. The 2014 Farm Bill changes reauthorize MAL and LDP for all eligible commodities including cotton, honey, and sugar loans, for the 2014 through 2018 crop years. The MAL and LDP Programs allow producers to receive short-term loans against their crops so that producers can market their crops at a time that is convenient for them, rather than being forced to sell immediately after harvest to pay the bills. The MAL and LDP programs are continued with no changes to the loan rates except for cotton, and there are no other changes to the basic structure of the programs. The changes extend the program years and add clarity to the regulations. MALs, LDPs and sugar loans are Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) programs administered by the Farm Service Agency (FSA).

      Farm Loan Programs (FLP) changes. FSA will revise its FLP regulations to implement the 2014 Farm Bill changes. The 2014 Farm Bill changes include expanding lending opportunities for thousands of farmers and ranchers to begin and continue operations, including greater flexibility in determining eligibility, raising loan limits, and emphasizing beginning and socially disadvantaged producers. Specific changes include: Eliminating loan term limits for guaranteed operating loans, modifying the definition of beginning farmers, allowing debt forgiveness on youth loans, increasing the guaranteed amount on conservation loans from 75 to 80 percent and 90 percent for beginning farmers and socially disadvantaged producers, changing the interest rate on Direct Farm Ownership loans that are made in conjunction with other lenders, and increasing the maximum loan amount for the down payment loan program from $225,000 to $300,000.

      Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP). FSA will revise its BCAP regulations to implement the 2014 Farm Bill changes. The 2014 Farm Bill changes include extending BCAP through 2018 and revising BCAP to add some new payment amounts and eligibility restrictions. Specific changes include: revising eligible materials to remove bagasse, add materials used for research material, and require that all woody biomass be harvested directly from the land and reducing the payment for collection, harvest, storage, and transportation matching payments to $20 per dry ton. BCAP provides financial assistance to producers who establish and harvest biomass crops and requires at least 10 percent of payments to be matching payments.

      Conservation Reserve Program (CRP). FSA will revise its CRP regulations to implement the 2014 Farm Bill changes. The 2014 Farm Bill changes include extending the authority to enroll acreage in CRP through September 30, 2018, and requiring enrollment to be no more than 24 million acres beginning October 1, 2016. There are 25.6 million acres enrolled in CRP, of which 2 million expired on September 30, 2014.

      Streamline Environmental Compliance (NEPA). FSA will revise its regulations that implement NEPA. The changes improve the efficiency, transparency, and consistency of NEPA implementation. Changes include aligning the regulations to NEPA regulations and guidance from the President's Council on Environmental Quality, providing a single set of regulations that reflect the Agency's current structure, clarifying the types of actions that require an Environmental Assessment (EA), and adding to the list of actions that are categorically excluded from further environmental review because they have no significant effect on the human environment. FSA will develop any additional changes resulting from public comments to the proposed rule.

      Forest Service

      Mission: FS's mission is to sustain the health, productivity, and diversity of the Nation's forests and rangelands to meet the needs of present and future generations. This includes protecting and managing National Forest System lands; providing technical and financial assistance to States, communities, and private forest landowners, plus developing and providing scientific and technical assistance; and the exchange of scientific information to support international forest and range conservation. FS regulatory priorities support the Department's goal to ensure our National forests are conserved, restored, and made more resilient to climate change, while enhancing our water resources.

      Priorities: FS is committed to developing and issuing science-based regulations intended to ensure public participation in the management of our Nation's national forests and grasslands, while also moving forward the Agency's ability to plan and conduct restoration projects on National Forest System lands. FS will continue to review its existing authorities and regulations to ensure that it can address emerging challenges, to streamline excessively burdensome business practices, and to revise or remove regulations that are inconsistent with the USDA's vision for restoring the health and function of the lands it is charged with managing. FS's priority initiatives are as follows:

      Implement Land Management Planning Framework. The Forest Service promulgated a new Land Management Planning Rule at 36 CFR part 219 in April 2012 that sets out the requirements for developing, amending, and revising land management plans for units of the National Forest System. The planning directives, once finalized, will be used to implement the planning framework which fosters collaboration with the public during land management planning, is science-based and responsive to change and promotes

      Page 76474

      social, economic, and ecological sustainability.

      Strengthen Ecological Restoration Policies. This policy would recognize the adaptive capacity of ecosystems and includes the role of natural disturbances and uncertainty related to climate and other environmental change. The need for ecological restoration of National Forest System lands is widely recognized, and the Forest Service has conducted restoration-related activities across many programs for decades. ``Restoration'' is a common way of describing much of the Agency's work, and the concept is threaded throughout existing authorities, program directives, and collaborative efforts such as the National Fire Plan, a 10-Year comprehensive strategy and implementation plan, and the Healthy Forests Restoration Act. However, the Agency did not have a definition of ``restoration'' established in policy. The lack of a definition was identified as a barrier to collaborating with the public and partners to plan and accomplish restoration work.

      Rural Development

      Mission: Rural Development (RD) promotes a dynamic business environment in rural America that creates jobs, community infrastructure, and housing opportunities in partnership with the private sector and community-based organizations by providing financial assistance and business planning services and supporting projects that create or preserve quality jobs, advance energy efficiency and the bioeconomy, and strengthen local and regional food systems while focusing on the development of single- and multi-family housing and community infrastructure. RD financial resources are often leveraged with those of other public and private credit source lenders to meet business and credit needs in under-served areas. Recipients of these programs may include individuals, corporations, partnerships, cooperatives, public bodies, nonprofit corporations, Indian tribes, and private companies.

      Priorities: RD regulatory priorities will facilitate sustainable renewable energy development and enhance the opportunities necessary for rural families to thrive economically. RD's rules will minimize program complexity and the related burden on the public while enhancing program delivery and Rural Business-Cooperative Service oversight.

      Increase Accessibility to the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP). Under REAP, Rural Development provides guaranteed loans and grants to support the purchase, construction, or retrofitting of a renewable energy system. This rulemaking will streamline the application process for grants, lessening the burden to the customer. The rulemaking is expected to reduce the information collection. REAP will also be revised to ensure a larger number of applicants will be made available through the issuing of smaller grants. As a result, funding will be distributed evenly across the applicant pool and encourage greater development of renewable energy.

      Broadband Access Loans. Increasing access to broadband service is a critical factor in improving the quality of life in rural America and in providing the foundation needed for creating jobs. The A 2014 Farm Bill revises program provisions particularly with regard to broadband speed and application priority. Revised regulations for the Broadband Access Loan Program are anticipated to be published in the Federal Register in the spring of 2015.

      Modify review of Single Family Housing Direct Loans. RD will publish the certified loan packager regulation to streamline oversight of the agency's vast network of committed Agency-certified packagers. This action will help low- and very low-income people become homeowners. It will also reduce the burden on program staff, enabling them to focus on implementation and delivery, and will ensure specialized support is available to them to complete the application for assistance, improving the quality of loan application packages.

      Departmental Management

      Mission: Departmental Management's mission is to provide management leadership to ensure that USDA administrative programs, policies, advice and counsel meet the needs of USDA programs, consistent with laws and mandates, and provide safe and efficient facilities and services to customers.

      Priorities:

      Promote Biobased Products: In support of the Department's goal to increase prosperity in rural areas, USDA's Departmental Management plans to publish regulations to implement the requirement in the Agricultural Act of 2014 (Farm Bill) to establish eligibility criteria for forest and other traditional biobased products in the BioPreferredsupreg program.

      Aggregate Costs and Benefits

      USDA will ensure that its regulations provide benefits that exceed costs, but are unable to provide an estimate of the aggregated impacts of its regulations. Problems with aggregation arise due to differing baselines, data gaps, and inconsistencies in methodology and the type of regulatory costs and benefits considered. Some benefits and costs associated with rules listed in the regulatory plan cannot currently be quantified as the rules are still being formulated. For 2015, USDA's focus will be to implement the changes to programs in such a way as to provide benefits while minimizing program complexity and regulatory burden for program participants.

      USDA--Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS)

      Proposed Rule Stage

      1. National Organic Program, Origin of Livestock, NOP-11-0009

      Priority: Other Significant.

      Legal Authority: 7 U.S.C. 6501

      CFR Citation: 7 CFR 205.

      Legal Deadline: NPRM, Statutory, December 31, 2014.

      The proposed action would eliminate the two-track system and require that upon transition, all existing and replacement dairy animals from which milk or milk products are intended to be sold, labeled, or represented as organic, must be managed organically from the last third of gestation.

      Abstract: The current regulations provide two tracks for replacing dairy animals which are tied to how dairy farmers transition to organic production. Farmers who transition an entire distinct herd must thereafter replace dairy animals with livestock that has been under organic management from the last third of gestation. Farmers who do not transition an entire distinct herd may perpetually obtain replacement animals that have been managed organically for 12 months prior to marketing milk or milk products as organic. The proposed action would eliminate the two-track system and require that upon transition, all existing and replacement dairy animals from which milk or milk products are intended to be sold, labeled, or represented as organic must be managed organically from the last third of gestation.

      Statement of Need: This action is being taken because of concerns raised by various parties, including the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB), about the dual tracks for dairy replacement animals. The proposed action would institute the same requirements across all producers.

      Page 76475

      Summary of Legal Basis: The National Organic Program regulations stipulate the requirements for dairy replacement animals in section 205.236(a)(2) Origin of Livestock. In addition, in response to the final ruling in the 2005 case, Harvey v. Johanns, the USDA committed to rulemaking to address the concerns about dairy replacement animals.

      Alternatives: The program considered initiating the rulemaking with an ANPRM. It was determined that there is sufficient awareness of the expectations of the organic community to proceed with a proposed rule. As alternatives, we considered the status quo, however, this would continue the disparity between producers who can continually transition conventional dairy animals into organic production and producers who source dairy animals that are organic from the last third of gestation. We also considered an action that would restrict the source of breeder stock and movement of breeder stock after they are brought onto an organic operation; however, this would minimize the flexibility of producers to purchase breeder stock from any source as specified under the Organic Foods Production Act.

      Anticipated Cost and Benefits:

      Risks: Continuation of the two-track system jeopardizes the viability of the market for organic heifers. A potential risk associated with the rulemaking would be a temporary supply shortage of dairy replacement animals due to the increased demand.

      Timetable:

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      Action Date FR Cite

      ------------------------------------------------------------------------

      NPRM................................ 12/00/14 .......................

      Final Action........................ 05/00/16 .......................

      ------------------------------------------------------------------------

      Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: Yes.

      Small Entities Affected: Businesses, Organizations.

      Government Levels Affected: None.

      Agency Contact: Melissa R. Bailey, Director, Standards Division, Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Marketing Service, 14th & Independence Avenue SW., Room 2646-South Building, Washington, DC 20250, Phone: 202 720-3252, Fax: 202 205-7808, Email: melissa.bailey@usda.gov.

      RIN: 0581-AD08

      USDA--AMS

      2. National Organic Program, Organic Pet Food Standards

      Priority: Other Significant.

      Legal Authority: 7 U.S.C. 6501.

      CFR Citation: 7 CFR 205.

      Legal Deadline: NPRM, Statutory, April 30, 2015.

      The National Organic Program (NOP) is establishing national standards governing the marketing of organically produced agricultural products.

      Abstract: The National Organic Program (NOP) is establishing national standards governing the marketing of organically produced agricultural products. In 2004, the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) initiated the development of organic pet food standards, which had not been incorporated into the NOP regulations, by forming a task force which included pet food manufacturers, organic consultants, etc. Collectively, these experts drafted organic pet food standards consistent with the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990, Food and Drug Administration requirements, and the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) Model Regulations for Pet and Specialty Pet Food. The AAFCO regulations are scientifically based regulations for voluntary adoption by State jurisdictions to ensure the safety, quality, and effectiveness of feed. In November 2008, the NOSB approved a final recommendation for organic pet food standards incorporating the provisions drafted by the pet food task force.

      Statement of Need: This action is necessary to ensure consistency in the composition and labeling of pet food products bearing organic claims. While the NOP has maintained that pet food may be certified in accordance with the existing USDA organic regulations, the requirements for processed products are intended for human foods and are not entirely applicable to pet food. The uncertainty about pet food composition and labeling requirements causes confusion in the marketplace with potentially negative impacts for the credibility of the organic label in general. This action responds to a 2008 recommendation of the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) and industry requests for organic pet food standards.

      Summary of Legal Basis: The Organic Foods Production Act of 1990 (OFPA) authorizes the Secretary of Agriculture to establish an organic certification program for producers and handlers of agricultural products that have been produced using organic methods (7 U.S.C. 6503(a)). The OFPA also authorizes the NOSB to provide recommendations to the Secretary regarding the implementation of the National Organic Program (7 U.S.C. 6518(k)(1)).

      Alternatives: AMS has considered the implications of developing specific composition and labeling standards for organic pet food versus maintaining the status quo and not pursuing regulatory action. In addition, AMS is examining options regarding potential implementation periods. Finally, AMS considered the viability of composition requirements that vary from those recommended by the NOSB.

      Anticipated Cost and Benefits: This proposed rule would facilitate the marketing of organic pet food by establishing clear, enforceable requirements for the composition and labeling of these products. This action will clarify how pet food may be produced, certified, and marketed as organic and the significance of organic claims on pet food. That standardization would provide certainty to pet food handlers and certifying agents for manufacturing and certifying pet foods, respectively, and bolster consumer confidence. AMS does not expect this action to result in significant costs for the $109 million organic pet food sector (2012 sales). This action may be an incentive for some handlers that are using organic claims on noncertified pet food products to pursue certification. AMS intends to solicit specific public comments to validate this expectation.

      Risks: AMS does not anticipate risks to be associated with this action. The NOSB and industry participated in the development of organic pet food standards and have strongly encouraged their adoption since 2008. This action may provoke questions about the Agency's intent with regard to a separate 2013 NOSB recommendation that would, in effect, prohibit the use of certain amino acids in organic pet food. AMS is evaluating the impact of that action; however, that recent recommendation is not expected to affect this rulemaking.

      Timetable:

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      Action Date FR Cite

      ------------------------------------------------------------------------

      NPRM................................ 04/00/15 .......................

      Final Action........................ 08/00/16 .......................

      ------------------------------------------------------------------------

      Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: Yes.

      Small Entities Affected: Businesses, Organizations.

      Government Levels Affected: Federal, Local, Tribal.

      Agency Contact: Melissa R. Bailey, Director, Standards Division, Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Marketing Service, 14th & Independence Avenue SW., Room 2646-South Building, Washington, DC 20250,

      Page 76476

      Phone: 202 720-3252, Fax: 202 205-7808, Email: melissa.bailey@usda.gov.

      RIN: 0581-AD20

      USDA--AMS

      3. National Organic Program, Organic Apiculture Practices Standard, NOP-12-0063

      Priority: Other Significant.

      Legal Authority: 7 U.S.C. 6501.

      CFR Citation: 7 CFR 205.

      Legal Deadline: NPRM, Statutory, July 31, 2015.

      This action proposes to amend the USDA organic regulations to reflect an October 2010 recommendation submitted to the Secretary by the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) concerning the production of organic apicultural (i.e. beekeeping) products.

      Abstract: This action proposes to amend the USDA organic regulations to reflect an October 2010 recommendation submitted to the Secretary by the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) concerning the production of organic apicultural (i.e. beekeeping) products. Instead of continuing to allow certifying agents to certify apiculture to the organic livestock standards, this action would establish certification standards specifically for organic bees and bee products.

      Statement of Need: This action is necessary to establish uniform standards for certification of organic apiculture operations. Currently, certifying agents adapt the organic livestock standards to certify organic apiaries. This action is necessary to distinguish apiculture as a unique production system that merits separate organic standards and would address practices that are not covered in the general organic livestock requirements. This action is needed to ensure consistency across certifying agents in the inspection and certification of apiculture operations.

      Summary of Legal Basis: Bees are regarded as ``nonplant life'' under definitions in the current Organic Foods Production Act (OFPA) and implementing regulations. Based on these definitions, apicultural products (bees and bee products) may currently be certified under the livestock provisions of the USDA organic regulations (7 CFR part 205).

      Alternatives: AMS is considering variations in the implementation period needed for any existing organic honey producers to comply with a new proposed forage zone requirement. The agency is also considering an alternative to align with Canadian and EU apiculture which require land within the forage zone to be ``organically managed,'' rather than certified as crop or wild crop.

      Anticipated Cost and Benefits: Issuing standards for management of bees and bee products will benefit the industry by bringing greater consistency across certifiers. The introduction of formal standards will encourage new producers to enter the market and increase consumer confidence in apiculture products marketed under the USDA organic seal. In terms of costs, accredited certifying agents that currently certify apiculture operations as livestock would be required to request to extend the scope (current possible scopes of accreditation are crops, livestock, handling, and wild crop) of their accreditation to include apiculture. AMS is currently evaluating how the new rule would impact the costs to existing organic producers.

      Risks: AMS does not expect controversy as a result of this action. One provision that AMS anticipates public comment on during rulemaking pertains to a 1.8 mile forage zone radius around bee hives. Under the proposed standard, this forage zone would need to be comprised of certified organic cropland and/or certified wild crop harvest area. This provision may limit new producers in some parts of the world from entering the market. However, there is widespread recognition of the proposed requirements among certified operations, as many certifiers have started using the 2010 NOSB recommendation as guidance for certification of apiculture operations.

      Timetable:

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      Action Date FR Cite

      ------------------------------------------------------------------------

      NPRM................................ 07/00/15 .......................

      Final Action........................ 12/00/16 .......................

      ------------------------------------------------------------------------

      Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: Yes.

      Small Entities Affected: Businesses, Governmental Jurisdictions, Organizations.

      Government Levels Affected: Federal, Local, State, Tribal.

      Agency Contact: Melissa R. Bailey, Director, Standards Division, Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Marketing Service, 14th & Independence Avenue SW., Room 2646-South Building, Washington, DC 20250, Phone: 202 720-3252, Fax: 202 205-7808, Email: melissa.bailey@usda.gov

      RIN: 0581-AD31

      USDA--AMS

      4. National Organic Program--Organic Aquaculture Standards

      Priority: Economically Significant. Major under 5 U.S.C. 801.

      Unfunded Mandates: Undetermined.

      Legal Authority: 7 U.S.C. 6501 to 6522

      CFR Citation: 7 CFR 205.

      Legal Deadline: NPRM, Statutory, February 28, 2015.

      This action will establish standards for organic farmed aquatic animals and their products to allow U.S. producers to compete in the organic seafood market. The Organic Foods Production Act authorizes the NOP to regulate organic claims on fish used for food. The USDA organic regulations do not include organic aquaculture standards. This action will open the market for U.S. organic aquaculture production and ensure that organic aquatic animal products sold in the U.S. meet a consistent standard.

      Abstract: This action proposes to establish standards for organic production and certification of farmed aquatic animals and their products in the USDA organic regulations. This action would also add aquatic animals as a scope of certification and accreditation under the National Organic Program. This action is necessary to establish standards for organic farmed aquatic animals and their products which would allow U.S. producers to compete in the organic seafood market. This action is also necessary to address multiple recommendations provided by USDA by the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB). In 2007 through 2009, the NOSB made five recommendations to establish standards for the certification of organic farmed aquatic animals and their products. Finally, the U.S. currently has organic standards equivalence arrangements with Canada and the European Union (EU). Both Canada and the EU have recently established standards for organic aquaculture products. Because the U.S. does not have organic aquaculture standards, the U.S. is unable to include aquaculture in the scope of these arrangements. Establishing U.S. organic aquaculture may provide a basis for expanding those trade partnerships.

      Statement of Need: In 2005, The Secretary of Agriculture appointed an Aquaculture Working Group to advise the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) on drafting a recommendation on the production of organic farmed aquatic animals. The NOSB considered the Aquaculture Working Group's draft recommendations and provided USDA with a series of five recommendations

      Page 76477

      from 2007-2009 for technical standards for the production and certification of organic farmed aquatic animals. Based on the NOSB recommendations, this action proposed to establish standards for organic production and certification of farmed aquatic animals and their products in the USDA organic regulations. This action would also add aquatic animals as an area of certification and accreditation under NOP.

      Summary of Legal Basis: The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) National Organic Program (NOP) is authorized by the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990 (OFPA) to establish national standards governing the marketing of organically produced agricultural products (7 U.S.C. 6501-6522). The USDA organic regulations set the requirements for the organic certification of agricultural products (7 CFR Part 205). Participation under the NOP is voluntary. However, if organic producers or handlers choose to sell, represent, or label more than $5,000 in organic products, certification under the USDA organic regulations is required.

      Alternatives: An alternative to providing organic aquatic animal standards would be to not publish such standards and allow aquatic animal products to continue to be sold as organic based on private standards or other countries standards. Organic seafood producers have expressed a strong interest in having USDA organic standards for fish and other aquatic animal products. U.S. aquaculture operations are generally hesitant to invest in organic aquaculture without published standards for organic aquatic animals and their products. Selecting such an alternative could result in failure for this sector of organic agriculture to develop in the United States.

      Anticipated Cost and Benefits: The cost for existing conventional aquaculture operations to convert and participate in this voluntary marketing program will generally be incurred in the cost of changing management practices, increased feed costs, and obtaining organic certification. There will also be some costs to certifying agents who would need to add aquaculture to their areas of accreditation under the USDA organic regulations. These costs include application fees and expanded audits to ensure certifying agents meet the accreditation requirements needed for providing certification services to aquaculture operations. Certification of organic operations under the NOP is provided as a user-fee service by AMS-accredited private sector certifying agents and State agencies. AMS provides accreditation services to private and State agency certifiers on a cost-recovery, user-fee basis. AMS will not require additional appropriated funds to implement this program. By providing organic standards for organic aquatic animal products, producers will be able to sell certified organic aquatic animal products for up to 75-100 percent above the price of conventionally produced seafood. In addition, organic aquatic animal products imported into the U.S. from other countries will be required to meet a consistent, enforced standard. Organic consumers will be assured that organic aquatic animal products comply with the USDA organic regulations. The new standards will also provide the basis for expanding our organic standards equivalency agreements to include this additional area of organic products.

      Risks: There are no known risks to providing these additional standards for certification of organic products.

      Timetable:

      ------------------------------------------------------------------------

      Action Date FR Cite

      ------------------------------------------------------------------------

      NPRM................................ 02/00/15 .......................

      Final Action........................ 07/00/16 .......................

      ------------------------------------------------------------------------

      Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: Yes.

      Small Entities Affected: Businesses, Organizations.

      Government Levels Affected: Federal.

      Federalism: This action may have federalism implications as defined in EO 13132.

      Agency Contact: Melissa R. Bailey, Director, Standards Division, Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Marketing Service, 14th & Independence Avenue SW., Room 2646-South Building, Washington, DC 20250, Phone: 202 720-3252, Fax: 202 205-7808, Email: melissa.bailey@usda.gov.

      RIN: 0581-AD34

      USDA--AMS

      5. Exemption of Producers and Handlers of Organic Products From Assessment Under a Commodity Promotion Law

      Priority: Other Significant.

      Unfunded Mandates: Undetermined.

      Legal Authority: 7 U.S.C. 7401; Pub. L. 113-79.

      CFR Citation: 7 CFR 900.

      Legal Deadline: NPRM, Statutory, November 30, 2014.

      This action would amend the general regulations that apply to the 29 marketing orders for fruits, vegetables, and specialty crops and the orders and/or rules and regulations of the 22 research and promotion programs under AMS oversight.

      Abstract: As a result of this action, certified ``organic'' commodities (those comprising at least 95 percent organic components) would no longer be subject to assessment for promotion activities conducted under marketing order or research and promotion programs. In addition, certified organic commodities that are produced, handled, marketed, or imported by operations that also deal in conventional products would be eligible for exemptions. Currently, only products that are certified ``100 percent organic'' and that are produced and handled by entities that deal exclusively with organic products are exempt from assessments. This action is expected to reduce the assessment obligation for organic industry operators by as much as $13.7 million. Conversely, the impact on the marketing programs will be a loss of approximately $13.7 million in funds for generic commodity promotions.

      Statement of Need: Section 501 of the Federal Agriculture Improvement and Reform Act of 1996 (7 U.S.C. 7401) (FAIR Act), as amended, currently exempts entities that produce and market solely 100 percent organic products from payment of assessments under commodity promotion laws. Section 10004 of the Agricultural Act of 2014 (Pub. L. 113-79) (Farm Bill) further amended the FAIR Act to provide exemptions for all certified organic products, including those produced and handled by operators that also deal in conventional products. This action is needed to bring existing Federal regulations governing commodity promotion activities into compliance with the FAIR Act, as amended by the Farm Bill.

      Summary of Legal Basis: Section 10004 of the Agricultural Act of 2014 (Pub. L. 113-79) (Farm Bill) further amended the FAIR Act to provide exemptions for all certified organic products, including those produced and handled by operators that also deal in conventional products. This action is needed to bring existing Federal regulations governing commodity promotion activities into compliance with the FAIR Act, as amended by the Farm Bill.

      Alternatives: Currently, only products that are certified ``100 percent organic'' and that are produced and handled by entities that deal exclusively with organic products are exempt from assessments. So the alternative, would be to continue in this manner.

      Anticipated Cost and Benefits: This action is expected to reduce the assessment obligation for organic

      Page 76478

      industry operators by as much as $13.7 million.

      Risks: Conversely, the impact on the marketing programs will be a loss of approximately $13.7 million in funds for generic commodity promotions.

      Timetable:

      ------------------------------------------------------------------------

      Action Date FR Cite

      ------------------------------------------------------------------------

      NPRM................................ 11/00/14 .......................

      Final Action........................ 07/00/15 .......................

      ------------------------------------------------------------------------

      Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: Yes.

      Small Entities Affected: Governmental Jurisdictions.

      Government Levels Affected: Undetermined.

      Agency Contact: Michael V. Durando, Chief, Marketing Order Administration Branch, Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Marketing Service, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., STOP 0237, Washington, DC 20250-0237, Phone: 202 720-2491, Fax: 202 720-8938.

      RIN: 0581-AD37

      USDA--Farm Service Agency (FSA)

      Final Rule Stage

      6. Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program

      Priority: Other Significant.

      Legal Authority: 7 U.S.C. 7333.

      CFR Citation: 7 CFR 1437.

      Legal Deadline: None.

      Abstract: The Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) is amending regulations for the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP). NAP is administered for CCC by the Farm Service Agency (FSA). NAP provides producers of crops that are not eligible for crop insurance with a basic level of risk management coverage. NAP provides financial assistance to producers of non-insurable crops when low yield, loss of inventory, or prevented plantings occur due to a natural disaster. The rule includes changes to NAP required by the 2014 Farm Bill. The changes include revised NAP eligibility requirements for coverage on tilled native sod, and added coverage for sweet sorghum and biomass sorghum. Beginning and socially disadvantaged farmers will be eligible for service fee waivers. New ``buy up'' provisions will allow producers to buy additional NAP coverage for an additional premium. While the rule does not have a statutory deadline, the 2014 Farm Bill requires changes to the NAP program beginning with the 2015 coverage year, which begins as early as May 2014. In addition to the 2014 Farm Bill changes, the rule also makes the following changes:

      Adds NAP coverage for organic crops.

      Expands NAP coverage for mollusks, a common aquaculture crop. Specifically, it removes the current requirement that eligible mollusk inventory be seeded and raised in containers or similar devices designed to protect the aquaculture species.

      Statement of Need: This rule is needed to update the FSA regulations to implement the 2014 Farm Bill changes.

      Summary of Legal Basis: The Agricultural Act of 2014 (Pub. L. 113-

      79).

      Alternatives: There are no alternatives to this rule, the changes are legislatively mandated.

      Anticipated Cost and Benefits: A cost benefit analysis was prepared for this rule and will be made available when the rule is published.

      Risks: None.

      Timetable:

      ------------------------------------------------------------------------

      Action Date FR Cite

      ------------------------------------------------------------------------

      Interim Final Rule.................. 12/00/14 .......................

      ------------------------------------------------------------------------

      Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: No.

      Government Levels Affected: None.

      URL For Public Comments: regulations.gov.

      Agency Contact: Deirdre Holder, Director, Regulatory Review Group, Department of Agriculture, Farm Service Agency, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20250-0572, Phone: 202 205-5851, Fax: 202 720-5233, Email: deirdre.holder@wdc.usda.gov.

      RIN: 0560-AI20

      USDA--FSA

      7. Conservation Compliance

      Priority: Other Significant.

      Legal Authority: 7 U.S.C. 1501 et seq.; 16 U.S.C. 3811 and 3812; 16 U.S.C. 3821 and 3822.

      CFR Citation: 7 CFR 12.

      Legal Deadline: None.

      Abstract: The interim rule implements mandatory changes to the conservation compliance regulations in 7 CFR part 12 as required by the Agricultural Act of 2014 (the 2014 Farm Bill). The current regulations require participants in most USDA programs to comply with conservation compliance measures on any land that is highly erodible or that is considered a wetland. The 2014 Farm Bill expands current conservation compliance requirements to apply to producers who obtain subsidized Federal crop insurance under the Federal Crop Insurance Act. It also slightly modifies the existing wetlands ``Mitigation Banking'' program to remove the requirement that USDA hold easements in the mitigation program.

      Statement of Need: This rule is needed to update the FSA regulations to implement the 2014 Farm Bill changes.

      Summary of Legal Basis: The Agricultural Act of 2014 (Pub. L. 113-

      79).

      Alternatives: There are no alternatives to this rule; the changes are legislatively mandated.

      Anticipated Cost and Benefits: A cost benefit analysis was prepared for this rule and will be made available when the rule is published.

      Risks: None.

      Timetable:

      ------------------------------------------------------------------------

      Action Date FR Cite

      ------------------------------------------------------------------------

      Interim Final Rule.................. 02/00/15 .......................

      ------------------------------------------------------------------------

      Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: No.

      Small Entities Affected: Businesses.

      Government Levels Affected: None.

      URL For Public Comments: regulations.gov.

      Agency Contact: Deirdre Holder, Director, Regulatory Review Group, Department of Agriculture, Farm Service Agency, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20250-0572, Phone: 202 205-5851, Fax: 202 720-5233, Email: deirdre.holder@wdc.usda.gov.

      RIN: 0560-AI26

      USDA--FSA

      8. Conservation Reserve Program (CRP)

      Priority: Other Significant.

      Legal Authority: 16 U.S.C. 3831 to 3835.

      CFR Citation: 7 CFR 1410.

      Legal Deadline: None.

      Abstract: The rule implements changes to CRP required by the 2014 Farm Bill. CRP assists producers in conserving and improving soil, water, and wildlife resources by converting highly erodible and other environmentally sensitive acreage to a long-term vegetative cover. The core scope of CRP will not change. The changes required by the 2014 Farm Bill include providing an ``early out'' for contract cancellations in 2015, removing the requirement for a payment reduction for emergency haying and grazing, and allowing non-cropland (grasslands) in CRP. CRP is a Commodity Credit

      Page 76479

      Corporation (CCC) program administered by the Farm Service Agency (FSA).

      Statement of Need: This rule is needed to update the FSA regulations to implement the 2014 Farm Bill changes.

      Summary of Legal Basis: The Agricultural Act of 2014 (Pub. L. 113-

      79).

      Alternatives: There are no alternatives to the rule; the changes are legislatively mandated.

      Anticipated Cost and Benefits: A cost-benefit analysis will be prepared for the rule and will be made available when the rule is published.

      Risks: None.

      Timetable:

      ------------------------------------------------------------------------

      Action Date FR Cite

      ------------------------------------------------------------------------

      Interim Final Rule.................. 04/00/15 .......................

      ------------------------------------------------------------------------

      Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: No.

      Small Entities Affected: Businesses.

      Government Levels Affected: None.

      URL For Public Comments: regulations.gov.

      Agency Contact: Deirdre Holder, Director, Regulatory Review Group, Department of Agriculture, Farm Service Agency, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20250-0572, Phone: 202 205-5851, Fax: 202 720-5233, Email: deirdre.holder@wdc.usda.gov.

      RIN: 0560-AI30

      USDA--Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS)

      Proposed Rule Stage

      9. Brucellosis and Bovine Tuberculosis; Update of General Provisions

      Priority: Other Significant.

      Legal Authority: 7 U.S.C. 1622; 7 U.S.C. 8301 to 8317; 15 U.S.C. 1828; 21 U.S.C. 136 and 136a; 31 U.S.C. 9701.

      CFR Citation: 9 CFR 50 and 51; 9 CFR 71; 9 CFR 76 to 78; 9 CFR 86; 9 CFR 93; 9 CFR 161.

      Legal Deadline: None.

      Abstract: This rulemaking would consolidate the regulations governing bovine tuberculosis (TB), currently found in 9 CFR part 77, and those governing brucellosis, currently found in 9 CFR part 78. As part of this consolidation, we are proposing to transition the TB and brucellosis programs away from a State status system based on disease prevalence. Instead, States and tribes would implement an animal health plan that identifies sources of the diseases within the State or tribe and specifies mitigations to address the risk posed by these sources. The consolidated regulations would also set forth standards for surveillance, epidemiological investigations, and affected herd management that must be incorporated into each animal health plan, with certain limited exceptions; conditions for the interstate movement of cattle, bison, and captive cervids; and conditions for APHIS approval of tests for bovine TB or brucellosis. Finally, the rulemaking would revise the import requirements for cattle and bison to make these requirements clearer and ensure that they more effectively mitigate the risk of introduction of the diseases into the United States.

      Statement of Need: The current regulations were issued during a time when the prevalence rates for the disease in domestic, cattle, bison, and captive cervids were much higher than they are today. As a result, the regulations specify measures that are necessary to prevent these diseases from spreading through the interstate movement of infected animals. The regulations are effective in this regard, but do not address reservoirs of tuberculosis and brucellosis that exist in certain States. Moreover, the regulations presuppose one method of dealing with infected herds--whole-herd depopulation--and do not take into consideration the development of other methods, such as test-and-

      remove protocols, that are equally effective but less costly for APHIS and producers. Finally, our current regulations governing the importation of cattle and bison do not always address the risk that such animals may pose of spreading brucellosis or bovine tuberculosis, and need to be updated to allow APHIS to take appropriate measures when prevalence rates for bovine tuberculosis or brucellosis increase or decrease in foreign regions.

      Summary of Legal Basis: Under the Animal Health Protection Act (7 U.S.C. 8301 et seq.), the Secretary of Agriculture has the authority to issue orders and promulgate regulations to prevent the introduction into the United States and the dissemination within the United States of any pest or disease of livestock.

      Alternatives: One alternative would be to leave the current regulations unchanged. As noted above, the current regulations are effective in preventing the interstate movement of infected animals, but do not address reservoirs of brucellosis and tuberculosis that exist in certain States and thus do not address the root cause of such infection. They also are written in a prescriptive manner which does not allow States to take into consideration scientific developments and other emerging information in determining how best to deal with infected animals and herds. Finally, APHIS' current regulations governing the importation of cattle and bison do not always address the risk that such animals may pose of spreading bovine tuberculosis or brucellosis.

      A second alternative considered was to limit the scope of the regulatory changes to the Agency's domestic tuberculosis and brucellosis program. However, in recent years, when tuberculosis-

      affected animals have been discovered at slaughtering facilities within the United States, these animals have usually been of foreign origin. This has led us to reexamine the current import regulations. As a result of this reevaluation, we have determined that the import regulations need to be revised to assure that they more effectively mitigate the risk of introduction of these diseases into the United States.

      Anticipated Cost and Benefits: Certain additional costs may be incurred by producers as a result of this rule. For example, the proposed rule would impose new interstate movement restrictions on rodeo, event, and exhibited cattle and bison and impose additional costs for producers of such cattle and bison. These new testing requirements could cost, in aggregate, between $651,000 and $1 million. Also, the proposed additional restrictions for the movement of captive cervids could result in additional costs for producers. Adhering to these new requirements may have a total cost to the captive cervid industry of between about $157,000 and $485,000 annually. States and tribes would incur costs associated with this proposed rule, in particular in developing animal health plans for bovine tuberculosis and brucellosis. The proposed animal health plans for brucellosis and bovine tuberculosis would build significantly on existing operations with respect to these diseases. We anticipate that all 50 States and as many as 3 tribes would develop animal health plans. Based on our estimates of plan development costs, the total cost of the development of these 53 animal health plans could be between about $750,000 and $2.9 million. We expect that under current circumstances, four or five States are likely to develop recognized management area plans as proposed in this rule as part of their animal health plans. Based on our estimates of recognized management area plan development costs, the cost of developing recognized management area plans by these States could total

      Page 76480

      between $56,000 and $274,000. While direct effects of this proposed rule for producers should be small, whether the entity affected is small or large, consolidation of the brucellosis and bovine tuberculosis regulations is expected to benefit the affected livestock industries. Disease management would be more focused, flexible and responsive, reducing the number of producers incurring costs when disease concerns arise in an area. Also, the competitiveness of the United States in international markets depends on its reputation for producing healthy animals. The proposed rule would enhance this reputation through its comprehensive approach to the control of identified reservoirs of bovine tuberculosis or brucellosis in wildlife populations in certain parts of the United States and more stringent import regulations consistent with domestic restrictions. We expect that the benefits would justify the costs.

      Risks: If we do not issue this proposed rule, reservoirs of brucellosis and tuberculosis that exist in certain States will not be adequately evaluated and addressed. Additionally, our current regulations regarding the importation of cattle and bison do not always address the risk that such animals may pose of spreading brucellosis or bovine tuberculosis.

      Timetable:

      ------------------------------------------------------------------------

      Action Date FR Cite

      ------------------------------------------------------------------------

      NPRM................................ 01/00/15 .......................

      NPRM Comment Period End............. 03/00/15 .......................

      ------------------------------------------------------------------------

      Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: Yes.

      Small Entities Affected: Businesses, Governmental Jurisdictions.

      Government Levels Affected: Local, State, Tribal.

      Additional Information: Additional information about APHIS and its programs is available on the Internet at http://www.aphis.usda.gov.

      Agency Contact: Langston Hull, National Center for Import and Export, VS, Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, 4700 River Road, Unit 39, Riverdale, MD 20737, Phone: 301 851-3300.

    2. William Hench, Senior Staff Veterinarian, Ruminant Health Programs, National Center for Animal Health Programs, VS, Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, 2150 Centre Avenue, Building B-3E20, Ft. Collins, CO 80526, Phone: 970 494-7378.

      RIN: 0579-AD65

      USDA--APHIS

      10. Establishing a Performance Standard for Authorizing the Importation and Interstate Movement of Fruits and Vegetables

      Priority: Other Significant.

      Legal Authority: 7 U.S.C. 450; 7 U.S.C. 7701 to 7772; 7 U.S.C. 7781 to 7786; 21 U.S.C. 136 and 136a.

      CFR Citation: 7 CFR 318 and 319.

      Legal Deadline: None.

      Abstract: This rulemaking would amend our regulations governing the importations of fruits and vegetables by broadening our existing performance standard to provide for consideration of all new fruits and vegetables for importation into the United States using a notice-based process. Rather than authorizing new imports through proposed and final rules and specifying import conditions in the regulations, the notice-

      based process uses Federal Register notices to make risk analyses available to the public for review and comment, with authorized commodities and their conditions of entry subsequently being listed on the Internet. It would also remove the region- or commodity-specific phytosanitary requirements currently found in these regulations. Likewise, we are proposing an equivalent revision of the performance standard in our regulations governing the interstate movements of fruits and vegetables from Hawaii and the U.S. territories (Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands) and the removal of commodity-specific phytosanitary requirements from those regulations. This proposal would allow for the consideration of requests to authorize the importation or interstate movement of new fruits and vegetables in a manner that enables a more flexible and responsive regulatory approach to evolving pest situations in both the United States and exporting countries. It would not, however, alter the science-based process in which the risk associated with importation or interstate movement of a given fruit or vegetable is evaluated or the manner in which risks associated with the importation or interstate movement of a fruit or vegetable are mitigated.

      Statement of Need: The revised regulations are needed to streamline the administrative process involved in consideration of fruits and vegetables currently not authorized for interstate movement or importation, while continuing to provide opportunity for public comment and engagement on the science and risk-based analysis associated with such imports and interstate movements. The proposal would also enable us to adapt our import requirements more quickly in the event of any changes to a country's pest or disease status or as a result of new scientific information or treatment options.

      Summary of Legal Basis: Under section 7701 of the Plant Protection Act (PPA), given that the smooth movement of enterable plants and plant products into, out of, or within the United States is vital to the U.S. economy, it is the responsibility of the Secretary of Agriculture to facilitate exports, imports, and interstate commerce in agricultural products and other commodities that pose a risk of harboring plant pests or noxious weeds in ways that will reduce, to the extent practicable, as determined by the Secretary, the risk of dissemination of plant pests or noxious weeds. Decisions regarding exports, imports, and interstate commerce are required to be based on sound science.

      Alternatives: We considered taking no action at this time and leaving the regulations as they are currently written. We decided against this alternative because leaving the regulations unchanged would not address the needs identified immediately above.

      Anticipated Cost and Benefits: Consumers and businesses would benefit from the more timely access to fruits and vegetables for which entry or movement would currently require rulemaking. This benefit would be reduced to the extent that certain businesses would face increased competition for the subject fruits and vegetables sooner due to their more timely approval. APHIS has not identified other costs that may be incurred because of the proposed rule.

      Risks: The performance-based process more closely links APHIS' decision to authorize importation of a fruit or vegetable with the pest risk assessment and brings us in line with other countries that authorize importation of a fruit or vegetable with the pest risk assessment. Some countries have viewed the rulemakings for fruits and vegetables that follow completion of the pest risk assessment as a non-

      technical trade barrier and may have slowed the approval of U.S. exports (including, but not limited to, fruits and vegetables) into their markets, or placed additional restrictions on existing exports from the United States.

      Timetable:

      ------------------------------------------------------------------------

      Action Date FR Cite

      ------------------------------------------------------------------------

      NPRM................................ 09/09/14 79 FR 53346

      NPRM Comment Period End............. 11/10/14 .......................

      Page 76481

      Final Rule.......................... 04/00/15 .......................

      ------------------------------------------------------------------------

      Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: Yes.

      Small Entities Affected: Businesses.

      Government Levels Affected: Federal.

      International Impacts: This regulatory action will be likely to have international trade and investment effects, or otherwise be of international interest.

      Additional Information: Additional information about APHIS and its programs is available on the Internet at http://www.aphis.usda.gov.

      Agency Contact: Matthew Rhoads, Associate Executive Director, Plant Health Programs, PPQ, Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, 4700 River Road, Unit 131, Riverdale, MD 20737-1231, Phone: 301 851-2133.

      RIN: 0579-AD71

      USDA--APHIS

      Final Rule Stage

      11. Viruses, Serums, Toxins, and Analogous Products; Single Label Claim for Veterinary Biological Products

      Priority: Other Significant.

      Legal Authority: 21 U.S.C. 151 to 159

      CFR Citation: 9 CFR 112.

      Legal Deadline: None.

      Abstract: This rulemaking will amend the Virus-Serum-Toxin Act regulations to replace the current label format, which reflects any of four different levels of effectiveness, with a single, uniform label format. It will also require biologics licensees to provide a standardized summary, with confidential business information removed, of the efficacy and safety data submitted to the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service in support of the issuance of a full product license or conditional license. A single label format along with publicly available safety and efficacy data will help biologics producers to more clearly communicate product performance to their customers.

      Statement of Need: The intent of this proposal is to address a request made by our stakeholders and to more clearly communicate product performance information to the user by requiring a uniform label format and a summary of efficacy and safety data (with confidential business information removed).

      Summary of Legal Basis: APHIS administers and enforces the Virus-

      Serum-Toxin Act, as amended (21 U.S.C. 151 to 159). The regulations issued pursuant to the Act are intended to ensure that veterinary biological products are pure, safe, potent, and efficacious when used according to label instructions.

      Alternatives: We could retain the current APHIS labeling guidance, but maintaining the status quo would not address the concern reported by stakeholders concerning the interpretation of product performance.

      Anticipated Cost and Benefits: APHIS anticipates that the only costs associated with the proposed labeling format would be one-time costs incurred by licensees and permittees in having labels for existing licensed products updated in accordance with the proposed new format. A simpler, uniform label format would allow biologics licensees and permittees to more clearly communicate product performance information to the end user. In addition, the rule would simplify the evaluation of efficacy studies and reduce the amount of time required by APHIS to evaluate study data, thus allowing manufacturers to market their products sooner.

      Risks: APHIS has not identified any risks associated with this proposed action.

      Timetable:

      ------------------------------------------------------------------------

      Action Date FR Cite

      ------------------------------------------------------------------------

      Notice.............................. 05/24/11 76 FR 30093

      Comment Period End.................. 07/25/11 .......................

      NPRM................................ 04/21/14 79 FR 22048

      NPRM Comment Period End............. 06/20/14 .......................

      Final Action........................ 05/00/15 .......................

      ------------------------------------------------------------------------

      Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: Undetermined.

      Small Entities Affected: Businesses.

      Government Levels Affected: None.

      Additional Information: Additional information about APHIS and its programs is available on the Internet at http://www.aphis.usda.gov.

      Agency Contact: Donna L Malloy, Operational Support Section, Center for Veterinary Biologics, Policy, Evaluation, and Licensing, VS, Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, 4700 River Road, Unit 148, Riverdale, MD 20737-1231, Phone: 301 851-

      3426.

      RIN: 0579-AD64

      USDA--APHIS

      12. User Fees for Agricultural Quarantine and Inspection Services

      Priority: Economically Significant. Major under 5 U.S.C. 801.

      Legal Authority: 7 U.S.C. 7701 to 7772; 7 U.S.C. 7781 to 7786; 7 U.S.C. 8301 to 8317; 21 U.S.C. 136 and 136a; 49 U.S.C. 80503

      CFR Citation: 7 CFR 354.

      Legal Deadline: None.

      Abstract: This rulemaking will amend the user fee regulations by adding new fee categories and adjusting current fees charged for certain agricultural quarantine and inspection services that are provided in connection with certain commercial vessels, commercial trucks, commercial railroad cars, commercial aircraft, and international passengers arriving at ports in the customs territory of the United States. It will also adjust the fee caps associated with commercial vessels, commercial trucks, and commercial railcars. Based on the conclusions of a third party assessment of the user fee program and on other considerations, we have determined that revised user fee categories and revised user fees are necessary to recover the costs of the current level of activity, to account for actual and projected increases in the cost of doing business, and to more accurately align fees with the costs associated with each fee service.

      Statement of Need: Regarding certain agricultural quarantine and inspection services that are provided in connection with certain commercial vessels, commercial trucks, commercial railroad cars, commercial aircraft, and international passengers arriving at ports in the customs territory of the United States, we have determined that revised user fee categories and revised user fees are necessary to recover the costs of the current level of activity, to account for actual and projected increases in the cost of doing business, and to more accurately align fees with the costs associated with each fee service.

      Summary of Legal Basis: Section 2509(a) of the Food, Agriculture, Conservation, and Trade (FACT) Act of 1990 (21 U.S.C. 136a) authorizes APHIS to collect user fees for certain agricultural quarantine and inspection (AQI) services. The FACT Act was amended on April 4, 1996, and May 13, 2002. The FACT Act, as amended, authorizes APHIS to collect user fees for AQI services provided in connection with the arrival, at a port in the customs territory of the United States, of commercial vessels, commercial trucks, commercial railroad cars, commercial aircraft, and international passengers. According to the FACT Act, as amended, these user fees should recover the costs of:

      Page 76482

      Providing the AQI services for the conveyances and the passengers listed above;

      Providing preclearance or preinspection at a site outside the customs territory of the United States to international passengers, commercial vessels, commercial trucks, commercial railroad cars, and commercial aircraft;

      Administering the user fee program; and

      Maintaining a reasonable reserve.

      In addition, the FACT Act, as amended, contains the following requirement:

      The fees should be commensurate with the costs with respect to the class of persons or entities paying the fees. This is intended to avoid cross-subsidization of AQI services.

      Alternatives: APHIS focused on three alternatives composed of different combinations of paying classes. The first or preferred alternative is the proposed rule; the second alternative differed from the first by not including user fees for recipients of AQI treatment services; and under the third alternative, recipients of commodity import permits and pest import permits would pay user fees, in addition to the classes that would pay fees under the proposed rule. The latter two alternatives were rejected.

      Anticipated Cost and Benefits: The proposed changes in user fees would ensure that the program can continue to protect America's agricultural industries and natural resource base against invasive species and diseases while more closely aligning, by class, the cost of AQI services provided and user fee revenue received.

      Risks: AQI services benefit U.S. agricultural and natural resources by protecting them from the inadvertent introduction of foreign pests and diseases that may enter the country and the threat of intentional introduction of pests or pathogens as a means of agroterrorism. In the extreme, failure to maintain the nation's biosecurity could disrupt American agricultural production, erode confidence in the U.S. food supply, and destabilize the U.S. economy.

      Timetable:

      ------------------------------------------------------------------------

      Action Date FR Cite

      ------------------------------------------------------------------------

      NPRM................................ 04/25/14 79 FR 22895

      NPRM Comment Period End............. 06/24/14 .......................

      NPRM Comment Period Reopened........ 07/01/14 79 FR 37231

      NPRM Comment Period Reopened End.... 07/24/14 .......................

      Final Rule.......................... 12/00/14 .......................

      ------------------------------------------------------------------------

      Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: Undetermined.

      Small Entities Affected: Businesses.

      Government Levels Affected: Federal.

      International Impacts: This regulatory action will be likely to have international trade and investment effects, or otherwise be of international interest.

      Additional Information: Additional information about APHIS and its programs is available on the Internet at http://www.aphis.usda.gov.

      Agency Contact: William E Thomas, Senior Agriculturist, Office of the Deputy Administrator, PPQ, Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, 4700 River Road, Unit 130, Riverdale, MD 20737, Phone: 301 851-2306.

      Kris Caraher, Branch Chief, Review and Analysis, Financial Management Division, MRPBS, Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, 4700 River Road, Unit 55, Riverdale, MD 20737, Phone: 301 851-2834.

      RIN: 0579-AD77

      USDA--FOOD AND NUTRITION SERVICE (FNS)

      Proposed Rule Stage

      13. Emergency Supplemental Nutrition Assistance for Victims of Disasters Procedures

      Priority: Other Significant.

      Legal Authority: Food and Nutrition Act of 2008

      CFR Citation: 7 CFR 280.

      Legal Deadline: None.

      Abstract: The Food and Nutrition Act of 2008 (FNA) provides authority for the Secretary of Agriculture to establish temporary emergency standards of eligibility for the duration of an emergency for households who are victims of a disaster that disrupts commercial channels of food distribution. FNS plans to publish a Proposed Rule for D-SNAP that will codify longstanding policies disseminated through previous guidance.

      Statement of Need: A 2007 Office of Inspector General (OIG) report (Audit 27099-49-Te: Disaster Food Stamp Program for Hurricanes Katrina and Rita--Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas--Final Report) found some deficits in the design and review of State D-SNAP plans of operation and inadequate controls to prevent recipient fraud and duplicate participation. OIG attributed the deficits, in part, to a lack of detailed procedures in regulations and, in response, recommended that FNS amend D-SNAP policy on those specific topics and promulgate D-SNAP regulations.

      Summary of Legal Basis: The Food and Nutrition Act of 2008 (FNA) provides authority for the Secretary of Agriculture to establish temporary emergency standards of eligibility for the duration of an emergency for households who are victims of a disaster which disrupts commercial channels of food distribution.

      Alternatives: None identified; this Proposed Rule primarily will codify long-standing D-SNAP procedures.

      Anticipated Cost and Benefits: As the Proposed Rule primarily will codify longstanding D-SNAP procedures, FNS anticipates that this rule will not result in any significant costs.

      Risks: No risks are anticipated as the proposed rule will codify longstanding procedures.

      Timetable:

      ------------------------------------------------------------------------

      Action Date FR Cite

      ------------------------------------------------------------------------

      NPRM................................ 03/00/15 .......................

      NPRM Comment Period End............. 05/00/15 .......................

      ------------------------------------------------------------------------

      Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: No.

      Government Levels Affected: Local, State.

      Agency Contact: Charles H. Watford, Regulatory Review Specialist, Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service, 3101 Park Center Drive, Alexandria, VA 22302, Phone: 703 605-0800, Email: charles.watford@fns.usda.gov.

      Lynnette M. Thomas, Chief, Planning and Regulatory Affairs Branch, Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service, 3101 Park Center Drive, Alexandria, VA 22302, Phone: 703 605-4782, Email: lynnette.thomas@fns.usda.gov.

      RIN: 0584-AE00

      USDA--FNS

      14. Child Nutrition Program Integrity

      Priority: Other Significant.

      Legal Authority: Pub. L. 111-296.

      CFR Citation: 7 CFR 210; 7 CFR 215; 7 CFR 220; 7 CFR 225; 7 CFR 226; 7 CFR 235.

      Legal Deadline: None.

      Abstract: This rule proposes to codify three provisions of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 (the Act). Section 303 of the Act requires the Secretary to establish criteria for imposing fines against schools, school food authorities, or State agencies that fail to correct severe mismanagement of the program,

      Page 76483

      fail to correct repeat violations of program requirements, or disregard a program requirement of which they had been informed. Section 322 of the Act requires the Secretary to establish procedures for the termination and disqualification of organizations participating in the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP). Section 362 of the Act requires that any school, institution, service institution, facility, or individual that has been terminated from any program authorized under the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act or the Child Nutrition Act of 1966, and appears on either the SFSP or the Child and Adult Care Food Program's (CACFP's) disqualified list, may not be approved to participate in or administer any other programs authorized under those two Acts.

      Statement of Need: There are currently no regulations imposing fines on schools, school food authorities, or State agencies for program violations and mismanagement. This rule will: (1) Establish criteria for imposing fines against schools, school food authorities, or State agencies that fail to correct severe mismanagement of the program or repeated violations of program requirements; (2) establish procedures for the termination and disqualification of organizations participating in the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP); and (3) require that any school, institutions, or individual that has been terminated from any Federal Child Nutrition Program and appears on either the SFSP or the Child and Adult Care Food Program's (CACFP's) disqualified list may not be approved to participate in or administer any other Child Nutrition Program.

      Summary of Legal Basis: This rule codifies Sections 303, 322, and 362 of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 (Pub. L. 111-296).

      Alternatives: None identified; this rule implements statutory requirements.

      Anticipated Cost and Benefits: This rule is expected to help promote program integrity in all of the child nutrition programs. FNS anticipates that these provisions will have no significant costs and no major increase in regulatory burden to States.

      Risks: None identified.

      Timetable:

      ------------------------------------------------------------------------

      Action Date FR Cite

      ------------------------------------------------------------------------

      NPRM................................ 01/00/15 .......................

      NPRM Comment Period End............. 03/00/15 .......................

      ------------------------------------------------------------------------

      Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: No.

      Government Levels Affected: Local, State.

      Federalism: This action may have federalism implications as defined in EO 13132.

      Agency Contact: James F Herbert, Regulatory Review Specialist, Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service, 3101 Park Center Drive, Alexandria, VA 22302, Phone: 703 305-2572, Email: james.herbert@fns.usda.gov.

      Lynnette M Thomas, Chief, Planning and Regulatory Affairs Branch, Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service, 3101 Park Center Drive, Alexandria, VA 22302, Phone: 703 605-4782, Email: lynnette.thomas@fns.usda.gov.

      RIN: 0584-AE08

      USDA--FNS

      15. Child and Adult Care Food Program: Meal Pattern Revisions Related to the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010

      Priority: Other Significant.

      Legal Authority: Pub. L. 111-296

      CFR Citation: 7 CFR 210; 7 CFR 215; 7 CFR 220; 7 CFR 226.

      Legal Deadline: None.

      Abstract: This proposal would implement section 221 of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 (Pub. L. 111-296; the Act) which requires USDA to review and update, no less frequently than once every 10 years, requirements for meals served under the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) to ensure that meals are consistent with the most recent Dietary Guidelines for Americans and relevant nutrition science.

      Statement of Need: Section 221 of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 (Pub. L. 111-296, the Act) requires USDA to review and update, no less frequently than once every 10 years, requirements for meals served under the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) to ensure that meals are consistent with the most recent Dietary Guidelines for Americans and relevant nutrition science. The Act also clarifies the purpose of the program, restricts the use of food as a punishment or reward, outlines requirements for milk and milk substitution, and introduces requirements for the availability of water. This rule will establish the criteria and procedures for implementing these provisions of the Act.

      Summary of Legal Basis: Section 221 of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 (Pub. L. 111-296).

      Alternatives: There are several instances throughout this rule and its associated Regulatory Impact Analysis that offer alternatives for review and comment to the various criteria and procedures discussed in this proposed rule.

      Anticipated Cost and Benefits: This rule is expected to improve the nutritional quality of meals served and the overall health of children participating in the CACFP. Most CACFP meals are served to children from low-income households. At this time, we cannot estimate the financial impact the proposed rule will have on State agencies, sponsoring organizations, and child care institutions, but we expect that there will be a small cost increase associated with the implementation of improved meal pattern requirements. A regulatory impact analysis will be conducted to determine these cost implications.

      Risks: None identified.

      Timetable:

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      Action Date FR Cite

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      NPRM................................ 11/00/14 .......................

      NPRM Comment Period End............. 01/00/15 .......................

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      Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: Yes.

      Small Entities Affected: Governmental Jurisdictions.

      Government Levels Affected: Local, State.

      Agency Contact: James F. Herbert, Regulatory Review Specialist, Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service, 3101 Park Center Drive, Alexandria, VA 22302, Phone: 703 305-2572, Email: james.herbert@fns.usda.gov.

      Lynnette M. Thomas, Chief, Planning and Regulatory Affairs Branch, Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service, 3101 Park Center Drive, Alexandria, VA 22302, Phone: 703 605-4782, Email: lynnette.thomas@fns.usda.gov.

      RIN: 0584-AE18

      USDA--FNS

      16. Enhancing Retailer Eligibility Standards In SNAP

      Priority: Other Significant.

      Legal Authority: Sec 3, U.S.C. 2012; sec 9, U.S.C. 2018

      CFR Citation: 7 CFR 271.2; 7 CFR 278.1.

      Legal Deadline: None.

      Abstract: This rulemaking will address the criteria used to authorize redemption of SNAP benefits (especially by restaurant-type operations).

      Statement of Need: The 2014 Farm Bill amended the Food and Nutrition

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      Act of 2008 to increase the requirement that certain SNAP authorized retail food stores have available on a continual basis at least three varieties of items in each of four staple food categories to a mandatory minimum of seven. The 2014 Farm Bill also amended the Act to increase for certain SNAP authorized retail food stores the minimum number of categories in which perishable foods are required from two to three. This rule would codify these mandatory requirements. Further, using existing authority in the Act and feedback from an expansive Request for Information, the rulemaking also proposes changes to address depth of stock, redefine staple and accessory foods, and amend the definition of retail food store to clarify when a retailer is a restaurant rather than a retail food store.

      Summary of Legal Basis: Section 3(k) of the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008 (the Act) generally (with limited exception) (1) requires that food purchased with SNAP benefits be meant for home consumption and (2) forbids the purchase of hot foods with SNAP benefits. The intent of those statutory requirements can be circumvented by selling cold foods, which may be purchased with SNAP benefits, and offering onsite heating or cooking of those same foods, either for free or at an additional cost. In addition, Section 9 of the Act provides for approval of retail food stores and wholesale food concerns based on their ability to effectuate the purposes of the Program.

      Alternatives: Because this proposed rule is under development, alternatives are not yet articulated.

      Anticipated Cost and Benefits: The proposed changes will allow FNS to improve access to healthy food choices for SNAP participants and to ensure that participating retailers effectuate the purposes of the Program. FNS anticipates that these provisions will have no significant costs to States.

      Risks: None identified.

      Timetable:

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      Action Date FR Cite

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      NPRM................................ 08/00/15 .......................

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      Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: No.

      Government Levels Affected: State.

      Agency Contact: Charles H. Watford, Regulatory Review Specialist, Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service, 3101 Park Center Drive, Alexandria, VA 22302, Phone: 703 605-0800, Email: charles.watford@fns.usda.gov.

      Lynnette M. Thomas, Chief, Planning and Regulatory Affairs Branch, Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service, 3101 Park Center Drive, Alexandria, VA 22302, Phone: 703 605-4782, Email: lynnette.thomas@fns.usda.gov.

      RIN: 0584-AE27

      USDA--FNS

      Final Rule Stage

      17. Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program: Farm Bill of 2008 Retailer Sanctions

      Priority: Economically Significant. Major under 5 U.S.C. 801.

      Legal Authority: Pub. L. 110-246

      CFR Citation: 7 CFR 276.

      Legal Deadline: None.

      Abstract: This final rule would implement provisions under section 4132 of the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008, giving the Department of Agriculture's Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) the authority to assess a civil penalty and to disqualify a retail or wholesale food store authorized to participate in SNAP.

      Statement of Need: This final rule implements the provisions of the 2008 Farm Bill that provide the U.S. Department of Agriculture greater flexibility in assessing sanctions against retail food stores and wholesale food concerns found in violation of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program rules. This rule updates SNAP retailer sanction regulations to include authority granted in the 2008 Farm Bill to allow the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) to impose a civil penalty in addition to disqualification, raise the allowable penalties per violation and provide greater flexibility to the Department for minor violations.

      Summary of Legal Basis: Section 4132, Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (Pub. L. 110-246).

      Alternatives: For the new trafficking civil penalty, FNS considered alternatives for assessing a civil penalty in addition to permanent disqualification for stores sanctioned for trafficking.

      Anticipated Cost and Benefits: The changes to the retailer sanction regulations will improve program integrity by increasing the deterrent effect of sanctions on the small number of authorized firms that commit program violations.

      Risks: The risk that retail or wholesale food stores will violate SNAP rules, or continue to violate SNAP rules, is expected to be reduced by refining program sanctions for participating retailers and wholesalers.

      Timetable:

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      Action Date FR Cite

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      NPRM................................ 08/14/12 77 FR 48461

      NPRM Comment Period End............. 10/15/12 .......................

      Final Action........................ 01/00/15 .......................

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      Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: No.

      Government Levels Affected: State.

      Additional Information: Note: This RIN replaces the previously issued RIN 0584-AD78.

      Agency Contact: Charles H. Watford, Regulatory Review Specialist, Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service, 3101 Park Center Drive, Alexandria, VA 22302, Phone: 703 605-0800, Email: charles.watford@fns.usda.gov.

      Lynnette M. Thomas, Chief, Planning and Regulatory Affairs Branch, Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service, 3101 Park Center Drive, Alexandria, VA 22302, Phone: 703 605-4782, Email: lynnette.thomas@fns.usda.gov.

      RIN: 0584-AD88

      USDA--FNS

      18. Child Nutrition Programs: Local School Wellness Policy Implementation Under the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010

      Priority: Other Significant.

      Legal Authority: Pub. L. 111-296

      CFR Citation: 7 CFR 210; 7 CFR 220.

      Legal Deadline: None.

      Abstract: This final rule codifies a provision of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act (Pub. L. 111-296; the Act) under 7 CFR parts 210 and 220. Section 204 of the Act requires each local educational agency (LEA) to establish, for all schools under its jurisdiction, a local school wellness policy. The Act requires that the wellness policy include goals for nutrition, nutrition education, physical activity, and other school-based activities that promote student wellness. In addition, the Act requires that local educational agencies ensure stakeholder participation in development of their local school wellness policies, and periodically assess compliance with the policies, and disclose information about the policies to the public.

      Statement of Need: Schools play a critical role in promoting student health, preventing childhood obesity, and combating problems associated with poor nutrition and physical inactivity. To formalize and encourage this role, section 204 of the Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act of 2004 (Pub. L. 108-265), required each

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      local educational agency (LEA) participating in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and/or the School Breakfast Program (SBP) to establish a local school wellness policy by School Year 2006. Subsequently, section 204 of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 (HHFKA, Pub. L. 111-296, December 13, 2010) added a new section 9A to the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act (NSLA) (42 U.S.C. 1758b) which expands the scope of wellness policies; brings additional stakeholders into the development, implementation, and review of local school wellness policies; and requires public updates on the content and implementation of the wellness policies.

      Summary of Legal Basis: Section 204 of the Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act of 2004 (Pub. L. 108-265); Section 204 of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 (HHFKA, Pub. L. 111-296).

      Alternatives: Alternatives to some of the policy provisions were outlined in the proposed rule and will be discussed in the final rule.

      Anticipated Cost and Benefits: The rule strengthens local school wellness policy requirements. As described in the Regulatory Impact Analysis, we expect this to improve health outcomes for students, though we are not able to quantify these benefits. Minimal administrative expenses are estimated in relation to additional reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

      Risks: None identified.

      Timetable:

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      Action Date FR Cite

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      NPRM................................ 02/26/14 79 FR 10693

      NPRM Comment Period End............. 04/28/14 .......................

      Final Action........................ 04/00/15 .......................

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      Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required:: Yes.

      Small Entities Affected: Governmental Jurisdictions.

      Government Levels Affected: Local, State.

      Agency Contact: James F. Herbert, Regulatory Review Specialist, Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service, 3101 Park Center Drive, Alexandria, VA 22302, Phone: 703 305-2572, Email: james.herbert@fns.usda.gov.

      Lynnette M. Thomas, Chief, Planning and Regulatory Affairs Branch, Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service, 3101 Park Center Drive, Alexandria, VA 22302, Phone: 703 605-4782, Email: lynnette.thomas@fns.usda.gov.

      RIN: 0584-AE25

      USDA--FNS

      19. SNAP: Employment and Training (E&T) Performance Measurement, Monitoring and Reporting Requirements

      Priority: Other Significant.

      Legal Authority: Pub. L. 113-79

      CFR Citation: 7 CFR 273.

      Legal Deadline: None.

      Abstract: This rule will implement the E&T provisions of section 4022 of The Agricultural Act of 2014. The provisions of the Agricultural Act of 2014 require reporting measures for States' E&T programs.

      Statement of Need: Section 4022 of Agricultural Act of 2014 states that ``Not later than 18 months after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall issue interim final regulations implementing the amendments made by subsection (a)(2).'' This interim rule will address the amendments in subsection (a)(2). This rule will also address the USDA Office of Inspector General (OIG) audit entitled ``Food Stamp Employment and Training Program'' (OIG #27601-16-AT), released March 31, 2008, that recommended FNS establish performance measures for the SNAP E&T Program. This rule will bring closure to that audit recommendation.

      Summary of Legal Basis: Section 4022 of Agricultural Act of 2014.

      Alternatives: Alternatives will be identified in the interim final rule.

      Anticipated Cost and Benefits: Costs and Benefits will be identified in the interim final rule.

      Risks: Risks, if applicable, will be identified in the interim final rule.

      Timetable:

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      Action Date FR Cite

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      Interim Final Rule.................. 04/00/15 .......................

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      Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: No.

      Government Levels Affected: Local, State.

      Agency Contact: Charles H. Watford, Regulatory Review Specialist, Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service, 3101 Park Center Drive, Alexandria, VA 22302, Phone: 703 605-0800, Email: charles.watford@fns.usda.gov.

      Lynnette M. Thomas, Chief, Planning and Regulatory Affairs Branch, Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service, 3101 Park Center Drive, Alexandria, VA 22302, Phone: 703 605-4782, Email: lynnette.thomas@fns.usda.gov.

      RIN: 0584-AE33

      USDA--Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS)

      Proposed Rule Stage

      20. Requirements for the Disposition of Non-Ambulatory Disabled Veal Calves

      Priority: Other Significant. Major status under 5 U.S.C. 801 is undetermined.

      Legal Authority: Federal Meat Inspection Act (21 U.S.C. 601 et seq.)

      CFR Citation: 9 CFR 309.

      Legal Deadline: None.

      Abstract: FSIS is proposing to amend the ante-mortem inspection regulations to remove a provision that permits establishments to set apart and hold for treatment veal calves that are unable to rise from a recumbent position and walk because they are tired or cold (9 CFR 309.13(b)). The regulations permit such calves to proceed to slaughter if they are able to rise and walk after being warmed or rested. FSIS is proposing to require that non-ambulatory disabled (NAD) veal calves that are offered for slaughter be condemned and promptly euthanized. The existing regulations require that NAD mature cattle be condemned on ante-mortem inspection and that they be promptly euthanized (9 CFR 309.3(e)). FSIS believes that prohibiting the slaughter of all NAD veal calves would improve compliance with the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act of 1978 (HMSA), and the humane slaughter implementing regulations. It would also improve the Agency's inspection efficiency by eliminating the time that FSIS inspection program personnel (IPP) spend assessing and supervising the treatment of NAD veal calves.

      Statement of Need: Removing the provision from 9 CFR 309.13(b) would eliminate uncertainty as to what is to be done with veal calves that are non-ambulatory disabled because they are tired or cold, or because they are injured or sick, thereby ensuring the appropriate disposition of these animals. In addition, removing the provision in 9 CFR 309.13(b) would improve inspection efficiency by eliminating the time that FSIS IPP spend assessing the treatment of non-ambulatory disabled veal calves.

      Summary of Legal Basis: 21 U.S.C. 603 (a) and (b).

      Alternatives: The Agency considered two alternatives to the proposed amendment: The status quo and prohibiting the slaughter of non-ambulatory disabled ``bob veal,'' which are calves generally less than one week old.

      Anticipated Cost and Benefits: If the proposed rule is adopted, non-

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      ambulatory disabled veal calves will not be re-inspected during ante-

      mortem inspection. The veal calves that are condemned during ante-

      mortem inspection will be euthanized. The estimated annual cost to the veal industry would range between $2,368 and $161,405.

      The expected benefits of this proposed rule are not quantifiable. However, the proposed rule will ensure the humane disposition of the non-ambulatory disabled veal calves. It will also increase the efficiency and effective implementation of inspection and humane handling requirements at official establishments.

      Risks: None.

      Timetable:

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      Action Date FR Cite

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      NPRM................................ 04/00/15 .......................

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      Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: No.

      Government Levels Affected: None.

      Agency Contact: Dr. Daniel L. Engeljohn, Assistant Administrator, Office of Policy and Program Development, Department of Agriculture, Food Safety and Inspection Service, 1400 Independence Avenue SW, 349-E JWB, Washington, DC 20250, Phone: 202 205-0495, Fax: 202 720-2025, Email: daniel.engeljohn@fsis.usda.gov.

      RIN: 0583-AD54

      USDA--FSIS

      Final Rule Stage

      21. Mandatory Inspection of Fish of the Order Siluriformes and Products Derived From Such Fish

      Priority: Economically Significant. Major under 5 U.S.C. 801.

      Legal Authority: Federal Meat Inspection Act (FMIA) (21 U.S.C. 601 to 695); Pub. L. 110-246, sec 11016; Pub. L. 113-79, sec 12106

      CFR Citation: 9 CFR ch III, subchapter F (new).

      Legal Deadline: Final, Statutory, Final Regulations not later than 60 days after enactment of the Agricultural Act of 2014 (Pub. L. 113-

      79). The Agriculture Act of 2014 directs the Department to publish final regulations not later than 60 days after the date of enactment.

      Abstract: The 2008 Farm Bill (Pub. L. 110-246, sec. 11016), amended the Federal Meat Inspection Act (FMIA) to make ``catfish'' a species amenable to the FMIA and, therefore, subject to FSIS inspection. In addition, the 2008 Farm Bill gave FSIS the authority to define the term ``catfish.'' On February 24, 2011, FSIS published a proposed rule that outlined a mandatory catfish inspection program and presented two options for defining ``catfish.'' The 2014 Farm Bill (Pub. L. 113-79, sec. 12106), amended the FMIA to remove the term ``catfish'' and to make ``all fish of the order Siluriformes'' subject to FSIS jurisdiction and inspection. As a result, FSIS inspection of Siluriformes is mandated by law and non-discretionary.

      Statement of Need: The 2008 and 2014 Farm Bills amended the Federal Meat Inspection Act, making all fish of the order Siluriformes amenable species to the FMIA, requiring FSIS inspection.

      Summary of Legal Basis: 21 U.S.C. 601 to 695, Public Law 110-246, section 11016, Public Law 113-79, section 12106.

      Alternatives: The option of no rulemaking is unavailable.

      Anticipated Cost and Benefits: FSIS anticipates benefits from uniform standards and the more extensive and intensive inspection service it will provide. The requirements for imported Siluriformes will be equivalent to those applied to domestically raised and processed fish of this type.

      Risks: In the final rule, the Agency will consider any risks to public health or other pertinent risks associated with the production, processing, and distribution of catfish and catfish products.

      Timetable:

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      Action Date FR Cite

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