Sabine Neches Navigation District User Fee Notice

 
CONTENT
Federal Register, Volume 85 Issue 121 (Tuesday, June 23, 2020)
[Federal Register Volume 85, Number 121 (Tuesday, June 23, 2020)]
[Notices]
[Pages 37634-37636]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2020-13420]
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DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE
Department of the Army, Corps of Engineers
Sabine Neches Navigation District User Fee Notice
AGENCY: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, DoD.
ACTION: Notice.
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SUMMARY: The Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA) of 2014
authorizes a non-federal interest to levy port or harbor dues in the
form of tonnage duties or fees in conjunction with a harbor navigation
project whose usable increment of the project is complete to finance
the cost, construction or maintenance of the project. The Sabine-Neches
Navigation District (SNND) is a political subdivision of the State of
Texas and the non-federal sponsor of the Sabine-Neches Waterway Channel
Improvement Project (SNWW CIP). The SNND anticipates completion of the
first usable increment of the SNWW CIP in the next 180 days. Upon
completion of the first usable increment, SNND intends to levy port or
harbor dues pursuant to 33 U.S.C. 2236. Notification in the Federal
Register prior to an initial levy of port or harbor dues is required by
the statute.
DATES: A public hearing on the proposed user fee ordinance will be held
at 3:30 p.m. on August 11, 2020, in the manner and location specified
in the ADDRESSES section of this Notice.
 The public comment period will end upon the close of business at 5
p.m. (CST), August 28, 2020. Written comments must be received by the
District on or before that date to be considered before the user fee
ordinance becomes effective.
ADDRESSES: The public hearing will be held at 8180 Anchor Drive, Port
Arthur, TX 77642. Pursuant to orders issued by the Governor of Texas
related to combatting the spread of Covid-19, arrangements will be made
for attendance at the public meeting by electronic means. Details
regarding participation by electronic means will be posted on SNND's
website: www.navigationdistrict.org.
 Public comments concerning the proposed users' fee ordinance should
be directed in writing to Mr. Randall Reese, Executive Director and CEO
Sabine-Neches Navigation District, 8180 Anchor Drive, Port Arthur, TX
77642, with a copy to Ms. Franchelle Nealy, Galveston District, U.S.
Army Corps of Engineers, 2000 Fort Point Road, Galveston, TX 77550.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: All comments and requests for further
information on the proposal must be directed in writing to the
Executive Director and CEO of SNND. His contact information follows:
Mr. Randall Reese, Executive Director and CEO Sabine-Neches Navigation
District, 8180 Anchor Drive, Port Arthur, TX 77642; Telephone: 409-729-
4588; email: [email protected]. Alternatively, contact Ms.
Franchelle Nealy, in writing at the Galveston District, U.S. Army Corps
of Engineers, ATTN: Ms. Franchelle Nealy, 2000 Fort Point Road,
Galveston, TX 77550; Telephone: 409-766-3817; and by email at
[email protected].
SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE)
Galveston District published the Final Feasibility Report/Final
Environmental Impact Statement for SNWW CIP (USACE, 2011) in March
2011, the Chief of Engineers Report (Chief's Report) was signed in July
2011, and the Record of Decision was signed in February 2012. The
Congressional approval of the construction of the SNWW CIP
(authorization for construction) was provided in Section 7002(1)1 of
the Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA) of 2014, Public
Law 113-121. The SNWW CIP's new start construction was funded in Fiscal
Year (FY) 2019 by the Army Civil Works Program FY 2019 Work Plan. The
SNND and the USACE signed the Project Partnership Agreement for SNWW
CIP on or about July 27, 2019. Additional funding for construction of
the SNWW CIP was provided in the FY 2020 Work Plan.
 Construction of the first usable increment of SNWW CIP, an
anchorage basin, has begun. Upon completion of this anchorage basin,
SNND intends to begin to levy port or harbor dues pursuant to 33 U.S.C.
2236. 33 U.S.C. 2236(a)(5)(A) requires that SNND, as the non-federal
sponsor, transmit to the Secretary of the Army for public notice the
proposed ordinance before the initial levy of port or harbor dues.
 Proposed Ordinance:
Sabine Neches Navigtion District User Fee Ordinance. An Ordinance
Setting Out the Need for and Levying of a User Service Fee on Cargo,
Placing Responsibility for Reporting and Collection of the Fee on
Receiving and Shipping Terminals and Providing a Misdemeanor Penalty
for Failure To File the Required Reports or Pay the User Fee in the
Sabine Neches Navigation District
 Whereas the Sabine Neches Navigation District (``Navigation
District'') is the designated non-federal sponsor (``sponsor'') for the
Sabine Neches Waterway Channel Improvement Project for the Sabine
Neches Waterway authorized in the Water Resources Reform and
Development Act of 2014 (``Project''); and
 Whereas the Texas Legislature implemented Senate Bill 1137
authorizing the Navigation District to serve as the sponsor for the
Project and perform all necessary duties as the sponsor to satisfy its
obligations as the local sponsor; and
 Whereas the Project is projected to generate an additional $57
billion in gross product and 465,000 U.S. jobs; and
 Whereas the Navigation District will be responsible for funding its
required cost share of the total Project cost including payment of 30
percent of the total cost; and
 Whereas 33 U.S.C. 2236 authorizes a non-federal interest to levy
port or harbor dues in the form of tonnage duties or fees in
conjunction with a port or harbor navigation project whose usable
increment of the project is complete to finance the cost, construction
or maintenance of the Project; and
 Whereas the Navigation District intends to complete an increment of
the Project to create a new anchorage basin to be located on the Neches
River and referenced in section VI page 16 of the March 11, 2011, Final
Feasibility Report to benefit all vessels whose design draft exceed 20
feet; and
 Whereas the levy of port or harbor dues authorized by 33 U.S.C.
2236 may be applied to all vessels comparable in size to those vessels
used to justify the completed construction of a usable increment of the
Project;
 Whereas the Board has considered matters such as elapsed time of
passage,
[[Page 37635]]
safety of passengers and cargo, vessel economy of scale, under keel
clearance, vessel draft, vessel squat, speed, sinkage and the cost of
construction, operations, the value of the services of the vessel and
cargo; and
 Whereas all vessels comparable in size to those vessels used to
justify the completed construction of an anchorage basin benefit from
the anchorage basin as a usable increment of the Project, a User Fee of
0.35 per ton reflects the benefits provided by the Project to vessels
whose design draft exceeds 20 feet.
 Now be it ordained by the navigation and Canal Commissioners of the
Sabine Neches Navigation District:
Authority and Jurisdiction
 The geographical boundaries of the Navigation District include an
area that is co-extensive with Jefferson County, Texas, and the
Navigation District exercises jurisdiction over the adjacent waterways,
the nonpublic terminals and all vessels using the Sabine Neches
Waterway Channel (``Waterway'').
 The Navigation District has the power and authority to regulate and
fix charges for the use of the Waterway. The Navigation District is
authorized to make and enforce rules and regulations to facilitate
navigation and commerce, to every User. All vessels whose design draft
exceeds 20 feet using the Waterway shall conform to this User Fee
Ordinance (``Ordinance''), which establishes a user fee for the
financing of the improvement Project (``User Fee''). All Users of the
Waterway, by their use, consent to be bound by this Ordinance including
these rules and regulations as they exist or may be amended from time
to time.
 The Board of Commissioners of the Sabine Neches Navigation District
is authorized by Article 16, Section 59, of the Constitution of the
State of Texas, Chapter 60 of the Texas Water Code, and the Acts of the
83rd Legislature Regular Session HB 1137 to act as the local sponsor
for the Project.
 Refusal or failure to comply with these rules and regulations may
result in any action deemed appropriate or advisable by the Sabine-
Neches Navigation District in consultation with the United States Coast
Guard Captain of the Port of Port Arthur and other relevant
authorities. The Navigation District may employ all legal means within
its power to collect fees including the use of liens, penalties and
fines. Misdemeanor criminal penalties may be assessed for failure to
file the required reports or pay the required User Fee.
General Application
 The use of the Sabine Neches Waterway constitutes an acceptance by
the User of all charges, rules, and regulations published in this
Ordinance. The charges, rules, and regulations published in this
Ordinance apply on all cargo moving to and from terminals on the
Waterway and shall apply equally to all facilities and terminals on the
Waterway.
Waterway User Fee
 A User Fee will be assessed against and collected on cargos of all
transiting vessels whose design draft exceeds 20 feet loading or
discharging at terminals or facilities on the Sabine Neches Waterway,
beginning on a date after the completion of the first new anchorage as
a usable increment of the Project in order to finance costs associated
with the Project.
 The User Fee authorized by this resolution does not apply to (i)
vessels owned, chartered, or operated by the United States Government,
a foreign country, a state, or a political subdivision of a country or
State, unless engaged in commercial services; (ii) vessels engaged in
towing, dredging or channel maintenance activities, (iii) vessels
carrying solely non-hydrocarbon cargo, (iv) vessels engaged in intra-
port movements; or (v) vessels with design drafts of 20 feet or less.
For purposes of this Ordinance, ``hydrocarbon'' means oil, gas,
ethanol, methanol, a commodity or thing made or manufactured-in whole
or part-from oil or gas, and derivatives or by-products or fractions of
oil or gas all regardless of their physical form and including mixtures
of any or all of the above.
 The User Fee authorized by this ordinance will expire on January 1,
2049, or upon final payment of all financing associated with the
Project, whichever occurs first.
 The User Fee is assessed for services including, but not limited
to, meeting the financial responsibility of acting as the local sponsor
for the Project.
 The User Fee will be assessed as a tonnage fee on cargo loaded or
discharged through a terminal. The User Fee will be assessed as
follows:
Cargo
 Break-bulk: $0.35 short ton
 Bulk: $0.35 short ton
 Liquid Bulk: $0.35 short ton
Responsibility for Payment of User Fee
 The owner, shipper, and consignee of the cargo are jointly
responsible for payment of this User Fee. The Navigation District,
however, cannot recognize the numerous shippers or consignees who may
be responsible for the User Fee; therefore, the User Fee must be
collected for and remitted to the Navigation District by the terminal
where the cargo was received, loaded to, or unloaded from. The delivery
or acceptance of the Cargo renders its owner's, shippers and consignee,
jointly and severally liable, as guarantors, for payment of the User
Fee along with the terminal.
Payment Procedure
 On the 15th of the month following transfer of the cargo either to
or from the terminals on the Waterway, the terminal involved will
forward to the Navigation District funds for the total amount of the
User Fees upon cargo that crossed the terminal's dock for the preceding
month, along with a verified statement of the amount owed for the
incurred User Fees for the preceding month. The terminal that receives
or ships the cargo is a guarantor of the User Fee and the Navigation
District may collect from the terminal without first proceeding against
the cargo or its carrier. This verified statement will be submitted to
the Navigation District on a form promulgated by the Navigation
District and the accuracy of the information provided on the form shall
be certified under penalties of perjury.
 Terminals shall keep records of the amounts owed for the User Fee
for a period of three years and make them available for audit by the
Navigation District. The data and fees paid are subject to audit by the
Navigation District and the terminal will cooperate with the Navigation
District's audit.
 All Users and owners of private facilities and terminals shall be
required to permit Navigation District representatives reasonable
access to manifests of cargo, receiving reports and all other documents
necessary to audit and ascertain the correctness of User Fees remitted.
Finance Charge
 All fees are due and payable upon the 15th of the month following
the use of the Waterway. Any User Fee incurred, which is unpaid thirty
(30) days from that date, shall be deemed to be delinquent.
 Any amount that is unpaid on or after thirty (30) days from the
date due will be assessed an interest charge of twelve percent (12%)
per annum of the amount of the fee due, and shall be due and owing from
the date of delinquency until paid. Such interest charges shall be
calculated on a per annum basis of three hundred sixty-five (365) days.
[[Page 37636]]
Venue and Attorney Fees
 Additionally, should it become necessary for the Navigation
District to file suit to collect any delinquent User Fees or to enforce
any provision of this Ordinance, the party obligated herein to pay such
User Fees under this section or the party against whom enforcement of
the User Fee is sought consents to such suit being filed in the
appropriate Federal District Court in Jefferson County, Texas. The
Navigation District shall be entitled to recover reasonable attorney
fees from the person sued under this provision.
Criminal Penalties (Texas Water Code Sec. 60.078)
 The failure to file accurate reporting forms or to remit User Fees
required by this Ordinance shall be a misdemeanor. Punishment of the
misdemeanor will be by a fine of not more than $200.00 for each offense
or violation. Each failure to file the required accurate report form or
pay any User Fee is a separate violation.
Severability
 If any provision of this Ordinance or its application to any person
or circumstance is held invalid, the invalidity does not affect other
provisions or applications of this Ordinance that can be given effect
without the invalid provision or application, and to this end the
provisions of this Ordinance are severable.
Notice
 Pursuant to Sec. 60.075(c) of the Texas Water Code, a descriptive
caption stating the purpose of this Ordinance and penalty for its
violation will be published for a ten (10) day period following the
passage in every issue of the Beaumont Enterprise, a newspaper of
general circulation in the Navigation District.
 This User Fee Ordinance was passed at a Regular Meeting of the
Commissioners of the Sabine Neches Navigation District held on the
 Approved by:
R.D. James,
Assistant Secretary of the Army (Civil Works).
[FR Doc. 2020-13420 Filed 6-22-20; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3720-58-P