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Federal Register Highlights – 3/17/14

March 17, 2014

Unpublished, time-sensitive and proposed rules for March 17, 2014:

PROPOSED RULE: The Energy Policy and Conservation Act of 1975 (EPCA), as amended, prescribes energy conservation standards for various consumer products and certain commercial and industrial equipment, including automatic commercial ice makers (ACIM). EPCA also requires the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to determine whether more-stringent, amended standards would be technologically feasible and economically justified, and would save a significant amount of energy. In this notice, DOE proposes amended energy conservation standards for automatic commercial ice makers. The notice of proposed rulemaking also announces a public meeting to receive comment on these proposed standards and associated analyses and results. DOE will accept comments, data, and information regarding this notice of proposed rulemaking (NOPR) before and after the public meeting, but no later than May 16, 2014. (To submit comments, visit http://www.regulations.gov, reference RIN 1904–AC39.)

PROPOSED RULE: This action proposes approval of, and regulations to implement, Framework Adjustment 51 to the Northeast Multispecies (Groundfish) Fishery Management Plan. This rule would set catch limits for groundfish stocks, revise the rebuilding programs for Gulf of Maine cod and American plaice, modify management measures for yellowtail flounder, and revise management measures for the U.S./Canada Management Area. Although not part of Framework 51, this action also proposes fishing year 2014 trip limits for the common pool fishery and announces 2014 accountability measures for windowpane flounder. This action is necessary to respond to updated scientific information and achieve the goals and objectives of the Groundfish Plan. The proposed measures are intended to help prevent overfishing, rebuild overfished stocks, achieve optimum yield, and ensure that management measures are based on the best scientific information available. Comments must be received by April 1, 2014. (To submit comments, visit http://www.regulations.gov, reference docket number NOAA–NMFS–2014–0003.)

PROPOSED RULE: We propose to approve 19 sector operations plans and contracts for fishing year (FY) 2014, provide Northeast (NE) multispecies annual catch entitlements (ACE) to these sectors, and grant regulatory exemptions. We request comment on the proposed sector operations plans and contracts; the environmental assessment (EA) analyzing the impacts of the operations plans; and our proposal to grant 20 of the 28 regulatory exemptions requested by the sectors. Approval of sector operations plans is necessary to allocate ACE to the sectors and for the sectors to operate. The NE Multispecies Fishery Management Plan (FMP) allows limited access permit holders to form sectors, and requires sectors to submit their operations plans and contracts to us, NMFS, for approval or disapproval. Approved sectors are exempt from certain effort control regulations and receive allocation of NE multispecies (groundfish) based on its members’ fishing history. This rule also announces the target at-sea monitoring (ASM) coverage rate for sector trips for FY 2014. Written comments must be received on or before April 1, 2014. (To submit comments, visit http://www.regulations.gov, reference docket number NOAA–NMFS–2014–0001.)

PROPOSED RULE: NMFS is proposing two actions in this rulemaking: A requirement for daily Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) catch reporting for vessels declared to fish in the Eastern U.S./Canada Area; and the de minimis amount of unused fishing year (FY) 2013 sector annual catch entitlement (ACE) that may be carried over, beginning in FY 2014, without being subject to potential accountability measures. The revision to the reporting requirement is necessary to better ensure accurate and timely Eastern U.S./Canada Area catch reporting for quota monitoring purposes. The proposed de minimis carryover amount is necessary to complete the carryover process NMFS described for FY 2014 in conjunction with the May 2013 rulemaking for Framework Adjustment 50 to the Northeast (NE) Multispecies Fishery Management Plan (FMP). The intended effect of these actions is to inform the public and solicit public comment on NMFS’s proposed measures. Comments must be received by April 16, 2014. (To submit comments, visit http://www.regulations.gov, reference docket number NOAA–NMFS–2013–0179.)

PROPOSED RULE: This proposed rule would amend certain existing regulations for the Microloan Program. The Microloan Program assists women, low income, veteran, and minority entrepreneurs, and others capable of operating a small business that are in need of small amounts of financial assistance. Specifically, this proposed rule would allow any Microloan Program Intermediary to make microloans (loans of $50,000 or less) to businesses with an Associate who is on probation or parole, except in limited circumstances; it would increase the minimum number of loans that microloan Intermediaries must make annually; and it would remove the requirement that the Microloan Revolving Fund (MRF) and the Loan Loss Reserve Fund (LLRF) be held in interest-bearing Deposit Accounts. In addition, the proposed rule includes technical amendments that would conform the regulations to current statutory authority. Comments must be received on or before May 16, 2014. (To submit comments, visit http://www.regulations.gov, reference RIN 3245–AG53.)

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