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Federal Register Highlights – 5/12/14

May 12, 2014

Unpublished, time-sensitive and proposed rules for May 12, 2014:

TEMPORARY RULE: The Coast Guard is establishing a safety zone on the navigable waters of Gerritsen Inlet surrounding the Belt Parkway Bridge. This rule will allow the Coast Guard to prohibit all vessel traffic through the safety zone during bridge replacement operations, both planned and unforeseen, that could pose an imminent hazard to persons and vessels operating in the area. This rule is necessary to provide for the safety of life in the safety zone during the construction of the Belt Parkway Bridge. This rule is effective without actual notice from May 12, 2014 until September 30, 2017. For the purposes of enforcement, actual notice will be used from the date the rule was signed, April 30, 2014, until May 12, 2014.

TEMPORARY RULE: The Coast Guard is establishing a temporary safety zone on the navigable waters of the Sabine River in Orange, TX in support of Deep South Racing Association (DSRA) boat races. This temporary safety zone is necessary to protect the surrounding public and vessels from the hazards associated with a boat race competition. Persons and vessels are prohibited from entering into, transiting through, or anchoring within this safety zone unless authorized by the COTP or his designated representative. This rule is effective May 31, 2014 through June 1, 2014. This rule will be enforced from 8:30 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. on May 31, 2014, and from 8:30 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. on June 1, 2014.

PROPOSED RULE: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) (collectively referred to as the ‘‘Services’’ or ‘‘we’’), propose to amend portions of our regulations, which implements the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act). Our regulation clarifies, interprets, and implements portions of the Act concerning the procedures and criteria used for adding species to the Lists of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants and designating and revising critical habitat. Specifically, we propose to amend portions of our regulations that clarify procedures for designating and revising critical habitat. The proposed amendments would make minor edits to the scope and purpose, add and remove some definitions, and clarify the criteria for designating critical habitat. These proposed amendments are based on the Services’ review of the regulations and are intended to add clarity for the public, clarify expectations regarding critical habitat and provide for a credible, predictable, and simplified critical-habitat-designation process. Finally, the proposed amendments are also part of the Services’ response to Executive Order 13563 (January 18, 2011), which directs agencies to review their existing regulations and, among other things, modify or streamline them in accordance with what has been learned. We will accept comments from all interested parties until July 11, 2014. (To submit comments, visit http://www.regulations.gov, reference docket number FWS–HQ–ES–2012–0096.)

PROPOSED RULE: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) (collectively referred to as the ‘‘Services’’ or ‘‘we’’) propose to amend our regulations, which implements the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act). Our regulation establishes the procedural regulations governing interagency cooperation under section 7 of the Act. The Act requires Federal agencies, in consultation with and with the assistance of the Secretaries of the Interior and Commerce, to insure that their actions are not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of endangered or threatened species or result in the destruction or adverse modification of critical habitat of such species. In 1986, the Services established a definition for ‘‘destruction or adverse modification’’ (§ 402.02) that was found to be invalid by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth (2001) and Ninth (2004) Circuits. We propose to amend our regulations to replace the invalidated definition with one that is consistent with the Act and the circuit court opinions. Finally, the proposed amendment is part of the Services’ response to Section 6 of Executive Order 13563 (January 18, 2011), which directs agencies to analyze their existing regulations and, among other things, modify or streamline them in accordance with what has been learned. We will accept comments from all interested parties until July 11, 2014. (To submit comments, visit http://www.regulations.gov, reference docket number FWS–R9–ES–2011–0072.)

PROPOSED RULE: The Department of Homeland Security proposes to extend the availability of employment authorization to certain H–4 dependent spouses of principal H–1B nonimmigrants. The extension would be limited to H–4 dependent spouses of principal H–1B nonimmigrants who are in the process of seeking lawful permanent resident status through employment. This population will include those H–4 dependent spouses of H–1B nonimmigrants if the H–1B nonimmigrants are either the beneficiaries of an approved Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker (Form I–140) or who have been granted an extension of their authorized period of admission in the United States under the American Competitiveness in the Twenty-first Century Act of 2000 (AC21), as amended by the 21st Century Department of Justice Appropriations Authorization Act. This regulatory change would lessen any potential economic burden to the H–1B principal and H–4 dependent spouse during the transition from nonimmigrant to lawful permanent resident status, furthering the goals of attracting and retaining high-skilled foreign workers. Written comments must be received on or before July 11, 2014. (To submit comments, visit http://www.regulations.gov, reference docket number USCIS–2010–0017.)

PROPOSED RULE:  The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) proposes to update the regulations to include nonimmigrant high-skilled specialty occupation professionals from Chile and Singapore (H–1B1) and from Australia (E–3) in the list of classes of aliens authorized for employment incident to status with a specific employer, to clarify that H–1B1 and principal E–3 nonimmigrants are allowed to work without having to separately apply to DHS for employment authorization. DHS also is proposing to provide authorization for continued employment with the same employer if the employer has timely-filed for an extension of the nonimmigrant’s stay. DHS also proposes this same continued work authorization for Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI)- Only Transitional Worker (CW–1) nonimmigrants if a Petition for a CNMI-Only Nonimmigrant Transitional Worker, Form I–129CW, is timely filed to apply for an extension of stay. In addition, DHS is proposing to update the regulations describing the filing procedures for extensions of stay and change of status requests to include the principal E–3 and H–1B1 nonimmigrant classifications. These changes would harmonize the regulations for E–3, H–1B1, and CW–1 nonimmigrant classifications with the existing regulations for other, similarly situated nonimmigrant classifications. Finally, DHS is proposing to expand the current list of evidentiary criteria for employment-based first preference (EB–1) outstanding professors and researchers to allow the submission of evidence comparable to the other forms of evidence already listed in the regulations. This proposal would harmonize the regulations for EB–1 outstanding professors and researchers with other employment-based immigrant categories that already allow for submission of comparable evidence. DHS is proposing these changes to the regulations to benefit these highly skilled workers and CW–1 transitional workers by removing unnecessary hurdles that place such workers at a disadvantage when compared to similarly situated workers in other visa classifications. Written comments must be received on or before July 11, 2014. (To submit comments, visit http://www.regulations.gov, reference docket number USCIS–2012–0005.)

PROPOSED RULE: This proposed rule would amend the civil monetary penalty (CMP or penalty) rules of the Office of Inspector General (OIG) to incorporate new CMP authorities, clarify existing authorities, and reorganize regulations on civil money penalties, assessments and exclusions to improve readability and clarity. To ensure consideration, comments must be delivered to the address provided below by no later than 5 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on July 11, 2014. (To submit comments, visit http://www.regulations.gov, reference file code OIG–403–P.)

 

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