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Federal Register Highlights – 5/18/16

May 18, 2016

Unpublished, time-sensitive and proposed rules for May 18, 2016:

TEMPORARY RULE: The Coast Guard has issued a temporary deviation from the operating schedule that governs the US2 Bridge across Lake Champlain (The Gut), mile 91.8, between North Hero and South Hero Island, Vermont. This deviation is necessary to allow the bridge owner to perform mechanical and electrical repairs at the bridge. This deviation is effective without actual notice from May 18, 2016 to 8 a.m. on June 15, 2016.

PROPOSED RULE: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposes revisions to the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System regulations to eliminate regulatory and application form inconsistencies; improve permit documentation, transparency and oversight; clarify existing regulations; and remove outdated provisions. This proposal would make specific targeted changes to the existing regulations and would not reopen the regulations for other specific or comprehensive revision. These proposed regulatory changes cover 15 topics in the following major categories: permit applications; the water quality-based permitting process; permit objection, documentation and process efficiencies; the vessels exclusion; and the Clean Water Act (CWA) section 401 certification process. These revisions would further align NPDES regulations with statutory requirements from the 1987 CWA Amendments and more recent case law requirements. By modernizing the NPDES regulations, the proposed revisions would provide NPDES permit writers with improved tools to write well-documented permits to protect human health and the environment. The revisions would also provide the public with enhanced opportunities for public participation in permitting actions. Comments must be received on or before July 18, 2016. (To submit comments, visit www.regualtions.gov, reference Docket ID No. EPA–HQ–OW–2016–0146.)

PROPOSED RULE: HUD’s Consolidated Plan is a planning mechanism designed to help States and local governments to assess their affordable housing and community development needs and to make data- driven, place-based investment decisions. The consolidated planning process serves as the framework for a community-wide dialogue to identify housing and community development priorities that align and focus funding from HUD’s formula block grant programs. This proposed rule would amend HUD’s Consolidated Plan regulations to require that jurisdictions consider two additional concepts in their planning efforts. The first concept is how to address the need for broadband access for low- and moderate-income residents in the communities they serve. Broadband is the common term used to refer to a high-speed, always on connection to the Internet. Such connection is also referred to as high-speed broadband or high-speed Internet. Specifically, the proposed rule would require that States and localities that submit a consolidated plan describe the broadband access in housing occupied by low- and moderate-income households. If low- income residents in the communities do not have such access, States and jurisdictions must consider providing broadband access to these residents into their decisions on how to invest HUD funds. The second concept to be added to the Consolidated Plan process would require jurisdictions to consider incorporating resilience to natural hazard risks, taking care to anticipate how risks will increase due to climate change, into development of the Plan in order to begin addressing impacts of climate change on low- and moderate- income residents. Comments Due Date: July 18, 2016. (To submit comments, visit www.regulations.gov, reference Docket No. FR 5891–P–01.)

PROPOSED RULE: Through this proposed rule, HUD continues its efforts to narrow the digital divide in low-income communities served by HUD by providing, where feasible and with HUD funding, broadband infrastructure to communities in need of such infrastructure. Broadband is the common term used to refer to a very fast connection to the Internet. Such connection is also referred to as high- speed broadband, broadband Internet, or high-speed Internet. In this proposed rule, HUD proposes to require installation of broadband infrastructure at the time of new construction or substantial rehabilitation of multifamily rental housing that is funded or supported by HUD. Installation of broadband infrastructure at the time of new construction or substantial rehabilitation is generally easier and less costly than when such installation is undertaken as a stand-alone effort. The proposed rule, however, recognizes that installation of broadband infrastructure may not be feasible for all new construction or substantial rehabilitation, and, therefore, the proposed rule allows limited exceptions to the installation requirements. Installing unit-based broadband infrastructure in multifamily rental housing that is newly constructed or substantially rehabilitated with or supported by HUD funding will provide a platform for individuals and families residing in such housing to participate in the digital economy, and increase their access to economic opportunities. Comment due date: July 18, 2016. (To submit comments, visit www.regulations.gov, reference Docket No. FR 5890–P–01.)

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