Federal Register


Posted: November 25, 2019
More: alaska, alaska native, information collection

In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, we, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), are proposing to renew an information collection.


Abstract: The Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 (16 U.S.C. 712(1)) authorizes the Secretary of the Interior, in accordance with the treaties with Canada, Mexico, Japan, and Russia, to “issue such regulations as may be necessary to assure that the taking of migratory birds and the collection of their eggs, by the indigenous inhabitants of the State of Alaska, shall be permitted for their own nutritional and other essential needs, as determined by the Secretary of the Interior, during the Alaska spring and summer migratory bird subsistence harvest seasons so as to provide for the preservation and maintenance of stocks of migratory birds.” Article II(4)(b) of the Protocol between the United States and Canada amending the 1916 Convention for the Protection of Migratory Birds in Canada and the United States provides a legal basis for Alaska Natives to be able sell handicrafts that contain the inedible parts of birds taken for food during the Alaska spring and summer migratory bird subsistence harvest. The Protocol also dictates that sales would be under a strictly limited situation pursuant to a regulation by a competent authority in cooperation with management bodies. The Protocol does not authorize the taking of migratory birds for commercial purposes.


In 2017, we issued a final rule (82 FR 34263), developed under a co-management process involving the Alaska Department of Fish and Game and Alaska Native representatives, that amended the permanent migratory bird subsistence harvest regulations at 50 CFR 92.6 to enable Alaska Natives to sell authentic native articles of handicraft or clothing that contain inedible byproducts from migratory birds that were taken for food during the Alaska migratory bird subsistence harvest season. Article II(4)(b) of the Protocol dictates that sales will be under a strictly limited situation. Allowing Alaska Natives to sell a limited number of handicrafts containing inedible migratory bird parts provides a small source of additional income that we conclude is necessary for the “essential needs” of Alaska Natives in predominantly rural Alaska. This limited opportunity for sale is consistent with the language of the Protocol and is expressly noted in the Letter of Submittal to be consistent with the customary and traditional uses of Alaska Natives. Allowing this activity by Alaska Natives is also consistent with the preservation and maintenance of migratory bird stocks.


Eligibility will be shown by a Tribal Enrollment Card, Bureau of Indian Affairs card, or membership in the Silver Hand program. The State of Alaska Silver Hand program helps Alaska Native artists promote their work in the marketplace and enables consumers to identify and purchase authentic Alaska Native art. The insignia indicates that the artwork on which it appears is created by hand in Alaska by an individual Alaska Native artist. Only original contemporary and traditional Alaska Native artwork, not reproductions or manufactured work, may be identified and marketed with the Silver Hand insignia. To be eligible for a 2-year Silver Hand permit, an Alaska Native artist must be a full-time resident of Alaska, be at least 18 years old, and provide documentation of membership in a federally recognized Alaska Native tribe. The Silver Hand insignia may only be attached to original work that is produced in the State of Alaska.


The final rule requires that FWS Form 3-2484 (a simple certification which is not subject to the PRA) or a Silver Hand insignia accompany each Alaska Native article of handicraft or clothing that contains inedible migratory bird parts. It also requires all consignees, sellers, and purchasers retain this documentation with each item and produce it upon the request of a law enforcement officer. The final rule also requires that artists maintain adequate records of the certification or Silver Hand insignia with each item and requires artists and sellers/consignees provide the documentation to buyers. These recordkeeping and third-party notification requirements are subject to the PRA and require OMB approval.



Posted: November 22, 2019
More: eis, energy, oklahoma, osage

This notice advises the public that the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), as the lead Federal agency, and the Osage Nation, Osage Minerals Council, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), as cooperating agencies, have prepared a Draft Environmental Impact Statement. The Osage County Oil and Gas Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) analyzes the potential impacts that future oil and gas development will have on the surface estate and subsurface mineral estate in Osage County, Oklahoma. This notice announces that the DEIS is available for public review and that the BIA will hold a public meeting to receive comments.


Information regarding the public comment period and public meeting will be posted on the project website: bia.gov/​regional-offices/​eastern-oklahoma/​osage-agency/​osage-oil-and-gas-eis.


The Osage Allotment Act of 1906 (1906 Act), as amended, reserved all rights to the subsurface mineral estate underlying Osage County, Oklahoma (Osage Mineral Estate) to the Osage Nation. In accordance with the 1906 Act, the Osage Mineral Estate is held in trust by the United States for the benefit of the Osage Nation. All leases, applications for permits to drill, and other site-specific permit applications in Osage County are approved under the authority of the 1906 Act, as amended, and 25 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), part 226, Leasing of Osage Reservation Lands for Oil and Gas Mining.


The purpose of the BIA's action is to administer leasing and development of the Osage Mineral Estate in the best interest of the Osage Nation, in accordance with the 1906 Act, as amended, balancing resource conservation and maximization of oil and gas production in the long term. The BIA is required, under more generally applicable statutes, to include in the best interest calculation the protection of the environment in Osage County to enhance conservation of resources and protection of the health and safety of the Osage people. Based on these considerations, the BIA's action promotes the maximization of oil and gas production from the Osage Mineral Estate in a manner that is economic, efficient, and safe; prevents pollution; and is consistent with the mandates of Federal law.



Posted: November 21, 2019
More: energy, information collection, mha nation, north dakota

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has submitted an information collection request (ICR), Federal Implementation Plan for Oil and Natural Gas Well Production Facilities, Fort Berthold Indian Reservation (Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara Nation), North Dakota (EPA ICR Number 2478.03, OMB Control Number 2008-0001) to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review and approval in accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act. This is a proposed extension of the ICR, which is currently approved through January 31, 2020. Public comments were previously requested via the Federal Register on June 5, 2019 during a 60-day comment period. This notice allows for an additional 30 days for public comments. A fuller description of the ICR is given below, including its estimated burden and cost to the public. An agency may not conduct or sponsor and a person is not required to respond to a collection of information unless it displays a currently valid OMB control number.


Abstract: This ICR covers information collection requirements in the final Federal Implementation Plan (FIP) for Oil and Natural Gas Well Production Facilities; Fort Berthold Indian Reservation (Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara Nation), North Dakota (40 CFR part 49, subpart K, §§  49.4161 through 49.4168), herein referred to as the FBIR FIP. In general, owners or operators are required to: (1) Conduct certain monitoring; (2) keep specific records to be made available at the EPA's request; and (3) to prepare and submit an annual report (40 CFR part 49, subpart K, §§  49.4166 through 49.4168). These records and reports are necessary for the EPA Administrator (or the tribal agency if delegated), for example, to: (1) confirm compliance status of stationary sources; (2) identify any stationary sources not subject to the requirements and identify stationary sources subject to the regulations; and (3) ensure that the stationary source control requirements are being achieved. All information submitted to us pursuant to the recordkeeping and reporting requirements for which a claim of confidentiality is made is safeguarded according to the agency policies set forth in 40 CFR part 2, subpart B.



Posted: November 18, 2019
More: alaska, meetings, subsistence

The National Park Service (NPS) is hereby giving notice that the Aniakchak National Monument Subsistence Resource Commission (SRC), will hold a public meeting to develop and continue work on NPS subsistence program recommendations, and other related regulatory proposals.


The SRC will meet from 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. or until business is completed on Wednesday, December 4, 2019.


Teleconference participants must call the NPS office in King Salmon, AK at (907) 246-2154 or (907) 246-3305, by Monday, December 2, 2019, prior to the meeting to received teleconference passcode information. For more detailed information regarding this meeting, or if you are interested in applying for SRC membership, contact Mark Sturm, Designated Federal Officer and Superintendent, at (907) 246-2154, or email at mark_sturm@nps.gov or Linda Chisholm, Subsistence Coordinator, at (907) 246-2154 or via email linda_chisholm@nps.gov or Joshua T. Ream, Regional Subsistence Manager, at (907) 644-3596 or via email joshua_ream@nps.gov.



Posted: November 14, 2019
More: michigan, sagchip

On November 8, 2019, the Department of Justice filed a Complaint and lodged a proposed Consent Decree with the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan in a lawsuit entitled United States of America, State of Michigan, and the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe of Michigan v. The Dow Chemical Company, Civil Action No. 1:19-cv-13292. On the same date, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service published a Draft Restoration Plan/Environmental Assessment (“RP/EA”) that relates to various natural resource restoration activities that would be undertaken pursuant to the Consent Decree.


The proposed Consent Decree would resolve natural resource damage claims asserted against The Dow Chemical Company (“Dow”) for injuries to natural resources resulting from releases of hazardous substances, including dibenzo-p-dioxins and dibenzofurans, into the environment from a facility that Dow owns and operates in Midland, Michigan. The filed Complaint in this action alleges that injured natural resources include, but are not limited to, fish, mammals, and birds within an Assessment Area that includes portions of the Tittabawassee River and adjacent riverbank and floodplain areas, the Saginaw River and adjacent riverbank and floodplain areas, portions of Saginaw Bay, and an area within Midland affected by aerial deposition of hazardous substances from Dow's Midland facility. The Complaint also alleges that hazardous substances released from Dow's Midland facility resulted in the loss of recreational fishing and tribal use services provided by natural resources.


The Complaint asserts claims on behalf of designated federal, state, and tribal natural resource trustees to recover natural resource damages under Section 107 of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act, 42 U.S.C. 9607. The Complaint also asserts claims on behalf of state natural resource trustees to recover natural resource damages under Sections 3115(2) and 20126a of the Michigan Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act, MCL 324.3115(2) and 324.20126a. The natural resource trustees here include the U.S. Department of the Interior, acting through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Bureau of Indian Affairs; the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe of Michigan; and the State of Michigan, represented by the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (formerly known as the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality), the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, and the Michigan Attorney General (collectively, the “Trustees”).


Under the proposed Consent Decree, Dow would: (1) Implement eight natural resource restoration projects in accordance with requirements set forth in Statements of Work attached to the Consent Decree and subject to oversight and approval of the Trustees; (2) pay $6.75 million to a restoration account that will be used by the Trustees to fund five additional natural resource restoration projects described in the Consent Decree; (3) pay an additional $15 million to a restoration account—of which at least $5 million will be used to fund additional natural resource restoration projects that will be selected by the Trustees in the future, with public input; (4) reimburse the Trustees for past assessment costs not already reimbursed under a memorandum of agreement; and (5) implement two other projects as part of the resolution of a separate State claim for reimbursement of certain State response costs. In addition, under the proposed Consent Decree, the United States, on behalf of Settling Federal Agencies, would pay $21 million to Dow in exchange for a comprehensive resolution of potential liability of Settling Federal Agencies for both natural resource damages and for past and future response costs relating to releases or discharges from Dow's Midland, Michigan facility.


Subject to specific reservations of rights set forth in the proposed Consent Decree, the proposed settlement would resolve (1) Dow's potential liability for natural resource damages resulting from releases of hazardous substances or discharges of oil from Dow's Midland facility, (2) Dow's potential liability for reimbursement of a limited set of State response costs identified in the proposed Consent Decree, and (3) specified claims of Dow against the other Settling Parties, including claims against Settling Federal Agencies that Dow contends are also liable for releases or discharges of hazardous substances or discharges of oil from the Midland facility. The proposed Consent Decree does not resolve potential liability of Dow to perform response actions to clean up hazardous substances or discharges of oil released from the Midland facility or to reimburse any response costs incurred by the Settling Parties in connection with releases from the Midland facility.



Posted: November 14, 2019
More: consultation, foia

This rule revises the regulations applicable to all of the components, bureaus and offices of the Department of the Interior (Department) that process requests for records under the Freedom of Information Act. The revisions clarify and update procedures for requesting records from the Department and procedures that the Department follows in responding to requests from the public.


The Department's Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) offices have been overwhelmed by an exponential increase in the volume and complexity of incoming FOIA requests. Between Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 and FY 2018, the number of FOIA requests received by the Department's bureaus and offices increased 30 percent overall while the number of requests received by the Office of the Secretary FOIA office (OS FOIA) increased 210 percent. During that time, the number of particularly time-consuming complex requests also increased by 55 percent for the Department overall and 355 percent for OS FOIA. The Department's effort to respond in a timely and effective manner to the increased number of requests has been further hindered by a significant increase in FOIA lawsuits, primarily brought by requesters that have not received timely responses to their requests. At the close of FY 2018, the Department was defending 129 FOIA cases compared to just 6 cases at the close of FY 2015 and 30 cases at the close of FY 2016. The lawsuits further impair the ability of the FOIA processors to do their work in an orderly and equitable manner because they impose extra duties on the FOIA processors and the litigated requests typically jump the processing queue ahead of the non-litigated requests.


To address this challenge, the Department has begun a comprehensive effort to improve the quality and capacity of the work performed by its FOIA offices that includes better organization and governance, training, technology, and staffing as set out in Secretary's Order No. 3371. This rule is part of that larger effort. It amends the Department's FOIA regulations to increase the capacity of the Department's FOIA offices to respond to FOIA requests in an effective, transparent, and timely manner by making the procedures for processing FOIA requests more efficient and focused on meeting the Department's statutory obligations under the FOIA.


The Final Rule also amends section 2.31(a) of the Department's regulations to conform with the decision issued by the United States Supreme Court, in Food Marketing Institute v. Argus Leader Media, 588 U.S. __(2019) on June 24, 2019 (slip opinion) (“Argus Leader”). The amendment strikes the criteria expressly rejected by the Supreme Court in Argus Leader and replaces it with the criteria articulated by the Supreme Court in that case. With respect to this one amendment, the Department is invoking the “good cause” exemption of the Administrative Procedure Act that provides “when an agency finds that for good cause that public notice and comment procedures are impractical, unnecessary, or contrary to the public interest, the agency may issue a rule without providing notice and an opportunity for public comment.” See 5 U.S.C. 553(b) (3)(B). The Department has determined that notice and comment is unnecessary with respect to this one amendment because the Department has no discretion to apply criteria other than that articulated by the Supreme Court in Argus Leader.



Posted: November 12, 2019
More: nebraska, tennessee

The University of Tennessee, Department of Anthropology (UTK) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Omaha District (Omaha District), in consultation with the appropriate Indian Tribes or Native Hawaiian organizations, has determined that the cultural items listed in this notice meet the definition of unassociated funerary objects. Lineal descendants or representatives of any Indian Tribe or Native Hawaiian organization not identified in this notice that wish to claim these cultural items should submit a written request to UTK and Omaha District. If no additional claimants come forward, transfer of control of the cultural items to the lineal descendants, Indian Tribes, or Native Hawaiian organizations stated in this notice may proceed.



Posted: November 12, 2019
More: arkansas, nagpra

The Arkansas Archeological Survey has corrected an inventory of human remains published in a Notice of Inventory Completion in the Federal Register on February 24, 2017. This notice corrects the minimum number of individuals. Lineal descendants or representatives of any Indian Tribe or Native Hawaiian organization not identified in this notice that wish to request transfer of control of these human remains should submit a written request to the Arkansas Archeological Survey. If no additional requestors come forward, transfer of control of the human remains to the lineal descendants, Indian Tribes, or Native Hawaiian organizations stated in this notice may proceed.



Posted: November 12, 2019
More: arkansas, napgra

The Arkansas Archeological Survey has corrected an inventory of human remains published in a Notice of Inventory Completion in the Federal Register on December 22, 2014. This notice corrects the minimum number of individuals. Lineal descendants or representatives of any Indian Tribe or Native Hawaiian organization not identified in this notice that wish to request transfer of control of these human remains should submit a written request to the Arkansas Archeological Survey. If no additional requestors come forward, transfer of control of the human remains to the lineal descendants, Indian Tribes, or Native Hawaiian organizations stated in this notice may proceed.



Posted: November 12, 2019
More: arkansas, napgra

The Arkansas Archeological Survey has corrected an inventory of human remains published in a Notice of Inventory Completion in the Federal Register on February 24, 2017. This notice corrects the minimum number of individuals. Lineal descendants or representatives of any Indian Tribe or Native Hawaiian organization not identified in this notice that wish to request transfer of control of these human remains should submit a written request to the Arkansas Archeological Survey. If no additional requestors come forward, transfer of control of the human remains to the lineal descendants, Indian Tribes, or Native Hawaiian organizations stated in this notice may proceed.



Posted: November 12, 2019
More: california, nagpra

The Department of Anthropology at San Jose State University has completed an inventory of human remains and associated funerary objects, in consultation with the appropriate Indian Tribes or Native Hawaiian organizations, and has determined that there is a cultural affiliation between the human remains and associated funerary objects and present-day Indian Tribes or Native Hawaiian organizations. Lineal descendants or representatives of any Indian Tribe or Native Hawaiian organization not identified in this notice that wish to request transfer of control of these human remains and associated funerary objects should submit a written request to the Department of Anthropology, San Jose State University. If no additional requestors come forward, transfer of control of the human remains and associated funerary objects to the lineal descendants, Indian Tribes, or Native Hawaiian organizations stated in this notice may proceed.



Posted: November 12, 2019
More: massachusetts, museums, nagpra

The Robert S. Peabody Institute of Archaeology (formerly the Robert S. Peabody Museum of Archaeology) has corrected an inventory of associated funerary objects, published in a Notice of Inventory Completion in the Federal Register on September 22, 2017 and amended in a Notice of Inventory Completion Correction published in the Federal Register on January 30, 2018. This notice further corrects the number of associated funerary objects. Lineal descendants or representatives of any Indian Tribe or Native Hawaiian organization not identified in this notice that wish to request transfer of control of these associated funerary objects should submit a written request to the Robert S. Peabody Institute of Archaeology. If no additional requestors come forward, transfer of control of the associated funerary objects to the lineal descendants, Indian Tribes, or Native Hawaiian organizations stated in this notice may proceed.



Posted: November 12, 2019
More: napgra, south dakota

The South Dakota State Historical Society, Archaeological Research Center has completed an inventory of human remains and associated funerary objects, in consultation with the appropriate Indian Tribes or Native Hawaiian organizations, and has determined that there is no cultural affiliation between the human remains and associated funerary objects and any present-day Indian Tribes or Native Hawaiian organizations. Representatives of any Indian Tribe or Native Hawaiian organization not identified in this notice that wish to request transfer of control of these human remains and associated funerary objects should submit a written request to the South Dakota State Historical Society, Archaeological Research Center. If no additional requestors come forward, transfer of control of the human remains and associated funerary objects to the Indian Tribes or Native Hawaiian organizations stated in this notice may proceed.



Posted: November 12, 2019
More: nagpra, tennessee

The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) has completed an inventory of human remains in consultation with the appropriate Indian Tribes or Native Hawaiian organizations, and has determined that there is no cultural affiliation between the human remains and any present-day Indian Tribes or Native Hawaiian organizations. Representatives of any Indian Tribe or Native Hawaiian organization not identified in this notice that wish to request transfer of control of these human remains should submit a written request to the TVA. If no additional requestors come forward, transfer of control of the human remains to the Indian Tribes or Native Hawaiian organizations stated in this notice may proceed.



Posted: November 12, 2019
More: dc, nagpra

The U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Indian Affairs has corrected an inventory of human remains and associated funerary objects, published in a Notice of Inventory Completion in the Federal Register on February 8, 2019. This notice corrects the number of associated funerary objects.


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