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Federal Register Summary for week of 16 December

    Commerce

  • Sunset of the Patent Application Backlog Reduction Stimulus Plan and a Limited Extension of the Green Technology Pilot Program

    AGENCY: United States Patent and Trademark Office, Commerce.

    ACTION: Notice.


    SUMMARY: The United States Patent and Trademark Office (Office) has provided two procedures under which an applicant may have an application accorded special status for examination. The Patent Application Backlog Reduction Stimulus Plan is available if the applicant expressly abandons another copending unexamined application. The Green Technology Pilot Program is available to patent applications pertaining to environmental quality, energy conservation, development of renewable energy resources, and greenhouse gas emission reduction. In view of the trend in filings under the Patent Application Backlog Reduction Stimulus Plan, this plan has fulfilled its purpose and will not be extended. In view of the success of the Green Technology Pilot Program, this plan will be extended until 500 additional applications have been accorded special status under this program or until March 30, 2012, whichever occurs earlier. Following the expiration of this extension, the program will be eliminated, and applicants may instead use the newly enacted Prioritized Examination (Track I) program. The Track I program not only provides advancement of examination, but sets a target of reaching final disposition within 12 months from the time advancement is initiated. Furthermore, the advancement in the Track I program is available to all technologies and is not restricted to certain categories of invention as in the Pilot Program.

    DATES: Effective Date: December 15, 2011. The Patent Application Backlog Reduction Stimulus Plan became effective on November 27, 2009, was modified on June 24, 2010, and was extended on November 22, 2010. The Green Technology Pilot Program became effective on December 8, 2009, was modified to eliminate the classification requirement on May 21, 2010, and was extended on November 10, 2010.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Pinchus M. Laufer or Michael Cygan, Office of Patent Legal Administration, Office of the Associate Commissioner for Patent Examination Policy, by telephone at (571) 272- 7726 or (571) 272-7700; or by mail addressed to: Mail Stop Comments Patents, Commissioner for Patents, P.O. Box 1450, Alexandria, VA 22313- 1450.

    http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2011-12-15/html/2011-32115.htm

  • Council on Environmental Quality

  • Draft Guidance on Improving the Process for Preparing Efficient and Timely Environmental Reviews under the National Environmental Policy Act

    AGENCY: Council on Environmental Quality.

    ACTION: Notice of availability, draft guidance on improving the process for preparing efficient and timely environmental reviews under the National Environmental Policy Act.


    SUMMARY: The Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) is issuing its draft guidance on Improving the Process for Preparing Efficient and Timely Environmental Reviews under the National Environmental Policy Act for public review and comment. The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and CEQ Regulations implementing NEPA provide numerous techniques for preparing efficient and timely environmental reviews. CEQ is issuing this guidance for Federal departments and agencies to emphasize and clarify these techniques, consistent with a thorough and meaningful environmental review and keeping in mind the following basic principles: (1) NEPA encourages simple, straightforward, and concise reviews and documentation that are proportionate to and effectively convey the relevant considerations in a timely manner to the public and decisionmakers, while comprehensively addressing the issues presented; (2) NEPA should be integrated into project planning rather than be an after-the-fact add-on; (3) NEPA reviews should coordinate and take appropriate advantage of existing documents and studies, including through adoption and incorporation by reference; (4) Early and well- defined scoping can assist in focusing environmental reviews on appropriate issues that would be meaningful to a decision on the proposed action; (5) Agencies are encouraged to develop meaningful and expeditious timelines for environmental reviews; and (6) Agencies should respond to comments in proportion to the scope and scale of the environmental issues raised. This guidance applies to the preparation of an Environmental Assessment (EA) or an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) consistent with legal precedent and agency NEPA experience and practice. This guidance does not change or substitute for any law, regulations, or any other legally binding requirement. Rather, it provides CEQ's interpretation of existing regulations promulgated under NEPA.

    DATES: CEQ must receive comments on or before January 27, 2012.

    ADDRESSES: The NEPA Draft Guidance is available at http://www.whitehouse.gov/administration/eop/ceq/initatives/nepa. Comments on the NEPA Draft Guidance "Improving the Process for Preparing Efficient and Timely Environmental Reviews under the National Environmental Policy Act'' should be submitted electronically at http://www.whitehouse.gov/administration/eop/ceq/initatives/nepa, or in writing to The Council on Environmental Quality, ATTN: Horst Greczmiel, Associate Director for National Environmental Policy Act Oversight, 722 Jackson Place NW., Washington, DC 20503.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION, CONTACT: The Council on Environmental Quality (Attn: Horst Greczmiel, Associate Director for National Environmental Policy Act Oversight), 722 Jackson Place NW., Washington, DC 20503. Telephone: (202) 395-5750.

    http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2011-12-13/html/2011-31983.htm

  • Environmental Protection Agency

  • Human Studies Review Board; Notification of a Public Teleconference

    AGENCY: Environmental Protection Agency.

    ACTION: Notice.


    SUMMARY: The EPA Office of the Science Advisor announces a public teleconference of the HSRB to discuss its draft report from the October 19-20, 2011 HSRB meeting.

    DATES: The teleconference will be held on Wednesday, January 11, 2012 from approximately 1 p.m. to approximately 4 p.m. Eastern Time. Comments may be submitted on or before Wednesday, January 4, 2012.

    ADDRESSES: Submit your written comments, identified by Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-ORD-2011-0953, by one of the following methods:

    Internet: http://www.regulations.gov: Follow the Web site instructions for submitting comments.

    Email: ORD.Docket@epa.gov.

    Mail: Environmental Protection Agency, EPA Docket Center EPA/DC, ORD Docket, Mail Code 28221T, 1200 Pennsylvania Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20460.

    Hand Delivery: The EPA/DC Public Reading Room is located in the EPA Headquarters Library, Room Number 3334 in the EPA West Building, located at 1301 Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20460. The hours of operation are 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday, excluding Federal holidays. Please call (202) 566-1744 or email the ORD Docket at ord.docket@epa.gov for instructions. Updates to Public Reading Room access are available online at http://www.epa.gov/epahome/dockets.htm.

    Instructions: Direct your comments to Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-ORD- 2011-0953. The Agency's policy is that all comments received will be included in the public docket without change and may be made available online at http://www.regulations.gov, including any personal information provided, unless the comments includes information claimed to be Confidential Business Information or other information the disclosure of which is restricted by statute. Do not submit information that you consider to be CBI or otherwise protected through http://www.regulations.gov or email. The http://www.regulations.gov Web site is an "anonymous access'' system, which means the EPA will not know your identity or contact information unless you provide it in the body of your comment. If you send an email comment directly to the EPA without going through http://www.regulations.gov, your email address will be automatically captured and included as part of the comment that is placed in the public docket and made available on the Internet. If you submit an electronic comment, the EPA recommends that you include your name and other contact information in the body of your comments and with any disk or CD-ROM you submit. If the EPA cannot read your comment due to technical difficulties and cannot contact you for clarification, the EPA may not be able to consider your comment. Electronic files should avoid the use of special characters, any form of encryption, and be free of any defects or viruses.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Any members of the public who wish to receive further information should contact Jim Downing on telephone number (202) 564-2468; fax (202) 564-2070; email address downing.jim@epa.gov or Lu-Ann Kleibacker on telephone number (202) 564- 7189; fax: (202) 564-2070; email address kleibacker.lu-ann@epa.gov; mailing address Environmental Protection Agency, Office of the Science Advisor, Mail Code 8105R, 1200 Pennsylvania Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20460. General information concerning the EPA HSRB can be found on the EPA Web site at http://www.epa.gov/osa/hsrb.

    http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2011-12-14/html/2011-32060.htm

  • Office of External Affairs and Environmental Education; Request for Nominations of Candidates for the National Environmental Education Advisory Council

    AGENCY: Environmental Protection Agency.

    ACTION: Notice.


    SUMMARY: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA or Agency) Office of External Affairs and Environmental Education Staff Office is soliciting applications for environmental education professionals for consideration on the National Environmental Education Advisory Council (NEEAC). There are eleven vacancies on the Advisory Council that must be filled. Additional avenues and resources may be utilized in the solicitation of applications. In an effort to obtain nominations of diverse candidates, EPA encourages nominations of women and men of all racial and ethnic groups.

    DATES: Applications should be submitted by January 15, 2012.

    ADDRESSES: Submit non-electronic application materials to Javier Araujo, Designated Federal Officer, National Environmental Education Advisory Council, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of External Affairs and Environmental Education (MC:1704A), 1200 Pennsylvania Ave. NW., Room 1426(ARN), Washington, DC 20460, Ph: (202) 564-2642, Fax: (202) 564-2754, email: araujo.javier@epa.gov.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For information regarding this Request for Nominations, please contact Mr. Javier Araujo, Designated Federal Officer (DFO), EPA National Environmental Education Advisory Council, at araujo.javier@epa.gov or (202) 564-2642. General information concerning NEEAC can be found on the EPA Web site at: http://www.epa.gov/enviroed/.

    http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2011-12-15/html/2011-32182.htm

  • Request for Nominations of Experts for the Review of Approaches To Derive a Maximum Contaminant Level Goal for Perchlorate

    AGENCY: Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

    ACTION: Notice.


    SUMMARY: The EPA Science Advisory Board (SAB) Staff Office requests public nominations for technical experts to form an SAB panel to review the agency's approaches for a deriving maximum contaminant level goal (MCLG) for perchlorate.

    DATES: Nominations should be submitted by January 13, 2012.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Any member of the public wishing further information regarding this Notice and Request for Nominations may contact Mr. Thomas Carpenter, Designated Federal Officer (DFO), SAB Staff Office, by telephone/voice mail at (202) 564-4885, by fax at (202) 565-2098, or via email at carpenter.thomas@epa.gov. General information concerning the EPA SAB can be found at the EPA SAB Web site at http://www.epa.gov/sab.

    http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2011-12-16/html/2011-32279.htm

  • Request for Nominations of Experts to the Office of Research and Development's Board of Scientific Counselors (BOSC)

    AGENCY: Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

    ACTION: Notice.


    SUMMARY: The EPA Board of Scientific Counselors (BOSC) Staff Office is requesting public nominations for technical experts to fill current vacancies on the BOSC Executive Committee. Nominations should be submitted via the BOSC Web site at http://www.epa.gov/osp/bosc/nomination.htm.

    DATES: Nominations should be submitted by January 20, 2012, per instructions below.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Any member of the public needing additional information regarding this Notice and Request for Nominations may contact Ms. Susan Peterson, Mail Code 8104-R, Office of Science Policy, Office of Research and Development, Environmental Protection Agency, 1200 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20460; via phone/voice mail at: (202) 564-1077; via fax at: (202) 565-2911; or via email at: peterson.susan@epa.gov. General information concerning the Board of Scientific Counselors can be found at the BOSC Web site at: http://www.epa.gov/osp/bosc.

    http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2011-12-12/html/2011-31816.htm

  • Health and Human Services

  • Office of Biotechnology Activities, Office of Science Policy, Office of the Director; Notice of Meeting

    Pursuant to section 10(d) of the Federal Advisory Committee Act, as amended (5 U.S.C. App.), notice is hereby given of a meeting of the National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity (NSABB).

    The meeting will be closed to the public in accordance with the provisions set forth in section 552b(c)(9)(b), Title 5 U.S.C. as amended. Under authority 42 U.S.C. 217a, Section 222 of the Public Health Service Act, as amended, the Department of Health and Human Services established the NSABB to provide advice, guidance and leadership regarding federal oversight of dual use research, defined as biological research that generates information and technologies that could be misused to pose a biological threat to public health and/or national security.

    The meeting will be open to the public via teleconference. Persons planning to participate in this teleconference should refer to the Call-in Information listed on this notice. For information about the open meeting connect to: http://oba.od.nih.gov/biosecurity/biosecurity_meetings.html. Please check this site for updates.

    Name of Committee: National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity.

    Date: December 15, 2011.

    Closed: December 15, 2011, 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

    Agenda: To review confidential information.

    Place: National Institutes of Health, 6705 Rockledge Drive, Bethesda, Maryland 20892, (Telephone Conference Call).

    Open: December 15, 2011, 12 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.

    Agenda: Presentations and discussions regarding: (1) Review of proposed NSABB Codes of Conduct Working Group Draft Report: "Enhancing Responsible Science Considerations for the Development and Dissemination of Codes of Conduct for Dual Use Research;'' (2) planning for future NSABB meetings; and (3) other business of the Board.

    Place: National Institutes of Health, 6705 Rockledge Drive, Bethesda, Maryland 20892 (Telephone Conference Call).

    Call-in Information: Toll-Free Number: 1-(888) 989-9721 Participant Passcode: 7857009.

    Contact Person: Ronna Hill, NSABB Program Assistant, NIH Office of Biotechnology Activities, 6705 Rockledge Drive, Suite 750, Bethesda, Maryland 20892, (301) 496-9838, hillro@od.nih.gov.

    This notice is being published less than 15 days before it is held because NIH was asked by the Department of Health and Human Services to convene the NSABB as soon as possible due to the time- sensitive nature of the matter for review.

    Any member of the public interested in presenting oral comments relevant to the mission of the NSABB at the open meeting should notify the Contact Person listed on this notice. Interested individuals and representatives of an organization may submit a letter of intent, a brief description of the organization represented, and a short description of the oral presentation. Only one representative of an organization may be allowed to present oral comments. Both printed and electronic copies are requested for the record. In addition, any interested person may file written comments relevant to the mission of the NSABB. All written comments should be sent via email to the Contact Person listed on this notice. The written comments should include the name, address, telephone number and, when applicable, the business or professional affiliation of the interested person.

    http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2011-12-12/html/2011-31833.htm

  • Possession, Use, and Transfer of Select Agents and Toxins; Biennial Review; Proposed Rule

    AGENCY: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

    ACTION: Proposed rule; reopening of comment period.


    SUMMARY: On October 3, 2011, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), located within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) in the Federal Register (76 FR 61206) requesting public comment on the appropriateness of the current HHS and Overlap list of select agents and toxins including whether there are other agents or toxins that should be added to the HHS or Overlap list or whether agents or toxins currently on the HHS or Overlap list should be deleted from the list; the appropriateness of the proposed tiering of the select agents and toxins list; whether minimum standards for personnel reliability, physical and cyber security should be prescribed for identified Tier 1 agents; and any other aspect of the proposed amendments to the select agent regulations. The comment period closed on December 2, 2011. Since we would like to allow interested persons additional time to prepare and submit comments, we are reopening the comment period for the NPRM.

    DATES: Written comments must be received on or before January 17, 2012.

    ADDRESSES: You may submit comments, identified by Regulatory Information Number (RIN), 0920-AA34 in the heading of this document by any of the following methods:

    Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments.

    Mail: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Select Agent Program, 1600 Clifton Road NE., Mailstop A-46, Atlanta, Georgia 30333, Attn: RIN 0920-AA34.

    Instructions: All submissions received must include the agency name and RIN for this rulemaking. All relevant comments received will be posted without change to http://www.regulations.gov, including any personal information provided.

    Docket Access: For access to the docket to read background documents or comments received or to download an electronic version of the NPRM, go to http://www.regulations.gov. Comments will be available for public inspection Monday through Friday, except for legal holidays, from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. at 1600 Clifton Road NE., Atlanta, GA 30333. Please call ahead to 1-866-694-4867 and ask for a representative in the Division of Select Agents and Toxins to schedule your visit. Our general policy for comments and other submissions from members of the public is to make these submissions available for public viewing on the Internet as they are received and without change.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Robbin Weyant, Director, Division of Select Agents and Toxins, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1600 Clifton Road NE., MS A-46, Atlanta, Georgia 30333. Telephone: (404) 718-2000.

    http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2011-12-16/html/2011-32361.htm

  • Interior

  • Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill; Draft Phase I Early Restoration Plan and Environmental Assessment

    AGENCY: Department of the Interior.

    ACTION: Notice of availability; request for comments.


    SUMMARY: In accordance with the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 (OPA), the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), and the Framework Agreement for Early Restoration Addressing Injuries Resulting from the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill, the Federal and State natural resource trustee agencies (Trustees) have prepared a Draft Early Restoration Plan and Environmental Assessment (DERP/EA) describing and proposing a suite of early restoration projects intended to commence the process of restoring natural resources and services injured or lost as a result of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, which occurred on or about April 20, 2010, in the Gulf of Mexico. The purpose of this notice is to inform the public of the availability of the DERP/EA and to seek written comments on the proposed restoration alternative presented in the DERP/ EA.

    DATES: Comments Due Date: We will consider public comments received on or before February 14, 2012.

    Public Meetings: A series of public meetings are scheduled to facilitate public review and comment on the DERP/EA. Both written and verbal public comments will be taken at the meetings. The meeting dates, times, and locations are listed below. Meeting facilities and their addresses will be published in local newspapers and will be posted on the web at www.gulfspillrestoration.noaa.gov.

    • Jan 11, 2012, 6:00 pm Open House, 7:00 pm Meeting/presentation/comment. Florida
    • Jan 12, 2012, 6:00 pm Open House, 7:00 pm Meeting/presentation/comment. Florida
    • Jan 17, 2012, 6:00 pm Open House, 7:00 pm Meeting/presentation/comment. Mississippi
    • Jan 18, 2012, 6:00 pm Open House, 7:00 pm Meeting/presentation/comment. Mississippi
    • Jan 19, 2012, 6:00 pm Open House, 7:00 pm Meeting/presentation/comment. Mississippi
    • Jan 23, 2012, 6:00 pm Open House, 7:00 pm Meeting/presentation/comment. Alabama
    • Jan 24, 2012, 6:00 pm Open House, 7:00 pm Meeting/presentation/comment. Alabama
    • Jan 26, 2012, 6:00 pm Open House, 7:00 pm Meeting/presentation/comment. Texas
    • Jan 31, 2012, 5:30 pm Open House, 6:30 pm Meeting/presentation/comment. Louisiana
    • Feb 1, 2012, 5:30 pm Open House, 6:30 pm Meeting/presentation/comment. Louisiana
    • Feb 2, 2012, 5:30 pm Open House, 6:30 pm Meeting/presentation/comment. Louisiana
    • Feb 7, 2012, 6:00 pm Open House, 7:00 pm Meeting/presentation/comment. Washington, D.C.

    ADDRESSES: Obtaining Documents: You may download the DERP/EA and the framework agreement at http://www.gulfspillrestoration.noaa.gov or http://www.doi.gov/deepwaterhorizon. Alternatively, you may request a CD of the DERP/EA (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT). You may also review hard copies of the DERP/EA at any of the public repositories listed at http://www.gulfspillrestoration.noaa.gov. Submitting Comments: You may submit comments on the DERP/EA by one of following methods:

    Via the Web: http://www.gulfspillrestoration.noaa.gov.

    For electronic submission of comments containing attachments, email: Phase1DERPcomments@fws.gov.

    U.S. Mail: c/o U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, P.O. Box 200, Fairhope, AL 36533.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Brian Spears at FW4DWHInfo@fws.gov.

    http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2011-12-15/html/2011-32185.htm

  • Special Regulations; Areas of the National Park System, Yellowstone National Park

    AGENCY: National Park Service, Interior.

    ACTION: Final rule.


    SUMMARY: This rule implements the Record of Decision for the 2011 Winter Use Plan/Environmental Impact Statement and governs winter visitation and certain recreational activities in Yellowstone National Park for the 2011-2012 winter season. The rule retains, for one additional year, the regulations and management framework that have been in place for the past two winter seasons (2009-2010 and 2010- 2011). Specifically, the rule retains provisions that: require most recreational snowmobiles operating in the park to meet certain National Park Service air and sound emissions requirements; require snowmobiles and snowcoaches in Yellowstone to be accompanied by a commercial guide; set daily entry limits on the numbers of snowmobiles (up to 318) and snowcoaches (up to 78) that may enter the park; and prohibit traveling off designated oversnow routes.

    DATES: This rule is effective December 15, 2011.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Steve Lobst, Deputy Superintendent, Yellowstone National Park, (307) 344-2002.

    http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2011-12-12/html/2011-31781.htm