U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIORBUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT
[Federal Register: February 21, 2007 (Volume 72, Number 34)]
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR
Permits for Recreation on Public Lands Final rule.
SUMMARY: This final rule updates the regulations of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) that explain how to obtain recreation permits for commercial recreational operations, competitive events and activities, organized group activities and events, and individual recreational use of special areas.
The final rule is needed to remove from the regulations inconsistencies with the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act (REA), which authorizes the Secretaries of the Interior and Agriculture to establish, modify, charge, and collect recreation fees at Federal recreation lands and waters for the next 10 years.
DATES: Effective date: March 23, 2007.
ADDRESSES: You may submit inquiries or suggestions to Director (250), Bureau of Land Management, Room 301-LS, Eastern States Office, 7450 Boston Boulevard, Springfield, Virginia 22153.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION: Contact Anthony Bobo at (202) 452-0333 as to the substance of the final rule, or Ted Hudson at (202) 452-5042 as to procedural matters. Persons who use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) may contact either individual by calling the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at (800) 877-8339, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
The REA was passed as part of the 2005 Omnibus Appropriations bill, and signed into law on December 8, 2004. The Act provides authority for 10 years for the Secretaries of the Interior and Agriculture to establish, modify, charge, and collect recreation fees for use of certain Federal recreation lands and waters.
Section 13 of REA repealed certain admission and use fee authorities, including Section 4(a) through (i) of the Land and Water Conservation Fund Act of 1965 (16 U.S.C. 460l-6a et seq.), and Section 315 of the Department of the Interior and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 1996 (as contained in section 101(c) of Public Law 104-134; 16 U.S.C. 460l-6a). The latter provision authorized the Recreational Fee Demonstration Program, which the BLM has used to fund many of its recreation sites. Because these authorities have been repealed, we need to amend the BLM's recreation permit regulations to remove references to them.
Under REA, the BLM will--
The BLM does not and will not charge a fee for many recreation activities and sites on public lands. The REA includes additional provisions that build on the BLM's past experiences in the recreation fee program and improve the fee program by clarifying the circumstances in which fees may be charged. Under the Act, the BLM will not charge standard or expanded amenity recreation fees for--
In addition, individuals under 16 will not be charged an entrance or standard amenity fee.
In compliance with REA, the BLM is utilizing its existing Resource Advisory Committees (RACs) and certain new Recreation Resource Advisory Committees (RRACs) to provide the public with additional opportunities to provide input on the establishment of a specific recreation fee site or other agency fee proposals. The BLM also will provide other opportunities for notice and public participation before establishing a new fee, and will keep the public informed on how it is using fee revenues to improve visitor facilities and services.
II. Discussion of Public Comments
The BLM received 6 comments on the proposed rule, 5 from individuals and one from a trade association.
One comment addressed the provision for civil penalties in section 2932.57(b)(3): "You may also be subject to civil action for unauthorized use of the public lands or related waters and their resources * * *" It stated that the reference should be to "navigable water" only, stating that applying the penalty to use of any other water would be illegal.
III. Discussion of Final Rule
The final rule makes changes in the existing regulations on permits for recreation on public lands in order to bring them into conformance with the law, including REA. This section of the preamble describes the changes made in each section of the regulations.
Section 2931.3 What are the authorities for these regulations?
The final rule amends this section to remove references to the repealed authority, portions of the Land and Water Conservation Fund Act, 16 U.S.C. 4601-6a, and add reference to REA. It explains that REA authorizes the BLM to collect fees for recreational use of certain kinds of areas, and to issue special recreation permits for group activities, such as commercial outings, and recreation events, such as races or traditional assemblies. The rule also clarifies the authority contained in Section 303 of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act (FLPMA), 43 U.S.C. 1733. It also restates the functions of 18 U.S.C. 3571 and 3581 et seq., which establish penalties of fines and imprisonment for violation of regulations. Finally, in this section, the rule removes paragraph (b) discussing 36 CFR part 71, because the regulations there are outdated.
Section 2932.57 Prohibited acts and penalties.
In this section, which covers prohibited acts and penalties related to special recreation permits, the final rule amends paragraph (b)(3) by removing reference to the Land and Water Conservation Fund Act and adding REA in its place.
Section 2933.33 Prohibited acts and penalties.
The final rule amends this section, which states prohibitions and imposes penalties related to recreation use permits, by removing references to the Land and Water Conservation Fund Act, and substituting REA, where appropriate. To conform the prohibited acts in paragraph (a) of the section to the table of penalties in paragraph (d), we have added a provision to paragraph (a) requiring compliance with recreation use permit stipulations and conditions. The final rule also removes unnecessary internal cross-references in this section, and corrects inaccurate legal citations.
IV. Procedural Matters
Regulatory Planning and Review (E.O. 12866)
This document is not a significant rule and was not subject to review by the Office of Management and Budget under Executive Order 12866.
During fiscal year 2004, the BLM issued just over 109,000 Special Recreation Permits of all kinds, with revenues totaling a little over $8 million deposited into the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), the Fee Demonstration Project, and other miscellaneous accounts. These numbers are derived from the Public Land Statistics, and represent an increase of slightly more than fivefold since 1996. On the other hand, according to the American Recreation Coalition, Americans spent more than $108 billion on wildlife-related recreation (fishing, hunting, birdwatching, and so forth) alone. We cite these numbers to illustrate that the fees charged under the BLM's recreation program are relatively small when compared with the revenues realized by a typical segment of the overall national recreation industry. Special Recreation Permits are generally obtained by commercial outfitters and guides, river running companies, sponsors of competitive events, "snow bird" seasonal mobile home campers who use the BLM's long-term visitor areas, and private individuals and groups using certain special areas. Under current regulations, use fees are established by the BLM Director, who may adjust them from time to time to reflect changes in costs and the market, and published periodically in the Federal Register. The BLM may charge actual costs, subject to certain limitations. During fiscal year 2004, the BLM issued just over 655,000 Recreation Use Permits for use of fee sites, with revenues totaling a little over $5,200,000. We state these figures to give some idea of the scope of the BLM recreation program in economic terms, and to show that the revenues from the program do not approach $100 million annually. The REA makes changes in the authorities for the BLM's recreation fees, but Section 3 of the Act does not change the policy for setting those fees: "The amount of the recreation fee shall be commensurate with the benefits and services provided to the visitor," and "[t]he Secretary shall consider comparable fees charged elsewhere and by other public agencies and by nearby private sector operators." As for the penalty aspect of the rule, in recent years fines assessed for violation of recreation permit provisions have not approached the threshold. Since 2000, we have issued on average 300 citations annually for violations of special recreation permit and recreation use permit provisions, combined, imposing average fines of $100.00 for each, for an approximate average annual total of $30,000. Thus, it is clear that the changes in the final rule will not have economic effects exceeding $100 million annually.
Regulatory Flexibility Act
The Department of the Interior certifies that this final rule will not have a significant economic effect on a substantial number of small entities under the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.). The BLM recognizes that most commercial recreation enterprises--outfitters, guides, river-running companies, local retail outlets--are small businesses, and that over 5,000 of them annually hold BLM commercial or competitive permits. Nevertheless, this final rule does not change permit fees, but rather updates the regulations to reflect changes in authorities for the fees and changes their allocation. Penalties for non-payment of fees do not affect outfitters, event organizers, and other commercial permittees, who must pay the fees before receiving permits.
Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act (SBREFA)
This rule is not a major rule under 5 U.S.C. 804(2), the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act. This rule:
Unfunded Mandates Reform Act
This rule does not impose an unfunded mandate on state, local, or Tribal governments or the private sector of more than $100 million per year. The rule does not have a significant or unique effect on state, local, or Tribal governments or the private sector. The rule has no effect on governmental or Tribal entities. A statement containing the information required by the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (2 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.) is not required.
Takings (E.O. 12630)
In accordance with Executive Order 12630, the BLM finds that the rule does not have significant takings implications. The final rule does not provide for forfeiture or derogation of private property rights. It merely updates the regulations to reflect changes in statutory authorities for the BLM recreation program covered by the regulations. A takings implications assessment is not required.
Federalism (E.O. 13132)
In accordance with Executive Order 13132, the BLM finds that the rule does not have sufficient federalism implications to warrant the preparation of a federalism summary impact statement. The rule does not have substantial direct effects on the states, on the relationship between the national government and the states, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities among the various levels of government. The rule does not preempt state law.
Civil Justice Reform (E.O. 12988)
In accordance with Executive Order 12988, we have determined that this rule does not unduly burden the judicial system and meets the requirements of sections 3(a) and 3(b)(2) of the Order. The rule merely updates the regulations to reflect changes in statutory authorities.
E.O. 13175, Consultation and Coordination With Indian Tribal Governments
In accordance with Executive Order 13175, the BLM has found that this final rule does not include policies that have Tribal implications. The rule has no effect on Tribal lands, and affect member of Tribes only to the extent that they use public lands and facilities for recreation. The rule merely updates the regulations to reflect changes in statutory authorities.
E.O. 13211, Actions Concerning Regulations That Significantly Affect Energy Supply, Distribution, or Use
This rule is not a significant energy action. It will not have an adverse effect on energy supplies. The rule does not limit land use by energy companies. It applies only to permits for recreational use of public lands, how the BLM collects revenues and applies them to the program.
E.O. 13352, Facilitation of Cooperative Conservation
In accordance with Executive Order 13352, the BLM has determined that this final rule is administrative in nature and only reflects changes in statutory authorities. This rule does not impede facilitating cooperative conservation. It does not affect the interests of persons with ownership or other legally recognized interests in land or other natural resources, local participation in the Federal decision-making process, or relate to the protection of public health and safety.
Paperwork Reduction Act
These regulations do not contain information collection requirements that the Office of Management and Budget must approve under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, 44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.
National Environmental Policy Act
The BLM has determined that this final rule updating the recreation permit regulations to recognize and reflect changes in statutory authorities governing the payment and allocation of permit fees and the penalties for nonpayment is a regulation of an administrative, financial, legal, and procedural nature. Therefore, it is categorically excluded from environmental review under section 102(2)(C) of the National Environmental Policy Act, pursuant to 516 Departmental Manual (DM), Chapter 2, Appendix 1. In addition, the final rule does not meet any of the 10 criteria for exceptions to categorical exclusions listed in 516 DM, Chapter 2, Appendix 2. Pursuant to Council on Environmental Quality regulations (40 CFR 1508.4) and the environmental policies and procedures of the Department of the Interior, the term "categorical exclusions" means a category of actions which do not individually or cumulatively have a significant effect on the human environment and that have been found to have no such effect in procedures adopted by a Federal agency and for which neither an environmental assessment nor an environmental impact statement is required. Therefore, a detailed statement under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 is not required.
The principal authors of this final rule are Lee Larson (retired), and Anthony Bobo of the Recreation and Visitor Services Division, Washington Office, BLM, assisted by Ted Hudson of the Regulatory Affairs Group, Washington Office, BLM.
List of Subjects in 43 CFR Part 2930
Penalties, Public lands, Recreation and recreation areas, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Surety bonds.
Dated: January 31, 2007.
For the reasons explained in the preamble, and under the authority of 43 U.S.C. 1740, we amend chapter II, subtitle B of title 43 of the Code of Federal Regulations as follows:
PART 2930--PERMITS FOR RECREATION ON PUBLIC LANDS
1. The authority citation for part 2930 is revised to read as follows:
Subpart 2931--Permits for Recreation; General
2. Revise section 2931.3 to read as follows:
Sec. 2931.3 What are the authorities for these regulations?
The statutory authorities underlying the regulations in this part are the Federal Land Policy and Management Act, 43 U.S.C. 1701 et seq., and the Federal Land Recreation Enhancement Act, 16 U.S.C. 6801 et seq.
Subpart 2932--Special Recreation Permits for Commercial Use, Competitive Events, Organized Groups, and Recreation Use in Special Areas [Amended]
3. Amend section 2932.57 by revising paragraph (b) to read as follows:
Sec. 2932.57 Prohibited acts and penalties.
Subpart 2933--Recreation Use Permits for Fee Areas
4. Amend Sec. 2933.33 by revising paragraphs (a), (b), and (d) to read as follows:
Sec. 2933.33 Prohibited acts and penalties.
[FR Doc. E7-2876 Filed 2-20-07; 8:45 am]
|Last updated: 04-26-2007|
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