Daily Rules, Proposed Rules, and Notices of the Federal Government
The purpose of this regulatory action is to amend an existing danger zone to accommodate larger classes of orbital rockets. This amendment increases the permanent danger zone to a 30 nautical mile sector and is necessary to protect the public from hazards associated with rocket-launching operations.
The Corps authority to amend this restricted area is Section 7 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1917 (40 Stat. 266; 33 U.S.C. 1) and Chapter XIX of the Army Appropriations Act of 1919 (40 Stat. 892; 33 U.S.C. 3).
Pursuant to its authorities in Section 7 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1917 (40 Stat. 266; 33 U.S.C. 1) and Chapter XIX of the Army Appropriations Act of 1919 (40 Stat. 892; 33 U.S.C. 3), the Corps is amending the regulations in 33 CFR part 334 by establishing a new permanent danger zone, in the waters of the Atlantic Ocean off Wallops Island and Chincoteague Inlet, Virginia. The modification to the regulations is described below.
The proposed rule was published in the October 11, 2011, issue of the
Danger zones, Marine safety, Navigation (water), Restricted areas, Waterways.
For the reasons set out in the preamble, the Corps amends 33 CFR part 334 as follows:
40 Stat. 266 (33 U.S.C. 1) and 40 Stat. 892 (33 U.S.C. 3).
(2) In advance of scheduled launch operations which, in the opinion of the enforcing agency, may be dangerous to persons and watercraft, appropriate warnings will be issued to navigation interests through official government and civilian channels or in such other manner as the District Engineer, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, may direct. Such warnings will specify the location, time, and duration of operations, and give other pertinent information as may be required in the interests of safety. Announcement of area of closure will appear in the weekly “Notice to Mariners.”
(3) The intent to conduct rocket-launching operations in the area shall also be indicated by visual signals consisting of a large orange-colored “blimp-shaped” balloon by day and a rotating alternately red and white beacon by night. The balloon shall be flown at latitude 37°50′38″ N, longitude 75°28′47″ W and the beacon shall be displayed about 200 feet above mean high water at latitude 37°50′16″ N, longitude 75°29′07″ W. The appropriate signals shall be displayed 30 minutes prior to rocket-launching time and shall remain displayed until the danger no longer exists.
(4) In addition to visual signals and prior to conducting launch operations, the area will be patrolled by aircraft or surface vessels and monitored by radars and cameras to ensure no persons or watercraft are within the danger zone or
(5) Any watercraft being so warned shall immediately leave the designated area until the conclusion of launch operations, and shall remain at a distance to ensure that it will be safe from falling debris.
(6) Nothing in this regulation shall be intended to prevent commercial fishing or the lawful use of approved waterfowl hunting blinds along the shorelines of the Wallops Flight Facility at Wallops Island, Virginia, provided that all necessary licenses and permits have been obtained from the Virginia Marine Resources Commission, Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Commercial fishermen and waterfowl hunters must observe all warnings and range clearances during hazardous range operations.