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e-CFR data is current as of April 20, 2021

Title 15Subtitle BChapter IXSubchapter FPart 996 → Subpart B


Title 15: Commerce and Foreign Trade
PART 996—QUALITY ASSURANCE AND CERTIFICATION REQUIREMENTS FOR NOAA HYDROGRAPHIC PRODUCTS AND SERVICES


Subpart B—The Quality Assurance Program for Hydrographic Products


Contents
§996.10   Submission and selection of hydrographic products for the development of standards and compliance tests.
§996.11   Development of standards for a hydrographic product or class.
§996.12   Development of standards compliance tests for a hydrographic product or class.
§996.13   Determination of whether to offer certification for a hydrographic product or class.

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§996.10   Submission and selection of hydrographic products for the development of standards and compliance tests.

(a) Any non-Federal entity may submit a hydrographic product to be considered for the development of standards and compliance tests under this Quality Assurance Program.

(b) Submission shall be made to the Quality Assurance Program address below, or to such other address as may be indicated in the future: Director (N/CS), ATTN: Hydrographic Product Quality Assurance Program, Office of Coast Survey, NOAA, 1315 East West Highway, Silver Spring, MD 20910.

(c) The submission shall include

(1) Name and description of the proposed hydrographic product.

(2) The non-Federal entity submitting the product for the development of standards and compliance tests, and contact information for that entity. This non-Federal entity shall be known as the sponsor.

(3) The names and contact information of proposed representatives of the affected communities who have committed to participate substantively in the writing of standards and compliance tests. Affected communities might include: manufacturers, users, regulators, resellers, developers of products that use certified hydrographic products such as datasets, and manufacturers of competing or substitute products.

(4) The names and contact information of the standards setting body, and the compliance testing body under whose authority it is proposed that the standards and compliance tests be written and adopted.

(5) Information deemed relevant by the sponsor for NOAA to consider in deciding whether to proceed with the development of standards, compliance tests, and certification. Such information should address at a minimum:

(i) The type and magnitude of the public benefits and enhancement of public safety that would be achieved;

(ii) The breadth of support for standards and certification among all the affected communities;

(iii) The practicality of writing and enforcing an effective and appropriate standard;

(iv) The availability of suitable, similar products that may already meet the needs of the public; and

(v) The required expertise needed to write an appropriate standard.

(d) NOAA may, at its option, define a hydrographic product class of which the proposed hydrographic product is a specific instance. Standards and compliance tests may then be prepared for the class rather than for an individual non-Federal entity's specific product.

(e) NOAA shall publicize, in the Federal Register or by other appropriate means, the hydrographic product or class in order to solicit comments on the proposal that standards and compliance tests be written and certification be offered for that hydrographic product or class. Comments might include, but are not limited to, general information; statements of interest in participating in the development of standards and compliance tests; or objections to acceptance of the hydrographic product or class into this Quality Assurance Program. Instructions for commenting and the duration of the comment period will be included in the announcement.

(f) NOAA shall decide, if its other obligations permit, within 60 calendar days of the close of the comment period whether to proceed with the development of standards, compliance tests, and certification for the proposed hydrographic product or class. NOAA may request further information, and shall have additional time as required to consider the information once received. NOAA's decision on whether to proceed shall be based on the following criteria:

(1) The magnitude of the public benefit and enhancement of public safety that would be achieved compared to the commitment of federal resources that would be required;

(2) The breadth of support for standards and certification among all the affected communities;

(3) The practicality of writing and enforcing an effective and appropriate standard;

(4) The availability of suitable, similar products that may already meet the needs of the public;

(5) NOAA's expertise related to the expertise needed to write an appropriate standard;

(6) Availability of resources; and

(7) Other relevant criteria as they become apparent.

(g) NOAA's decision as to whether the proposed hydrographic product or class is accepted into the Quality Assurance Program shall be publicly announced in the Federal Register or by other appropriate means, and a written notification shall be provided to the sponsor. The response shall include NOAA's reason for its decision based on the criteria enumerated above.

(h) Any party, including the sponsor, shall have an opportunity to request reconsideration of NOAA's decision. Said request shall be submitted in writing, to the Quality Assurance Program address, postmarked within 30 days of NOAA's announcement of its decision, and shall contain written material supporting the requestor's position. NOAA shall have, if its other obligations permit, 60 calendar days from the receipt of a request for reconsideration to either deny the request, or to reconsider and announce its decision.

(i) NOAA's decision, either the original decision if unappealed within 30 days, or the decision after the request for reconsideration, shall be considered final.

(j) NOAA itself may choose to identify a hydrographic product or class, which may or may not yet exist, but for which it intends to adopt standards, compliance tests, and to offer certification. In such cases, NOAA will be considered the sponsor. The procedures to be followed for NOAA-sponsored hydrographic products or classes shall be the same as for those sponsored by non-Federal entities, including the procedures for announcement, comment, and reconsideration.

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§996.11   Development of standards for a hydrographic product or class.

(a) NOAA shall work, to the extent practicable, through existing, recognized, standards bodies in the writing and adopting of standards for a hydrographic product or class that NOAA has accepted into this program. It shall be the responsibility of the sponsor to propose an appropriate standards writing body. NOAA may accept this body at its discretion, or may select an alternate body. NOAA will then undertake, jointly with the sponsor and acknowledged representatives of the affected communities, to submit the proposal for writing standards to, and to secure the cooperation of, the selected standards writing body.

(b) Once accepted as a work item by the standards writing body, NOAA shall undertake, jointly with representatives of the affected community, members of the standards body, other governmental representatives, and the sponsor as appropriate, to write standards for the hydrographic product or class according to the practices of the standards body and the technical needs of the product. Participation in the writing of standards shall be determined according to the procedures of the standards writing body.

(c) NOAA shall then undertake, jointly with representatives of the affected community, members of the standards body and the body itself, other governmental representatives, and the sponsor as appropriate, to have the resulting standard officially adopted by the standards body according to the procedures of that body.

(d) NOAA may, at its option, proceed without the participation of an existing, recognized, standards body should it so choose. Such action might be taken, for example, if there were no appropriate standards body. In this eventuality, NOAA shall adhere to the following general procedure.

(1) Announce, in the Federal Register or by other appropriate means, NOAA's intention to organize and chair a working group to write and publish standards for the proposed hydrographic product or class;

(2) Solicit, via the Federal Register or by other appropriate means, participation and select, reject, and/or revoke permission to participate as NOAA deems appropriate so as to proceed in an orderly and representative manner in writing a standard;

(3) Initiate, schedule, host, and chair, or designate a chair for, the work of the working group;

(4) Circulate, via the Federal Register or by other appropriate means, the drafts of the working group;

(5) Announce, via the Federal Register or by other appropriate means, the NOAA proposed standard and provide an opportunity for public comment;

(6) Announce, via the Federal Register or by other appropriate means, and make available as a standard, the final version of the standard; and

(7) Provide the necessary administrative support.

(e) NOAA may, at its option, adopt an existing standard as the NOAA standard for this program. In this eventuality, NOAA shall adhere to the following general procedure.

(1) Announce, in the Federal Register or by other appropriate means, NOAA's intention to adopt an existing standard for the proposed hydrographic product or class; and

(2) Solicit, via the Federal Register or by other appropriate means including public meetings, comment on the standard that NOAA proposes to adopt, and shall consider the comments received.

(f) Alternatively, NOAA may at its option, proceed by writing a standard by itself. Such action might be used, for example, in cases where the standard is obvious. Producing exact copies of existing NOAA products might be one such case. Once written, this NOAA-authored standard shall be made publicly available for comment, and comments shall be considered before NOAA publishes the final standard.

(g) At the conclusion of the standards writing, whether through an existing standards body, by a NOAA-convened working group, by adopting an existing standard, or by NOAA itself, NOAA shall consider the resulting standard and comments, and either adopt or reject the standard as the NOAA Quality Assurance Program Standard for the particular hydrographic product or class. NOAA's decision shall be publicly announced in the Federal Register or by other appropriate means.

(h) Any party may request NOAA to reconsider its decision to adopt or reject the standard by submitting its request in writing to the Quality Assurance Program address within 30 days of NOAA's announcement of its decision. NOAA shall have, if its other obligations permit, 60 calendar days from the receipt of a request for reconsideration to either deny the request, or to reconsider and announce its decision. NOAA's original decision if unappealed within 30 days, or its decision upon reconsideration shall be considered final.

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§996.12   Development of standards compliance tests for a hydrographic product or class.

(a) NOAA shall work, to the extent practicable, through existing, recognized, compliance testing bodies in the writing and adopting of compliance tests for a hydrographic product or class. It shall be the responsibility of the sponsor to propose an appropriate compliance testing body. NOAA may accept this body at its discretion, or may select an alternate body. NOAA will then undertake, jointly with the sponsor and acknowledged representatives of the affected communities, to secure the cooperation of the selected compliance testing body.

(b) NOAA shall undertake, jointly with representatives of the affected community, members of the compliance testing body, other governmental representatives, and the sponsor as appropriate, to write compliance tests for the hydrographic product or class according to the practices of the compliance testing body and the Quality Assurance Program standard adopted by NOAA. Participation in the writing of compliance tests may be determined according to the procedures of the compliance testing body.

(c) NOAA shall then undertake, jointly with representatives of the affected community, members of the compliance testing body and the body itself, other governmental representatives, and the sponsor as appropriate, to have the resulting compliance tests adopted according to the procedures of that body.

(d) NOAA may, at its option, proceed without the participation of an existing, recognized, compliance testing body should it so choose. Such action might be taken, for example, if there were no appropriate compliance testing body. In this eventuality, NOAA will adhere to the following general procedure:

(1) Announce, in the Federal Register or by other appropriate means, NOAA's intention to organize and chair a working group to write and publish compliance tests for the hydrographic product or class;

(2) Solicit, via the Federal Register or by other appropriate means, participation and select, reject, and/or revoke permission to participate as NOAA deems appropriate so as to proceed in an orderly and representative manner in writing compliance tests;

(3) Initiate, schedule, host, and chair, or designate a chair for, the work of the working group;

(4) Circulate, via the Federal Register, or by other appropriate means, the drafts of the working group;

(5) Announce, via the Federal Register or by other appropriate means, a NOAA proposed final version of the compliance tests and provide an opportunity for public comment;

(6) Announce, via the Federal Register or by other appropriate means, and make available the final version of the compliance tests, and

(7) Provide the necessary administrative support.

(e) NOAA may, at its option, adopt existing compliance tests as the NOAA compliance tests for this program. In this eventuality, NOAA shall adhere to the following general procedure:

(1) Announce, in the Federal Register or by other appropriate means, NOAA's intention to adopt existing compliance tests for the proposed hydrographic product or class; and

(2) Solicit, via the Federal Register or by other appropriate means including public meetings, comment on the proposed compliance tests that NOAA proposes to adopt, and shall consider the comments received.

(f) Alternatively, NOAA may, at its option, proceed by writing compliance tests by itself. Such action might be used, for example, in cases where the tests are obvious. Producing exact copies of existing NOAA products might be one such case. Once written, these NOAA-authored tests shall be made publicly available for comment, and comments shall be considered before NOAA publishes the final compliance tests.

(g) At the conclusion of the compliance test writing, whether through an existing body, by a NOAA-convened working group, by adopting existing compliance tests, or by NOAA itself, NOAA shall consider the resulting compliance tests and comments, and either adopt or reject them as the NOAA Quality Assurance Program compliance tests for the particular hydrographic product standard. NOAA's decision shall be publicly announced in the Federal Register or by other appropriate means.

(h) Any party may request NOAA to reconsider its decision to adopt or reject the compliance tests by submitting its request in writing to the Quality Assurance Program address within 30 days of NOAA's announcement of its decision. NOAA shall have, if its other obligations permit, 60 calendar days after the receipt of a request for reconsideration to either deny the request, or to reconsider and announce its decision. NOAA's original decision if unappealed within 30 days, or its decision upon reconsideration shall be considered final.

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§996.13   Determination of whether to offer certification for a hydrographic product or class.

(a) Certification of a hydrographic product or class shall be at the option of NOAA. NOAA may decide at any time whether or not to offer certification for a product or class. However, it is most likely that a determination will be made only after a non-Federal entity has submitted a specific product for certification. NOAA's decision shall be based on the following criteria:

(1) The suitability of the adopted standards and tests for their intended purpose;

(2) The availability of a qualified entity to perform the compliance tests;

(3) Availability of resources; and

(4) Other relevant criteria as they become apparent.

(b) NOAA's decision as to whether certification for a hydrographic product or class is offered shall be publicly announced in the Federal Register or by other appropriate means.

(c) Any entity may request NOAA to reconsider its decision to offer or not offer certification by submitting its request in writing to the Quality Assurance Program address within 30 days of NOAA's announcement of its decision. NOAA shall have, if its other obligations permit, 60 calendar days after the receipt of a request for reconsideration to either deny the request, or to reconsider and announce its decision.

(d) NOAA's original decision if unappealed within 30 days, or its decision upon reconsideration, shall be considered final.

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