Daily Rules, Proposed Rules, and Notices of the Federal Government
The U.S. Loran-C system is a low frequency hyperbolic radionavigation system. A Loran-C receiver measures the slight difference in time it takes for pulsed signals to reach a ship or aircraft from the transmitting stations within a Loran-C chain to develop a navigational position. Loran-C is approved for use in the U.S. Coastal Confluence Zone and as a supplemental air navigation aid. Loran-C is operated and maintained by the U.S. Coast Guard.
The Loran-C system was a valuable position and navigation system when it was established in 1957. As a result of technological advancements over the last 20 years and the emergence of the U.S. Global Positioning System (GPS), Loran-C is no longer required by the armed forces, the transportation sector, or the nation's security interests, and is used only by a small segment of the population.
The Loran-C system was not established as, nor was it intended to be, a viable systemic backup for GPS. Backups to GPS for safety-of-life navigation applications, or other critical applications, can be other radionavigation systems, or operational procedures, or a combination of these systems and procedures. Backups to GPS for timing applications can be a highly accurate crystal oscillator or atomic clock and a communications link to a timing source that is traceable to Coordinated Universal Time.
With respect to transportation to include aviation, commercial maritime, rail, and highway, the Department of Transportation has determined that sufficient alternative navigation aids currently exist in the event of a loss of GPS-based services, and therefore Loran currently is not needed as a back-up navigation aid for transportation safety-of-life users.
The Department of Homeland Security will continue to work with other Federal agencies to look across the critical infrastructure and key resource sectors identified in the National Infrastructure Protection Plan assessment to determine if a single, domestic system is needed as a GPS backup for critical infrastructure applications requiring precise time and frequency. If a single, domestic national system to back up GPS is identified as being necessary, the Department of Homeland Security will complete an analysis of potential backups to GPS. The continued active operation of Loran-C is not necessary to advance this evaluation.
On January 22, 2009 (74 FR 4047), the U.S. Coast Guard began a public review process for its Draft Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS), under the National Environmental Policy Act, which evaluated the environmental impacts of several alternatives for the Loran-C system, including termination of the Loran-C signal. The U.S. Coast Guard considered comments received in response to the Draft PEIS and released a Final PEIS on June 12, 2009 (USCG-2007-28046). A public notice will be issued to announce the Record of Decision.
This announcement is for the purpose of informing the public of the Coast Guard's intention to begin termination of the broadcast of the Loran-C signal starting on or about February 8, 2010. All Loran stations will cease transmission by October 1, 2010.
The Department of Transportation was consulted regarding the preparation of this notice. This notice is issued under the authority of 6 U.S.C. 111, 14 U.S.C. 81, and 5 U.S.C. 552.