Washington, D.C.—The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a final rule amending the national marine diesel engine program and providing relief by addressing concerns associated with finding and installing certified Tier 4 marine diesel engines in certain high-speed commercial vessels.
Effective November 2, the rule provides additional lead time for qualifying engines and vessels.
“This action relates to marine diesel engines with rated power between 600 and 1,400 kW intended for installation on vessels flagged or registered in the United States, vessels that use those engines and companies that manufacture, repair or rebuild those engines and vessels,” EPA stated in its Federal Register posting.
For additional information, contact Alan Stout at 734-214-4805.
Incidental Discharge Standard
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed national standards on incidental discharges such as ballast water from commercial vessels.
When finalized, EPA said, the new rule will streamline a current patchwork of federal, state and local requirements that apply to commercial vessels and better protect the nation’s waters.
EPA said its proposed standards would apply to commercial vessels greater than 79 feet in length, other non-recreational, non-armed-forces vessels such as research and emergency rescue vessels, and ballast water only from small vessels (less than 79 feet in length) and fishing vessels of all sizes.
Also included in the proposed rule are procedures for states working through EPA or the U.S. Coast Guard to seek more stringent requirements, request emergency orders or apply for no-discharge zones for one or more of the incidental discharges in any or all state waters.
EPA will accept comment on the proposal for 30 days following publication in the Federal Register.
Jones Act Report
The Trump administration highlighted its support of the Jones Act as it marked the president’s “Buy American, Hire American” economic strategy.
A report by the White House Office of Trade and Manufacturing Policy described American shipbuilders and merchant mariners as being under siege for decades from unfair foreign competition.
It said countries such as China, South Korea and Japan relied on cheap labor, unfair subsidies, state-backed loans or a potent and predatory combination of those mercantilist tools.
Shipbuilding jobs fell from 178,000 in 1980 to 130,000 in 2016, the number of U.S. flagged ships dropped from 217 in 2009 to a low of 169 in 2016 and gross tonnage decreased from 7.7 million to 6.7 million, the report stated.
“The Trump-Pence administration’s strict enforcement of the Jones Act and strong commitment to America’s shipyards is helping to turn these downward trends around,” the report said.
“The number of ships in the U.S. flagged fleet has increased nearly 10 percent from the Obama-Biden low of 169 ships to 184 ships today while tonnage has increased to 7.3 million,” stated the October 2 report, which is titled “The Buy American, Hire American President.”
Users Board Meeting Set
The Inland Waterways Users Board is scheduled to hold an online meeting October 30 to receive presentations regarding the status of the nation’s inland waterways system.
Open to the public, the meeting is to begin at 9 a.m. EDT.
It can be accessed at https://usace.webex.com/meet/ndc.nav or toll-free in the U.S. at 866-434-5269 or internationally (toll) at 216-706-7005, with access code 4935871, security code 1234.
Agenda items include fiscal year 2021 funding for inland and coastal navigation, the Inland Waterways Trust Fund, the Capital Investment Strategy activities, construction activities for Olmsted Locks and Dam Project, the Monongahela River Locks and Dams 2, 3, and 4 Project, the Chickamauga Lock Project and the Kentucky Lock Project; the Inner Harbor Navigation Canal Lock; and outcome of the 2020 Illinois Waterway closure.
For additional information, contact Mark Pointon at 703-428-6438.
TSAC To Meet
The Towing Safety Advisory Committee is scheduled to meet October 29 via teleconference to discuss Subchapter M implementation.
Open to the public, the meeting is set to begin at 1 p.m. EST.
Pre-meeting comments and documents for committee members must be submitted by October 20 and can be sent through the portal at www.regulations.gov.
For additional information and to join the teleconference, contact Matthew Layman at 202-372-1421.
Teleconference lines will be limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis.
Coronavirus Relief Legislation
After President Donald Trump unexpectedly called for suspending months-long talks over another coronavirus relief package, he quickly changed course and urged Congress to send him standalone bills for much more targeted responses.
So far, those included another round of $1,200 stimulus checks to Americans, $25 billion for airline payroll support and $135 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program.
“I am ready to sign right now,” Trump tweeted at one point.
By themselves, those proposals did not appear to be enough to advance the talks with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.
Pelosi expressed opposition to such a piecemeal approach and promoted remarks by Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell that “too little support would lead to a weak recovery, creating unnecessary hardship for households and businesses.”
Republicans have made it clear they will not support a $2.2-trillion, scaled-down version of the Democrats’ Heroes Act, which days earlier passed the House by a 214–207 vote.
With talks dragging on, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) suggested on Fox News the Democrats are not serious about reaching a deal before the election.
Survival Craft Equipment
The Coast Guard is seeking comments on its proposed update to the type approval requirements for certain types of equipment that survival craft are required to carry on U.S.-flagged vessels.
Describing the proposed rule as deregulatory, the Coast Guard said it would remove Coast Guard type approval requirements for nine of these types of survival craft equipment and replace them with the requirement that the manufacturer self-certify that the equipment complies with a consensus standard.
Comments and related material must be received by December 4 and can be submitted by the portal at www.regulations.gov.
For additional information, contact Lt. Brock Hashimoto at 202-372-1426.
Seaway Organization Renaming
The House approved a bill by Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio) to add Great Lakes to the name of the Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation.
Approved by a voice vote, H.R. 4470 now goes to the Senate.
“The new name, the Great Lakes Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation, will appropriately reflect the Seaway’s enormous role for connecting commerce, promoting economic development and protecting national security across the Great Lakes region and the nation,” Kaptur said.