Washington Waves
Washington Waves

Corps Seeking Public Input On WRDA Implementation

Washington, D.C.—The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced it is seeking public comment on the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 2022 and holding three stakeholder sessions to receive additional input from the public.

The 60-day period for comments ends March 21.

Identified by Docket ID No. COE-2023-0002, comments may be submitted via www.regulations.gov, email at WRDA2022@usace.army.mil with Docket ID No. COE-2023-0002 in the subject line or mail at U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, ATTN: Ms. Amy Frantz, CEW–P, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, 3F91, 441 G St. NW, Washington, DC 20314.

Using webinars and teleconferences, the three stakeholder sessions are set to be held at 2 p.m. Eastern on February 15, February 22 and March 1.

The webinars will be conducted on the web link https://usace1.webex.com/meet/WRDA2022 and teleconferences at 844-800-2712, code 199 937 4287.

Final guidance will be available at www.usace.army.mil/Missions/Civil-Works/Project-Planning/legislative-Links/wrda_2022/.

A copy of WRDA 2022 can be found at:  www.usace.army.mil/Missions/Civil-Works/Water-Resources-Development-Act/.

For further information, contact Gib Owen at 571-274-1929, gib.a.owen.civ@army.mil or by mail at Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works, 108 Army Pentagon, Washington, DC 20310-0108.

Debt Ceiling Negotiations

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) left the debt ceiling conflict to House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and President Joe Biden to work out.

“I can’t imagine any debt ceiling provision passed out of the Senate with 60 votes could actually pass this particular House,” McConnell said.

“So I think the final solution to this particular episode lies between Speaker McCarthy and the president.”

So far, McCarthy and Biden seem as far apart as ever.

“What I have asked for, let’s sit down and find common ground,” McCarthy said.

“For the president to say he wouldn’t even negotiate, that is irresponsible.”

Biden insists Congress must act responsibly by raising the debt ceiling to pay for spending already approved without negotiations and conditions.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has predicted “extraordinary measures” will keep the U.S. from defaulting on its obligations until early June.

Electronic Signatures

The National Maritime Center (NMC) announced it now accepts electronically signed CG-719 series forms and all supporting documentation for merchant mariner credentials (MMCs), medical certificates and course approvals.

Mariner applicants may e-sign applications and supporting documentation using software-generated electronic signatures such as Microsoft Word and Adobe Acrobat on the CG-719 series of forms and other supporting documentation to include sea service, assessments, mariner training documentation and qualified assessor and designated examiner requests, NMC stated.

NMC noted the Coast Guard can accommodate e-mails with attachments up to 35 MB in size.Mariners should verify any size restrictions e-mail providers may have prior to sending.

“Missing information will cause applications to be delayed or rejected,” NMC stated.

For additional information, contact the NMC Customer Service Center by e-mailing IASKNMC@USCG.mil, calling 1-888-IASKNMC (427-5662) or visiting the NMC website.

Maritime Cybersecurity

The Coast Guard released a new Maritime Cybersecurity Assessment & Annex Guide (MCAAG) to help facilities regulated by the Maritime Transportation System Act (MTSA) and other Maritime Transportation System (MTS) shareholders address cyber risks.

MCAAG provides a recommended, yet voluntary, process for identifying and describing cybersecurity vulnerabilities in the context of Facility Safety Assessment (FSA).

The voluntary MCAAG was developed in collaboration with maritime industry stakeholders along with Coast Guard subject matter experts.

Facilities may choose to address cybersecurity vulnerabilities within their FSP by way of separate cyber annex, addendum or other method as long as requirements within regulations are met.

OPA 90 Liability Limits

The Coast Guard issued a final rule to adjust the limits of liability for vessels, deepwater ports and onshore facilities under the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 (OPA 90) to reflect the increase in the Consumer Price Index since they were last adjusted in 2019.

According to the Coast Guard, the regulatory inflation increases to the limits of liability are required by OPA 90 and are necessary to preserve the deterrent effect and ‘‘polluter pays’’ principle embodied in the act.

Effective March 23, the update also promotes the Coast Guard’s missions of maritime safety and stewardship.

Documents are available at www.regulations.gov under docket No. USCG–2022–0252.

For additional information, contact Benjamin White at 202-795-6066 or Benjamin.H.White@uscg.mil.

Vessel Space Accommodations

The Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) announced it will seek additional comments on unreasonable refusal to deal or negotiate with respect to vessel space accommodations.

Nearly 30 comments were received on that topic in response to the FMC’s earlier Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, and the FMC said it will publish a Supplemental Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (SNPRM) to receive additional comments.

FMC staff is reviewing more than 180 comments received on demurrage and detention billing requirements and is working on a draft proposed rule addressing Unfair or Unjustly Discriminatory Methods.

The FMC also announced it has completed its review of market conditions and found circumstances at this time do not warrant invoking Temporary Emergency Authority established under the OSRA to require information sharing among supply chain participants.