Washington Waves
Washington Waves

EPA Administrator: WOTUS Rule Will Withstand Supreme Court Ruling

Washington, D.C.—Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael Regan told a Senate panel the Biden administration’s controversial Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule was designed to absorb whatever ruling comes from the U.S. Supreme Court without triggering a new rule that could take two years or more to write.

Appearing before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, Regan also expressed confidence the current WOTUS rule would move forward with a much shorter time frame.

He also spoke of the negative impact of delaying the current WOTUS rule until after the court’s decision in the Sackett v. EPA case, which is expected by June.

“That would have left a lot more uncertainty,” Regan said, pointing out that the rules written during the Obama and Trump administrations were no longer in place.

His defense of the Biden administration’s decision to move ahead with its own WOTUS rule followed criticism from Republicans on the committee.

Ranking member Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) said EPA spent time and resources on its WOTUS rule that she said has been stayed in two states, maybe more.

“The EPA could have minimized regulatory uncertainty by just waiting for the Supreme Court ruling,” she said.

Capito is leading the effort to overturn the Biden administration’s WOTUS rule by a vote under the Congressional Review Act.

President Biden will veto that measure if it ever gets to his desk, according to the White House.

Tankerman-Assistant Policy

The Office of Merchant Mariner Credentialing published CG-MMC Policy Letter 01-23 titled Qualification for National Endorsements as Tankerman-Assistant and STCW Endorsement for Basic Tanker Operations.

“The Coast Guard will use this policy to evaluate whether mariners are qualified to hold national endorsements as Tankerman-Assistant and STCW endorsements for basic oil and chemical tanker operations or basic liquefied gas tanker operations,” the policy letter stated.

It explained the changes recommended last fall by the National Merchant Marine Personnel Advisory Committee (NMERPAC) to help mariners advance their careers.

“NMERPAC noted that otherwise qualified mariners who are authorized to serve as the person in charge of transfers of dangerous liquids or liquefied gases aboard tank barges are not authorized to assist with cargo transfers aboard tank ships,” the policy letter stated.

The policy letter is available on the Coast Guard Merchant Mariner Credentialing policy website and by selecting “Policy & Regulations” on the National Maritime Center’s website.

For additional information or to provide feedback, contact the Mariner Credentialing Program Policy Division at MMCPolicy@uscg.mil or 202-372-2357.

Electrical Engineering Standards

The Coast Guard is updating electrical engineering standards that support its maritime safety mission and are consistent with standards currently used by industry.

Effective April 17, the rule also eliminates several outdated and unnecessarily prescriptive regulations.

To view documents, go to www.regulations.gov, type USCG–2020–0075 in the search box and click ‘’Search.’’

For additional information, contact Raymond Martin at 202-372-1384 or Raymond.W.Martin@uscg.mil.

Replacement Credentials

Mariners whose credentials are lost in the mail through “no fault of their own” can be issued a replacement credential free of charge, the National Maritime Center (NMC) stated in a recent post.

To avoid a lost credential, the NMC recommends validating addresses by making sure they are accurate and legible, providing address updates as soon as possible, paying for an expedited mailing option and using the Credential Application Status tool to confirm a credential was mailed.

If a credential has not been received 21 days after it was mailed, provide a CG-719B application and affidavit of loss to the NMC within 60 days of mailing the original credential to the Regional Examination Center.

For additional information, contact the NMC Customer Service Center via the online chat system or by calling 1-888-IASKNMC (427-5662).

FMC User Fees

The Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) requested comments on a direct final rule updating its current user fees and amending relevant regulations.

According to the Federal Register, the rule would increase certain fees to reflect increases in salaries of employees assigned to fee-generating services.

For at least one service, the rule would lower fees because less-senior employees are assigned to an activity.

Comments described by the FMC as “significant” and “adverse” must be filed by April 20.

They may be submitted at www.regulations.gov under Docket No. FMC–2023–0009, Update of Existing FMC User Fees Direct Final Rule.

If significant adverse comments are received, the FMC will publish a timely withdrawal of the rule no later than May 5.

Without further action, the rule takes effect June 5.

For additional information, contact William Cody at 202-523-5908 or secretary@fmc.gov.