Washington Waves
Washington Waves

EPA Seeks Comments On Zero-Emission Port Equipment

Washington, D.C.—The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is seeking public comment on the development of guidance on zero-emission port equipment, heavy-duty vehicles and fueling infrastructure under potentially multiple funding programs under the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022.

The EPA said it is especially interested in comments detailing the availability, market price, performance of the equipment and whether components are made in the United States.

Comments must be received by June 5 and identified by Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2023-0216.

They may be submitted at www.regulations.gov; via mail to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, EPA Docket Center, OAR Docket ID No. EPA–HQ–OAR– 2023–0216, Mail Code 28221T, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20460; or hand delivery at EPA Docket Center, WJC West Building, Room 3334, 1301 Constitution Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20004.

For additional information, contact Dennis Johnson at 202-343-9278 or johnson.dennis@epa.gov.

In a separate announcement, the EPA said the Clean Ports Program will invest $3 billion in technologies to reduce harmful air and climate pollutants at U.S. ports and create a zero-emission shipping future.

The EPA added that the Clean Heavy-Duty Vehicle Program will invest $1 billion to cut vehicle emissions and help protect the health of those working near ports and other truck routes.

Debt Limit

With no meaningful progress in their first meeting in months, President Joe Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) agreed to let their staffs begin working on getting past their impasse on raising the debt limit, avoiding an unprecedented default and cutting spending.

A second meeting was expected to occur Friday as the nation draws closer to a June deadline for action.

“I made clear during our meeting that default is not an option,” Biden told reporters shortly after he met with McCarthy, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.).

The president also reiterated his position that separate talks can be held on spending, “but not under the threat of default.”

McConnell, who repeated his earlier statement that it was up to Biden and McCarthy to end their impasse, also seemed to take default off the table.

“The United States is not going to default. It never has, and it never will,” McConnell told reporters.

Schumer used his comments to urge McCarthy to also take default off the table, adding he was the only leader at the meeting who refused to do so.

Citing the House-passed bill to raise the debt limit and cut spending, McCarthy challenged Schumer to pass a bill in the Senate that could go to conference.

Port Cranes

After chairing a hearing on port security vulnerabilities, Rep. Carlos Gimenez (R-Fla.) announced the introduction of his bipartisan bill to limit the use of foreign cranes at U.S. ports.

Co-sponsored by Rep. John Garamendi (D-Calif.), the Port Crane Security and Inspection Act of 2023 would require the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) to inspect foreign cranes for potential security vulnerabilities.

Gimenez, who serves as chairman of the Homeland Security Subcommittee on Transportation and Maritime Security, made it clear his focus was China.

“The Communist regime in Beijing is America’s most significant national security threat,” he said.

“For years, I have been warning about the need to decouple from Communist China and diversify our manufacturing capabilities.”

Corps Annual Report

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced that non-federal interests must file their proposal requests for the Annual Report to Congress by August 28.

Completed proposal forms may be emailed to WRRDA7001Proposal@usace.army.mil. The proposal form can be found at www.usace.army.mil/Missions/Civil-Works/Project-Planning/WRRDA-7001-Proposals/.

For an alternative method for submitting proposals and other information, email WRRDA7001Proposal@usace.army.mil or call Stuart McLean at 202-761-4931.

Course Completion Data

The Coast Guard is accepting comments on a proposed rulemaking to require Coast Guard-approved training providers to electronically submit student course completion data within five business days of completing a Coast Guard-approved course.

The National Maritime Center (NMC) would use this information to validate mariner course completion as part of an application for a Merchant Mariner Credential (MMC).

“We expect these proposed changes to lessen the probability of credentials being issued to mariners who have not met the professional requirements for their endorsements,” the Coast Guard stated.

In addition, the Coast Guard proposed to replace gendered titles for certain officer and rating endorsements in keeping with its policy of using gender-neutral language.

Comments and related material must be received by July 5.

They may be submitted at www.regulations.gov, identified by docket number USCG– 2021–0097.

For additional information, contact Brian Eichelberger at 202-372-1450 or Brian.T.Eichelberger@uscg.mil.

MRRIC Vacancies

The Commander of the Northwestern Division of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is soliciting applications to fill vacant positions on the Missouri River Recovery Implementation Committee (MRRIC).

Applications and endorsement letters must be received by May 31.

They may be mailed to U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Omaha District (Attn: MRRIC), 1616 Capitol Ave., Omaha, NE 68102–4901, or emailed to mrric@usace.army.mil with ‘‘MRRIC’’ in the subject line.

Currently applications are being accepted for representation in the following stakeholder interest categories:  Agriculture, At Large, Conservation Districts, Fish & Wildlife, Flood Control,  Irrigation, Navigation, Recreation and Water Supply.

For additional information, contact Shelly McPherron at 402-803-0073.

FMC Enforcement Bureau

Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) Chairman Daniel Maffei announced that John Crews II has been hired as the first director of the Bureau of Enforcement, Investigations and Compliance (BEIC).

As BEIC director, Crews, a former police officer, will supervise the bureau’s three subordinate Offices of Enforcement, Investigations and Compliance.

“The commission is fully committed to meaningful and effective enforcement of its statutes,” Maffei stated.