PVA Submits Comments on USCG Rulemakings

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Non-Tank Vessel Response Plans:
PVA has submitted comments on the Coast Guard’s Non-Tank Vessel Response Plan Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) published August 31, 2009 that would take oil spill response planning from guidance under a Navigation and Vessel Inspection Circular (NVIC 01-05) to regulation. The Coast Guard and Marine Transportation Acts of 2004 and 2006 amended the Federal Water Pollution Control Act to require non-tank vessels of 400 gross tons (international and regulatory) and greater to prepare and submit oil spill response plans.
 
PVA Commented that the Coast Guard still has not demonstrated sufficient justification for the breadth and stringency of the proposed rules. PVA recommended no planning requirement for vessels carrying less than 250 barrels of oil (10,500 gallons).
 
PVA comments also focused on the absence of risk for oil spills from passenger vessels, the unnecessary and burdensome requirement for drills and exercises (90% of the regulation’s cost of compliance), and the burden on small business from the plethora of pending and recently adopted regulations.
 
To view PVA’s comments, go to: http://www.pvastaff.com/pvamemberupdate/NTVRPComments.pdf
 
Ballast Water Treatment Requirements:
PVA submitted comments on the Coast Guard’s proposed rule, published August 28, 2009, to amend regulations on ballast water management.  The rule would establish requirements for ballast water treatment systems, subject to approval by the Coast Guard, as a means of controlling the introduction of invasive aquatic organisms in U.S. waters.  The rule targets vessels of more than 100 feet in length that carry or discharge ballast water. 
 
Pointing out the uncertainty of whether or not control technology can actually be developed in time to meet a January 1, 2013 implementation deadline, PVA indicated its support for a “practicality review.”
 
PVA also stressed the need, as means of lessening regulatory burden to operators, that the Coast Guard should coordinate its requirement to complement the EPA Vessel General Permit. 
 
PVA endorsed the planned exemption from the rule for vessels that operate with one Captain of the Port (COTP) Zone but stressed further that such vessels should not be required to be equipped with ballast water management systems.  In addition, PVA called on the Coast Guard to exempt vessels operating between two adjacent COTP Zone if it determines that vessel discharges from one zone would not introduce non-indigenous species into the next zone. 
 
Finally, PVA urged the Coast Guard to consider the major costs that such a regulation would impose on passenger vessel operators that pose little or no risk of introducing invasive species into U.S. waters.   
 
To view PVA’s comments, go to: http://www.pvastaff.com/pvamemberupdate/ballastcomments.pdf

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