The Maine Board
of Environmental Protection
(BEP) approved proposed Chapter 600 vessel operating regulations by a vote of five to one, with one abstention. Chapter 600 regulations address the operation of both oil terminal facilities and vessels transporting oil
on state waterways. The regulations will be forwarded to the Attorney General for review and compliance with the state's Administrative Procedures Act. If the Attorney General approves the regulations, they will be sent to the Secretary of State's office for certification.
Maine's Department of Environmental Protection, proponent of the regulations, asserted: the regulations will provide state representatives the opportunity to participate in oil spill prevention and response activities; prudent vessel operators will comply with the regulations; and a Supreme Court Decision in favor of Intertanko will require only a simple revision of Maine's regulations.
A representative of Maine's Oil Spill Advisory Committee argued existing federal regulations adequately address oil spill prevention and response measures, and individual state involvement will undermie the role of the USCG in domestic and international regulatory regimes.
The Commandant of the USCG is on record in opposition to Maine's regulatory proposal. It is anticipated maritime interest groups may seek a temporary restraining order to prevent implementation of the Chapter 600 regulations.