Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Dry Cargo Residue Discharges In The Great Lakes

Sep 25: The Coast Guard announced the availability of the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) assessing the potential environmental impacts associated with a proposed final rule to regulate discharges of dry cargo residue (DCR) in the Great Lakes [78 FR 58986-58987]. The Coast Guard is requesting public comment on the FEIS which must be submitted on or before October 25, 2013.
    In August 2008, the Coast Guard issued an Environmental Impact Statement (the Phase I FEIS), which evaluated regulatory alternatives for discharging DCR into the Great Lakes. Based in part on that FEIS's
findings, we published an interim rule on September 29, 2008 (73 FR 56492). It kept in place the Coast Guard's interim enforcement policy for Great Lakes DCR discharges and announced our intention to research Phase I FEIS data gaps related to DCR discharge control measure costs and effectiveness.

   The Phase II FEIS we are now making available is "tiered" off the Phase I FEIS, addresses the Phase I FEIS data gaps, and would provide support for a Coast Guard final rule to take the place of the 2008
interim rule. It finalizes the Phase II draft EIS that we made available for public comment when we issued a supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking (77 FR 44528; Jul. 30, 2012) to propose the final rule. The Phase II FEIS reviews data we collected from approximately 2,000 DCR reporting forms and 30 Coast Guard-observed dry cargo loading and unloading operations. Data collected permitted further evaluations of DCR quantities and the effectiveness of control measures. The Phase II FEIS analysis concludes that the final rule would require maintaining a "broom-clean" standard on the vessel deck and implementing a management plan to minimize DCR discharges from a vessel's deck and tunnel. Vessels would need to keep onboard records of DCR-related discharges and continue observing existing DCR discharge exclusion areas. Mitigation of nearshore and port impacts would be included through a prohibition of limestone and clean stone DCR discharges within 3 statute miles of shore. In the Western Basin of Lake Erie, vessels not traveling beyond 3 statute miles from shore could discharge DCR within dredged navigation channels and not create adverse impacts to native sediment or benthos.
    Bulk dry cargo residues means non-hazardous and non-toxic residues of dry cargo carried in bulk, including limestone and other clean stone, iron ore, coal, salt, and cement. It does not include residues of any substance known to be toxic or hazardous, such as, nickel, copper, zinc, lead, or materials classified as hazardous in provisions of law or treaty.
   Access the FR announcement (click here). Access the docket to submit and review comments (click here). [GLakes]