Tom Ewing’s Regulatory Update

Passenger vessel safety initiative: The Coast Guard announced plans to evaluate the potential use of Safety Management Systems (SMSs) to improve safety and reduce marine casualties on U.S.- flagged passenger vessels. Good idea?  The Coast Guard wants public comments on the feasibility, applicability, and nature of using SMSs in this manner.  SMSs, the Agency writes, can provide a strong safety management program and an effective means to manage complex or unique operations, monitor equipment maintenance, and mitigate hazards to prevent costly harm to people, the environment, and property.  Future rules could affect some or all domestically-operated vessels inspected under 46 CFR Chapter I subchapters H, K, and T.  The Agency lists 21 questions – with sub questions – for which it wants comments to advise decisions about next steps, if any.  Comments are due April 15.

New nuclear power research: DOE seeks comments on the merits of a citizen petition asking DOE to promulgate rules and establish programs allowing “States and their agents to collaboratively develop new nuclear technologies with DOE, and under the authority of DOE,” including the development of small nuclear reactors.  Federal agencies, DOE writes, have failed to provide a domestic program of nuclear research and development to maximize scientific and industrial progress.  Now, the US lags behind foreign competitors.  DOE writes that “nuclear energy is simply more reliable than all other sources of energy except geothermal.”  DOE notes that during Hurricane Harvey wind farms in Texas shut down while a nuclear plant near Houston continued providing power at capacity “when Texans needed it most.”  Comments are due April 15.

100 whale “strikes:” The Alaska Eskimo Whaling Commission announced last week that it will allow Alaska aboriginal people to take 93 bowhead whales from the Bering-Chukchi-Beaufort Seas stock.  Actually, a total of 100 “strikes” is allowed – seven strikes are assigned to Russian natives.  The bowhead and other aboriginal subsistence whaling catch limits were based on a joint request by Denmark on behalf of Greenland, the Russian Federation, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and the United States, accompanied by documentation concerning the needs of the Native groups.  These allowances are to renew automatically for six years starting in 2026 unless certain conditions warrant otherwise or there are certain interventions.  Authorities set strict conditions for these hunts.  Aboriginal hunters, for example, “must have adequate crew, supplies, and equipment to engage in an efficient operation.”  Also, crews cannot receive money for participating in the hunt.

Tom Ewing, “reply” or 513-379-5526 voice/text