Tom Ewings Regulatory Update

* Mapping the future: NOAA announced an upcoming meeting of the Advisory Committee for its HSRP – Hydrographic Services Review Panel. The upcoming meeting is one of two public Panel meetings held each year. The HSRP works with NOAA to improve the quality, efficiency and usefulness of NOAA’s navigation-related products, data and services. Click here for the draft agenda. One important focus is NOAA’s development and advancement of nautical charts and its transition to electronic charts, a process with significant impacts for mariners. If you have advisory suggestions about electronic charts, and related issues, this is a chance to make your case. A second major focus is on offshore wind, including discussions on how offshore wind can contribute to the blue economy. The meeting times are: Wednesday, September 1: 12:45-5:30pm EDT Thursday, September 2: 1-5:30pm EDT. Here’s the webinar link:

* Proceed with caution…:Those new and updated charts will be particularly helpful depending on how the Coast Guard follows up on its proposal to change anchorage regulations for Lockwoods Folly Inlet, NC, and adjacent waters. The CG is considering new offshore anchorage sites and relocating and amending the existing explosives anchorage. This effort follows a request for comments published May 8. The CG received two comments, both said “yes,” those anchorage areas need to change. The Military Ocean Terminal Sunny Point, in Wilmington, stores and ships ammunition, dangerous cargo and explosives for US forces worldwide. The Cape Fear River also supports transport of diverse cargo, including from oil terminals and bulk-handling facilities and cement, asphalt products, molasses, liquid chemicals, sulfur, fertilizers and liquid sugar. Now, wind energy is on the horizon. The Coast Guard is concerned that (1) wind energy areas and electrical export cables could displace or funnel vessel traffic into smaller areas and (2) areas traditionally used for anchoring may be impacted or lost. Comments are due October 18.

* The objective is to be objective: The Department of Interior published a Notice of Intent seeking public comments on plans to conduct government-to-government consultation with affected Indian tribes about the Federal coal leasing program and to consider the potential environmental, social, and cultural impacts of the coal program on indigenous communities and their lands. DOI wants comments now to help set the scope and content of the review. DOI cites a number of concerns, including (1) that taxpayers aren’t getting their fair share from these coal deals and (2) probably more substantively, whether the production of large quantities of coal under the Federal coal program is consistent with the Nation’s goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to mitigate climate change. If you want to weigh in on this, comments are due by September 20.

Tom Ewing
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