Tom Ewing’s Regulatory Update

Maritime: If developments proceed as planned, the New York Bight will soon look like 5th Ave. Consider everything that’s already going on – from “normal” shipping to crisscrossing tug and barge routes to commercial fishing to a couple crazy guys out there showing off for their girlfriends.  Next comes offshore wind. Plus, EPA announced this week that MARAD is a new affiliate in EPA’s SmartWay transportation program, seeking to shift highway freight to water, say from I-95 to M-95.  Also this week: DOC closed its decision record regarding NY’s effort to prevent Electric Boat from dumping dredged material off Long Island.  Nothing important going on at EB – just the construction of the new Columbia class submarines.  For General Dynamics/EB, that dump site is critical.  Watch for DOC’s decision soon.  One of NY’s concerns?  To build wind towers, not dodge scows filled with fill.  Also this week: NOAA released a NOPR presenting “Guidelines for Safely Deterring Marine Mammals.”  Whew, I’m glad I’m not one of those pesky 409 remaining right whales..!

Getting around easily at 5th Ave and W 27th St, Manhattan.  Anybody seen my 
Iron Man suit.

* Energy:DOE/FERC updated information about the carbon pricing conference later this month.  Conference participants will discuss considerations related to state adoption of mechanisms to price carbon dioxide emissions… (In the Trump administration…?)  Also this week DOE released a NOPR pertaining to enforcement policies for certain commercial and industrial electric motors.  A previous Notice published in 2016 was never finalized.  Comments are due by October 30… The Department of Agriculture is proposing revised regs governing oil and gas resources on National Forest System lands.  This continues work started in 2018.  DOA cites one notable change: to simplify the administrative processes to determine which lands are open to leasing, reducing the amount of time it takes to make decisions while “maintaining all environmental and human health and safety protections of the current rule.”  Comments are due November 2.

* States: The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) announced members of the State’s new Michigan Dam Safety Task Force, which will provide recommendations on policy, budget, legislative and enforcement reforms to prevent future dam failures across the state.  EGLE’s work follows recent catastrophic dam failures.  Task Force members represent local governments, key dam safety stakeholders and state agencies.  First meeting is Sept. 8.  More immediately, EGLE sent its Preliminary Report to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, summarizing the department’s actions pertaining to the failures of the Edenville and Sanford dams.  The Task Force focus is on policies, procedures, funding and regulations.  Results expected early 2021.

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