Tom Ewing’s Regulatory Update

* 10 million gallons of fuel every day: The Department of Defense (DoD) Strategic Capabilities Office (SCO) in cooperation with DOE announced availability, and seeks public comments, on a Draft Environmental Impact Statement: “Draft Construction and Demonstration of a Prototype Mobile Microreactor Environmental Impact Statement (Draft EIS).” [Did you know DoD uses more than 10 million gallons of fuel every day?] If approved, two DoD contractors would move to construct, at the Idaho National Laboratory, a mobile nuclear reactor capable of producing 1 to 5 MWe. (MWe = “megawatt electrical.” Rough equivalency: one MWe can power 400 to 900 homes in a year.) Plans are for this bad-boy to fit into four truckload shipping containers. “The mobile microreactor would be a small, advanced gas-cooled reactor using high-assay low-enriched uranium (HALEU) tristructural isotropic (TRISO) fuel and air as the ultimate heat sink. TRISO fuel is encapsulated and has been demonstrated to be capable of withstanding temperatures up to 1,800 degrees Celsius (°C) (3,300 degrees Fahrenheit [°F]), allowing for a reactor design that relies primarily on simple passive features and inherent physics to ensure safety.” Unlike most, this DEIS is a fascinating write up of a fascinating project. Madness or genius? Today we’ll go with genius. Comments are due November 9. Two public hearings are coming up in October.

* NJ PARS and Cutter Programs: The Coast Guard had three important notices last week: One announced availability of the draft EIS for the CG’s Waterways Commerce Cutter Program and the planned acquisition and operation of 30 cutters. These vessels would operate on the Western Rivers, the inland waterways, portions of the Alaska Inside Passage and portions of the Great Lakes. Comments are due November 8… The second is also an EIS – for the Offshore Patrol Cutter (OPC) Program’s Stage 2 acquisition of up to 21 OPCs and for the operation of up to 25 total OPCs. OPCs operate in the Atlantic, Pacific, and Gulf of Mexico, primarily outside the 12 nautical mile (nm) territorial seas and within the 200 nm Exclusive Economic Zone; their mission is maritime law enforcement and search and rescue. Comments are due November 4… The third announced availability of the draft New Jersey PARS (port access route study), a review and analysis, from 175 miles seaward, of approaches to NJ and the Delaware Bay. Comments are due October 25.

* Big Oil: MARAD announced a DEIS for an on-again-off-again regulatory proceeding – the application from Texas GulfLink LLC for its deep water port license application to export crude oil. This project includes pipelines and an onshore oil storage terminal in Brazoria County, TX, and an offshore pipeline leading to a deep water port approximately 26.6 nautical miles off the Brazoria County coast. The federal regulatory process started in June 2019. The regulatory clock stopped and started a couple times. Latest concern: environmental justice communities were not provided sufficient and adequate opportunity to fully participate in the complete scope of the application and environmental review process. Now the public comment period is re-opened for 45 days, ending around November 8.
Have a great Monday and a great week! Email/text or just make a plain ol’ telephone call for additional details or follow up.

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