Tom Ewing’s Regulatory Update

*  California:  The US Department of Agriculture announced a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) to develop an environmental impact statement addressing the agencies’ roles in wildlife damage management.  (The Notice does not reference the recent forest fires.)  Specific topics include damage to agriculture, infrastructure, airport strike hazards and protecting threatened and endangered species.  DOA will hold two public hearings and take comments in order to set the scope of the study to make sure it includes all relevant issues.

*  Maritime: NOAA’s Office for Coastal Management has been busy this summer and remains so into the fall.  The Office of Coastal Management evaluates state and territorial coastal programs and National Estuarine Research Reserves. Evaluations are starting now for the Lake Superior National Estuarine Research Reserve, coastal management plans for NC, FL and IL, as well as estuary reviews in NC and Delaware…  In a related development NOAA issued an “incidental harassment authorization” (IHA) to Dominion Energy Virginia, allowing the company to proceed with marine site characterization surveys within the ocean and coastal territories required for its upcoming offshore wind project.  This is a Level B IHA permit, allowing non-lethal “takings” of marine mammals…  Also this past week NOAA announced its “Notice of Intent” (NOI) to prepare an environmental impact statement (EIS) for the proposed development of a commercial-scale finfish aquaculture facility in Federal waters off the coast of southern California.

Can we please get over this? 1. Oregon’s Department of Environmental Quality instructed Portland’s Bureau of Environmental Services to investigate unexpected and very unconventional water contaminants: metals and toxins washed into Portland’s stormwater system from tear gas.   Indeed, storm water and sediment samples show elevated levels of a range of toxins, so called RCAs, or “riot control agents,” from cyanide to chromium to lead and zinc.  Portland’s storm water empties to the Willamette River.  In a press release, environment officials kinda throw the police under the bus, writing – “…the Portland Police Bureau and federal agents’ deployment of tear gas has created elevated levels of pollution in stormwater, particularly near the downtown areas…”  Uh… did they have a choice? 

2. The CDC asked for public comments on how cruise lines should best deal with Covid-19 issues, upcoming regulatory decisions with impacts far beyond the cruise industry.  The docket has thousands of comments.  Business and economic impacts are a sobering read.  Then there’s the singularly human: tests for performers in close interaction, “as may be the case for dancers,” one person writes. 

Heaven, not quite heaven,
For my simple words get garbled in this mask, And I can’t find that happiness – don’t ask Not so fun when we’re dancing mask to mask…”(Apologies to Irving Berlin and Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers.)

Have a great Monday and a great week!

Tom Ewing”reply


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