Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2008 passed by House of Representatives

On April 24, the House passed the Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2008 (H.R. 2830) by a vote of 395 to 7. Strong bipartisan support for the legislation followed the adoption of two amendments. The first, a manager's amendment, improves transparency by requiring that regulated ships submit records of their actions to the Secretary of Transportation on a monthly basis, and ensures that ships claiming no ballast on board (NOBOBs) will be required to conduct saltwater flushing. A second amendment by Representative Mark Kirk (R-IL) gives the Coast Guard the authority to take emergency response measures if vessels operating exclusively within the Great Lakes present the risk of spreading invasive species or infectious diseases. H.R. 2830 also requires that in 2009 shippers must begin installing ballast water treatment systems that meet an interim standard in vessels that enter U.S. waters. All ships will be required to have ballast technology on board by 2014. Water quality standards for the treated ballast water will be ten times more stringent than international standards that are set to take effect in 2015. Additionally, the bill allows states to retain their ability to complement and strengthen the federal program. For more information: http://thomas.loc.gov/.


AIS Curriculum Debut

In Oregon, a high school marine biology class started a watery campaign to prevent invasive species on the coast - specifically Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) - that adversely affect local habitats. View the full article here.

The West Coast Ballast Outreach Project is creating a California version of the Oregon curriculum, as well. For more information, visit the WCBOP website.


Ballast Free Ship Design Proposed

University of Michigan researchers are investigating a radical new design for cargo ships that would eliminate ballast tanks, the water-filled compartments that enable non-native creatures to sneak into the Great Lakes from overseas.

Read the full article here.


Coast Guard takes the next STEP

The Coast Guard has prepared draft environmental assessments (DEAs) for three applicants seeking to participate in the Shipboard Technology Evaluation Program (STEP): Princess Cruise Lines' Coral Princess, Atlantic Container Lines' Atlantic Compass and Matson Shipping's Moku Pahu. In Federal Register notices (73FR 18544-18546) published April 4, 2008, the Coast Guard requests comment on the environmental impacts of testing these ballast water treatment systems on board ships.

The notices can be found at: http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2008/pdf/E8-6988.pdf. DEAs can be found here. Comments and related materials must reach the Docket Management Facility on or before June 3, 2008. Additional information on the Coast Guard's ballast water program and the Shipboard Technology Evaluation Program application package is available at: http://www.uscg.mil/hq/g-m/mso/mso4/bwm/step.htm. If you have questions on the Draft Environmental Assessment (DEA) , please contact LCDR Brian Moore, telephone 202-372-1434 or e-mail: brian.e.moore@uscg.mil.