March 5, 2009
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USCG – the State of the Coast Guard Address
The US Coast Guard issued a press release regarding the State of the Coast Guard Address delivered by Admiral Thad Allen. It links a video release of the Address, which outlines the service’s goals and priorities for 2009. It also links a second video release of Questions and Answers on topics relating to the state of the Coast Guard. (3/3/09).
FERC – tidal power project on Kennebec River
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued a notice stating that it received an application proposing to study the feasibility of a tidal power project to be located on the Kennebec River in Maine. Comments should be submitted within 60 days. 74 Fed. Reg. 9605 (March 5, 2009).
NOAA – Florida Keys NMS
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has extended, through March 26, the period in which to submit comments on its proposed changes to the regulations for the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary (NMS). Technical corrections and minor substantive changes have been made to the proposal. 74 Fed. Reg. 9547 (March 5, 2009).
NMSAC – blog
FMC – meeting
The Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) issued a notice stating that its next meeting will be on March 11 at its office in Washington, DC. Among the topics on the agenda is passenger vessel financial responsibility. (3/4/09).
St. Lawrence Seaway – notices
The Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway System issued a series of notices in preparation for the opening of the 2009 navigation season. Seaway Notice No. 2-2009 is the usual General Notice addressing such things as vessel drafts, speed limits, and vessel equipment. Seaway Notice No. 3-2009 addresses tie-up service at lock approach walls. Seaway Notice No. 4-2009 addresses communications. Seaway Notice No. 5-2009 addresses mooring and casting off in locks. Seaway Notice No. 6-2009 addresses the 96-hour pre-entry notification required from foreign-flagged vessels. (3/4/09).
Supreme Court decision on non-preemption of state law
The US Supreme Court ruled that federal law and regulation do not preempt a state law that allowed an injured plaintiff to recover damages from a drug company for failure to provide adequate warning of hazards associated with injection of one of its drugs. Plaintiff was severely injured when injected with defendant’s drug. The warning brochure for the drug complied with federal statutory and regulatory requirements, but, at trial, was found to be inadequate under state law. Defendant appealed, asserting that the state requirement was preempted by federal law and regulation. The Supreme Court, with three justices dissenting, ruled that neither the applicable federal law nor regulation expressly or impliedly preempted state law and that it was not impossible for the defendant to comply with both federal and state requirements. Note: Although this is clearly not a maritime case, it indicates that general arguments for preemption of state regulation of maritime activities by federal law or regulation will be difficult to sustain. On the other hand, focused arguments resting on more narrow grounds should continue to find favor. Wyeth v. Levine, No. 06-1249 (March 4, 2009).
Panama Canal – first quarter metrics
The Panama Canal Authority issued a press release discussing its metrics for the first quarter of fiscal year 2009. Total canal transits increased 0.1% compared to the same period in 2008, from 3,517 to 3,520. Meanwhile, net tonnage decreased 1.0%, from 79.0 million Panama Canal/Universal Measurement System (PC/UMS) tons to 78.2 million PC/UMS tons. (3/2/09).
If you have questions regarding the above items, please contact the editor:
Dennis L. Bryant
Bryant’s Maritime Blog
4845 SW 91st Way
Gainesville, FL 32608-8135
© Dennis L. Bryant – March 2009
Redistribution permitted with attribution