Headlines: NIC – updated estimate of size of Gulf of Mexico oil spill; MARAD – Marine Highways Cooperative RFP; USCG – mariner training and assessment on Loran-C discontinued; Hawaii – World Heritage Site designation; House – bill introduced to increase Gulf states revenue from leases; House – bill introduced re dredged or fill material disposal site; House – bill introduced re Great Lakes Basin public trust; House – bill introduced to audit oil spill damages fund; House – bill introduced to assess health of oil spill workers; House – bill introduced re tax benefits of oil spill violators; House – bill introduced re Iran sanctions violators; House – bill introduced re renegotiation of oil leases; House – bill introduced re reimbursement of state oil spill removal costs; House – questions raised re use of dispersants to combat oil spill; EMSA – August newsletter; Singapore – reminder re threat posed by Somali pirates; and UK – consultation re Trans-European, Transport Network.
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NIC – updated estimate of size of Gulf of Mexico oil spill
The National Incident Command (NIC) issued a news release stating that US scientists have updated their estimate of the size of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. This estimate, which draws heavily on recent reservoir modeling and on pressure readings of a closed system, is the most accurate to date and has an uncertainty of plus or minus approximately 10%. An estimated 62,000 barrels per day were leaking from the wellhead at the beginning. This gradually decreased over the 87 days until the well was capped. By that time, due largely to decreased pressure from the reservoir, the flow rate had decreased to an estimated 53,000 barrels per day. Overall, scientists estimate the approximately 4.9 million barrels of oil have been released from the well. Not all of this oil escaped into the ocean. Containment activities conducted by BP under federal government direction captured approximately 600,000 barrels of oil prior to the capping of the well. (8/2/10).
MARAD – Marine Highways Cooperative RFP
The Maritime Administration (MARAD), on behalf of the Marine Highways Cooperative (MHC), recently conducted an Information Needs Study. Based on this research, the MHC wishes to contract services to develop a user-friendly online calculator to help transportation planners determine the public benefits of new or expanded marine highway services. More specifically, the MHC wishes to determine the annual cost savings in congestion, pollution, infrastructure development and maintenance, energy (fuel), and highway safety improvements over the first five years for new or expanded marine highway services. To this end, it has issued a Request for Proposals (RFP). The MHC requests interested entities to submit questions regarding the RFP by August 15, 2010. Technical and cost proposals must be received by 11:59 pm, August 29, 2010, and may be sent to email@example.com . (8/2/10).
USCG – mariner training and assessment on Loran-C discontinued
The US Coast Guard National Maritime Center (NMC) issued an announcement stating that, effective immediately, mariners are not required to demonstrate competency navigating by use of Loran-C. Training providers offering USCG-approved courses that include training in Loran-C may revise their courses and/or examinations to reflect the discontinuance of the Loran-C system. (8/2/10).
Hawaii – World Heritage Site designation
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) issued a news release stating that UNESCO has designated the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument as a World Heritage Site. The monument is located in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. (7/31/10).
House – bill introduced to increase Gulf State revenue from leases
Representative Bonner (R-AL) introduced the Strengthening Our Share (S.O.S.) Act (H.R. 5945) to amend the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act of 2006 to increase the amount of Gulf of Mexico oil and gas lease revenue shared with Gulf States. (7/29/10).
House – bill introduced re dredged or fill material disposal site
Representative Young (R-AK) introduced a bill (H.R. 5992) to amend the Federal Water Pollution Control Act to eliminate the authority of the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency to deny or restrict the use of a defined area as a dredged or fill material disposal site, and for other purposes. Official text of this bill is not yet available. (7/30/10).
House – bill introduced re Great Lakes basin public trust
Representative Kucinich (D-OH) introduced a bill (H.R. 6006) to affirm that waters of the Great Lakes Basin are impressed with a public trust and managed consistent with public trust principles and other standards to protect the navigational, conservation, and public interests in such waters, to provide for enforcement, and for other purposes. Official text of this bill is not yet available. (7/30/10).
House – bill introduced to audit oil spill damages fund
Representative Brady (R-TX) introduced a bill (H.R. 6016) to provide for a GAO investigation and audit of the operations of the fund created by BP to compensate persons affected by the Gulf oil spill. Official text of this bill is not yet available. (7/30/10).
House – bill introduced to assess health of oil spill workers
Representative Capps (D-CA) introduced a bill (H.R. 6017) to amend the Public Health Service Act to ensure that the Federal Government has independent, peer-reviewed scientific data and information to assess short-term and long-term direct and indirect impacts on the health of oil spill clean-up workers and vulnerable residents resulting from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, and for other purposes. Official text of this bill is not yet available. (7/30/10).
House – bill introduced re tax benefits of oil spill violators
Representative Engel (D-NY) introduced a bill (H.R. 6031) to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to deny certain tax benefits to persons responsible for an oil spill if such person commits certain additional violations. Official text of this bill is not yet available. (7/30/10).
House – bill introduced re Iran sanctions violators
Representative Klein (D-FL) introduced a bill (H.R. 6043) to restrict participation in offshore oil and gas leasing by a person who engages in any activity for which sanctions may be imposed under section 5 of the Iran Sanctions Act of 1996, to require the lessee under an offshore oil and gas lease to discloses any participation by the lessee in certain energy-related joint ventures, investments, or partnerships located outside Iran, and for other purposes. Official text of this bill is not yet available. (7/30/10).
House – bill introduced re renegotiation of oil leases
Representative Markey (D-MA) introduced a bill (H.R. 6051) to prohibit the Secretary of the Interior from issuing any new lease that authorizes the production of oil or natural gas under the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act to a person that does not renegotiate existing leases held by the person to incorporate limitations on royalty relief based on market price that are equal to or less than price thresholds that apply to other leases under that Act, and for other purposes. Official text of this bill is not yet available. (7/30/10).
House – bill introduced re reimbursement of state oil spill removal costs
Representative Meek (D-FL) introduced a bill (H.R. 6053) to amend the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 to provide for timely consideration of claims submitted by States and political subdivisions for reimbursement of removal costs. Official text of this bill is not yet available. (7/30/10).
House – questions raised re use of dispersants to combat oil spill
The House Committee on Energy and Commerce sent a letter to the National Incident Commander regarding use of dispersants to combat the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. Representative Ed Markey (D-MA) issued a press release asserting that the information provided by BP and the US Coast Guard regarding dispersant use is inconsistent and that dispersant use has been in excess of that provided for in the directive issued by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The National Incident Commander (NIC) commented at a press briefing that the goal of reducing use of dispersants has been achieved, but that there are occasions when there are no good alternatives. The EPA issued a news release concurring with the approach utilized by the NIC in addressing dispersant use. (8/2/10).
EMSA – August newsletter
The European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) issued the August edition of its newsletter. This edition addresses, among other things, the cooperation agreement between the EMSA and the European Space Agency (ESA), new oil spill response vessels in Finland and the UK, and the Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI) for new ships. (8/2/10).
Singapore – reminder re threat posed by Somali pirates
The Singapore Maritime and Port Authority (MPA) issued a circular reminding ship owners, operators, and masters of the continued threat posed by Somali pirates to ships transiting the Gulf of Aden, the Red Sea, and the Indian Ocean near the coast of Somalia. Masters should check in with the UK Maritime Trade Organization (UKMTO) and the Maritime Security Centre-Horn of Africa (MSC-HOA) before entering these waters. Shipping Circular 9-2010 (7/30/10).
UK – consultation re Trans-European, Transport Network
The UK Department for Transport (DfT) has opened a Consultation on the Future of the Trans-European, Transport Network (TEN-T). On the maritime side, it covers such issues as short sea shipping and environmental matters. Comments should be submitted by September 10. (8/2/10).
If you have questions regarding the above items, please contact the editor:
Dennis L. Bryant
Bryant’s Maritime Consulting
4845 SW 91st Way
Gainesville, FL 32608-8135
© Dennis L. Bryant – August 2010