BrownWater News, August 2014

TSA implements TWIC OneVisit program

The American Waterways Operators has advised the industry that the Transportation Security Administration has begun implementing a program that reforms the process by which mariners and other transportation workers receive their required Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC).

The new TWIC OneVisit program eliminates the requirement that workers make two trips to a TWIC enrollment center to pick up and then activate their TWICs. Under the new process, a mariner can apply for a TWIC at an enrollment center and opt to receive the credential by mail.


FY 2015 spending bill provides $5.5 billion for Army Corps

The U.S. House voted 253-170 on July 10 to approve the fiscal year 2015 energy and water spending bill. The $34 billion legislation (H.R. 4923) includes $5.5 billion for the civil works program of the Army Corps of Engineers.

Funds for the Corps include $1.7 billion for construction, $2.9 billion for operation and maintenance, $260 million for the Mississippi River and tributaries and $200 million for regulatory activities.

The National Waterways Conference reports that numerous amendments were adopted to increase the civil works funding level, including one to increase the construction account by $500,000 to support small flood-control projects and another to add $1 million to reduce the construction backlog. Also adopted was an amendment offered by Rep. Janice Hahn, D-Calif., to increase the Corps’ O&M account by nearly $58 million.

Other amendments adopted included a proposal to prohibit funding for the Missouri River Authorized Purposes Study and an environmental study in the Missouri River Fish and Wildlife Recovery Program, and an amendment that would prohibit funding for the president’s climate change agenda.

Also approved was an amendment mandating that the Great Lakes Navigation System receive a 10 percent increase in dredge funding promised in the recently passed Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2014 (WRRDA).

There was no word as of mid-August on any Senate activity with regard to the House-approved energy and water spending bill.


Marine Highway environmental impacts assessed

The Maritime Administration (MarAd) has available a draft programmatic environmental assessment (PEA) that evaluates potential environmental impacts associated with America’s Marine Highway Program.

MarAd said the draft PEA identifies and assesses hypothetical scenarios associated with the operation of potential Marine Highway services in five distinct regions throughout the continental United States.

Once finalized, MarAd said, the PEA will serve as a guidance document for future site-specific analyses initiated under NEPA, the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969.

The deadline for comments to MarAd was Aug. 13. The draft PEA will be posted at

For more information, contact Daniel Yuska at (202) 366-0714.


Congress extends highway funding through May

Before breaking for their five-week summer vacation, members of the House and Senate got together and voted in favor of an $11 billion stopgap measure extending federal highway funding through next May.

Senate Democrats tried to shorten the time that the legislation would be effective to force a vote on a long-term transportation plan by December. But the House stripped that idea from the bill and sent the measure back to the Senate, where the House changes were approved. The bill passed and was sent to President Obama for his signature.

Kurt Nagle, president and CEO of the American Association of Port Authorities, said the group was grateful for the Senate’s passage of the Highway and Transportation Funding Act (H.R. 5021). He encouraged lawmakers and the administration to quickly pass long-term legislation to fund freight transportation projects.


U.S. inland navigation rules aligned with IMO

The Coast Guard has amended inland navigation rules to align them with amendments made by the International Maritime Organization to the Convention on the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea.

The changes harmonize domestic and international law by reducing and alleviating equipment requirements on vessels, addressing technological advances, and increasing public awareness of the inland navigation rules. Details may be found in the Federal Register of July 2.

For more information, contact Lt. Cmdr. Megan Cull at (202) 372-1565.


Three bills attack regulatory uncertainty

The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee passed three bills that the panel said would provide greater regulatory certainty.

Passed by the committee July 16 were the Waters of the United States Regulatory Overreach Protection Act of 2014 (H.R. 5078), the Regulatory Certainty Act (H.R. 4854), and the Coal Jobs Protection Act of 2014 (H.R. 5077).

The bills were passed a day after several witnesses testifying before the House Water Resources and Environment Subcommittee criticized the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for its “expanded interpretation of its veto authority under the Clean Water Act.”

One EPA action that led to the hearing was the agency’s assertion of veto authority in the case of the Spruce No. 1 surface mine in West Virginia. In that instance, the EPA vetoed the mine permit after the Army Corps of Engineers had issued it, even though the mine was operating in compliance with the permit.

Upon passage of the Regulatory Certainty Act, Rep. Bob Gibbs, R-Ohio, chairman of the subcommittee, said the measure “defines the exact period of time the Environmental Protection Agency is allowed to restrict or deny a Clean Water Act dredge and fill (wetlands) permit under Section 404(c), and clarifies that the EPA does not have the authority to disapprove or revoke such a permit before the Army Corps of Engineers has completed its review of a permit application or after the Corps of Engineers has issued the permit.”


Jaenichen confirmed as maritime administrator

Paul Jaenichen, who was appointed deputy maritime administrator two years ago by President Obama, was confirmed as maritime administrator July 15 by the Senate.

Before joining MarAd, Jaenichen was a career naval officer, retiring after serving 30 years as a nuclear submarine officer. His final assignment in the service was as deputy chief of legislative affairs for the Department of the Navy.

Congratulating Jaenichen on his successful Senate confirmation, Jennifer Carpenter, executive vice president of the American Waterways Operators, said the new maritime administrator “understands the importance of the tugboat, towboat and barge industry and the vital role our members play in moving the nation’s commerce safely and efficiently.”


Senate panel favors national ballast water rules

The Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee voted July 23 in favor of a bill that would establish a uniform national framework for the regulation of ballast water and other vessel discharges.

“The overwhelming support this legislation has received at every step of the process is a testament to the fact that S. 2094 is sound public policy,” said Tom Allegretti, president and CEO of the American Waterways Operators. “U.S. vessel operators face conflicting regulations from two federal agencies and more than two dozen states. The resulting regulatory patchwork is burdensome to our members and hinders the efficient flow of interstate commerce.”


FMC to post OTI licensing matters on its public website

The Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) announced that beginning Sept. 22 it will publish notices concerning the licensing of ocean transportation intermediaries (OTIs) on the FMC’s public website ( instead of in the Federal Register.

The FMC said that publication of the notices would simplify its business processes, reduce administrative costs and provide more timely public notification. The commission said it would withdraw the rule if it receives significant adverse comment by Aug. 22.

For more information, contact FMC Secretary Karen Gregory at (202) 523-5725.


Corps invites ideas for implementing WRRDA

The Army Corps of Engineers has scheduled a series of  “listening sessions” by webinar to receive suggestions on implementing the Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2014 (WRRDA).

The Corps said that each meeting will focus on implementation of a specific collection of provisions in the act. The first meeting, held Aug. 13, focused on deauthorization, backlog prevention and project development and delivery. The last three are set for Aug. 27 (alternative financing and credits), Sept. 10 (levee/dam safety and regulations) and Sept. 24 (non-federal implementation, water supply and reservoirs, and navigation). More details can be found in the July 29 issue of the Federal Register.

Members of the public can participate in the meetings by Web or by telephone. Detailed instructions, including the phone number and Web link for each meeting, are available on the Army Corps of Engineers website:

For more information, contact Bruce Carlson at (202) 761-4703.


AWO joins SmartWay Transport Partnership

The American Waterways Operators has joined the SmartWay Transport Partnership, an organization formed by the Environmental Protection Agency and stakeholders in the transportation industry. The partnership assesses the movement of goods within supply chains to reduce the environmental impact and improve energy efficiency.

Tom Allegretti, AWO president and CEO, said that by joining SmartWay the group is committing to educate its members about the program’s benefits and encouraging their participation as partners.

Noting that water transport is the nation’s “safest and most environmentally friendly way of moving commerce,” Allegretti said that the program is “a natural fit for AWO and our member companies.” He said that AWO members “constantly strive” to improve their environmental record and “achieve zero harm on the waters on which they operate.”


By Professional Mariner Staff