Coast Guard to publish interim rule for dry cargo residues in the Great Lakes

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Coast Guard announced today that the interim rule for dry cargo residue discharges on the Great Lakes is scheduled for publication in the Federal Register Monday, Sept. 29, 2008.

The interim rule requires Great Lakes bulk dry cargo carriers to keep records of loading, unloading and discharges of dry cargo residues and encourages lake carriers to use control measures to reduce the amount of dry cargo residue entering the waters of the Great Lakes. The rule continues to allow the discharge of non-toxic and non-hazardous bulk dry cargo residues in certain areas of the Great Lakes. Discharges are now prohibited in certain protected and sensitive areas where previously, they were allowed.

Great Lakes ships have operated under a Coast Guard “interim enforcement policy” since 1993, that has allowed “incidental discharges” of non-toxic and non-hazardous dry cargo residues such as limestone, iron ore and coal on the Great Lakes. The interim enforcement policy also specified where dry cargo residue discharges could and could not occur. Congressional legislation has extended the interim enforcement policy since 1998. The current extension, granted by Congress in 2004, expires Sept. 30, 2008.

The Coast Guard also requests public comments on the need for and feasibility of additional conditions that might be imposed on future dry cargo residue discharges, such as mandatory use of control measures or further adjustments to areas where discharges are prohibited or allowed. Comments can be submitted online at www.regulations.gov, by mail to Docket Management Facility (M-30), U.S. Department of Transportation, West Building Ground Floor, Room W1200 New Jersey Ave., SE, Washington, D.C., 20590-0001, by fax at 202-493-2251 or in person at Room W12-140 on the ground floor of the West Building, 1200 New Jersey Ave., SE, Washington, D.C., between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, except holidays. Public comment must be received via one of the methods above not later than Jan. 15, 2009.

To view the interim rule online, go to www.regulations.gov. Once on the site, go to “search documents” and enter USCG-2004-19621.

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