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E-M:/ Ballast water management impact assessment

Enviro-Mich message from "Alex J. Sagady & Associates" <ajs@sagady.com>

Today's federal register....

[Federal Register: January 27, 2006 (Volume 71, Number 18)]
[Page 4605-4606]
 From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]


Coast Guard
Ballast Water Management for Vessels Entering the Great Lakes 
That Declare No Ballast Onboard; Environmental Assessment and Finding 
of No Significant Impact

AGENCY: Coast Guard, DHS.
ACTION: Notice of availability.


SUMMARY: The Coast Guard announces the availability of the Final 
Environmental Assessment (EA) and Finding of No Significant Impact 
(FONSI) that evaluated the potential environmental impacts resulting 
from the implementation of the policy on ballast water management for 
vessels entering the Great Lakes declaring no ballast onboard (NOBOB). 
The purpose of this policy is to prevent the introductions of aquatic 
nonindigenous species (NIS) into the Great Lakes.

ADDRESSES: Comments and material received from the public as well as 
documents mentioned in this notice as being available in the docket, 
are part of Coast Guard docket number USCG-2004-19842 and are available 
for inspection or copying at the Docket Management Facility, U.S. 
Department of Transportation, room PL-401, 400 Seventh Street, SW., 
between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal 
Holidays. You may also find this docket on the Internet at <A HREF="http://dms.dot.gov";>

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For information concerning this 
project, call Mr. Bivan Patnaik, Project Manager, Environmental 
Standards Division, U.S. Coast Guard, telephone 202-267-1744 or via e-
mail: <A HREF="mailto:bpatnaik@comdt.uscg.mil";>bpatnaik@comdt.uscg.mil</A>. If you have any questions on viewing or 
submitting material to the docket, call Ms. Andrea M. Jenkins, Program 
Manager, Docket Operations, Department of Transportation, telephone 

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: In accordance with the National 
Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (Section 102(2)(c)), as implemented by

[[Page 4606]]

the Council of Environmental Quality regulations (40 CFR parts 1500-
1508) and Coast Guard Policy for Considering Environmental Impacts 
(COMDTINST M16475.1D), the Coast Guard prepared a Final EA and FONSI 
for implementing the policy on best management practices for NOBOB vessels.

Response to Comments

    The Coast Guard requested comments on the Draft EA when the Notice 
of policy; availability of Draft EA was published on August 31, 2005 
(70 FR 51831). The Coast Guard received 11 comments; however, only 2 
out of the 11 comments specifically addressed the Draft EA. Therefore, 
the Coast Guard will only respond to those comments that addressed the 
Draft EA.
    One commenter agreed that the policy on best management practices 
for NOBOB vessels will have no adverse or beneficial significant 
impacts on the environment. The Coast Guard partially agrees with this 
comment. As the EA and FONSI discuss we agree that there will be no 
significant adverse impact; however, we do believe that beneficial 
impacts to the environment will occur if NOBOB vessels conduct the 
recommended best management practices. These practices are intended to 
prevent NIS from being introduced into the Great Lakes.
    One commenter expressed disappointment that the Draft EA did not 
analyze mandatory best management practices as one of the alternatives.
    The Coast Guard has been evaluating NOBOB vessels with residual 
water and sediments with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric 
Administration's (NOAA) Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory 
(GLERL), and other partners as part of the NOAA/GLERL NOBOB Research 
Project. Although the NOAA/GLERL NOBOB Report published in April 2005, 
suggests that saltwater flushing (one of the Coast Guard's recommended 
best management practices) would be an effective practice to protect 
the Great Lakes from NIS in fresh and/or brackish residual waters, the 
practice has never been validated for efficacy or feasibility. We are 
working with NOAA/GLERL and other partners to evaluate both the 
efficacy and feasibility of saltwater flushing. The Coast Guard is also 
monitoring the level of participation of vessels conducting the 
recommended best management practices through record checks and 
sampling since vessels may not always be able to conduct these 
practices due to vessel/crew safety concerns and other operational 
requirements. These evaluations will determine if further refinements 
to the program are necessary.
    The Coast Guard is developing a ballast water discharge standard 
for all vessels including vessels which enter the Great Lakes because 
ballast water exchange and similar practices are interim measures. This 
standard will be more effective in preventing invasions than mandatory 
best management practices.

Environmental Assessment

    The Final EA identified and examined those reasonable alternatives 
needed to effectively prevent NIS introductions into the Great Lakes 
via NOBOB vessels. The Final EA analyzed the no action alternative and 
one action alternative that could fulfill the purpose and need of 
establishing best management practices for NOBOB vessels to reduce NIS 
introductions into the Great Lakes. Specifically, the Final EA 
considered potential effects to the natural and human environments by 
incorporating environmental analyses previously conducted for 
establishing ballast water management regulations for U.S. waters.

    Dated: January 19, 2006.
T.H. Gilmour,
Rear Admiral, U.S. Coast Guard, Assistant Commandant for Prevention.
[FR Doc. E6-1014 Filed 1-26-06; 8:45 am]


Alex J. Sagady & Associates        http://www.sagady.com

Environmental Enforcement, Permit/Technical Review, Public Policy, 
Evidence Review and Litigation Investigation on Air, Water and 
Waste/Community Environmental and Resource Protection
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PO Box 39,  East Lansing, MI  48826-0039  
(517) 332-6971; (517) 332-8987 (fax); ajs@sagady.com

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