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GLIN==> Dumping of cargo residue from freighters in the Great Lakes

[Federal Register: December 29, 2008 (Volume 73, Number 249)]
[Page 79496-79498]
 From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]


Coast Guard

Dry Cargo Residue Discharges in the Great Lakes; Preparation of
Environmental Impact Statement

AGENCY: Coast Guard, DHS.
ACTION: Notice of intent; request for comments; notice of public
scoping meeting.


SUMMARY: The Coast Guard announces its intent to prepare a new
Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the next phase of this
rulemaking. The new EIS will tier off the first EIS, which was prepared
in support of the interim rule published in September 2008. Under the
interim rule, the discharge of bulk dry cargo residue is allowed to
continue in limited areas of the Great Lakes and under certain
conditions. The Coast Guard plans to issue a final rule that may modify
the interim rule and add new conditions for discharges. The new EIS
will support the final rule. This notice requests public comments and
begins a public scoping process to help determine the scope of issues
to be addressed in the new EIS.

DATES: Comments and related material must either be submitted to our
online docket via <A HREF="http://www.regulations.gov";>http://www.regulations.gov</A> on or before March 30,
2009 or reach the Docket Management Facility by that date. The public
scoping meeting will be held on January 28, 2009, from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Comments and related material must reach the Docket Management Facility
on or before March 30, 2009.

ADDRESSES: The public scoping meeting will be held at the Hotel Blake,
500 South Dearborn, Chicago, IL 60605. The

[[Page 79497]]

contact telephone number for the Hotel Blake is (312) 986-1234.
    In addition to submitting written statements or making verbal
comments at the public scoping meeting, you may submit comments
identified by docket number USCG-2004-19621 using any one of the
following methods:
    (1) Federal eRulemaking Portal: <A HREF="http://www.regulations.gov";>http://www.regulations.gov</A>.
    (2) Fax: 202-493-2251.
    (3) Mail: Docket Management Facility (M-30), U.S. Department of
Transportation, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New
Jersey Avenue, SE., Washington, DC 20590-0001.
    (4) Hand delivery: Same as mail address above, between 9 a.m. and 5
p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The telephone
number is 202-366-9329.
    To avoid duplication, please use only one of these methods. For
instructions on submitting comments, see the ``Public Participation and
Request for Comments'' portion of the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: If you have questions regarding this
notice, please contact Mr. Greg Kirkbride, U.S. Coast Guard, telephone
202-372-1479, e-mail Gregory.B. <A HREF="mailto:Kirkbride@uscg.mil";>Kirkbride@uscg.mil</A>. If you have
questions on viewing or submitting material to the docket, call Ms. Renee
V. Wright, Program Manager, Docket Operations, telephone 202-366-9826.


Public Participation and Request for Comments

    We encourage you to submit comments and related material during the
public scoping process. All comments received will be posted, without
change, to <A HREF="http://www.regulations.gov";>http://www.regulations.gov</A> and will include any personal
information you have provided.
    Submitting comments: If you submit a comment, please include the
docket number for this notice (USCG-2004-19621) and provide a reason
for each suggestion or recommendation. You may submit your comments and
material online, or by fax, mail or hand delivery, but please use only
one of these means.
    To submit your comment online, go to <A HREF="http://www.regulations.gov";>http://www.regulations.gov</A>,
select the Advanced Docket Search option on the right side of the
screen, insert ``USCG-2004-19621'' in the Docket ID box, press Enter,
and then click on the balloon shape in the Actions column. If you
submit your comments by mail or hand delivery, submit them in an
unbound format, no larger than 8\1/2\ by 11 inches, suitable for
copying and electronic filing. If you submit them by mail and would
like to know that they reached the Facility, please enclose a stamped,
self-addressed postcard or envelope. We will consider all comments and
material received during the comment period.
    Viewing the comments: To view the comments go to <A HREF="http://www.regulations.gov";>http://
www.regulations.gov</A>, select the Advanced Docket Search option on the
right side of the screen, insert USCG-2004-19621 in the Docket ID box,
press Enter, and then click on the item in the Docket ID column. If you
do not have access to the internet, you may view the docket online by
visiting the Docket Management Facility in Room W12-140 on the ground
floor of the Department of Transportation West Building, 1200 New
Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.,
Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. We have an agreement
with the Department of Transportation to use the Docket Management
    Privacy Act: Anyone can search the electronic form of comments
received into any of our dockets by the name of the individual
submitting the comment (or signing the comment, if submitted on behalf
of an association, business, labor union, etc.). You may review a
Privacy Act, system of records notice regarding our public dockets in
the January 17, 2008 issue of the Federal Register (73 FR 3316).

Public Scoping Meeting

    If you need special arrangements, please use the contact
information in FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT. The meeting will start
with an overview presentation, followed by a formal public comment
period. Following the formal public comment period, we will hold an
informal open house. At the open house, Coast Guard personnel will be
available to provide more information about the National Environmental
Policy Act (NEPA), Coast Guard rulemaking processes, and dry cargo
residue discharges. A court reporter will be present during both the
formal public comment period and the informal open house to record
verbal comments from the public. The public will also be able to submit
written comments related to this rulemaking at any time during the
meeting. Verbal comments will be recorded and transcribed, and the
transcription will be placed in the public docket along with any
written statements that may be submitted during the meeting. These
comments and statements will be addressed by the Coast Guard as part of
the tiered Environmental Impact Statement.

Background and Purpose

    Bulk dry cargo vessels on the Great Lakes sometimes wash the
residue of non-hazardous and non-toxic cargo, like taconite (iron ore)
pellets, coal, and grain, overboard. This ``sweeping,'' or discharge,
of dry cargo residue (DCR) is allowed, under certain conditions, by 33
CFR 151.66, as amended by an interim rule published on September 29,
2008 (73 FR 56492), which was supported by an EIS (the ``first EIS'').
    The interim rule also announced the Coast Guard's intent to conduct
a second phase of this rulemaking before issuing a final rule. In the
second phase, we want to determine what additional regulatory changes,
if any, should be imposed on DCR discharges to offset any potential
long term impacts from this practice. Those additional changes could
include, among other possible measures, the mandatory use of DCR
control measures or adjustment to the geographical boundaries within
which discharges are currently allowed. A tiered EIS (40 CFR 1508.28;
hereinafter referred to as the ``second EIS'') will allow the Coast
Guard to focus on these specific issues, while excluding those that
were decided in the first phase of the rulemaking, in order to
determine whether further adjustments to the interim rule are needed.
    As required by 40 CFR 1501.7, a Council on Environmental Quality
regulation that implements NEPA, this notice begins an early and open
public ``scoping process'' for determining the scope of issues to be
addressed in the second EIS. We invite public comment on our current
plan for preparing the second EIS. Currently, we intend to:
    ? Conduct an inventory of shoreside facilities for types of
control measures used when loading and unloading dry cargo to and from
vessels and types of dry cargo handled.
    ? Conduct an inventory of vessels that carry DCR for types
of control measures used on board the vessel when loading and unloading.
    ? Quantify the current amount of cargo residues on vessels,
with and without control measures.
    ? Review and analyze vessel DCR reporting forms in order to quantify
DCR discharge amounts by cargo type, vessel class, and control measure.
    ? Evaluate costs for implementing, operating, and
maintaining vessel and shoreside DCR control measures.
    ? Update previous impact analyses of DCR discharge on water
quality changes and DCR disposition.

[[Page 79498]]

    We may modify this plan in light of public comment received during
the scoping process. This information will be used as a basis for
selecting the proposed action from alternatives under consideration.
Analysis of this information may also be used to develop additional
alternatives not listed below that can be considered.

Possible Alternatives

    Alternatives currently being considered for future Coast Guard
action include:
    ? Adopting the interim rule as a final rule without changes.
This will allow the current level of DCR discharges to continue in
limited areas of the Great Lakes and under certain conditions. For the
purposes of our environmental review in this second EIS, this
represents the ``no-action'' alternative;
    ? Adopting a final rule based on the interim rule, but with
changes designed to reduce the potential environmental impact of DCR
discharges. Possible changes would be specified and could include:
      ? Adoption of the mandatory use of DCR control measures;
    ? Control measures on vessels, and/or
    ? Control measures at the loading and unloading facilities;
      ? DCR quantity discharge limits;
    ? DCR quantity limits could be scaled according to vessel
class, size and/or route length;
      ? Cargo type discharge limits; or
      ? Additional restrictions on DCR discharge locations;
    ? Prohibit all DCR discharges in the Western Basin
    ? Zero-Discharge Alternative.
    This is not an exhaustive list of alternatives. We intend to be
guided by data on DCR discharges and DCR control measures and by
consideration of all public comments.

Scoping Process

    Public scoping is an early and open process for determining the
scope of issues to be addressed in this second EIS and for identifying
the issues related to the proposed action that may have a significant
effect on the Great Lakes environment. The scoping process begins with
publication of this notice and ends after the Coast Guard has:
    ? Invited the participation of Federal, State, and local
agencies, any affected Indian tribe, and other interested persons;
      ? The Coast Guard has requested the Environmental Protection
Agency, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, the National
Marine Fisheries Service, the National Park Service, and the United
States Army Corps of Engineers to serve as cooperating agencies in the
preparation of this second EIS. With this Notice of Intent, we are
asking Federal, State, and local agencies with jurisdiction or special
expertise with respect to environmental issues in the Great Lakes
region, in addition to those we have already contacted, to formally
cooperate with us in the preparation of this tiered EIS.
    ? Determined the scope and the issues to be analyzed in
depth in the second EIS;
      ? From our first EIS, we have identified this preliminary list
of environmental resources to receive attention in the second EIS:
    ? Sediment physical structure
    ? Protected and Sensitive Areas
    ? Benthic Community
    ? Invasive Species
    ? Socioeconomic Resources
    ? Identified and eliminated from detailed study those issues
that are not significant or that have been covered elsewhere (for
example, we do not anticipate detailed study of the following
environmental resources that we determined, in the first EIS, to have
``no impact'' from DCR discharges: fish and other pelagic organisms,
waterfowl, and recreational or commercial fishing);
    ? Allocated responsibility for preparing the tiered EIS components;
    ? Indicated any related environmental assessments or
environmental impact statements that are not part of the tiered EIS;
    ? Identified other relevant environmental review and
consultation requirements, such as Coastal Zone Management Act
consistency determinations, and threatened and endangered species and
habitat impacts;
    ? Indicated the relationship between timing of the
environmental review and other aspects of the application process; and
    ? Exercised our option under 40 CFR 1501.7(b) to hold the
public scoping meeting announced in this notice.
    Once the scoping process is complete, the Coast Guard will prepare
a draft second EIS, and we will publish a Federal Register notice
announcing its public availability. If you wish to be mailed or e-
mailed the announcement of the second EIS's notice of availability,
please contact the person named in FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT or
send a request to be added to our contact mailing list along with your
name and mailing address or an e-mail address online, by fax, mail, or
hand delivery according to the Submitting Comments instructions above.
If you provide comments on this notice, we will automatically add your
contact information to our contact mailing list and you will
automatically be sent an announcement of the draft second EIS's notice
of availability. We will provide the public with an opportunity to
review and comment on the draft second EIS. After the Coast Guard
considers those comments, we will prepare the final second EIS and
similarly announce its availability and solicit public review and comment.

    Dated: December 19, 2008.
Jeffery G. Lantz,
Director of Commercial Regulations and Standards, U.S. Coast Guard.
[FR Doc. E8-30804 Filed 12-24-08; 8:45 am]


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

Environmental Enforcement, Permit/Technical Review, Public Policy, 
Expert Witness Review and Litigation Investigation on Air, Water and 
Waste/Community Environmental and Resource Protection
Prospectus at:  http://www.sagady.com/sagady.pdf 

657 Spartan Ave,   East Lansing, MI  48823 
(517) 332-6971; (517) 332-8987 (fax); ajs@sagady.com

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