On December 29, 2023, the USCG issued Maritime Safety Information Bulletin (MSIB) 13-2023, Change 1, an updated version of MSIB 13-23, adding a Frequently Asked Questions section to the document addressing compliance with the Safer Seas Act which was passed in December of 2022.
Continue Reading USCG Updates Guidance on Safer Seas Act Compliance, Continuing to Show Strict Interpretation and Enforcement of Its Requirements

The Port of New Orleans has been awarded a $73.8 million federal grant to support the initial construction of its Louisiana International Terminal (LIT) project in St. Bernard Parish. The new terminal, located in Violet, Louisiana, will be able to serve vessels of all sizes by avoiding height restrictions from bridges further up the Mississippi River and taking advantage of the deeper, 50-foot Lower Mississippi River Ship Channel.
Continue Reading Louisiana International Terminal Project Receives Federal Funding Boost

In the Fifth Circuit’s first application of Sackett v. EPA, the court ends a ten-year conflict regarding federal Clean Water Act jurisdiction over a Louisiana property, holding that under the new Supreme Court standard no WOTUS exist on the property.
Continue Reading Fifth Circuit Applies U.S. Supreme Court’s Sackett Decision to End Long-Standing WOTUS Dispute

At long last, the State of Louisiana’s request to take over primary enforcement authority for the permitting of Class VI injection wells has been approved. What does this mean for CCS in Louisiana?
Continue Reading Louisiana Granted Primacy Over Class VI Injection Wells

On December 7, 2023, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) disapproved the state implementation plan (SIP) revisions for the Baton Rouge ozone nonattainment area that Louisiana set forth in response to EPA’s 2015 SIP Call rule. This 2015 SIP Call rule focused on the treatment of excess emissions during periods of startup, shutdown, or malfunction (SSM).

EPA issued draft guidance revising its Technical Guidance for Assessing Environmental Justice in Regulatory Analysis. The proposed revisions incorporate portions of Executive Order 14096, and they align with the federal government’s push to enhance community involvement, to assess cumulative impacts, and put EJ issues front and center in agency decision-making. Read more about the proposed changes here. #environmentaljustice
Continue Reading EJ Evolution: EPA Issues Draft Revision of Technical Guidance for Assessing Environmental Justice in Regulatory Analysis

The EPA is seeking comments on its recently-published Supplemental Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, which proposes national performance standards under the Vessel Incidental Discharge Act. The EPA presents new data on ballast water management systems and solicits public comments on the standards and definitions applicable to ballast tanks, hulls and associated niche areas, and graywater systems. The Supplemental Notice of Proposed Rulemaking brings VIDA one step closer to full implementation.
Continue Reading EPA’s Proposed Rule on Vessel Incidental Discharges Brings VIDA One Step Closer to Full Implementation

On November 13, 2023, the U.S. Coast Guard published Policy Letter 23-05 which provides the first actual guidance for vessel owners and operators on the expectations for the surveillance equipment that they are required to install and maintain under the Safer Seas Act, which became law in December 2022 as part of the James M. Inhofe National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2023.
Continue Reading USCG Issues First Guidance on Safer Seas Act Camera Requirements

Most American maritime and environmental attorneys and vessel owners are familiar with OPA 90 and oil spill liability in the United States. But what happens when a vessel spills oil in the territorial waters of another country?
Continue Reading Oil Spill Liability: OPA 90 v. the IMO’S CLC