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Bill Introduced to protect Great Lakes from invasive species threat

Senator Debbie Stabenow and Representatives Dave Camp (R-MI) and Louise Slaughter (D-NY) introduced the Guarding Our Great Lakes Act, bipartisan legislation designed to protect the Great Lakes from the threat of invasive Asian carp. In announcing the legislation, Sen. Stabenow, Rep. Camp, and Rep. Slaughter issued the following statements. "The Great Lakes are part of our way of life and fuel our economy," said Sen. Stabenow. "We must stop them from being destroyed by Asian carp and other invasive species. This is an emergency, and the time has come for decisive action before it's too late. This bill will call on the Army Corps to begin work on projects that will help prevent the spread of Asian carp and require the Great Lakes Interagency Task Force to move us closer toward a long-term, permanent solution that will keep Asian carp out of our Lakes for good."   "After years of study, we must begin making tangible progress to safeguard the Great Lakes ecosystem and the $7 billion economy it supports - and that is exactly what this bill would do," said Rep. Camp. "The Guarding Our Great Lakes Act would take the next necessary actions to prevent the spread of ...

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Drilling company gets charged with Environmental crimes in Alaska

Noble Drilling (U.S.) LLC was charged with environmental and maritime crimes for operating the drill ship Noble Discoverer and the drilling unit Kulluk in violation of federal law in Alaska in 2012, the Department of Justice announced. Under the terms of a plea agreement filed in federal court today, Noble will plead guilty to eight felony offenses, pay $12.2 million dollars in fines and community service payments, implement a comprehensive Environmental Compliance Plan, and will be placed on probation for four years. In addition, Noble’s parent corporation, Noble Corporation plc, headquartered in London, England, will implement an Environmental Management System for all Mobile Offshore Drilling Units (MODUs) owned or operated by Noble Corporation plc and its direct and indirect subsidiaries worldwide. Noble Drilling (U.S.) LLC was charged in an eight-count Information with knowingly failing to maintain an accurate Oil Record Book and an accurate International Oil Pollution Prevention certificate, knowingly failing to maintain a ballast water record book, and knowingly and willfully failing to notify the U.S. Coast Guard of hazardous conditions aboard the drill ship Noble Discoverer. At the time of the offenses, the Noble Discoverer was operating under contract with Shell Offshore, Inc. and Shell Development, Ltd. for ...

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EIA launches new tool for crude oil import analysis

EIA released a new U.S. Crude Oil Import Tracking Tool that allows policymakers, analysts, and the public to more easily track trends in crude oil imports. Users can sort and display crude oil imports by month or year, by crude type (i.e., light, medium, heavy), country source, port of entry, processing company, processing refinery, and more. The tool features graphing and mapping capabilities and a built-in help function. Recent and forecast increases in domestic crude production have sparked discussion about how rising crude oil volumes will be absorbed. To date, a primary mechanism for absorbing increased production has been the displacement of imported crude oil, which has fallen from 8.9 million barrels per day (bbl/d) in 2011 to 7.5 million bbl/d in August 2014. This tool sheds light on the adjustments to imports being made in response to growing production of crude oil within the United States. It is one part of EIA's ongoing effort to assess the effects of a possible relaxation of current limitations on U.S. crude oil exports, which is another avenue to accommodate domestic production growth. EIA is undertaking further work on this larger question, and expects to issue more analysis reports over the coming months. ...

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BOEM and NOPP launch Arctic Ecosystem Study

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) and National Oceanographic Partnership Program (NOPP) partners announced the award of a broad Arctic study that will investigate the interrelationship among the physical, biological, chemical and social science components of the Beaufort Sea ecosystem from Barrow, Alaska, to the Mackenzie River delta in Canadian waters. The Marine Arctic Ecosystem Study (MARES) is an integrated ecosystem research initiative coordinated and planned by BOEM in conjunction with its federal and private sector partners: U.S. Arctic Research Commission, U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Geological Survey, U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System, Marine Mammal Commission, National Science Foundation, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Office of Naval Research, and Shell Oil Company. “BOEM is pleased to join our Federal and industry partners to undertake this forward-looking project,” said BOEM Acting Director Walter Cruickshank. “With widespread interest in the Arctic, including potential oil and gas leasing and development, we’re looking to significantly expand our knowledge of the Beaufort Sea ecosystem to inform our decision-making.” The MARES study is taking place under the NOPP, which brings together federal agencies, academia, industry, and non-governmental organizations to support ocean research. The award recipient, Stantec Consulting Services, Inc., will lead a team of U.S. and ...

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USCG and EPA take action on SECA enforcement and compliance

The U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) and EPA will soon take action to ensure compliance with the forthcoming 0.10 percent fuel sulphur limits in the North American and U.S. Caribbean Sea Emmission Control Areas, or ECAs. “We will be coordinated in our efforts to ensure compliance with the new requirements effective 1 Jan, 2015,” said Rear Adm. Paul Thomas, assistant commandant for Prevention Policy at U.S. Coast Guard Headquarters. “That includes working with EPA to actively check for compliance and taking appropriate enforcement action.” The USCG will continue to check Bunker Delivery Notes and other records during Port State and Flag State visits to vessels. The USCG and EPA are developing plans for joint boardings of vessels as well, that will include fuel oil sampling and in-the-field screening for sulphur levels. “Working closely with our partners at the Coast Guard, we’re stepping up our compliance efforts and will take targeted enforcement actions when necessary,” said Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “Making sure that everyone plays by the rules will help level the playing field for companies that comply, while reducing harmful air pollution in coastal and inland communities.” Maritime Commons will continue to provide updates as ...

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