[Federal Register Volume 76, Number 46 (Wednesday, March 9, 2011)]
[Notices]
[Page 12982]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2011-5412]


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DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY

Coast Guard

[Docket No. USCG-2011-0104]


Policy for Guidelines for Coast Guard Evaluations of Compliance 
With the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Vessel General Permit 
for Discharges Incidental to the Normal Operation of Vessels

AGENCY: Coast Guard, DHS.

ACTION: Notice of availability.

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SUMMARY: The Coast Guard announces the release of policy letter 11-01, 
Policy for Guidelines for Coast Guard Evaluations of Compliance with 
the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Vessel General Permit 
(VGP) for Discharges Incidental to the Normal Operation of Vessels. 
This policy letter provides guidance to assist Coast Guard personnel to 
evaluate compliance with the provisions of the EPA's VGP, for U.S. and 
foreign-flagged vessels subject to the VGP and operating in the waters 
of the United States.

DATES: This policy became effective on February 11, 2011.

ADDRESSES: This notice and the policy are available in the docket and 
can be viewed by going to http://www.regulations.gov, inserting USCG-
2011-0104 in the ``Keyword'' box, and then clicking ``Search.'' This 
policy is also available at http://www.homeport.uscg.mil under the Port 
State Control tab; Foreign Vessel Safety; Policy for Guidelines for 
Coast Guard Evaluations of Compliance with the U.S. Environmental 
Protection Agency's (EPA) Vessel General Permit for Discharges 
Incidental to the Normal Operation of Vessels. They are also available 
for inspection or copying at the 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, between 9 
a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: If you have questions on this notice 
or the policy, call or e-mail Mr. John S. Sedlak, P.E., Foreign and 
Offshore Vessels Division (CG-5432), U.S. Coast Guard, telephone 202-
372-1240. 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.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background and Purpose

    The VGP is an EPA permitting program issued under the Clean Water 
Act (33 U.S.C. 1342) and provides requirements for discharges 
incidental to the normal operation of vessels. Under the Clean Water 
Act, discharges of pollutants from vessels that are not covered by the 
VGP are unlawful unless they are exempt or covered by another Clean 
Water Act permit. The Coast Guard shares a mutual interest in ensuring 
vessels comply with VGP provisions. In fulfilling its role as the 
nation's lead maritime law enforcement agency and to carry out its 
mission of environmental stewardship, it is in the interest of the 
Coast Guard to assist the EPA in the detection and reporting of VGP 
deficiencies onboard vessels during regularly scheduled inspections of 
U.S. vessels and during Port State Control (PSC) exams on foreign 
vessels. The Coast Guard will report detected VGP deficiencies to the 
EPA.
    The Coast Guard has prepared policy letter 11-01, Policy for 
Guidelines for Coast Guard Evaluations of Compliance with the U.S. 
Environmental Protection Agency's Vessel General Permit for Discharges 
Incidental to the Normal Operation of Vessels, in consultation with the 
EPA to assist Coast Guard staff in the preparation for and the 
execution of VGP compliance monitoring inspections and exams. Vessel 
owners and/or operators are ultimately responsible for compliance with 
all aspects of the VGP. Vessels may be subject to inspection to verify 
compliance with any and all legal requirements. Vessel owners and 
operators may wish to take note of the minimum items that the Marine 
Inspectors (MI) and PSC Officers may examine during VGP compliance 
exams, as outlined in the policy letter. Vessel owners and operators 
should note further that MI/PSC Officers are not limited in the depth 
and scope of the examination.

Policy Implementation

    The Coast Guard will evaluate vessels for compliance with the 
Vessel General Permit beginning on March 13, 2011.

    Authority: This notice is issued under authority of 5 U.S.C. 
552(a), 33 U.S.C. 1223, 14 U.S.C. 93(a)(20), and 14 U.S.C. 141.

    Dated: March 3, 2011.
Kevin S. Cook,
Rear Admiral, U.S. Coast Guard, Director of Prevention Policy.
[FR Doc. 2011-5412 Filed 3-8-11; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 9110-04-P