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Maritime Intermezzo

Introduction

We hope you'll join our BLOG as we explore and collaborate to implement solutions to the common challenges we share in our businesses.

Discussion topics include: Arbitration, Admiralty and Maritime Law, Big Data, Brokering, Chartering, Insurance...

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Last October 2015 in a 3-0 decision the U.S. Court of Appeals’ 2nd Circuit ruled that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)  failed in its responsibility under the Clean Water Act to protect U.S. waters from aquatic invasive species introduced by ship’s ballast water discharge.

The Court's decision had ramifications for the EPA, USCG and ships trading in waters across the US from the East Coast to the Great Lakes and rivers to the Gulf of Mexico, West Coast, Hawaii and Alaska.

In summary the Court held that the EPA ballast water discharge permit was ineffective and would not protect U.S. waters from future invasions of nonnative species.

Act Global Group reported in September 2016 that the state of California's Land's Commission has proposed amendments to sections 2270 and 2271 in Article 4.5 of Title 2, Division 3, Chapter 1 of the California Code of Regulations. Or what was formerly called the Ballast Water Management Fee and is now described as the Marine Invasive Species Fee.

Last week California leaders and lawmakers gathered to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Assembly Bill 32. The Bill established the state’s first emission's cap-and-trade program. The program allows companies to buy permits to pollute and sets a target for reducing emissions to 1990 levels by the year 2020.

In September Act Global Group reported that California's legislature, Democrats and Republicans, had extended the original Bill out to 2030 and set even more ambitious goals for green house gases (GHG) and particulate matter/black carbon (PM) reductions. The "new" Bill 32 accompanied by AB 197 is simple and sweeping. The Bill codifies the requirement to reduce GHG, heat trapping emissions, to 40% below 1990 levels by 2030.

California now has the most aggressive carbon reduction targets in North America and will impose stricter limits on emissions from factories, power plants and mobile sources - trucks, trains, ships and planes.

For responsible shipping the good news is that AB 197 refines California's climate change programs in two ways: greater legislative oversight and transparency in implementation and secondly the policies must address those communities most impacted by climate change and air pollution.

The bad news is the Bill goes into effect January 2017.

In life, risk management requires us to weigh the costs of our decisions. Follow the posted speed limit? Jump a red light? Build more and bigger ships in an already saturated market? Do we give up when the going gets tough? Do we rely on the facts or on fact resistant press releases...

Risk management has kept our species alive. We see patterns and quickly deduce, rightly or wrongly, friend or foe, fight or flee. We even see patterns where none exist. We routinely consider factors that aren't relevant and ignore those that are. It is just how our brains work. We let emotion influence the importance of the variables. Find a pattern and keep life simple. As seen in container shipping circles bigger must be better (or was) so let's all build even bigger container ships just as the global economies go into a slow cycle...