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DHS/USCG RIN: 1625-AA32 Publication ID: Fall 2010 
Title: Standards for Living Organisms in Ships' Ballast Water Discharged in U.S. Waters  
Abstract: This rulemaking adds performance standards to 33 CFR part 151, subparts C and D, for discharges of ballast water. It supports the Coast Guard's broad roles and responsibilities of maritime safety and maritime stewardship. This project is economically significant. 
Agency: Department of Homeland Security(DHS)  Priority: Economically Significant 
RIN Status: Previously published in the Unified Agenda Agenda Stage of Rulemaking: Final Rule Stage 
Major: Yes  Unfunded Mandates: Private Sector 
CFR Citation: 33 CFR 151   
Legal Authority: 16 USC 4711   
Legal Deadline:  None

Statement of Need: The unintentional introduction of nonindigenous species into U.S. waters via the discharge of vessels' ballast water has had significant impacts to the Nation's aquatic resources, biological diversity, and coastal infrastructures. This rulemaking would amend the ballast water management requirements (33 CFR part 151, subparts C and D) and establish standards that specify the level of biological treatment that must be achieved by a ballast water treatment system before ballast water can be discharged into U.S. waters. This would increase the Coast Guard's ability to protect U.S. waters against the introduction of nonindigenous species via ballast water discharges.

Summary of the Legal Basis: Congress has directed the Coast Guard to develop ballast water regulations to prevent the introduction of nonindigenous species into U.S. waters under the Nonindigenous Aquatic Nuisance Prevention and Control Act of 1990 and reauthorized and amended it with the National Invasive Species Act of 1996. This rulemaking does not have a statutory deadline.

Alternatives: The Coast Guard would use the standard rulemaking process to develop regulations for ballast water discharge standards. Nonregulatory alternatives such as navigation and vessel inspection circulars and the Marine Safety Manual have been considered and may be used for the development of policy and directives to provide the maritime industry and our field offices guidelines for implementation of the regulations. Nonregulatory alternatives cannot be substituted for the standards we would develop with this rule. Congress has directed the Coast Guard to review and revise its BWM regulations not less than every 3 years based on the best scientific information available to the Coast Guard at the time of that review. On August 28, 2009, the Coast Guard published the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) entitled Standards for Living Organisms in Ships' Ballast Water Discharged in U.S. Waters in the Federal Register (74 FR 44632). The proposed rule included a phase-in schedule (phase-one and phase-two) for the implementation of ballast water discharge standards based on vessel's ballast water capacity and build date (one that is one thousand times more stringent). The proposed phase-one standard is the same standard adopted by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) for concentration of living organisms in ballast water discharges. For phase-two, we propose incorporating a practicability review to determine whether technology to achieve a more stringent standard than the IMO standard can practicably be implemented. Based on the comments received, we plan to move forward swiftly with a final rule.

Anticipated Costs and Benefits: This rulemaking would affect certain vessels operating in U.S. waters seeking to discharge ballast water into waters of the United States. Owners and operators of these vessels would be required to install and operate Coast Guard approved ballast water management systems before discharging ballast water into U.S. waters. Cost estimates for individual vessels vary due to the vessel class, type and size, and the particular technology of the ballast water management system installed. We expect the highest annual costs of this rulemaking during the periods of installation as the bulk of the existing fleet of vessels must meet the standards according to proposed phase-in schedules. The primary cost driver of this rulemaking is the installation costs for existing vessels. Operating and maintenance costs are substantially less than the installation costs. We evaluated the benefits of this rulemaking by researching the impact of aquatic nonindigenous species (NIS) invasions in the U.S. waters, since ballast water discharge is one of the main vectors of NIS introductions in the marine environment. The primary benefit of this rulemaking would be the economic and environmental damages avoided from the reduction in the number of new invasions as a result of the reduction in concentration of organisms in discharged ballast water. We expect that the benefits of this rulemaking would increase as the technology is developed to achieve more stringent ballast water discharge standards. The Coast Guard issued a preliminary regulatory analysis of the costs, benefits, and other impacts of the 2009 NPRM. In this preliminary analysis, we estimated the total phase-one costs to be about $1.18 billion over a 10-year period of analysis (this and other values below at a 7 percent discount rate). As previously described, the implementation costs vary by year. We estimated the annualized cost over the same period to be approximately $168 million per year. We did not provide cost estimates for the phase-two costs in this preliminary analysis since data and information was not available at that time for technology that would meet the anticipated phase-two standard (1,000 x the IMO standard). In the same preliminary analysis, we estimated annualized benefits (damages avoided) for phase one are potentially as high as $553 million, with a mid-range estimate of $165 million to $282 million per year. We estimated total phase-one benefits to be as high as $3.88 billion, with a mid-range estimate of $1.16 billion to $1.98 billion over a 10-year period of analysis. The Coast Guard has received public comments on the impacts of the NPRM and will be incorporating these comments into a revised Regulatory Analysis for the next rulemaking publication.

Risks: Ballast water discharged from ships is a significant pathway for the introduction and spread of non-indigenous aquatic nuisance species. These organisms, which may be plants, animals, bacteria or pathogens, have the potential to displace native species, degrade native habitats, spread disease and disrupt human economic and social activities that depend on water resources. It is estimated that for areas such as the Great Lakes, San Francisco Bay, and Chesapeake Bay, one nonindigenous species becomes established per year. At this time, it is difficult to estimate the reduction of risk that would be accomplished by promulgating this rulemaking; however, it is expected a major reduction will occur. We are currently requesting information on costs and benefits of more stringent ballast water discharge standards.

Action Date FR Cite
ANPRM  03/04/2002  67 FR 9632   
ANPRM Comment Period End  06/03/2002    
NPRM  08/28/2009  74 FR 44632   
Public Meeting  09/14/2009  74 FR 46964   
Public Meeting  09/22/2009  74 FR 48190   
Public Meeting  09/28/2009  74 FR 49355   
Notice--Extension of Comment Period  10/15/2009  74 FR 52941   
Public Meeting  10/22/2009  74 FR 54533   
Public Meeting Correction  10/26/2009  74 FR 54944   
NPRM Comment Period End  12/04/2009  74 FR 52941   
Final Rule  04/00/2011    
Additional Information: The docket number for this rulemaking is USCG-2001-10486.
Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: Yes  Government Levels Affected: State 
Small Entities Affected: Businesses  Federalism: No 
Included in the Regulatory Plan: Yes 
International Impacts: This regulatory action will be likely to have international trade and investment effects, or otherwise be of international interest.
RIN Information URL:   Public Comment URL:  
RIN Data Printed in the FR: Yes 
Agency Contact:
John C. Morris
Project Manager
Department of Homeland Security
U.S. Coast Guard
2703 Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue SE., STOP 7509,
Washington, DC 20593-7509
Phone:202 372-1433

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