Monthly Archives: April 2012

Don’t Forget About Barges!

The American Maritime Partnership warns Congress, and the Energy Information Administration,  not to forget about barges when considering the effects of refinery closures in the Northeast on gas prices. Even though industry officials provided information to correct an earlier erroneous EIA report that left barges out of its calculations, it has neglected to correct the original report.

Corps Releases Final Savannah Harbor Report

About 45 percent of the costs of the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project will consist of environmental remediation, according to the Corps of Engineers final report. That includes raising a Civil War-era ironclad and a $70 million “fish bubbler” (or oxygen injector) to help replace oxygen for fish and bottom-dwellers like mollusks and worms.

“Based on analyses within the report, the 47-foot plan would bring $174 million in annual net benefits to the nation, with a cost-to-benefit ratio of 5.5 to 1. Essentially, for every $1 invested in the project, the nation would yield nearly $6 in returns. The estimated total cost for the project, based on fiscal year 2012 levels, is $652 million, cost-shared by the Federal government and the State of Georgia.”

Coal has future too

On the other hand, don’t count coal out just yet.

“Coal currently supplies 40 percent America’s electricity and half the world’s electricity. Affordable, efficient and plentiful, coal use is expected to increase to meet growing global demand. U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu notes that, ‘Coal is an abundant resource in the world. It is imperative that we figure out a way to use coal as cleanly as possible.’ ”

Queen’s Jubilee Barge Launched

To mark the 60th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth’s reign, a jubilee barge , the “Gloriana,” has been launched.

“The 94-foot vessel, decorated with gold leaf and ornately carved, harks back 200 years to when kings and queens travelled by water in opulent style. It will be one of the star attractions in this summer’s Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant – a 1,000-strong flotilla of boats with the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh travelling at its heart.  Lord Sterling, who organised public celebrations for the Queen’s Golden Jubilee in 2002, is behind the project which created the barge in honour of the monarch.

The peer said the idea for the barge came from the Prince of Wales’s wish to have a waterborne tribute to the Queen, and it features wood from sweet chestnut trees grown on Charles’s private estate. Lord Sterling, the former executive chairman of P&O, said: ‘I became enamoured with the idea of building something timeless and got inspiration from Canaletto’s paintings that showed the great barges of the 18th century and decided to build one. … Including 18 rowers, it will carry 52 people. No one’s really built anything like this for 200 years and the way we’ve built it, it will last for 200 years if looked after. This has been a huge project. Something of this type would normally take a year or so to do it, but we’ve done it in far less.’ ”

Lord Sterling said the team, led by master-builder Mark Edwards, had been working 18-hour days recently to complete the project started last November when the keel was laid.”

Idaho Inspectors Catch Quagga-Infested Barges

Asian carp aren’t the only foreign species threatening American waterways. Idaho inspectors stop barges after finding them to be “infested” with the invasive quagga mussel. Most interesting is this:

“This is the fourth season Idaho has had the inspection program funded by a boat stamp that was championed by Republican Rep. Eric Anderson of Priest Lake in 2009. Without this program these barges would have gone unnoticed and may have carried the mussels to a new home in the Pacific Northwest.

State officials also contacted the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the federal agency charged with keeping invasive species out of rivers lakes and other ecosystems. Unlike the states they did not act as if it was an emergency but Ferriter did not want comment on their role.

‘They did not report to the port of entry,’ she said.

Part of the problem is the federal agency only can respond to ‘sufficient evidence of viable mussels crossing state lines.’ But the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has no official definition of viable or viability threshold.”

–So the states are apparently doing a better job of keeping out quagga mussels than the feds. Hmm.