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COAST GUARD ISSUES FIRST FINAL RULE UNDER OIL POLLUTION ACT OF 1990

COAST GUARD ISSUES FIRST FINAL RULE UNDER OIL POLLUTION ACT OF 1990
 WASHINGTON, March 6 /PRNewswire/ -- The U.S. Coast Guard has issued the first final rule under the Oil Pollution Act of 1990, the omnibus anti-pollution legislation that resulted from the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill.
 The final rule changes existing regulations to allow oil spill cleanup vessels with no more than 50 percent foreign ownership to operate in U.S. waters. The rule takes effect April 3, 1992.
 Currently, there are more than 30 vessels partly owned by foreign suppliers of oil to the U.S. market that could be made available for cleaning up oil spilled in U.S. waters. Prior to this rulemaking, only vessels with 100 percent U.S. ownership were permitted to engage in coastwide activities of any kind. The change, however, only affects activity related to oil spill cleanup.
 The rule includes procedures these vessel owners must follow to obtain the limited endorsement necessary to operate in U.S. waters.
 The Oil Pollution Act also required the U.S. Coast Guard to set up the National Pollution Funds Center. The center has 85 employees, administers a $1 billion oil spill cleanup fund and recovers cleanup costs from spillers.
 Due to the magnitude of the act, the Coast Guard established a staff of 80 military and civilian specialists to work exclusively on its requirements. This staff is writing regulations for additional rulemakings, conducting 30 studies and overseeing 28 other studies and special projects.
 Rear Adm. Arthur E. Henn, chief of the Office of Marine Safety, Security and Environmental Protection, said, "It is a testament to the can-do spirit of the Coast Guard and the hard work and dedication of our people that the first final rule has now been issued."
 The rule was published in the March 3, 1992, edition of the Federal Register. Copies may be obtained from the Coast Guard by calling 202-267-6740. Fax requests to 202-267-4624.
 -0- 3/6/92
 /CONTACT: Nicholas Sandifer of the U.S. Coast Guard, 202-267-0930/ CO: U.S. Coast Guard ST: District of Columbia IN: SU:


TW-DC -- DC006 -- 5813 03/06/92 10:57 EST
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Date:Mar 6, 1992
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