Saturday, June 8, 2013

Comments for TWIC Reader NPRM – 6-8-13

This is part of a continuing series of blog posts on the public comments filed in the previous week for the Coast Guard’s TWIC Reader NPRM. The previous posts in the series are listed below.

Just about half-way through the one-month extension for comments on the TWIC Reader NPRM there are just four new comments posted. The comments come from a barge fleet operator, two terminal operators and a bus-transportation industry organization.

Cover Over-the-Road Bus Drivers

The bus industry organization is asking that the TWIC program be expanded to include over-the-road bus drivers. It reports that the industry is currently being governed by a patchwork of background screening requirements and this is making it difficult for the small business owner to operate in multiple markets, or even serving a variety of security conscious customers in a limited geographical area.

This is certainly outside of the scope of the Coast Guard’s rulemaking effort. The issue should be more appropriately address through Congress.

Expand TWIC Reader Requirement

The terminal operator is suggesting that the use of the TWIC Readers should be required for more than just the Risk Category A facilities. They note that they have carefully integrated a TWIC reader into their access control system at all of their facilities, in many cases utilizing Federal security grants. They are concerned that limiting the TWIC Reader requirements to just the Risk Category A facilities will mean that much of that money will have been wasted and that security at many those facilities will decline if they effectively have to switch to a ‘flash pass’ system because TWIC Readers are not required.

Similarly, a fuel-terminal operator, questions if the intent of the proposed rule would prevent Risk Category B&C facility operators from requiring the use of TWIC Readers at their facilities instead of using guards to inspect the use of the ‘flash pass’ TWIC.

Small Facility Exemption

The fuel-terminal operator expressed the opinion that small facilities regulated under 49 CFR 105 should be provided a TWIC Reader exemption for facilities with less than 14 people. They note that the same reasoning allowing that exemption for vessels would apply equally well to facilities.

Change Barge Rules

The barge fleet operator objects to ammonium nitrate bulk barges being categorized as Risk Group A vessels. They also note that where there is no ‘bank access’ to areas where CDC (certain dangerous cargo) are stored that those vessel should be reclassified as Risk Group B or C.

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