Sunday, January 8, 2012

NMSAC Meeting January 18-19, 2012

The Coast Guard posted a notice in Monday’s Federal Register (77 FR 1076-1077) available on-line on Saturday) that the National Maritime Security Advisory Committee (NMSAC) will be holding a public meeting in Arlington, VA on January 18th and 19th.

NMASC Agenda

The two day meeting will cover a number of topics of interest to the chemical security community. Those topics include:

• MTSA/CFATS harmonization;

• TWIC update (including TWIC Readers);

• MTSA regulation updates;

• Vessel guard requirements in US ports; and

• Underwater Terrorism Preparedness Program.

Public Participation

A public comment period will be provided at the end of each day’s session. A maximum of 5 minutes will be allowed for each speaker. Speakers need to register with Ryan Owens (phone: 202-372-1108 or email: Written comments need to be submitted by January 9th via the Federal eRulemaking Portal (; Docket Number USCG-2011-0975).

As with any public meeting the seating will be limited, so advance registration is required. To maximize public participation the Coast Guard will make this meeting available by teleconference (dial 866-717-0091, the pass code to join is 3038389#) or an interactive internet connection (log onto It would be helpful if other DHS organizations would follow the lead of the Coast Guard and make their public deliberations truly public.

Small Legal Faux Pax

Federal regulations {41 CFR 102-3.150(a)} require that advisory committee meeting notices are to be published in the Federal Register “at least 15 calendar days prior to an advisory committee meeting”. With a meeting date of the 18th and an official publication date of the 9th (or even a public publication date of the 7th), this deadline was not met.

The crafters of that regulation realized that stuff happens so they made provisions for dealing with exceptions §102-3.150(b) allows for a shorter notice period under ‘exceptional circumstances’ if a clear explanation of the delay is included in publication notice. That did not happen; yet. On Friday a correction to this meeting notice appeared on the Federal Register’s Public Inspection Page; that correction will not actually appear in official Federal Register until Wednesday, January 11th.

That correction blames the late publication on an “administrative delay due to the Federal holidays”. The Notice was signed by the Coast Guard on December 29th and should have been published on January 3rd to meet the GSA deadline. The delay appears to have been within the Coast Guard not the GPO. The other four Coast Guard postings in Monday’s Federal Register were signed as early as December 14th and as late as December 23rd.

Fortunately, with the Coast Guard providing remote access, people wishing to participate do not have to make travel arrangements to participate in this meeting. Presuming that the Coast Guard had previously alerted the Committee members and the briefers, it appears that no real harm was done in delaying the printing of this notice.

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