MPRSA. Marine Protection, Research & Sanctuaries Act. Five titles make up the MPRSA:. Titles I & II : Ocean Dumping Act Focuses on the research and regulation of materials that are dumped into ocean waters. Title III : National Marine Sanctuary Act
Marine Protection, Research & Sanctuaries Act
Titles I & II: Ocean Dumping Act
Focuses on the research and regulation of materials that are dumped into ocean waters.
Title III: National Marine Sanctuary Act
Provides for identification, designation, management, and conservation of specific portions of the marine ecosystem that are designated as National Marine Sanctuaries
Title IV: Marine Research Program
Establishes federally managed regional marine research programs
Title V: National Coastal Monitoring Act
Establishes a national program for consistent monitoring of the Nation’s coastal ecosystem.
Congress recognizes the dangers of unregulated dumping:
“Unregulated dumping of material into ocean waters endangers human health, welfare, and amenities, and the marine environment, ecological systems, and economic potentialities”
And thus stated that it was the policy of the US to regulate the dumping of all types of materials into ocean waters, and strictly limit or prevent the dumping of hazardous materials.
Prohibits the transportation of materials for the purpose of dumping by (§ 1411):
Unless a permit is obtained or in cases of emergency
(examples: dredged material, solid waste, incinerator residue, garbage, sewage, sewage sludge, munitions, radiological, chemical, and biological warfare agents, radioactive materials, chemicals, biological and laboratory waste, wreck or discarded equipment, rock, sand, excavation debris, and industrial, municipal, agricultural, and other waste)
(NOT including: routine discharge from vessels, construction of any fixed structure or island, or the deposit of materials made for the purpose of “developing, maintaining, or harvesting fisheries resources.”)
(1) type of material
Regulated by Corps of Engineers – statement of purpose:
“The Dredging Operations and Environmental Research (DOER) Program supports the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Operation and Maintenance Navigation Program. Research is designed to balance operational and environmental initiatives and to meet complex economic, engineering, and environmental challenges of dredging and disposal in support of the navigation mission. Research results will provide dredging project managers with technology for cost-effective operation, evaluation of risks associated with management alternatives, and environmental compliance.”
See: Dredging Operations and Environmental Research (“DOER”) http://el.erdc.usace.army.mil/dots/doer/
Why do we restrict the dumping of something that was already underwater?
“Unregulated and uncontrolled disposal of dredged material can increase suspended solids in the water column and smother benthic organisms. If the sediments are contaminated, there is a potential for acute or chronic toxicity in marine organisms and a risk to human health.”
Selection of sites under the MPRSA is based on criteria to “avoid unacceptable, adverse impacts on biota and other amenities.” Existing information regarding fishing, shipping, mineral extraction, spawning, breeding, nursery grounds, and other cultural and historical elements are examined.
Title II concentrates on research concerning ocean dumping as well as the development of technologies and techniques designed to minimize the harm ocean dumping causes to marine ecosystems. (ADMMARL § 18-5)
2 types of research – NOAA and EPA
Clean Water Act
International Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and Other Matter
(“Dumping Convention” or “London Convention”) – ratified in 1973 (entered into force in 1975)
"take effective measures individually, according to their scientific, technical, and economic capabilities, and collectively, to prevent marine pollution caused by dumping and harmonize their policies in this regard.“ [ADMMARL § 18-5]
Dumping Convention / London Convention protocols of 1996
Prohibits all dumping except:
(1) dredged material; (2) sewage sludge; (3) fish waste; (4) vessels and man-made structures at sea; (5) inert geological material; (6) organic material of natural origin; and (7) certain unharmful bulky items made of iron, steel or concrete.
[incineration at sea or dumping of radioactive waste also prohibited]
**Although US was instrumental in negotiating 1996 protocols and is a signatory, it has yet to ratify** see: http://www.epa.gov/owow/oceans/regulatory/dumpdredged/londonconvention.html
Convention of the Law of the Sea
Directs states to control pollution by dumping within its territorial seas, continental shelf, and exclusive economic zone and over vessels flying its flag.
Law of the Sea
Article 200 specifies that signatory states participate and cooperate in “research, exchange information, and participate in regional and international programs for the dissemination of information.”
Article 207 allows states to set their own laws and regulations to control pollution through dumping, considering their own “unique geographical characteristics of their particular coastlines when establishing criteria and standards for pollution under those laws.”
Article 210 specifies that states should issue permits for dumping within their jurisdictional waters. It specifies that states should periodically reassess permitting standards based on regional and global pollution.
(11 BKNJIL 355)
Law of the Sea
(1)Territorial Sea: extends 12 nautical miles from shore
(2) Exclusive economic zone: up to 200 miles out to sea
(3) Continental shelf: either 200 miles nautical miles or the “outer edge of the continental margin”
(4) Any vessel flying the flag of the nation - Does NOT include “high seas”
**widens scope of state control and empowers national laws to control dumping**
In addition to civil penalties, offenders who “knowingly violates any provision” of the Act or permit conditions shall be:
fined under Title 18
imprisoned for >5
forfeiture of any property:
obtained from the violation
used to commit the violation
Civil - Monetary
Fines assessed by Administrator:
**written notice and opportunity for hearing**
[separate days and separate vessels count as separate violations. Example: 5 ships dumping waste for 3 days = 15 separate violations]
Civil – Injunctions
The Attorney General can bring actions to stop imminent or continuing violations under the Act. US District Courts have jurisdiction to grant this relief.
Civil – Suspension and Revocation of Permits
The Administrator and Secretary have the right to suspend or revoke any issued permit for a violation of the Act
A private citizen has a right to bring a civil suit under the MPRSA for injunctive relief against any person, including the United States (11th Amend. bar still applicable). The US District Court in the district where the violation occurred has jurisdiction to hear citizen suits without regard to “amount in controversy” or “citizenship of the parties” requirements.
**injunctive relief does not foreclose right of individuals to seek alternate relief under other statutes or common law for violations**
Suits cannot be brought:
Policy and Congressional Declaration of Purpose (§ )
Why is it important to have sanctuaries?
“The primary objective of a sanctuary is to protect its natural and cultural features while allowing people to use and enjoy the ocean in a sustainable way. Sanctuary waters provide a secure habitat for species close to extinction and protect historically significant shipwrecks and artifacts. Sanctuaries serve as natural classrooms and laboratories for schoolchildren and researchers alike to promote understanding and stewardship of our oceans. They often are cherished recreational spots for sport fishing and diving and support commercial industries such as tourism, fishing and kelp harvesting.”
- Office of National Marine Sanctuaries
The Act gives the Secretary of Commerce the power to designate an area as a national marine sanctuary if…
Once the Secretary determines that an area should be designated as a national marine sanctuary, the Act sets forth a procedure for creating the designation.
One important provision provides for proposed regulations to be published in the Federal Register (official daily publication for rules, proposed rules, and notices of Federal agencies and organizations). The public is invited to send comments and suggestions relating to these proposed regulations. Once the comments are taken into account by the Secretary, a final rule will be published in the Federal Register.
Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale
The Act gives the Secretary the power to establish advisory councils to “advise and make recommendations . . . regarding the designation and management of national marine sanctuaries.”
The Secretary has put the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in charge of the administration of national marine sanctuaries. The NOAA created the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries which manages the fourteen national marine sanctuaries.
The Secretary is also given the power to create any necessary regulations to apply to each sanctuary.
The Act shall be carried out in accordance with “generally recognized principals of international law and in accordance with treaties, conventions, and other agreements to which the United States is a party.”
“The Secretary shall provide the appropriate Regional Fishery Management Council with the opportunity to prepare draft regulations for fishing within the Exclusive Economic Zone as the Council may deem necessary to implement the proposed designation.”
However, the Act specifically states that a permit will not be required for any fishing activity within a Sanctuary.
The Act makes it unlawful for anyone to:
“The Secretary shall conduct, support, or coordinate research, monitoring, evaluation, and education programs consistent with the purposes and policies of this title.”
Annually, each board can submit an application for a grant to the Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to fund projects set forth in the plan
Purpose: “To establish a national program for consistent monitoring of the Nation’s coastal ecosystem.”
The Administrator and Under Secretary were given the task of creating guidelines for the coastal water quality monitoring programs.
The guidelines should:
All water quality monitoring programs should include an intensive coastal water quality monitoring program. As part of the intensive program, the Administrator and Under Secretary “shall contract with the National Research Council to conduct a study to identify the coastal areas suitable for the establishment of intensive coastal monitoring programs.”