Thursday, January 31, 2013

Multimedia Release: Coast Guard continues response to crude oil spill near Vicksburg

News Release

Multimedia Release: Coast Guard continues response to crude oil spill near Vicksburg

Editors Note: Click on the images below to download high resolution photos and video.

 
VICKSBURG, Miss. — The unified command continues to respond to a crude oil spill in the lower Mississippi River near mile marker 436 in Vicksburg, Miss., Thursday.

At 10:05 a.m. today response crews removed fuel from the damaged barge MOC-12 after reconfiguring oil-pump equipment. Following completion of the oil removal operations the damaged barge will be inspected and prepared for transit to a maritime facility in nearby Vicksburg. The MOC-15 barge has been moved upriver from the MOC-12 oil removal operation and is waiting for transportation to a maritime facility.

Response crews have deployed 5,300 feet of boom to contain any potential oil releases. Skimming vessels have recovered approximately 8,400 gallons of oil-water mixture since the incident occurred. The tank levels are being continually monitored.

The unified command is working with the Coast Guard’s Marine Transportation System Recovery Unit to coordinate vessels moving northbound at night and southbound during the day. A safety zone is in effect between mile marker 425 and mile marker 441 restricting travel to commercial vessels. The Coast Guard is working with the Lower Mississippi River Committee to coordinate vessel movements through the safety zone.

In total, 62 vessels and 974 barges have been cleared to go northbound and southbound since the restrictions have been put into place.

There are 29 northbound vessels with 439 barges and 19 southbound vessels with 315 barges waiting in the queue due to traffic restrictions. Mississippi River vessel traffic queue management is ongoing.

The unified command consists of representatives from the Coast Guard, state on-scene coordinators from Mississippi and Louisiana and the owner of the towing vessel, Nature's Way Marine LLC. Personnel from Coast Guard Sector Lower Mississippi River, Coast Guard Marine Safety Detachment Vicksburg and the Coast Guard’s National Strike Force are on scene as part of a unified command effort to oversee cleanup and salvage operations.

The Coast Guard investigation into the incident is ongoing.
For further information or media inquiries contact the Information Center in Vicksburg at (601) 801-3521.
###
Date: Jan 31, 2013
Unified Command
Office: (601) 801-3521

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Release: Coast Guard delivers daily dose

News Release

Coast Guard delivers daily dose

Story and photos by Petty Officer 3rd Class David Weydert

When a boatcrew from Coast Guard Station Hatteras Inlet got underway Monday, it wasn't for search and rescue, drug interdiction, marine safety, or defense readiness - missions typically associated with the Coast Guard.
 
Petty Officer 2nd Class Adam Preiser, a boatswain mate at Coast Guard Station Hatteras Inlet, navigates a 24-foot Special Purpose Craft - Shallow Water between Hatteras Island and Ocracoke Island, Monday, Jan. 28, 2013. The crew of Station Hatteras Inlet have been running medical supplies and pharmacy items to Ocracoke Island when the ferry route between the two islands was cut off due to the shoaling. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class David WeydertYet, the day's unique mission was no less important — to deliver much needed medicine and pharmaceutical supplies to the island of Ocracoke.
 
Located on the southern tip of North Carolina's Outer Banks, Ocracoke Island is only easily accessible by water; however, recent shoaling and the encroachment of sandbars have closed off ferry access from the island's nearest neighbor, Hatteras Island.
 
"The shoaling and channels here shift a lot, but this has been excessive shoaling, which has shut the ferries down," said Petty Officer 2nd Class Adam Preiser, a boatswain's mate from Station Hatteras Inlet and the coxswain during the medical run. "At low tide I was reading three feet of water in the shallowest spot of the channel, and the ferries need at least four feet to run."The fathometer on the Coast Guard's 24-foot Special Purpose Craft - Shallow Water located at Station Hatteras Inlet reads 3.6 feet while traveling between Hatteras Island and Ocracoke Island, Monday, Jan. 28, 2013. The crew of Station Hatteras Inlet have been running medical supplies and pharmacy items to Ocracoke Island when the ferry route between the two islands was cut off due to the shallow water shoaling. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class David Weydert
The trip to the Ocracoke Island Ferry Terminal took 15 minutes, and when they arrived, they were greeted by Cheryl Ballance, the administrative director of Ocracoke Health Center.
 
"Since the ferries can't run, we had to come up with an alternative," said Ballance. "It was an extreme hardship for people who couldn't get their medication refilled, like their blood pressure medicine or diabetes medicine."
 
Petty Officer 2nd Class Adam Preiser, a boatswain mate at Coast Guard Station Hatteras Inlet, carries a medical box full of medicine and pharmaceutical supplies off the ferry pier on Ocracoke Island, Monday, Jan. 28, 2013. The crew of Station Hatteras Inlet have been running medical supplies and pharmacy items to Ocracoke Island when the ferry route between the two islands was cut off due to the shoaling. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class David Weydert Ballance received the medication and passed Preiser an identical container containing lab specimens and blood work destined for a medical diagnostic lab.
 
"It would be really difficult if we couldn't get our lab specimens off [the island], because the lab specimens help us write new prescriptions and make diagnoses," said Ballance. "The Coast Guard has always come through!"
 
The medical delivery endeavor was proposed by Steve Evans, owner and head pharmacist at Beach Pharmacy on Hatteras, who reached out to the officer-in-charge of Station Hatteras Inlet for help. After making a few phone calls, the plan was approved and the daily delivery trips commenced. The crew of the station took on the extra duty with a willingness and energy that speaks volumes to the island communities.
Petty Officer 2nd Class Adam Preiser, a boatswain mate at Coast Guard Station Hatteras Inlet, and Cheryl Ballance, the administrator director of the Ocracoke Health Center, exchange a medical box full of medicine and pharmaceutical supplies with a medical box containing blood work and lab samples at the ferry pier on Ocracoke Island, Monday, Jan. 28, 2013. The crew of Station Hatteras Inlet have been running medical supplies and pharmacy items to Ocracoke Island from Hatteras Island when the ferry route between the two islands was cut off due to shoaling. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class David Weydert
"It's a great thing," said Petty Officer 3rd Class Antonio Garcia, a boatswain's mate at Station Hatteras Inlet who has completed the medical run three times. "It has always been a pleasure of mine to do something for the community, to be a part of it. I volunteer a lot on the side. I've always just tried to get to know as many people as I can while helping out my neighbors whenever possible. It is just how I look at it, and now I get paid to do it."
 
The southern ferry terminals to the North Carolina mainland remain open; however, using the Coast Guard's shallow-draft small boats significantly reduces delivery times and enables the Coast Guard to monitor the depth of the channel during each transit.
###
Date: Jan 31, 2013

 
Office: (757) 398-6272

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Release - UPDATE: Coast Guard continues response to crude oil spill near Vicksburg

News Release

UPDATE: Coast Guard continues response to crude oil spill near Vicksburg

VICKSBURG, Miss. — The unified command continues to respond to a crude oil spill in the lower Mississippi River near mile marker 436 in Vicksburg, Miss., Wednesday.

At approximately 2:30 p.m. the tow-barge that is on scene started removing fuel from the damaged barge MOC-12. The damaged barge will be inspected and prepared for transit to a maritime facility nearby Vicksburg after oil removal operations are complete.

“Despite the response crew efforts to contain the seeping oil, an unspecified amount has broken through the containment boom due to the difficulties of working on a dynamic and powerful river current,” said Capt. William Drelling, Federal On Scene Commander for the Vicksburg oil spill. “Skimmers are on scene to help minimize the environmental threat of any additional potential releases.”

Response crews have deployed 2,800-feet of boom to contain further oil release. Skimming vessels have recovered approximately 3,900 gallons of oil-water mixture since the incident occurred. The tank levels are being continually monitored.

The Mississippi River remains closed for a 16-mile distance between mile marker 425 and mile marker 441 near Vicksburg. However, the unified command is working with the Coast Guard’s Marine Transportation System Recovery Unit to coordinate the transit of vessels to test the effects on response operations.

Currently, there are 34 northbound vessels with 532 barges and 37 southbound vessels with 524 barges affected due to the river closure. Mississippi River vessel traffic queue management is ongoing.

The unified command consists of representatives from the Coast Guard, state on-scene coordinators from Mississippi and Louisiana and the owner of the towing vessel, Nature's Way Marine LLC. Personnel from Coast Guard Sector Lower Mississippi River, Coast Guard Marine Safety Detachment Vicksburg and the Coast Guard’s National Strike Force are on scene as part of a unified command effort to oversee cleanup and salvage operations.

A safety zone is in effect between the mile markers. The Vicksburg Riverfront Boat Ramp is scheduled to re-open today, however boating within the safety zone is prohibited.
The Coast Guard investigation into the incident is ongoing.

For further information or media inquiries contact the Information Center in Vicksburg at (601) 801-3521.
###
Date: Jan 30, 2013
 
Unified Command
 
Office: (601) 801-3521

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

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E-update From the Desk of Governor Scott Walker

E-update From the Desk of Governor Scott Walker

One of the most important duties I have serving as your Governor is to provide you directly with updates related to the operation of our state government. I also frequently provide updates on Facebook (Governor Scott Walker) and Twitter (@govwalker). Please feel free to share this update with your family, friends, and others who may be interested in state government operations.


2013-15 Biennial Budget Address
 
On Wednesday, February 20, I will deliver the 2013-15 budget address at 7:00 p.m.
Earlier this week, the non-partisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau (LFB) released updated revenue projections, which predicted Wisconsin will have a $419.7 million surplus heading into the FY2013-2015 biennium.
 
The projected $419 million surplus is good news for Wisconsin taxpayers. Unlike two years ago when we faced a $3.6 billion deficit, Wisconsin is better off. Together, we tackled monumental challenges and enacted long-term structural reforms and, because of our tough decisions, we are moving our state forward.
This projected surplus will allow hardworking Wisconsin taxpayers to keep more of the money they earn because I plan to move forward with an income tax cut targeting the middle class.
The budget will focus on five priorities:

· Creating Jobs
· Developing Our Workforce
· Transforming Education
· Reforming Government
· Investing in Infrastructure
In addition to viewing this speech on television, it will also be streaming live on www.walker.wi.gov. Please join us and watch on air or online, as I outline the 2013-15 biennial budget.

Income Tax Cut
 
With the introduction of my proposed budget next month, I will lay out a clear plan for reducing the burden on hard-working families by lowering income taxes on the middle class. Putting more money back in the hands of the people – not in the hands of the government – is one of the best ways to improve the economy. Recently, Washington let the payroll tax climb back up to 6.2 percent. A report shows that a household making $50,000 a year will pay an extra $1,000 this year in taxes.

In a tough economy, people are worried about the impact of having less money. Today, our unemployment rate is down to 6.6 percent and we have a budget surplus of $342 million. Now, I believe we should return that budget surplus to the taxpayers. More money in the economy will lead to more consumer spending, which will drive greater demand for goods and services. That, in turn, will lead to more investments and more jobs.


Regulatory Review
 
Last year, I called for state agencies to work with the reformed Small Business Regulatory Review Board to identify unnecessary, obsolete, and burdensome regulations. And, last week, a report was released that identified over 300 rule modifications in 218 administrative code chapters. During Talk with Walker events around the state, I repeatedly heard requests for reasonable regulations for businesses. Making these changes will make it easier to do business in the state, while maintaining the safety and health of our citizens. 
 
Speaker of the Wisconsin State Assembly, Robin Vos, has also made regulatory review a priority. This week, he announced that the State Assembly will review the regulations as a way to remove roadblocks to job creation. You can provide input to the Legislature for their consideration by visiting http://righttherules.legis.wisconsin.gov.


Get to Know a Cabinet Member: Dave Ross
 
As Governor, one of the most important tasks I have is to appoint and communicate with leaders in each state agency. These leaders, called secretaries, ensure agencies run smoothly and efficiently as they operate state government and implement government reforms. For a few weeks, in lieu of the “Just Ask the Governor” section, I will be highlighting a cabinet secretary and providing a brief overview of the department he or she oversees. I hope these updates will provide you with practical information about state government operations, especially as we head into the next budget cycle.

When I was Milwaukee County Executive, I had the opportunity to work on a number of issues with Dave Ross, the former Mayor of Superior. Born and raised in Superior, Dave grew up in a small business family and was self-employed for over 20 years in an upholstery business. He served for two terms as Mayor of Superior and was also involved in a number of local economic development boards and Great Lakes initiatives.

The Department of Safety and Professional Services (DSPS) is a small agency with just under 300 dedicated employees and an annual budget of about $66 million–but it has a large footprint. Among its responsibilities are the processing of thousands of applications for professional licenses and providing administrative support and legal services for dozens of professional Boards and Councils. In addition, DSPS provides services related to the construction and operation of buildings and ensures compliance with health and safety codes through plan review, consultation, inspections, and product evaluation. They also run a program that cleans up leaking underground petroleum tanks.

Dave and his team have been great at finding ways to reduce the burden on taxpayers while improving customer service and maintaining public safety. By merging two divisions, DSPS was able to save $1.3 million in staff and management costs. The merger also saved taxpayers approximately $27,000 per month in lease costs alone.

Dave was married in 1973 to his wife, Lynn, and together they have four daughters and 14 grandchildren.


It has been a pleasure communicating with you. It is an honor to serve as your Governor and represent the residents of Wisconsin.
Sincerely,

Governor Scott Walker

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Monday, January 28, 2013

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Release - UPDATE: Coast Guard responds to report of crude oil in Mississippi River

News Release

UPDATE: Coast Guard responds to report of crude oil in Mississippi River

NEW ORLEANS - The unified command continues to respond to a crude oil spill in the lower Mississippi River near mile marker 434 in Vicksburg, Miss., Monday.

Tank soundings indicated that the barge is still leaking product into the waterway. Containment boom has been deployed around the area at the leak and skimmers are being used to recover product.

Personnel from Sector Lower Mississippi River, Marine Safety Detachment Vicksburg and the Coast Guard Gulf Strike Team from Mobile, Ala., are on scene and continue to assess the size of the spill and oversee cleanup operation. The tank levels are being constantly monitored for further leakage. The leaking tank contained approximately 80,000 gallons of light crude oil.

The responsible party is drafting a plan for lightering and salvage operations for Coast Guard review.

Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Lower Mississippi River received notification Sunday at 1:30 a.m., reporting that two tank barges, towed by the tug Nature's Way Endeavor, allided with the Vicksburg Railroad river bridge. Both of the tank barges were loaded with crude oil; both of the barges were damaged, and one has released oil into lower Mississippi River.

The Mississippi River remains closed to all traffic from mile marker 425 to mile marker 441 near Vicksburg. The latest queue is 12 northbound and 19 southbound.

Mississippi River vessel traffic queue management is ongoing. Vessels will be allowed to transit the area as soon as it is environmentally and operationally safe to do so.

No injuries were reported in association with the incident. The Coast Guard investigation into the incident is ongoing.

The unified command consists of representatives from the U.S. Coast Guard, local authorities and law enforcement and the owner of the towing vessel, Nature's Way Marine LLC.
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Date: Jan 28, 2013
 
U.S. Coast Guard Eighth District External Affairs
 
 
Office: (618) 225-9008

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