Home | Contact ST  
Follow ST



Capital Report

2017:  JAN | FEB | MARCH | APRIL | MAY | JUNE | JULY | AUG
2016:  JAN | FEB | MARCH | APRIL | MAY | JUNE | JULY | AUG | SEPT | OCT | NOV | DEC

March 2016 Issue

US House Passes Coast Guard
Authorization Act

The U.S. House of Representatives unanimously approved the Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2015 (H.R. 4188), which authorizes the Coast Guard and Federal Maritime Commission through fiscal year 2017 and includes provisions to improve Coast Guard mission effectiveness, help modernize the service’s aging vessels and other assets, and reform U.S. maritime transportation laws.

The bill, a product of negotiations between the House and the Senate, includes many provisions from a similar Coast Guard bill that unanimously passed the House in May.


Contracts to US Maritime Firms
For Handling NDRF Vessels

The U.S. Department of Transportation has awarded contracts with a total award value of $1.96 billion over eight years to seven U.S. maritime firms to manage, maintain and operate 48 National Defense Reserve Fleet (NDRF) vessels through January 2024. These Maritime Administration contracts are funded by the Department of Defense (DoD) National Defense Sealift Fund.

The 18 contracts awarded to the seven U.S. maritime firms total $953.5 million for the four-year base contract, which runs through January 2020. The contracts also include two two-year options, bringing the total award value to $1.96 billion. The contracts were awarded to the companies for maintaining the ships in good mechanical condition and ensuring that crews are available to operate them when needed.

Forty-six of the vessels are part of the Department of Transportation’s Ready Reserve Force, a fleet managed by the Maritime Administration (MARAD) that provides rapid mass movement of Department of Defense equipment and supplies to support U.S. Armed Forces and respond to national and humanitarian emergencies. Additionally, two vessels are used to support Missile Defense Agency operations. Each certified, mission-ready vessel is maintained so that it can be fully activated and deployed quickly. The 46 Ready Reserve Force vessels have been activated hundreds of times since 2002.


Comprehensive Review of
US Federal Coal Program

The U.S. Interior Department will launch a comprehensive review to identify and evaluate potential reforms to the federal coal program in order to ensure that it is properly structured to provide a fair return to taxpayers and reflect its impacts on the environment, while continuing to help meet our energy needs.

The programmatic review will examine concerns about the federal coal program that have been raised by the Government Accountability Office, the Interior Department’s Inspector General, members of Congress and the public. The review, in the form of a Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS), will take a careful look at issues such as how, when and where to lease; how to account for the environmental and public health impacts of federal coal production; and how to ensure American taxpayers are earning a fair return for the use of their public resources.

Consistent with the practice during two programmatic reviews of the federal coal program that occurred during the 1970s and 1980s, the Interior Department will also institute a pause on issuing new coal leases while the review is underway. The pause does not apply to existing coal production activities. There will be limited, commonsense exceptions to the pause, including for metallurgical coal (typically used in steel production), small lease modifications and emergency leasing, including where there is a demonstrated safety need or insufficient reserves.

Pending leases that have already completed an environmental analysis under the National Environmental Policy Act and received a final Record of Decision or Decision Order by a federal agency under the existing regulations will be allowed to complete the final procedural steps to secure a lease or lease modification. During and after the pause, companies can continue to mine the large amount of coal reserves already under lease, estimated to be enough to sustain current levels of production from federal land for approximately 20 years.

The programmatic review is expected to take approximately three years.


2015 Was the Warmest
Year in the Record Books

Earth’s 2015 surface temperatures were the warmest since modern record keeping began in 1880, according to independent analyses by NASA and NOAA.

Globally averaged temperatures in 2015 shattered the previous mark set in 2014 by 0.23° F. Only once before, in 1998, has the new record been greater than the old record by this much.

The 2015 temperatures continue a long-term warming trend, according to analyses by scientists at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in New York (GISTEMP).

NOAA scientists concur with the finding that 2015 was the warmest year on record based on separate, independent analyses of the data. Because weather station locations and measurements change over time, there is some uncertainty in the individual values in the GISTEMP index. Taking this into account, NASA analysis estimates 2015 was the warmest year with 94 percent certainty.

The planet’s average surface temperature has risen about 1.8° F since the late 19th century, a change largely driven by increased carbon dioxide and other human-made emissions into the atmosphere.

Most of the warming occurred in the past 35 years, with 15 of the 16 warmest years on record occurring since 2001.

Phenomena such as El Niño or La Niña, which warm or cool the tropical Pacific Ocean, can contribute to short-term variations in global average temperature. A warming El Niño was in effect for most of 2015.

Weather dynamics often affect regional temperatures, so not every region on Earth experienced record average temperatures last year. For example, NASA and NOAA found that the 2015 annual mean temperature for the contiguous 48 United States was the second warmest on record.



2017:  JAN | FEB | MARCH | APRIL | MAY | JUNE | JULY | AUG
2016:  JAN | FEB | MARCH | APRIL | MAY | JUNE | JULY | AUG | SEPT | OCT | NOV | DEC

-back to top-