We have completed one year with the Trump administration, so it is therefore a good time to assess whether he has made any drastic changes in his administration’s approach to the maritime industry. In short, there have not been any major changes. But as with almost everything involving the federal government, minor changes can have great effects.
The First Year
AROUND THE DEPARTMENTS AND AGENCIES The president has put in place his appointees to key maritime positions: Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao, who has a significant maritime background as the former Deputy MARAD Administrator; Rear Admiral (“RADM”) Mark Buzby, the new MARAD Administrator and former Commander of the U.S. Military Sealift Command; Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke, who oversees oil and gas development as well as offshore wind on the Outer Continental Shelf (“OCS”); and Secretary of Homeland Security (“DHS”) Kirstjen Nielsen, who oversees the Coast Guard (among other agencies). Additionally, Chief of Staff John Kelly is intimately familiar with the Coast Guard from his time undertaking joint operations with the agency while he was in the military. Unlike previous administrations, at least there are political and experienced appointees in place to set maritime policy. We will discuss below what new policies they have put in place. Continue reading “Trump and the Maritime Industry: A Look Back and Forward”
Environmental laws and regulations in the United States impose substantial recordkeeping and reporting obligations on regulated industries. These requirements are designed to document a company’s compliance with the requirements and limitations established by the regulatory scheme as well as any applicable environmental permits. Regulated companies also are required to maintain their compliance documentation and to submit periodic comprehensive reports to regulators detailing their compliance with environmental standards. These records are used by the Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) and the delegated state regulatory agencies to monitor compliance and, if permit exceedances or irregularities in the compliance records are detected, to evaluate the need for enforcement actions.
These substantial recordkeeping and reporting requirements were particularly onerous on both industry and government, in part because records historically were required to be maintained and submitted in hard copy, which presented challenges inherent in managing enormous volumes of paper. Until recently, the U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ”) and the EPA have resisted transitioning to electronic recordkeeping systems for environmental compliance data. This resistance was rooted in concerns about the reliability and security of electronic reporting (e.g., the government wanted assurance that data submitted by private parties had not been manipulated and that the government’s ability to verify that the records were prepared and signed by a responsible corporate representative remained intact). Nevertheless, in the last few years and in light of the enhanced reliability of electronic information systems, the EPA decided to enter the 21st century: Continue reading “Environmental Compliance Aboard Commercial Ships: Electronic Recordkeeping Is Overdue”
In a pair of recent opinions from the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York, two judges took varying approaches to the issues of 1) their ability to assert personal jurisdiction over foreign defendants, and 2) application of U.S. laws to transactions that occur, at least in part, outside of the United States.
The first opinion, from Judge Sean H. Lane, denied the defendants’ motion to dismiss a lawsuit seeking to avoid and recover money initially transferred to correspondent bank accounts in New York designated by the defendants, before being further transferred outside of the United States to complete transactions under investment agreement executed outside of the United States and governed by foreign law. On remand after a district judge ruled that the defendants’ use of correspondent banks in the United States was sufficient for the bankruptcy court to have personal jurisdiction over them, Judge Lane held that the doctrine of international comity and the presumption against extraterritoriality did not prevent application of U.S. law to avoid transfers under the Bankruptcy Code. The second opinion, from Judge James L. Garrity, Jr., dismissed a bankruptcy trustee’s claims to avoid and recover transfers under U.S. bankruptcy law that occurred entirely outside the territory of the United States. Continue reading “NY Bankruptcy Courts Grapple with Territorial Limits”
Blank Rome LLP is pleased to present the inaugural edition of Perspectives, the Firm’s Diversity & Inclusion newsletter that keeps you informed on our latest diversity news and provides insight on current diversity issues in the legal industry and beyond.
Featured in this edition:
Highlights from the Blank Rome Women’s Leadership Summit and Legal Hackathon
Analysis of the American Bar Association’s Resolution 113
Profiles of LCLD Pathfinders in the Blank Rome Proust Questionnaire
Initiatives on advancing women in law and promoting LGBTQ equality
Inside look at the Blank Rome Temple-Tsinghua Internship
Overview of recent diversity and inclusion headlines, accolades, and events
Blank Rome Named “Best Place to Work for LGBTQ Equality” by Human Rights Campaign in 2018 Corporate Equality Index
Blank Rome LLP received a perfect score of 100 percent on the 2018 Corporate Equality Index (“CEI”), a national benchmarking survey and report on corporate policies and practices related to LGBTQ workplace equality, administered by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation (“HRC”).
With this score, Blank Rome has been designated for the third year in a row as a “Best Place to Work for LGBTQ Equality” by the HRC, and joins the ranks of 609 major U.S. businesses that earned top marks this year.
For more information on Blank Rome’s 2018 Corporate Equality Index score, please click here.