After nearly a year of inactivity due to a bureaucratic tangle in Washington, D.C., the Inland Waterways Users Board (IWUB) will soon be back in business.
The Department of Defense, which held up renewal of expiring appointments, has finally come up with a new policy on user board member representation.
The agency has approved the recommended representatives for an interim, one-year term. After that, listed companies can nominate themselves and identify a person to represent them for a two-year term.
These companies include Alter Barge Line, Bettendorf, Iowa; AmericanCommercial Lines, Jeffersonville, Ind.; American Electric Power, Chesterfield, Mo.; CGB Enterprises Inc., Mandeville, La.; Consol Energy, Monessen, Pa.; Ingram Barge, Nashville; Kirby Inland Marine, Houston; Parker Towing, Tuscaloosa, Ala.; and Tidewater Barge Lines, Vancouver, Wash.
The snafu began when DOD officials questioned whether members of the IWUB are subject to rules applied to those appointed to other federal advisory commissions, or rather to provisions of the 1986 Water Resources Development Act, which created the board.
Normally appointees to federal advisory commissions are considered “agents” of the administration.” As such, IWUB members would need a waiver because they are supposed to give recommendations based on industry perspective.
Under the new system, board members will no longer be appointees. Instead, they will be “selected as representatives,” serving as the voice of industry.
No meeting date for the new board had been scheduled.
“We’re pleased that progress has been made after a year delay,” said Debra Colbert, spokeswoman for The Waterways Council Inc., which complained that industry lost an important communication bridge to the administration when the board closed down.
The IWUB was created under WRDA to make recommendations to the secretary of the Army and Congress on construction and major rehab projects along the inland system.
Most recently, the IWUB helped develop the Capital Development Plan, an initiative designed to improve the delivery and funding of waterways infrastructure projects. Congress is now considering the plan. — Pamela Glass