American Waterways Operators Approve Budget For 1977

The 1977 budget, renewal of the contract public relations program, and continuation of communications' consultant services were among the chief items approved by The American Waterways Operators, Inc. board of directors at the recent winter quarterly meeting at Tarpon Springs, Fla.

AWO's Public Affairs and Communications Committees, both requesting special program funding, initiated the discussions at the two-day meeting presided over by board chairman John D. Geary.

John W. Lambert, Public Affairs Committee chairman, summarized discussions at the November 10 meeting of his committee in Washington, including accomplishments of the public relations program under contract to Burson-Marsteller since last March. He was assisted by representatives of the firm who presented a videotape and slide show focusing on the recent media tour from the Twin Cities to Locks and Dam 26 and other elements of the program. Goals for 1977 were also covered. The board approved continuation of the Burson-Marsteller program for 1977.

Communications Committee chairman Lester C. Bedient received board approval for a special allocation to continue the services of a communications consultant. He reported the overall objective to build a domestic marine communications profile as input to the preparatory meetings of the 1979 World Radio Conference was well underway, noting that field trips to areas with special communications problems were an important element in the program.

The proposed 1977 budget, presented by Budget and Finance Committee chairman Jesse E. Brent, followed the special committee program reports. Following a general discussion, a budget compatible with the expected 1977 workload was approved.

Corps of Engineers Liaison Committee chairman Thomas L. Gladders covered progress on implementation of new operating procedures at Locks and Dam 26; the reporting services which were initiated during the low-water problems; and the status of planned repair work at L&D 26 and 27. William C. McNeal, AWO Legislative Committee chairman, reported his committee, which met in St. Louis, Mo., November 18, examined the OSHA/Coast Guard jurisdictional split; possible makeup of the new Congressional Committees of interest to the barge and towing industry; the status of the so-called "superfund"; and the state legislative program. He said the committee was looking into a positive legislative program and had already identified two opportunities. As part of the report on the activities of the Coast Guard Liaison Committee, chairman Frank T. Stegbauer briefed the directors on the status of the New Orleans Vessel Service, vapor recovery proposal, navigation safety regulations and the recent problems brought to light concerning double charges for oil spill cleanup. Forthcoming final regulations on spills of hazardous substances will be of particular concern to AWO members in assessing the obligations of the owner/operator to initiate immediate cleanup actions, according to the chairman.

Messrs. Stegbauer and McNeal advised the directors that the OSHA/Coast Guard roles in jurisdiction and enforcement of OSHAtype standards have not yet been clearly resolved and suggested that there may be some merit in looking toward the legislative route to effect resolution.

IMCO Committee chairman J.W. Von Herbulis updated the board on current developments regarding the 1969 Tonnage Convention and other IMCO matters. As a related item, the Legislative Committee's proposed positive action program includes a proposal to pursue legislative relief from possible adverse impacts on domestic shipping laws resulting from IMCO actions.

Harold A. Reinauer, Membership Committee chairman, noted that the AWO Guest Affiliation Program was rapidly building momentum and that several member prospects were already participating. He advised of a special program initiated through board chairman Geary to solicit prospects which would produce more rapid results than the Guest Affiliation Program. Mr. Reinauer emphasized the importance of membership development for 1977 as a concluding comment in his report.

In announcing that an active membership development program was underway, Edward Renshaw, chairman of the Shipyard Steering Committee, reported that membership from the shipyard segment now totals 43. He also covered the impact of the Longshoremen's and Harbor Workers' Act on the shipbuilding/ship repair industry.

User charges, expected to surface again during the new Congress, particularly in connection with the proposed reconstruction of L&D 26 and other water resources projects, was covered extensively during the meeting. In a hard charging discussion, chairman Geary reiterated his and AWO's stand in opposition to any form of user charge which discriminates against the barge and towing industry, warning that AWO would have to be especially watchful of any legislative thrusts in the direction of user charges.

AWO members, wives and guests were hosted at a reception by Mid-South Towing Company, Tampa, Fla.

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