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Towing safety committee's charter not renewed

Officials from the Conference of Professional Operators for Response Towing learned at last week's Fall 2010 Towing Safety Advisory Committee meeting in Pittsburgh that Congress did not renew the committee's charter and it would cease to exist at the end of the month.

The committee members were surprised by the announcement and asked what could be done to change it, C-PORT said in a statement.

The committee has been working on many projects, all in various stages of completion. These regulatory projects include towing vessel inspections, a new licensing scheme to allow for mariners to enhance their career choices, barge and bridge lighting resolutions focused on boating safety, and others.

"The exchange of information from the towing industry to the Coast Guard in this type of setting is invaluable," said Tina Cardone, executive director of C-PORT, in a statement.

In an effort to ensure the continuation of the committee in the event Congress does not extend the charter, USCG commander Pat Clark said the Coast Guard is circulating a new charter within the department that will make the Towing Safety Advisory Committee a discretionary committee.

He added there are no guarantees this charter will be accepted, C-PORT reported.

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