NEWS from BoatUS
Boat Owners Association of The United States
880 S. Pickett St., Alexandria, VA 22304
BoatUS Press Room at www.BoatUS.com
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Press Contact: D. Scott Croft, 703-461-2864, SCroft@BoatUS.com
US District Court Ruling Threatens Recreational Boating
Legislative Solution, HR 2550, Gains Steam in Congress with 27 Co-sponsors
Without Congressional approval of corrective legislation or a successful legal appeal, a September 2006 court decision by the US District Court for Northern California designed to hold the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) accountable for the regulation of the discharge of ballast water from ocean going commercial ships will have unintended and serious consequences for recreational boating, according to Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS).
“As it stands now, a permit will be required for ‘normal operational discharges’ on every recreational boat – even your dinghy – in every state where you boat,” said BoatUS Vice President of Government Affairs Margaret Podlich. “This is an attempt to apply a complex permitting system designed for industrial dischargers to recreational boats that will not yield significant environmental benefits.”
Instead, BoatUS is pushing for passage of HR 2550 “The Recreational Boating Act of 2007”. It would continue a 34-year-old exemption applied to recreational boats and release the EPA from having to implement an expensive and bureaucratic national permit system for all recreational boats by September 30, 2008.
The original lawsuit was brought against EPA in an effort to control the spread of invasive species contained in commercial ships’ ballast water tanks. The tanks, which add stability, are filled overseas and then discharged in US waters when cargo is uploaded. Ballast water is a primary pathway for non-native species, such as the Zebra Mussel, to invade US waters.
However, 99% of recreational boats do not have ballast tanks, nor do they cross oceans in any significant numbers. For over three decades the EPA understood that everyday deck runoff, bilge water, engine cooling water, or grey water from sinks or showers, was not the same as commercial vessels discharging millions of gallons of imported ballast tank water. As a result, it exempted these normal operational discharges from the Clean Water Act permit system. But in 2006 the District Court ruled that EPA overstepped its authority, and started the clock on the September 30, 2008 permit implementation deadline.
BoatUS is urging all boaters to contact their legislators to co-sponsor HR 2550 which is a common sense solution designed to make the previous exemption for recreational boats permanent. “It’s important to know that HR 2550 does not weaken any existing environmental regulations for recreational boaters. The main sources of potential pollution from boats – oil, fuel, sewage and trash – are already regulated and will remain so,” added Podlich.
For more information on this issue, or for help contacting your legislators, go to http://www.BoatUS.com/gov BoatUS is the nation’s leading advocate for recreational boaters with over 650,000 members.