A team of K&L Gates LLP environmental and maritime lawyers representing a coalition of shipping interests has obtained an order from a United States District Judge in San Francisco to allow the maritime industry additional time to comply with the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) newly-issued requirements governing the discharge of pollutants from vessels.
Enacted by the EPA on December 18, 2008, under the Clean Water Act, the 80-page Vessel General Permit was to have taken effect the following day. Applicable to most commercial vessels over 79 ft long, the permit requires the development of best management practices for 26 different discharge streams, including deck run-off. Had the permit gone into effect on December 19 as called for by the EPA, many members of the maritime industry would have been subject to potential liability for not having best practices in place.
Under the order, the new deadline for complying with the EPA’s best practices requirement has been extended to February 6, 2009. The extension also gives the industry time to sort out the additional requirements to be imposed by some states as conditions of the permit.
The K&L Gates team involved in the matter included Washington, D.C., partners Barry Hartman, Mark Ruge, and Brian McCalmon, Harrisburg partner Christopher Nestor, and San Francisco partner Jeff Bornstein.