The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released its draft Report to Congress: Study of Discharges Incidental to Normal Operation of Commercial Fishing Vessels and Other Non-Recreational Vessels Less than 79 Feet. Congress instructed EPA to conduct the study as part of legislation passed in July, 2008. The legislation provided a two-year exemption for commercial vessels of less than 79 ft from regulation of vessel discharges (other than ballast water) under the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Vessel General Permit (VGP). The two-year exemption expires on July 31, 2010. The study can be found at: http://cfpub.epa.gov/npdes/vessels/reportcongress.cfm
In the study, EPA found that discharges from the vessel populations’ studied did not exceed National Recommended Water Quality Criteria (NRWQC). EPA is accepting public comments on the study until April 7. PVA will submit comments on the study and will encourage continuing the exemption.
The U.S. House of Representatives has approved legislation to extend the current exemption for vessels of less than 79 feet. However, unless the Senate acts by July 31, the exemption will expire. PVA has endorsed a legislative extension.
(Source: Passenger Vessel Association)