EPA Exception for Pleasure Boats Passed

dweller - July 30, 2008



On July 22, Congress passed "The Clean Boating Act of 2008." In so doing,
they gave recreational boaters new hope that they will not be required
to undergo a complicated permitting process, as had been feared. All
that is needed now is the President's signature. Should he sign the
bill, recreational boating will be able to continue uninterrupted.

"We are relieved Congress took proper action in favor of
recreational boaters, saving it from the doom that was awaiting the
fate that had been imposed by the U.S. Courts," said F. Ned Dikmen,
Chairman of the Great Lakes Boating Federation. "Now, we are eagerly
awaiting the President's signature on this important legislation."

The need for the bill stems from a California district court's
ruling that all boats, including recreational boats, would have to
begin following strict National Pollution Discharge Elimination System
(NPDES) regulations that had previously applied only large commercial
ships, water-tr
eatment facilities and other large operations. Since
1973, the EPA had exempted recreational boats from these NPDES
requirements. The court's decision would have revoked that exemption as
of September 30, 2008. The result—that all boaters would have been
required to secure permits and endure rigorous tests to prove their
discharges were clean—would have been disastrous. This new bill will
ensure that recreational boating remain the carefree pastime it has
always been.

The Clean Water Act is meant to regulate industrial shipping and
not local recreational boaters. A cargo ship can carry as much as 10
million gallons of ballast water and typically dumps it every two or
three weeks. This water carries foreign organisms and species from
around the world, which can threaten local ecosystems. There is no
comparison between those vessels and recreational boats.

There are approximately 13 million state-registered boaters in the
U.S. Annually they generate almost $60 billion, with $16 billion of
that coming from the Great Lakes alone.

The Great Lakes
Boating Federation, which serves the 4.3 million recreational boaters
on the Great Lakes and the inland waterways east of the Mississippi,
has been involved in the efforts to overturn the court's decision since
it was first announced. By sending tens of thousands of letters and
emails to their representatives, boaters pressed Congress to pass this
vital legislation and safeguard the future of boating. Now, it's up to
President Bush to follow the will of the boaters, sign the bill and
ensure that recreational boats not be overburdened with permitting and