Dec 19 2014

President Obama signs discharge permit exemption for commercial fisheries

WASHINGTON — (Saving Seafood) December 19, 2014 — After Congress voted unanimously this week to extend a three year moratorium exempting commercial fishing vessels 79 feet and under from needing incidental discharge permits from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for deck washing, the President signed the extension into law on Thursday.

Yesterday, President Obama signed into law the “Howard Coble Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Act of 2014,” exempting small fishing vessels from the EPA’s National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) discharge permit requirements. The law extended the exemption provision for three years on the very day that the EPA’s NPDES permit requirements would have taken effect.

The regulation was intended to prevent fuels, toxic chemicals, or hazardous waste from entering the water. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) told the Alaska Journal of Commernce that requiring a permits for fishermen to hose down a boat is overkill – especially when recreational boats, including mega-yachts – are exempt from the rule.

“We want to abide by environmental regulations that make sense,” Murkowski told the Journal, “But I don’t think any of us believe it should be a requirement for a fishermen who has had a good day out on the water, and they are cleaning up the boat, and hosing slime and maybe some fish guts off the deck and that then becomes a reportable discharge to the EPA…. Let’s use some common sense here.”

Read more about the extension from the Alaska Journal of Commerce here

View the full Act signed by the President here


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