EPA seeks industry input on regulations

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Although any regulations are still a few years away, the Environmental Protection Agency wants to know what boaters and the marine industry think about best practices regarding recreational boat discharges.

The EPA is seeking public comment to help develop proposed regulations, as required by the 2008 Clean Boating Act, to reduce water pollution and the spread of invasive species in the nation’s rivers, lakes and other water bodies.

As an alternative to permits required for commercial vessels, the act directs the EPA to develop and promulgate management practices for recreational vessels.

The agency held a public session in March in Annapolis, Md., and on Wednesday the EPA asked industry leaders at the American Boating Congress where else it should go to hear what boaters have to say.

Suggestions included boat shows, marina events, social media, boating publications, industry events such as the International BoatBuilders’ Exhibition & Conference or through Sea Grant.

Denise Keehner, of the EPA’s Office of Wetlands, Oceans & Watersheds, said she expects to finish gathering comments this year or next and have a proposal in place sometime in 2012. After a proposal is published, there is generally a 90-day comment period and it can be another year to 18 months before regulations are in place, she said.

The Coast Guard would have responsibility for enforcing any regulations.

Keehner said she’s optimistic that if the public works with the agency it can craft a proposal that is easy to understand, not overly burdensome and based on common sense and sound science.

“We want to make sure the regulation is something that achieves its end goal in a good, cost-effective way,” she said.

The ABC continues this morning with a slate of speakers that include Congressional Boating Caucus co-chairs Rep. Candice Miller, R-Mich., and Rep. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind. In the afternoon, attendees will visit Capitol Hill to lobby on behalf of the industry.

About 175 people are attending ABC and 110 visits to congressional offices are scheduled.

— Beth Rosenberg



5 comments on “EPA seeks industry input on regulations

  1. Ken Long

    While I am completely in favor of anything the recreational boating industry can do to help keep our waterways clean I strongly feel the EPA should stop focusing on just marinas and recreational boaters. For example; the aged and crumbling infastructure of the local waste water treatment facilities is a known factor and the amount of effluent discharged from all these faciliites is far more reaching than anything that currently being discharged from boats or marinas. I feel the recreational marine industry is an “easy target” and historically has been economically resiliant enough to bear the expenes related to compliance. The government has to answer the questions of funding the technology forced on marinas and boaters. For example in Maryland boats are required by law to register in the state and this puts 5% of the registered vessels value into what is called the Waterway Improvement Fund (WIP). This fund was established to give municipalities the funding they need to make waterfront improvements. Now as the Federal Goverment continues to cut funding of other state programs this fund is being “borrowed against” and money is being moved into the states general fund. The marine trades association has asked legislators to pass a law which would allow marinas the ability to take out low interest rate loans from the WIP and to fund the various captial needs resulting from EPA regualations. At the end of the day that isn’t happening. Marinas are not the cash rich industry it once was they simply can not fund the requirments because they are operating in this very, very difficult economy. I suggest EPA should refocus from marinas and boaters to the real problem in the USA. INFASTRUCTURE. Fix the waste water plants, fix the sewage lines, stop dumping sewage into our waterways stop foreign commercial ships from dumping their balast water into our waterways and ease up on an industry that is realing from the economy

  2. Marty Schott

    I would certainly hope that if the EPA excepts the Coast Guard to enforce these new laws, that they increase their budget. The Coast Guard is severly under funded and over worked as it is. They are doing a great job with the little funding that they get, they don’t need another burden without increased operating funds.

  3. enginecom

    More reason to dump the dems in 2012 including Obama. George Bush was able to remove the proposed illogical permit regulations but the EPA is still going to push recreational boats into non permit regulations? This is another assault on the individual and industry that we can’t take. The last straw on our backs by beaurocrats who know nothing about the marine industry. There was a draft report covering incidental discharges from small commercial boats provided to congress a couple years ago. I read it and was dumbfounded on how stupid the testers were. The methods were total unscientific and in some cases not applicable. If they use that report as a basis of any new regs we are doomed. Support defunding of Obama’s EPA by contacting and voting for your GOP congressperson.

  4. Chad

    I recently sat in on the EPA’s “webinar” on this topic, and can tell you that the EPA is not looking for input in any way, shape, or form. For one hour and ten minutes, I listened to junior employees present a repetitive powerpoint presentation, and ask if the “attendees” had any questions about the presentation. Sadly, input was never asked for at all. I couldn’t help but feel that the EPA is groping for a reason to get more funding to save their own jobs.

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