C-PORT applauds discharge exemption in Senate bill

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The Conference of Professional Operators for Response Towing, C-PORT, is commending the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee for passing the Vessel Incidental Discharge Act.

The bill would exempt from discharge requirements commercial service vessels that are less than 79 feet, vessels that operate in a geographically limited area and vessels belonging to the U.S. Armed Forces. It also would exempt discharges that occur for research or safety purposes. In addition, it establishes national standards for vessel discharge regulation.

Under the Clean Water Act, commercial vessels under 79 feet would be required to have an Environmental Protection Agency Vessel Discharge Permit originally effective July 31, 2010.

“These small businesses operate vessels overwhelmingly the same in size, type and power as most recreational vessels,” C-PORT chairman Terry Hill said in a statement. “The overwhelming majority of the marine assistance industry vessels do not have gray water discharge created from showers, sinks and the like. These commercial vessels are designed without these conveniences reducing the ill effects of any such discharge.”

“Marine assistance vessels do not produce the discharge and pollutants, nor pose the risk of introducing invasive species, to which the permit refers,”C-PORT executive director Tina Cardone said. “We appreciate the committee’s actions on this issue and look forward to having this bill enacted into law.”

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