Washington state mulls delay in copper bottom-paint ban

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A proposed amendment to a bill that would ban copper-based bottom paint in Washington state will go before the legislature when it reconvenes in January.

“The bill would give the state more time to look at alternatives, look at what EPA is doing and look internationally at what’s working and not,” Peter Schrappen, vice president and director of government affairs for the Northwest Marine Trade Association, told Trade Only Today.

Trade Only Today reported in 2011 that then-Gov. Chris Gregoire signed a bill prohibiting the use of copper-based bottom paints on recreational boats that was to take effect in January of 2018. Schrappen explained that the extension has been requested because no universally accepted superior replacement for copper has been found.

Current Gov. Jay Inslee supports the extension, Schrappen said.

Essentially the amendment would delay until January 2021 the ban on selling copper-based bottom paint on any newly manufactured recreational water vessel. The ban had been scheduled to begin for boats built on or after January 2018.

Additional bans on selling and applying antifouling paint that is intended for use on a recreational water vessel and that contains more than 0.5 percent copper would be delayed from January 2020 to 2021. A change in the proposal exempts wooden boats from the ban.

Schrappen said the state Department of Ecology also supports the extension. A new section of the legislation would direct the department to report to the legislature regarding the environmental impacts of antifouling paints and their ingredients.