U.S. Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Barbara Boxer (D-CA) have introduced a bipartisan bill (S.3372) this month that extends the current moratorium on permit requirements for commercial and charter fishing vessels and other commercial vessels under 79 feet long. The legislation calls for a three-year extension of the moratorium on permits for discharges under the Clean Water Act.
The current two-year moratorium is scheduled to expire on July 31, 2010. The Environmental Protection Agency(EPA) and the Coast Guard were instructed to conduct a study to examine the effects of discharges incidental to the normal operation of such vessels. The senators say the results of the study have not been fully analyzed, and it will be nearly impossible for the EPA to issue the permits by July 31. That would put the vessels in violation of the Clean Water Act for any kind of incidental discharge. The senators say more time is needed to evaluate the study before determining whether these discharges need to be regulated.
Click on the title of this blog post to read more in the press release.