WASHINGTON - Monita W. Fontaine, National Marine Manufacturers Association vice president, Government Relations, testified before a joint hearing of two House subcommittee's yesterday on the problem of marine debris.
Fontaine spoke before the House Committee on Resources,' Subcommittee on Fisheries and Oceans; and the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure's, Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation regarding the merits and concerns of S. 362, the Marine Debris Research Prevention and Reduction Act.
NMMA said before the hearing that although it supports the goals and purposes of S. 362, to reduce the amount of marine debris in oceans and coastal areas and to mitigate its effects on health and navigation safety, it wanted to address specific concerns with provisions of the bill that overburden the U.S. Coast Guard. Such burden boils down to an unfunded mandate placed upon the Coast Guard to develop unnecessary regulations that would impose undue burden on recreational boaters and marina operators particularly in light of the fact that 80 percent of marine debris originates from land-based sources and recreational boaters are a tiny fraction of the 20 percent marine-based debris.
“Helping to solve the problem of marine debris is one in a long list of environmental issues important to NMMA. I am pleased with ever increasing frequency that Congress looks to NMMA for policy consideration,” said NMMA President, Thom Dammrich.
“Clean water is the foundation for an enjoyable boating experience, which is why protecting the environment comes naturally for boaters,” said Fontaine. “Marine debris, specifically, can be a floating menace to navigation. Discarded rope and line can foul propellers, and plastic bags and sheeting can clog seawater intakes and evaporators which can lead to engine failure, costly repairs and take time away from boating as well as causing damage to marine ecosystems and risking human health.”
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