LAS VEGAS – During a media luncheon that accompanied the Marine Aftermarket Accessories Trade Show in Las Vegas yesterday, National Marine Manufacturers President Thom Dammrich spoke about what he called “a different topic for me, and this group.”
Dammrich addressed the issue of environmental responsibility and asked the media members in the audience to spread the word about the boating industry’s commitment to keeping the environment clean.
He told the audience that being environmentally responsible is mainstream today, not a fad, and said the industry is doing its part to protect the environment. He cited products and programs such as non-hazardous boat soaps and cleaners, advances in marine sanitation, the Clean Marina program and advanced engine technologies that reduce emissions, as examples of the industry’s innovations in environmental safety.
“There is a track record of improvement to show when it comes to environmental responsibility,” he told the audience.
He asked the media to remind boaters of the simple things they can do to be environmentally responsible and also to remind them to become advocates for boating, especially with their elected representatives.
That will be especially important as the industry lobbies congress on several important issues in the coming months, including ethanol, CAFÉ standards and the ballast water exemption.
Dammrich said the industry has 15 months to get H.R.2550, the Recreational Boating Act of 2007, passed, which would continue an exemption in the Clean Water Act for recreational boats with regard to “incidental discharges,” that include ballast water, bilge water, deck runoff and gray water.
Without the exemption, recreational boat owners would be subjected to a permitting process that Dammrich predicted, “would be the most harmful thing to happen to boating since the luxury tax.”
Dammrich told the audience that the industry has a compelling message that is not yet being spread when it comes to environmental responsibility.
“We’ve got a good story to tell,” he said.
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