Clean Boating Act of 2008 introduced to Congress

WASHINGTON – The Clean Boating Act of 2008 made its Congressional debut yesterday when Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), chairwoman of the Senate environment and public works committee, and Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) introduced the legislation to the Senate, the National Marine Manufacturers Association said in a notice yesterday.

If enacted into law before a court-imposed September 2008 deadline, the bill, S. 2766, would fully and permanently restore a longstanding regulation that excludes recreational boaters and anglers from federal and state permitting requirements under the Clean Water Act designed for land-based industrial facilities and ocean-going commercial ships.

The permitting issue stems from a September 2006 U.S. District Court ruling that ordered the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate ballast water discharges by September 2008. Although the litigation was aimed at ocean-going vessels, the court’s ruling struck down an exemption instituted in 1973 that also applied to the incidental discharges of recreational boats.

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