WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Walter B. Jones (NC-3) cosponsored legislation to exempt owners of fishing vessels from burdensome regulations requiring them to obtain an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) permit for discharges incidental to normal vessel operation. The Commercial Vessel Discharges Reform Act of 2013 (H.R. 3464) would put a permanent moratorium on the EPA requirements, which are scheduled to take effect next month and will necessitate a permit for discharging things as simple as ballast water, deck wash, bilge pump discharge, fish hold water, and laundry and shower water. Failure to obtain the permit could result in lawsuits and fines of over 32,000 dollars.
“With an economy that is already struggling to recover, the last thing that Eastern North Carolina fishermen need is another costly federal regulation,” said Congressman Jones. “We need federal policies that encourage – not stifle – economic growth and job creation.”
In 2006, a federal court in California ruled that the EPA was required under the Clean Water Act to issue permits for incidental discharges. Congress permanently exempted the 13,000,000 recreational vessels that were affected by the ruling but gave only a temporary exemption, until December 2014, to the affected 65,000 commercial and charter fishing boats and 15,000 commercial-use vessels. The EPA has since notified Congress that it is not equipped to process the vast number of permits that will be required once the temporary exemption has expired.
For additional information, please contact Sarah Howard in Congressman Jones’ office at (202) 225-3415 or email@example.com.