U.S. Sen. Mel Martinez, R-Fla., last week introduced the Senate version of H.R.2550. "Requiring family boaters to secure a Clean Water Act permit so they can wash their boat, fish or go water skiing is ridiculous," Martinez said in a statement. "This permit requirement is unnecessary and onerous."
For 34 years the federal Environmental Protection Agency has exempted discharges from recreational boats from the Clean Water Act permit system. However, a recent court ruling (Sept. 26 U.S. District Court) intended to address the ballast water issue permitting issue cancelled this exemption.
"Without congressional approval of the Recreational Boating Act, the court's existing decision means that everyday boaters will have to apply for the same expensive permits as ocean-going commercial vessels," said Thom Dammrich, president of the National Marine Manufacturers Association, in a statement.
Large ocean-going vessels are blamed for some 10,000 invasive species introduced into U.S. waters.
NMMA is strongly backing passage of the Recreational Boating Act of 2007 and encourages the public to take action before the ruling goes into effect next year. A court-mandated deadline is set for September 2008, which would require the EPA to have the permitting requirements in place.
"We now have the enormous task ahead of passing a legislative fix before time runs out," said Dammrich.
The NMMA, in partnership with the Boat Owners Association of the United States and other outdoor recreation partners, created a grassroots Web site at www.boatblue.org to mobilize the boating community on the ballast water permitting issue.