A new court ruling has been proposed that would affect boaters at Smith Mountain Lake. This recent ruling regarding pollution being dumped from commercial ship ballast water will also require all recreational boats to get permits by September, 2008-despite the fact that 99% of recreational boats do not have ballast tanks. Public involvement can make a difference in the outcome of this proposed law.
These costly permits which are intended for commercial ships and supertankers that have brought harmful invasive water species into U.S. waters, are being developed right now to tax your boat’s engine cooling water, bilge water, and even deck runoff. This will seriously impact boating participation unless Congress acts quickly. If this law passes boaters across the country will be required to wait in DMV-style lines for multiple, complex, costly permits.
Currently recreational boats and big ships are heavily regulated under the Clean Water Act, the Clean Vessel Act, the Oil Pollution Act, and other federal and state laws. But there are many who believe that boats and ships are different animals altogether and should not be regulated identically.
The Clean Boating Act of 2008, restores a 35-year old Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) exemption for water-based, non-polluting incidental discharges that occur in the normal operation of a recreational boat, such as weather deck run-off and engine coolant water. It is a commonsense regulation that excludes recreational boaters and anglers from the federal and state permitting requirements under the Clean Water Act designed for land-based industrial facilities and ocean-going commercial ships.
If you would like more information on this bill and how to make a difference go to http://www.boatus.com/gov/fed/fed_archives/fed_cleanboating.asp.