Saner permits for small vessels?

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According to a special bulletin from the Great Lakes Sport Fishing Council, “the U.S. EPA is proposing two general permits under the Clean Water Act that will cover discharges incidental to normal operation of commercial and recreational vessels.”

The proposal for smaller recreational vessels appears far saner than originally thought.

Note the meeting in Chicago on Thursday, June 26. It will be held Ave Hotel, 160 E. Huron St, Chicago, from 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m.

Below is the complete special bulletin.

Great Lakes Basin Report Special Bulletin June 21, 2008 EPA Proposes Vessel Discharge Permits Hosting Clean Water Act meetings, posts notice in Federal Register Washington, DC —The U.S. EPA is proposing two general permits under the Clean Water Act that will cover discharges incidental to normal operation of commercial and recreational vessels. Based on agency estimates, as many as 91,000 commercial vessels and about 13 million recreational boats could be affected. EPA is proposing a practical approach as we work with Congress on a longer-term, comprehensive solution, said Assistant Administrator for Water Benjamin H. Grumbles. We believe it is good environmental policy and common sense to promote clean boating without imposing new permits on millions of boaters. As a result of a court ruling currently under appeal, vessel owners or operators whose discharges have previously been exempt from Clean Water Act requirements for the last 35 years will require a permit as of September 30, 2008. EPA is proposing control technologies and management practices that enhance environmental protection and are practical to implement. The commercial and large recreational vessel general permit (VGP) would cover all commercial vessels and recreational vessels 79 ft or longer. For vessels that carry ballast water, it would incorporate the Coast Guard mandatory ballast water management and exchange standards, and have supplemental ballast water requirements. The VGP would provide technology-based and water-quality-based effluent limits for other types of discharges including deck runoff, bilgewater, gray water and other types of pollutants. The permit also establishes specific corrective actions, inspections and monitoring requirements as well as recordkeeping and reporting requirements. Only a subset of the vessels potentially affected by this permit will have to submit a Notice of Intent (NOI) for coverage; for all the other vessels their coverage would be automatic. The permit for smaller recreational vessels measuring less than 79 ft in length contains simpler provisions. These smaller vessels, which are substantially different in both size and operation from larger vessels, would need to comply with new and established best management practices. In addition, these smaller vessels would not be required to submit a Notice of Intent for coverage under the permit; their coverage would be automatic. EPA is inviting comments on both proposed permits for a period of 45 days. EPA will be holding public meetings and a hearing starting June 19. Written Comments must be submitted by August 1, 2008 Submit your comments, identified by Docket ID No. EPAHQ OW20080055 for the VGP or Docket ID No. EPAHQOW20080056 for the RGP, by one of the following methods: http://www.regulations.gov : Follow the on-line instructions for submitting comments. E-mail: ow-docket@epa.gov . Mail: Original and three copies to: Water Docket, EPA, Mail Code: 2822T, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave., NW., Washington, DC 20460. Federal Register notice: http://www.epa.gov/npdes/regulations/vessel_frnotice.pdf Meeting times and dates: Thursday, June 19, 2008, 8:00 – 4:30 PM, EPA East Bldg, Rm 1153, 1201 Constitution Ave, NW Washington, DC 20004 Tuesday, June 24, 2008, 8:00 – 4:30 PM , Red Lion Hotel-Portland Convention Ctr. 1021 NE Grand Ave, Portland, OR 97232 Thursday, June 26, 2008, 8:00 – 4:30 PM, Ave Hotel, 160 E. Huron St, Chicago, IL 60611 Wednesday, July 2, 2008, 12:00 Noon – 1:30 PM EDT, Live Webcast Go to www.epa.gov/npdes/training on or about June 18 for information on how to register and attend the web cast Monday, July 21, 2008, 8:00 – 4:30 PM, EPA East Bldg, Rm 1153, 1201 Constitution Ave, NW, Washington, DC 20004 Information on the permits and meetings: http://www.epa.gov/npdes/vessels The Federal Register notice: http://www.epa.gov/npdes/regulations/vessel_frnotice.pdf Also, go to: http://www.boatblue.org/ A service of NMMA Dan Thomas, President Great Lakes Sport Fishing Council dan@great-lakes.org

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