U.S. Senators Barbara Boxer, (D-CA), and Lisa Murkowski, (R-AK) have introduced a bipartisan bill (S. 3372) that extends the current moratorium on permit requirements for commercial and charter fishing vessels and other commercial vessels under 79 feet long.
The legislation calls for a three-year moratorium extension from permits for discharges under the Clean Water Act.
The current two-year moratorium is set to expire on July 31, 2010, which was enacted to allow the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Coast Guard to conduct a study to evaluate the impact of vessel discharges under normal operation.
The senators say the results of the study have not been fully analyzed, and it will be difficult for the EPA to issue the permits by July 31, putting the vessels in violation of the Clean Water Act for any kind of incidental discharge.