Congress moves step closer to simplifying ballast water, discharge rules

The following is the text of a press release issued by American Waterways Operators:

(ARLINGTON, Va.) – The American Waterways Operators, a 350-member trade association representing the U.S. tugboat, towboat and barge industry, hailed the House introduction of critical vessel discharge legislation yesterday, praising the leadership of sponsors Duncan Hunter (R-CA), Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Subcommittee Chairman, and Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD), a senior member of the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee. Bipartisan cosponsors include Reps. Jim Cooper (D-TN), Bill Enyart (D-IL), Gene Green (D-TX), Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA), David Jolly (R-FL), Walter Jones (R-NC), Blaine Leutkemeyer (R-MO), Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Cedric Richmond (D-LA), Bennie Thompson (D-MS), and Don Young (R-AK).


H.R. 5609, the Vessel Incidental Discharge Act, would establish a nationally uniform and environmentally sound framework for the regulation of ballast water and other vessel discharges. It is a companion bill to S. 2094, which was approved by the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee in July.


“H.R. 5609 will replace the current dysfunctional regulatory system in which two federal agencies and more than two dozen states regulate vessel discharges in overlapping and sometimes contradictory ways with a uniform, science-based federal framework that is good for the environment, good for the economy and good for the taxpayer,” said AWO President & CEO Tom Allegretti.  


“AWO members appreciate the leadership of Chairman Hunter and Congressman Cummings in introducing this much-needed legislation,” Mr. Allegretti said. “We thank the bipartisan cosponsors of H.R. 5609 for their support for this common-sense bill and we look forward to working with them to enact this legislation before the 113th Congress adjourns.”


VIDA is supported by a diverse coalition of more than 60 regional and national organizations. In the Senate, S. 2094 has 33 bipartisan cosponsors, including Sens. Mark Begich (D-AK), Marco Rubio (R-FL),  Jay Rockefeller (D-WV), John Thune (R-SD), Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), Roy Blunt (R-MO), John Boozman (R-AR), Bob Casey (D-PA), Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), Thad Cochran (R-MS), Susan Collins (R-ME), Chris Coons (D-DE), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Kay Hagan (D-NC), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Johnny Isakson (R-GA), Angus King (I-ME), Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Edward Markey (D-MA), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Bill Nelson (D-FL), Mark Pryor (D-AR), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Jeff Sessions (R-AL), Richard Shelby (R-AL), Patrick Toomey (R-PA), David Vitter (R-LA), Mark Warner (D-VA), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), and Roger Wicker (R-MS).

By Professional Mariner Staff