Friday, July 23, 2010

Performance Standards Under Clean Boating Act

The Clean Boating Act (Public Law 110-288) was signed by the President on July 29, 2008, and amended section 402 of the Clean Water Act (CWA) to exclude recreational vessels from National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permitting requirements.

In addition, it added a new CWA section 312(o) directing EPA to develop regulations that identify the discharges incidental to the normal operation of recreational vessels (other than a discharge of sewage) for which it is reasonable and practicable to develop management practices to mitigate adverse impacts on waters of the United States. The regulations also need to include those management practices, including performance standards for each such practice. Following promulgation of the EPA performance standards, section 312(o) also directs the Coast Guard to promulgate regulations governing the design, construction, installation, and use of the management practices. Following promulgation of the Coast Guard regulations, the Clean Boating Act prohibits the operation of a recreational vessel or any discharge incidental to their normal operation in waters of the United States and waters of the contiguous zone (i.e., 12 miles into the ocean), unless the vessel owner or operator is using an applicable management practice meeting the EPA-developed performance standards.

EPA currently anticipates publishing draft performance standards in October 2010.

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