Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Act Now to Protect Boating

This came across my desk this morning from the National Marine Manufacturers Association, NC Marine Tradewinds, and BoatBlue.org.

I don't know a single person who grew up around here without enjoying recreational boating at some point in their life. It is one of my favorite memories, and something I look forward to doing as much as possible even now as an adult. I mean hey - it's the family business.

Please take 5 minutes to write a quick letter in support of this legislation which will impact all recreational boaters!

There is a LOT of information on the homepage of BoatBlue.org that will allow you to educate yourself and give you the information you need to make up your mind about this bi-partisan issue.

Here is a excerpt from a press release available on BoatBlue.org:

The issue of new federal permits stems from a September 2006 U.S. District Court ruling that ordered the EPA to regulate ballast water discharges, and mandated a deadline of September 2008 to put it in place. Although the litigation was aimed at ocean-going vessels, the court’s ruling struck down an exemption instituted in 1973 that applied to the incidental discharges from all vessels, including recreational boats. Large ocean-going ships use ballast water for stability and routinely discharge that water, introducing pollutants and invasive species in U.S. waters in the process.

“Unfortunately, the court’s decision to overturn the entire exemption unintentionally tossed recreational boats into the same category as commercial ships,” said Thom Dammrich, president of the NMMA. “While minimizing the exchange of ballast water from one international port to another is very important in reducing the spread of aquatic invasive species, it is equally important not to sweep small recreational boats into the same regulatory scheme. It was clearly never the intention of the law, or the EPA, to treat your everyday boater the same as these large ocean-going ships, and doing so would have a devastating effect on recreational boating in America.”

“Without legislative relief soon, everyday boaters would be required by federal law to apply for the same expensive permits as ocean-going commercial vessels and land-based industrial facilities,” Gudes said. “We are pleased that Senators Boxer and Nelson recognize the economic, social and cultural significance of the recreational marine industry and recreational boating and are moving to enact this crucial piece of legislation.”

“NMMA has been working with a broad coalition of stakeholders, including BoatU.S., to resolve this problem in advance of the permitting deadline,” Gudes added. “And it’s important to note that we are heavily indebted to the strong bipartisan efforts over the last year to provide relief for recreational boaters and anglers, including the leadership of Sen. Mel Martinez (R-Fla.), Representatives Gene Taylor (D-Miss.) and Candice Miller (R-Mich.), who have also introduced legislation to address this matter. Congress must now enact this legislation before the clock runs out on America’s recreational boaters."

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