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Calendar No. 433
111th Congress Report
2d Session 111-209
A BILL TO MODIFY THE DATE ON WHICH THE ADMINISTRATOR OF THE
ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY AND APPLICABLE STATES MAY REQUIRE
PERMITS FOR DISCHARGES FROM CERTAIN VESSELS
June 18, 2010.--Ordered to be printed
Mrs. Boxer, from the Committee on Environment and Public Works,
submitted the following
R E P O R T
[To accompany S. 3372]
[Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]
The Committee on Environment and Public Works, to which was
referred the bill (S. 3372) to modify the date on which the
Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency and
applicable States may require permits for discharges from
certain vessels, having considered the same, reports favorably
thereon without amendment and recommends that the bill do pass.
General Statement and Background
P.L. 110-299 established a 2-year moratorium on Clean Water
Act National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES)
permitting of non-ballast water discharges from 1) fishing
vessels and 2) non-recreational vessels less than 79 feet. The
current moratorium ends on July 31, 2010. At that time, these
vessels would be required to hold a permit for any discharge.
S. 3372 would extend the existing moratorium on NPDES permits
for these vessel types until December 18, 2013.
A 2006 federal court ruling vacated a long-standing
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rule that exempted
discharges incidental to the normal operation of vessels from
permitting requirements of the Clean Water Act. This exemption
had been challenged over concerns about the effects of invasive
species transported by vessels and the lack of requirements in
place to address this problem.
In response to the Court decision, multiple actions were
taken to address vessel discharges. In July 2008, Public Law
110-288 reduced the scope of vessels subject to Clean Water Act
permitting by establishing a permanent exclusion of
recreational vessels from permit requirements and directing EPA
to instead develop mandatory Best Management Practices
applicable to these vessels. In July 2008, Congress also passed
Public Law 110-299 which established the 2-year moratorium on
NPDES permitting on non-ballast water discharges from fishing
vessels and non-recreational vessels less than 79 feet. EPA
addressed new permitting requirements for the remaining vessel
types, which include most large, non-recreational vessels, when
it issued its Final Vessel General Permit (VGP) on December 18,
2008. The VGP addresses:
All discharges incidental to normal
operation of non-recreational vessels 79 feet or
longer, except commercial fishing vessels, and
Ballast water discharges for all non-
recreational vessels (including commercial fishing
vessels and vessels less than 79 feet).
When Congress passed P.L. 110-299 establishing a 2-year
moratorium on Clean Water Act permitting of certain vessels, it
required EPA to conduct a study to evaluate the impacts of
discharges incidental to the normal operation of vessels
affected by the moratorium. The results of that study should
have provided a basis for determining whether and how such
discharges should be regulated by EPA through Clean Water Act
NPDES permits. However, the results of the study have not been
fully analyzed, and EPA has indicated it would be difficult to
issue permits for these vessels by July 31 using just the data
collected in the initial study.
S. 3372 would extend the existing moratorium on NPDES
permits for vessel types subject to the existing two-year
moratorium until December 18, 2013, which is also the date on
which EPA will need to re-issue its general permit for vessels
larger than 79 feet. This allows coordination of EPA's
permitting efforts for all vessel sizes.
Objectives of the Legislation
This bill will amend Public Law 110-299 to extend the date
on which the Administrator of the EPA and applicable States may
require permits for discharges from certain vessels until
December 18, 2013.
Section 1. Discharges incidental to normal operation of vessels
Section 1 amends Section 2(a) of Public Law 110-299 (33
U.S.C. 1342) by extending the moratorium on NPDES permitting
requirements from July 31, 2010, to December 18, 2012, for non-
ballast water discharges from (1) fishing vessels and (2) non-
recreational vessels less than 79 feet.
S. 3372 was introduced by Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and
Murkowski (R-AK) on May 13, 2010. It has 15 co-sponsors
including 9 Democrats and 6 Republicans. The bill was received,
read twice, and referred to the Senate Committee on Environment
and Public Works.
On May 20, 2010, the full Environment and Public Works
Committee met to consider the bill. The bill was ordered
reported favorably without amendment by voice vote.
The Committee on Environment and Public Works met to
consider S. 3372 on May 20, 2010. The bill was ordered to be
reported favorably by voice vote.
Regulatory Impact Statement
In compliance with section 11(b) of rule XXVI of the
Standing Rules of the Senate, the committee finds that S. 3372
does not create any additional regulatory burdens, nor will it
cause any adverse impact on the personal privacy of
In compliance with the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995
(Public Law 104-4), the committee noted that the Congressional
Budget Office (CBO) has found, ``S. 3372 contains no
intergovernmental or private-sector mandates as defined in the
Unfunded Mandates Reform Act and would impose no costs on
state, local, or tribal governments.''
Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate
May 24, 2010.
Hon. Barbara Boxer,
Chairman, Committee on Environment and Public Works,
U.S. Senate, Washington, DC.
Dear Madam Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for S. 3372, a bill to
modify the date on which the Administrator of the Environmental
Protection Agency and applicable states may require permits for
discharges from certain vessels.
If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Susanne S.
Douglas W. Elmendorf.
S. 3372--A bill to modify the date on which the Administrator of the
Environmental Protection Agency and applicable states may
require permits for discharges on certain vessels
Under current law, permit requirements related to certain
discharges from fishing vessels and nonrecreational vessels
less than 79 feet in length will become effective on July 31,
2010. S. 3372 would extend that date until December 18, 2013.
CBO estimates that enacting this legislation would have no
significant budgetary effect.
Pay-as-you-go procedures do not apply to this legislation
because it would not affect direct spending or revenues.
S. 3372 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act and
would impose no costs on state, local, or tribal governments.
The CBO staff contact for this estimate is Susanne S.
Mehlman. This estimate was approved by Theresa Gullo, Deputy
Assistant Director for Budget Analysis.
Changes in Existing Law
In compliance with section 12 of rule XXVI of the Standing
Rules of the Senate, changes in existing law made by the bill
as reported are shown as follows: Existing law proposed to be
omitted is enclosed in [black brackets], new matter is printed
in italic, existing law in which no change is proposed is shown
* * * * * * *
Public Law 110-299
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SEC. 2. DISCHARGES INCIDENTAL TO NORMAL OPERATION OF VESSELS.
(a) No Permit Requirement.--Except as provided in subsection
(b), [during the 2-year period beginning on the date of
enactment of this Act]during the period beginning on the date
of the enactment of this Act and ending on December 18, 2013,
the Administrator, or a State in the case of a permit program
approved under section 402 of the Federal Water Pollution
Control Act (33 U.S.C. 1342), shall not require a permit under
that section for a covered vessel for--
* * * * * * *