Court Ruling Threatens Recreational Boating
Solution, H.R. 2550, Gains Steam in Congress with
Without Congressional approval
of corrective legislation or a successful legal
appeal, a September 2006 court decision by the
U.S. District Court for Northern California designed
to hold the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
accountable for the regulation of the discharge
of ballast water from ocean going commercial ships
will have unintended and serious consequences
for recreational boating, according to Boat Owners
Association of The United States (BoatU.S.).
“As it stands now, a permit
will be required for ‘normal operational
discharges’ on every recreational boat –
even your dinghy – in every state where
you boat,” said BoatU.S. Vice President
of Government Affairs Margaret Podlich. “This
is an attempt to apply a complex permitting system
designed for industrial dischargers to recreational
boats that will not yield significant environmental
Instead, BoatU.S. is pushing
for passage of H.R. 2550 “The Recreational
Boating Act of 2007.” It would continue
a 34-year-old exemption applied to recreational
boats and release the EPA from having to implement
an expensive and bureaucratic national permit
system for all recreational boats by September
The original lawsuit was brought
against EPA in an effort to control the spread
of invasive species contained in commercial ships’
ballast water tanks. The tanks, which add stability,
are filled overseas and then discharged in U.S.
waters when cargo is uploaded. Ballast water is
a primary pathway for non-native species, such
as the Zebra Mussel, to invade U.S. waters.
However, 99% of recreational
boats do not have ballast tanks, nor do they cross
oceans in any significant numbers. For over three
decades the EPA understood that everyday deck
runoff, bilge water, engine cooling water, or
grey water from sinks or showers, was not the
same as commercial vessels discharging millions
of gallons of imported ballast tank water. As
a result, it exempted these normal operational
discharges from the Clean Water Act permit system.
But in 2006 the District Court ruled that EPA
overstepped its authority, and started the clock
on the September 30, 2008 permit implementation
BoatU.S. is urging all boaters
to contact their legislators to co-sponsor H.R.
2550 which is a common sense solution designed
to make the previous exemption for recreational
boats permanent. “It’s important to
know that H.R. 2550 does not weaken any existing
environmental regulations for recreational boaters.
The main sources of potential pollution from boats
– oil, fuel, sewage and trash – are
already regulated and will remain so,” added
For more information on this
issue, or for help contacting your legislators,
http://www.BoatUS.com/gov BoatU.S. is the
nation’s leading advocate for recreational
boaters with over 650,000 members.
Benefits From Thunder Bay Sailing Event
Women take the helm on Lake Superior
every August as part of a popular annual sailing
event. Sailboats line up at Marina Park for the
annual Women at the Helm Race for Hope.
The tradition brings boaters
together to raise funds for the Northern Cancer
Research Foundation. Over 200 participants are
expected this year.
Chair Judi Wood says there are
two races, one competitive and one for pure enjoyment.
Wood says the charity event got started eight
years ago and has raised $235,000 dollars in pledges
for the Northern Cancer Research Foundation. This
year the race is being dedicated to a Thunder
Bay woman who passed away last year from cancer.
The sailors will battle it out on the waves in
the 'Irene Prezio Race for Hope.'