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Public Statements

Delaying EPA Fishing Boat Discharge Rules

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Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. LoBIONDO. I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Madam Speaker, I rise in strong support of H.R. 5301.

Effective 11 days from now, commercial fishermen, charter boat operators, and owners of other commercial vessels less than 79 feet will have to apply for and receive individual permits from the EPA to discharge from their vessels such things as deck wash, bilge water, and condensation from air conditioning units. Vessels that operate without these permits could be subject to citizen lawsuits and fines that exceed $32,000 a day.

My bill simply extends the current moratorium for a few more years to ensure that the EPA has time to analyze the results of the study they conducted and develop proper permitting regulations. As the chairman indicated in his statement, we have the Clean Estuaries Act which is combined with this bill. We are happy to do this with Mr. Bishop.

Having said that, I am hopeful that we can move this bill today. I appreciate Chairman Oberstar's effort, but I just have a cautionary note, as the chairman has sort of indicated on a number of times, that the other body does not always act in a manner that we consider something they should do.

Mr. Oberstar, I think you understand that. And I hope we have a continued commitment to be able to make sure that this fishing boat problem can get solved before we leave one way or the other.

I yield back the balance of my time.

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