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Mr. LoBIONDO. Madam Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
I urge all Members to support this very important measure. I want to particularly thank Mr. Oberstar, Mr. Mica, and GENE TAYLOR for their work on this measure. Again, I urge everyone to support the legislation.
Madam Speaker, I rise today in strong support of S. 3372. Effective 2 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 the condensation from air conditioning units. Vessels that operate without these permits could be subject to citizen lawsuits and daily fines that exceed $32,000 per violation. To make matters worse, the EPA has informed Congress that they do not have the resources to process the hundreds of thousands of permits that would be required.
This bill simply extends the current moratorium a few more years to ensure the EPA has time to analyze the results of the study they conducted on incidental discharges, review public comments, and develop proper permitting regulations.
Although I am very pleased the House will be sending this bill to the President today, I still look forward to working with Chairman OBERSTAR on a broader bill to establish a fair and effective regime to regulate incidental discharges, as well as ballast water. As the Chairman knows, the current situation where we have 2 Federal agencies plus 28 different states enforcing 30 different standards on ballast water is crippling our maritime industry. I know the Chairman is committed to working through those issues and I hope we will have a bill on the floor soon.
Finally, I want to thank Chairman OBERSTAR for his leadership in moving this bill forward today, as well as Ranking Member MICA for his strong support and assistance. I also want to thank Senators MURKOWSKI and BOXER for their tremendous efforts. Finally, I want to thank the staff on both sides for their outstanding work.
I yield back the balance of my time.
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