Lauren Ruhland, 2008 MCPP intern
Boaters would be required to get a discharge permit for all waste released into the water under an EPA proposal, mandating authorization for about 100,000 commercial vessels and 13 million recreational powerboats and sailboats across the country, the Bay City Times reports.
The original proposal was intended to prevent the spread of invasive species hitchhiking in ballast water, and this is a worthy and reasonable goal– organisms like zebra mussels and lamprey (among many others) have caused problems for the Great Lakes’ native inhabitants and the ecosystem as a whole. However, extending the requirement to include smaller non-commercial vessels isn’t going to make a significant impact. Critics point out that as written, even rainwater that washes off the deck of small, engine-free sailboats would be considered “discharge” for which a permit is required.
I’m putting off digging through the actual proposal until later, but expect more on this subject.