I‘m a liberal leaning outdoorsman attempting to open the minds of right wingers to the idea that libs fish too. Anglers come from all walks of life, left, right, and center. Not everyone who fishes for bass is a redneck fond of Nascar, country music, and religiosity. Expect posts about largemouth bass fishing, techniques, reviews of lures and other products, but not any condemnable conservative rants. I hope to inspire the online angler community to dial down rhetoric which will do more harm than good to our sport.

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Wednesday, July 30, 2008

• Clean Boat Act Clarification: The EPA

Several fishing sites by now have posts discussing the Clean Boat Act of 2008 and how boaters could potentially be required to pay for operational discharge permits issued by the EPA. It seems there is a lot of misinformation out there regarding what actually occurred. Let's get the basic timeline down and put an end to the misinformation. The EPA is catching a bad rap from all of this when in reality, they originally were on our side and were forced to comply with a new court ruling. Most posts have been written to imply the government by way of the EPA is intentionally trying to enforce new regulations.

The law was written targeted at large commercial ocean ships with ballasts to prevent the transport of aquatic nuisance species into non-native waters. The idea was that these nuisance species would hitch a ride in the ships and when ballast water was discharged, these species would be introduced where they aren't welcome. The EPA wrote in an exemption for recreational boats like yours and mine preventing us from being negatively affected by this regulation. That all changed when the EPA was sued and the judge ended up overturning the exemption when the EPA lost the suit. It forced the EPA to comply and institute a permit program leaving boaters like you and I to pay up.

The Clean Boat Act of 2008 has been adjusted to correct all of this and to prevent boaters like us from being required to pay for a permit to discharge water from our boats. It appears to have gone through Congress with success and is awaiting a siggy by the President. All is right with the world again.

For 34 years the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has exempted discharges from recreational boats from the Clean Water Act permit system. Regretfully, a fall 2006 U.S. District Court ruling cancelled this permit exemption. EPA is now required by the court decision to develop and implement by September 30, 2008 a national permit system for ALL vessels in the United States for a variety of normal operational discharges1

So you see, this is all thanks to a court ruling and not an attempt by the EPA to regulate some more or charge us money. I just want to make that very clear seeing as how anglers might get a little jumpy over anything viewed as "environmental protection."

You can read more about all of this in the following links.

1. "EPA Discharge Permit Requirement for Recreational Boats." Federal Alerts, 19 March, 2008. BoatU.S. Government Affairs. 30 July, 2008. < http://www.boatus.com/gov/fed_alert.asp >.