"Where’s Your Permit?"

boaters may find themselves ensnared in a tangle of new permit regulations
soon if Congress fails to overturn a court ruling imposing water-pollution
permit requirements on the boaters.

Environmental Protection Agency expects to issue proposed regulations
next month applying the Clean Water Act under the terms of a 2006 court
ruling. A federal judge voided a 34-year practice of the EPA that had
exempted small boaters from a provision of the Clean Water Act requiring
a permit to discharge water into waterways.

law and court case by environmental groups was aimed at preventing ballast
water discharge by cargo ships to stop the introduction of invasive species
contained in the ballast water. The federal court, though, went beyond
that and extended the law to an estimated 18 million recreational boats
and small craft. The ruling applies to any discharge from normal boat
operations, including bilge water, engine cooling water or deck runoff.
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