Clean Boating Act gets nod from Senate committee

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On Wednesday, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee joined the House Committee on Transportation & Infrastructure in their approval of the Clean Boating Act of 2008, which was introduced by Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) and Environment and Public Works chair Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) in March, according to a press release by the National Marine Manufacturer’s Association.

The act would permanently restore a prior regulation excluding recreational boaters and anglers from the federal and state permitting requirements associated with the Clean Water Act made for land-based industrial facilities and commercial ships, according to the release. Since its conception, the act has won 34 bipartisan sponsors.

The NMMA is currently urging congressional leaders to use this success as a means for swift movement through the House of Representatives and Senate, assuring its signature from President George W. Bush well before the September deadline.

“While this is excellent progress, if the Clean Boating Act is not passed into law by September,America’s 59 million boaters will be subject to unreasonable permitting requirements, bureaucratic red tape and potentially costly fees, and excessive legal jeopardy through citizen suits,” says Scott Gudes, vice president of government relations for NMMA, in the report.

This exemption was presented once before in 2006, but was overturned. This time around, there are millions of recreational boaters who have petitioned their support for the exemption, in addition to more than 50 organizations involved in outdoor recreation. For information on this initiative, go to www.boatblue.org

— Elizabeth Ellis

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