President’s signature is boon for boaters

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In a victory for the American boating public, President Bush signed into law the Clean Boating Act of 2008 (S. 2766), exempting the more than 17 million recreational boats from federal marine discharge regulations aimed at commercial vessels.

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Millions of recreational boaters faced regulations meant for commercial vessels.“The recreational marine industry and boaters throughout the U.S. can now rest easy and go boating without a federal or state permit, heavy penalties and absurd legal jeopardy,” says Scott Gudes, National Marine Manufacturers Association vice president of government relations.

Introduced by Senators Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) and Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and Representatives Steve LaTourette (R-Ohio) and Candice Miller (R-Mich.), the Clean Boating Act permanently and fully restores a common sense regulation that excludes recreational boaters and anglers from the Clean Water Act federal and state permitting system. Without legislative relief, the Environmental Protection Agency was set to implement new permitting regulations for boaters by Oct. 1. Congress passed the Clean Boating Act July 22, and the President signed it into law July 30.

One week earlier, President Bush signed into law the Maritime Pollution Protection Act of 2008, which gives the federal government greater power in preventing and controlling air pollution from ships.