Yesterday, the U.S. House of Representatives voted on–and passed–S. 3372 to extend the exemption for vessels less than 79 feet in length that do not carry or discharge ballast water from complying with the Vessel General Permit.  The Senate had already passed this legislation and all
that remains for it to become law is President Obama’s signature.  The exemption is extended until December 18, 2013.

The Environmental Protection Agency’s Vessel General Permit regulates discharges incidental to the normal operation of vessels and has been in effect for larger vessels since December 19, 2008.  Congress had previously provided an exemption from the permitting requirement for
commercial vessels of less than 79 feet.  That exemption would have ended today (July 31) absent the recent legislative exemption.