GOP bill would give EPA’s fishing regulations the hook

GOP bill would give EPA’s fishing regulations the hook
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A pair of GOP senators is pushing legislation to delay looming Environmental Protection Agency regulations requiring certain commercial fisherman to carry special permits to hose down their decks.

Small fishing vessels are exempt from needing those special permits under the EPA’s National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Permit Program now, but only through Dec. 18.

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Sens. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioPhase-four virus relief hits a wall On The Money: Senate aims to quickly approve more small-business aid | Dems seek conditions on new funds for small-business loans | Pelosi says next round of relief will top T The Hill's Coronavirus Report: Debruyne Says Global Response Platform Needed; Navarro Saw It Coming MORE (R-Fla.) and Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiLawmakers announce legislation to fund government purchases of oil Oil giants meet at White House amid talk of buying strategic reserves GOP senators begin informal talks on new coronavirus stimulus MORE (R-Alaska) introduced legislation Wednesday to extend that moratorium another year, giving Congress more time to pass the Vessel Incidental Discharge Act and set uniform standards for incidental discharges.

Ballast water, bilge water and grey water are all considered incidental discharges for which a permit is required under the Clean Water Act.

“We need to provide all shippers and other vessel owners engaged in interstate commerce with greater certainty that an overreaching and increasingly unaccountable EPA won’t crush their businesses with burdensome regulations,” Rubio said in a statement Wednesday.

“While I remain committed to passing broader legislation that addresses more of the problems the EPA is unnecessarily causing commercial vessel owners, this Congress should at least pass this temporary relief measure until we can pass a permanent solution next year.”

Members of the seafood industry are urging Congress to move quickly, with only four weeks until the exemption expires.

“Without an extension of the current exemption, every commercial fisherman will be forced to apply for various permits or face tens of thousands of dollars in fines just for spraying off our decks,” Seafood Harvesters of America President Chris Brown said in a statement.

“So, as grateful as we are to Sens. Rubio and Murkowski for taking up this coastal community-saving cause, we will continue to speak out vigorously to ensure that we get a bill to the president’s desk before it’s too late.”