Court grants vessel permit extension to EPA

In July, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a lower court's decision to vacate the NPDES regulatory exclusion for discharges incidental to the normal operation of a vessel (40 C.F.R. 122.3(a)) as of September 30, 2008. This means that as of that date, vessel discharges previously subject to the exclusion would be discharging without a permit under the Clean Water Act...

WASHINGTON, DC, Sept. 8, 2008 -- In July, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a lower court's decision to vacate the NPDES regulatory exclusion for discharges incidental to the normal operation of a vessel (40 C.F.R. 122.3(a)) as of September 30, 2008. This means that as of that date, vessel discharges previously subject to the exclusion would be discharging without a permit under the Clean Water Act.

Violations of this prohibition can subject dischargers to, among other things, citizen suits, which can result in the imposition of penalties of up to $32,500 per day per violation. In response to this court decision, EPA has been developing an NPDES general permit to cover these discharges. However, due to challenges associated with putting in place a permit that both effective and implementable by the September 30th deadline, EPA requested an extension to delay the vacatur date.

On August 8, 2008, the court granted EPA's request for an extension and ordered that the exclusion be vacated as of December 19, 2008, instead of September 30.

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