32 JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2019 • FOGHORN LEGISLATIVEREPORT 49-passenger Tour Boat by www.armstrongmarine.com | sales@armstrongmarine.com | (360) 457-5752 Agency nor the Coast Guard took any action to enforce the Small Vessel General Permit. With the permanent reinstatement of the exemption, smaller passenger vessels will no longer be within the purview of this regulatory requirement. VGP Reforms for Larger Vessels The EPA’s Vessel General Permit (VGP) allows for incidental waste- water discharges from larger vessels. Many PVA vessels (those of 79 feet in length and above) have been required to comply with the Vessel General Permit (VGP) for over ten years. PVA has produced a guidance document providing information as to how an affected member can comply. As a consequence of VIDA’s enactment into law, for those PVA vessels of 79 feet and more in length, there will eventually be improve- ments to make it easier for them to comply with the wastewater discharge rules. Most significantly, the new law restricts the ability of individual states to impose more onerous operating conditions on top of federal require- ments. For example, this may make it harder for a state to ban discharges of graywater, as a few have attempted to do. However, it will take up to four years for the EPA and Coast Guard to complete the regulatory process to develop a new VGP. Until that occurs, the existing VGP provisions (including the irritating mandate for electronic annual reports in February) will remain in force. The VGP first came about as a result of a federal court order. For decades, EPA’s rules exempted incidental dis- charges from vessels from the permit- ting requirement of the federal Clean Water Act. Frustrated by the slow pace of the federal government’s response to the introduction of aquatic invasive species (for example, zebra mussels) carried to U.S. waters in the ballast water of oceangoing ships, environ- mental groups sued. The lawsuit was entitled Northwest Environmental Advocates v. EPA. In 2006, a federal district court in California ruled that the INTRODUCING THE X SERIES From the leaders in mixed flow technology comes the next generation of waterjet propulsion. Learn more at marinejetpower.com