Thursday October 19, 2023


The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is issuing a supplemental proposed rule to reduce the spread of invasive species that occurs with normal operation of large marine vessels. Following public input on EPA’s 2020 proposed rule—including meetings with states, Tribes, and other stakeholders—the agency is now issuing a Supplemental Notice to share new data and control options raised by stakeholders. This supplemental proposal will bolster the development of a final rule to stem the spread of invasive species and better protect our nation’s aquatic ecosystems.

“The Biden-Harris Administration recognizes that healthy aquatic ecosystems provide real benefits to communities—they help clean our waters, they support commercial fishing, and they enhance recreation opportunities,” said EPA Principal Deputy Assistant Administrator for Water Bruno Pigott.  “This supplemental notice will help EPA develop a stronger final rule to protect our nation’s aquatic resources as Congress intended when it passed the Vessel Incidental Discharge Act.”

EPA’s proposed Vessel Incidental Discharge National Standards of Performance would reduce the environmental impact of discharges, such as ballast water, that are incidental to the normal operation of commercial vessels. The proposed standards would apply discharges to waters of the United States from:

  • Commercial vessels greater than 79 feet in length
  • Other non-recreational, non-Armed Forces vessels, such as research and emergency rescue vessels
  • Ballast water only from small vessels (vessels less than 79 feet in length) and fishing vessels of all sizes

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