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INSIGHTS: GOVERNMENT UPDATE

Dennis L. Bryant

Dennis Bryant is with Bryant’s Maritime Consulting, and a regular contributor to Maritime Reporter &

Engineering News as well as online at MaritimeProfessional.com. dennis.l.bryant@gmail.com

VIDA & BWMS Reform

The Vessel Incidental Discharge Act of 2018 (VIDA) cuts through a morass of con? icting and confusing requirements.

Maritime Reporter’s government insider Dennis Bryant explains.

n December 4, President of ballast water management system

Trump signed into law the (BWMS) review de? nitions of ‘live’ and

Frank LoBiondo Coast ‘living’ to exclude an organism that has

De Nora is the latest to receive Type-

Guard Authorization Act of been rendered nonviable or preclude the

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Approval from the United States 2018 (S. 140). Title IX of the legisla- consideration of any method of measur-

Coastguard for its BALPURE ballast tion is the Vessel Incidental Discharge ing the concentration of organisms in water treatment system (BWTS).

Act of 2018 (VIDA). VIDA will largely ballast water that are capable or repro- cut through a morass of con? icting and duction, the new testing protocol will be confusing requirements that have devel- more consistent with that utilized under oped over a number of years relating to the IMO ballast water testing procedures. discharges into US waters. The US, though, will continue to insist that testing be performed by indepen-

This purpose of this new legislation SVGP and VGP programs is to: (1) provide for the establishment dent laboratories. It is expected that an

VIDA immediately repeals the Small Removal from NPDES of uniform and environmentally sound Vessel General Permit (SVGP) program.

When fully implemented, VIDA will increased number of BWMSs that have standards and requirements for the man- been approved under the IMO standard

The current Vessel General Permit remove the VGP program from the Na- agement of discharges incidental to the (VGP) program, including state require- tional Pollutant Discharge Elimination will be able to meet the VIDA require- normal operation of a vessel; (2) charge ments. Within 180 days (i.e., by June 2, 2019), the Coast Guard is required the Environmental Protection Agency ments developed thereunder, will remain System (NPDES). As a result, states will (EPA) with primary responsibility for in effect as they currently exist until ? - no longer be authorized to establish and enforce their own higher standards for to publish a draft policy letter describ- ing type-approval testing methods and establishing standards relating to the nal, effective, and enforceable VIDA re- quirements are in existence. discharges, including ballast water man- discharge of pollutants from vessels; (3) agement system discharges, incidental protocols for ballast water management charge the US Coast Guard with primary systems, if any, that render nonviable the

Uniform standards to the operation of covered vessels. In- responsibility for prescribing, adminis- organisms in ballast water, taking into

The legislation adopts for commercial stead, states are allowed to comment on tering, and enforcing regulations, con- consideration testing methods that use vessels a program similar to the Uni- and object to proposed federal standards sistent with the EPA discharge standards form National Discharge Standards for of performance for marine pollution organism grow-out and most probable for the design, construction, installation, number (MPN) statistical analysis to de-

Vessels of the Armed Forces. Entitled control devices and water quality orders. and operation of the equipment and man- termine the concentration of organisms ‘Uniform National Standards for Dis- The EPA is required to consider any state agement practices required aboard ves- in ballast water that are capable of repro- charges Incidental to Normal Operation comments and objections and explain in sels; and (4) preserve the ? exibility of writing the rationale for not accepting duction. A public comment period not to of Vessels’, it focuses largely but not ex- states, political subdivisions, and certain exceed 60 days must be allowed. A ? nal clusively on ballast water management. the state proposals. The EPA decision in regions with respect to the administra- policy letter must be published not later

I should point out that I have publicly this regard is not judicially reviewable. tion and enforcement of standards relat- than December 4, 2019.

advocated such an approach from 1996 ing to the discharge of pollutants from when the uniform standards were adopt- Nonviable organisms allowed vessels engaged in maritime commerce ed for military vessels.

Because VIDA adopts for purposes Regional differences and transportation. There will be some regional differ- 10 Maritime Reporter & Engineering News • JANUARY 2019

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