The clock keeps ticking. Congress isnít moving. The deadlineís getting closer! Iím referring, of course, to the ballast water issue, the looming EPA discharge permit requirements for recreational boats.
If†nothing happens soon all boaters will be caught up in another destructive federal debacle remindful of the devastation the luxury tax heaped on us 18 years ago!
The background goes like this: Over 30 years ago, the EPA exempted pleasure boats from a provision in the Clean Water Act, requiring an overboard discharge permit. Overboard discharge includes grey and bilge water, deck runoff and engine/generator cooling water. The exemption, however, has been declared illegal by a U.S. District Court ruling; thereby, requiring all boats to be permitted in 8 months (by Sept. 30, 2008) unless Congress passes legislation to prevent it.
The two companion bills in Congress, titled the Recreational Boating Act of 2007, are H.R. 2550 in the House and S2067 in the Senate. If passed, the exemption would be reinstated for pleasure boats. But passage wonít happen unless Congress is pushed to act. Thatís where every dealer, every employee and every customer must weigh in!
www.boatblue.org has been created by a Coalition of boating interests, including the MRAA, the NMMA and BoatUS; they’ve been pushing for†Congressional action. But a louder voice needs to be heard from around the country, You!
We must turn up the heat by keeping letters, calls and e-mails flowing into Congress, calling on our representatives and senators to co-sponsor and pass H.R. 2550 and S2067. Today, there are 69 co-sponsors of H.R. 2550 and 11 co-sponsors in the Senate for S2067. We need more.
†www.boatblue.org is an excellent website that gives everyone the tools to become part of this effort. So hereís a recommendation for every dealership: Starting with you, get every employee in your store engaged in the process. By department, specify an hour in a day for the employees to write a letter, make a phone call or send an e-mail to their respective congressman and senator, urging them to co-sponsor and pass the respective bill. Allowing time to do this at work can serve as (1) good team-building; (2) emphasize the importance of this issue; and (3) let them have an active role.