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Water: Habitat Protection

Rulemaking Petition Related to Ballast Water

On September 3, 2003, EPA denied a rulemaking petition submitted by a number of interested parties that sought to repeal a long-standing provision of EPA's regulations excluding certain discharges incidental to the normal operation of vessels, including ballast water, from permitting under the Clean Water Act. That petition expressed concerns regarding discharges of ships’ ballast water containing invasive species. EPA denied the petition for a variety of reasons, as explained in EPA's decision on the rulemaking petition and related supporting documents (see links below). Subsequently, the petitioners filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California (Northwest Environmental Advocates et al. v. EPA, No. C 03-05760 SI). On March 30, 2005, the court granted summary judgment to plaintiffs, and on September 18, 2006, issued an order granting injunctive relief (see links below).

Vessel Discharge Permit Program Under Development

In light of the Northwest Environmental Advocates (NWEA) litigation., EPA has now developed two general NPDES permits which it is proposing for public comment. More information is available on those permits on the NPDES Website. 

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