The U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation approved S. 373, the Vessel Incidental Discharge Act, with strong bipartisan support.
The bill is aimed at establishing a uniform national framework for the regulation of ballast water and other vessel discharges that would eventually benefit all segments of the U.S. maritime industry.
A broad-based coalition of nearly 60 organizations joined the national trade association representing the tugboat, towboat and barge industry American Waterways Operators (AWO) in urging the committee to approve VIDA.
AWO said that this measure would replace a patchwork of overlapping and conflicting federal and state regulations with a uniform, science-based federal framework for vessel discharge regulation. AWO and the coalition will work with the Commerce Committee to bring S.373 to the Senate floor for passage this spring.
“The bill is good for the maritime transportation industry and the industries that rely upon it, good for the health of the nation’s waterways, and good for the American taxpayer,” said a letter the coalition sent to the Senate Commerce Committee in advance of last week’s approval.