Senators ask President to let Montana boaters off hook by signing bill

Bipartisan measure would prevent recreational boaters from needing expensive permits

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – President Bush needs to sign a bill on his desk in order to let Montana’s recreational boaters off the hook, U.S.Senators Max Baucus and Jon Tester said today.

Both Baucus and Tester this week helped pass the bipartisan Clean Boating Act of 2008, which changes a provision in an earlier law following a controversial 2006 court decision. Under the court’s interpretation, the provision would have required most boaters to buy unnecessary Environmental Protection Agency permits for every boat they own, after September 30 of this year.

The permit requirement was originally intended to regulate wastewater from large ocean-going ships. Congress did not intend for the requirement to apply to all watercraft, including small recreational boats.

The Clean Boating Actdoes not reverse any existing environmental restrictions. Recreational boaters would still not be able to dump garbage, fuel, oil or raw sewage. But, Baucus and Tester said, recreational boaters shouldn’t have to apply for permits they don’t need.

“This time of year in Montana, we spend every moment we can outdoors. We hunt, we take our kids camping, and we fish every chance we get,” Baucus said. “This bill is about doing what’s right for the folks who are out boating and enjoying life under the Big Sky.”

“We passed this measure because the last thing folks need before spending time on the water is to have to cut through a bunch of government red tape,” Tester said. “Now it’s time for the President to do his part by signing this common sense bill into law.”

Baucus and Tester said the new law would allow some 15 million recreational boats across the stay on the water without EPA permits.

TheClean Boating Act of 2008is S. 2766.