The USCG has agreed to incorporate components of EPA’s vessel general permit program into its existing inspection protocols and procedures to help address vessel pollution in US waters.
The MOU creates a framework for improving EPA and USCG cooperation on data tracking, training, monitoring, enforcement and industry outreach. The agencies have also agreed to improve existing data requirements so that information on potential violations observed during inspections can be sent to EPA for evaluation and follow-up.
“Protecting America’s waters is one of EPA’s top priorities, and our compliance and enforcement work is critical to meeting this challenge,” said Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “By building on our partnership with the Coast Guard, we are working to improve the health of our nation’s treasured rivers, bays, harbors and estuaries.”
The vessel permit program applies to more than 61 000 commercial ships based in the US and more than 8000 foreign ships operating in US waters. The vessel permit covers 26 types of discharges such as deck run-off from rain, ballast water used to stabilize ships, and wastewater from showers, sinks and laundry machines.