Following a December 4, 2019, conference call with representatives from U.S. states and territories, the U.S. Coast Guard has established a working group to address issues related to the Vessel Incidental Discharge Act.
VIDA was signed into law on Dec. 4, 2018 and establishes new responsibilities for the Coast Guard to enforce U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) performance standards for marine pollution control devices (both equipment and management practices) that control discharges incidental to the normal operation of a vessel.
These discharges were previously regulated by the EPA under the Vessel General Permit (VGP) process.
VIDA generally preempts states from setting or enforcing state-specific ballast water management regulations different from those established by the EPA and the Coast Guard, while preserving flexibility for states and certain regions to set, administer, and enforce incidental discharges from vessels.
Following are the three VIDA provisions the working group will address:
- 16 U.S.C. 4712(f)(5) – “Not later than 1 year after December 4, 2018, the Secretary shall establish a working group, including members from the National Ballast Information Clearinghouse and States with ballast water management programs, to establish a process for compiling and readily sharing Federal and State commercial vessel reporting and enforcement data regarding compliance with this chapter.”
- 33 U.S.C. 1322(p)(5)(D) – “Beginning not later than 1 year after December 4, 2018, the Secretary shall provide to the Governor of a State, on request by the Governor, access to Automated Identification System (AIS) arrival data for inbound vessels to specific ports or places of destination in the State.”
- 16 U.S.C. 4712(f)(3)(A), (B) – “On receipt of a ballast water management report … the National Ballast Information Clearinghouse shall, in the case of a form submitted electronically, immediately disseminate the report to interested States; or in the case of a form submitted by means other than electronically, disseminate the report to interested States as soon as practicable.”