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EPA Announces Timeline for Vessel General Permit 3.0

The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) primary method of regulating ballast water and other discharges is the Vessel General Permit (VGP). Under its Clean Water Act authority, the EPA established the VGP to impose requirements on vessel operators to minimize the introduction of invasive species, considered a pollutant, from ballast water. The EPA issued the first five-year VGP in 2009 and the second, known as VGP 2.0, in 2013. The EPA is already working on the next iteration of VGP, which will become effective when VGP 2.0 expires on December 19, 2018.

Importantly, VGP 3.0 must respond to concerns arising from environmental organizations’ successful challenge of VGP 2.0. In that case, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the agency’s decision-making process under the Clean Water Act was “arbitrary and capricious” and had to be better justified, or potentially made more stringent than International Maritime Organization and Coast Guard standards governing ballast water, with regards to the following issues: (1) best available technology, (2) onshore treatment, and (3) justifiable exemptions under VGP. In addition, the EPA is considering state certification issues and Endangered Species Act consultations in relation to VGP 3.0.

During a recent EPA webinar, the agency outlined its planned timeline for VGP 3.0. The agency is already gathering information and planning for preliminary drafting. The EPA said its goal is to publish the draft VGP by late summer of next year, although the agency acknowledged that the timing could slip to late 2017. Once published, the public will have between 60 and 75 days to submit comments on the draft VGP. The EPA plans to have the final VGP published by early Fall 2018 ahead of the December 19, 2018 effective date for VGP 3.0.

Copyright 2022 K & L GatesNational Law Review, Volume VI, Number 307
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About this Author

Mark Ruge, Federal Regulations Attorney, KL Gates Law Firm
Partner

Mark Ruge is a lawyer in the Public Policy and Law practice group at the global law firm K&L Gates, one of the largest policy groups in the United States. He focuses his practice on the federal government, representing clients on policy matters before Congress, administrative issues before the federal agencies/departments, and, occasionally, regulatory disputes in the federal courts. He is involved in a broad range of maritime issues and issues related to the Great Lakes states. 

A veteran of more than a decade as a staffer on Capitol Hill, Mr. Ruge serves as counsel to the...

202.661.6231
Barry Hartman, Litigation Attorney, Environmental Attorney, KL Gates Law Firm
Partner

Mr. Hartman represents companies and individuals in criminal and civil investigations, trials, and appeals primarily involving complex federal regulatory programs, with an emphasis on environmental matters, and advises clients on compliance with those programs. He also conducts internal investigations, counsels clients regarding corporate compliance programs, and represents clients in Congressional investigations regarding lobbying, ethics, and related issues. He has represented clients in industries including maritime, energy, pharmaceuticals, healthcare, recycling, chemicals,...

202.778.9338
sarah Beason, Associate, KL Gates Law Firm
Associate

Sarah Beason is an associate in the firm’s Washington, D.C. office.

202.778.9019
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