EPA Publishes Its Long-Anticipated VIDA Proposed Rule
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has formally published in the Federal Register its standards for discharges incidental to the normal operation of vessels pursuant to the Vessel Incidental Discharge Act. The authors of this article explain the proposed rule and its implication for the industry.
Late last year, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) formally published in the Federal Register its long-anticipated standards for discharges incidental to the normal operation of vessels pursuant to the Vessel Incidental Discharge Act (“VIDA”). Signed into law on December 4, 2018, as part of the Frank LoBiondo Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2018, VIDA established a new framework for the regulation of discharges incidental to the normal operation of vessels in an attempt to bring uniformity, consistency, and certainty to the regulation of discharges from U.S.-flag and foreign-flag vessels. Comments were due November 25, 2020, and the comment period is now closed.
The first step in implementing VIDA requires the EPA to develop federal performance standards for “marine pollution control devices,” which includes any equipment or management practice (or combination thereof) to manage incidental discharges from vessels. The EPA’s proposal sets standards for 20 types of vessel discharges incidental to normal operations.
The program implemented under VIDA will replace the EPA’s Vessel General Permit and certain U.S. Coast Guard (“USCG”) regulations for ballast water a few years from now, after the USCG finalizes regulations to implement the EPA’s standards, including compliance, monitoring, inspections, and enforcement.
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“EPA Publishes Its Long-Anticipated VIDA Proposed Rule,” by Jeanne M. Grasso and Dana S. Merkel was published in the February 2021 edition of Pratt's Energy Law Report (Vol. 21, No. 2), an A.S. Pratt Publication, LexisNexis. Reprinted with permission.
This article was first published in the December 2020 edition of Mainbrace, Blank Rome's quarterly maritime newsletter.