Murkowski, Rubio Introduce Bill Extending Discharge Moratorium for Fishing Fleet

Senator: It’s Tough Enough on Alaska Waters Without Onerous Regs

Senators Lisa Murkowski and Marco Rubio (R-FL) today introduced a bill to extend the moratorium protecting the commercial fishing fleet from unnecessary regulations threatened by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for one additional year.

Given that the commercial vessels exemption from pending EPA regulations expires at Midnight on December 18, 2014, this bill (attached) aims to shield fishermen from these regulations until permanent legislation can be passed in the new Congress.

“This one-year extension is an imperative for Alaska’s fishing communities; it will prevent extraordinary hardships on small, family fishing operations throughout coastal Alaska,” said Murkowski.  “The EPA permit would impose operational limitations and physical modifications to vessels, many of which just do not make sense for fishing vessels, including trying to limit the ‘environmental impacts of rainwater or waves running off their deck.’  It’s tough enough out on the water, the last thing Alaska’s fishermen need are more EPA regulations.”

“We need to provide all shippers and other vessel owners engaged in interstate commerce with greater certainty that an overreaching and increasingly unaccountable EPA won’t crush their businesses with burdensome regulations,” said Rubio. “While I remain committed to passing broader legislation in the next Congress that addresses more of the problems the EPA is unnecessarily causing commercial vessel owners, we should at least provide this measure of temporary relief until the new Congress can pass a permanent solution. Once the new Congress convenes, one of the first pieces of legislation I will file will be these critical protections of our fishing fleet.”