Washington, D.C. -- Today the Senate rejected the Vessel Incidental Discharge Act (“VIDA”), which was included in the Coast Guard Authorization Act - S. 1129. VIDA would have removed Clean Water Act authority over ballast water discharges by the shipping industry, creating a loophole that would have exposed our nation’s waters to the further spread of invasive aquatic species.
Clean Water Action President and CEO Bob Wendelgass released the following statement:
"This is a big win for our water. Invasive species like Zebra Mussels jeopardize the health of our waters, damage our infrastructure, and impact businesses across the nation -- costing our economy billions of dollars annually. VIDA would have shifted authority and responsibility to protect our water from the experts at EPA to the Coast Guard, which lacks the expertise to properly safeguard our lakes and rivers from invasive species. The bill would have preempted states' ability to protect their waters, locked in place an ineffective approach to stopping future invasions, and shifted the burden and cost of mitigating this damage from foreign shipping companies, who are largely responsible, to the American people. We applaud the Senate Democrats who recognized the danger of opening up another Clean Water Act loophole, and worked hard to ensure their colleagues rejected VIDA."
Since our founding during the campaign to pass the landmark Clean Water Act in 1972, Clean Water Action has worked to win strong health and environmental protections by bringing issue expertise, solution-oriented thinking and people power to the table. We will protect clean water in the face of attacks from a polluter friendly Administration and Congress.