US EPA Vessel General Permit - Update

Release of the final VGP (VGP 3.0) has been further delayed. VGP 3.0 was originally scheduled to be issued for comment in late 2017 allowing for final permits to be issued in the summer of 2018.  The EPA recently announced that the new date for the proposed VGP (VGP 3.0) is March 2019, which will have at least a 30 day comment period. Jack Faulk, US EPA Team Leader, Water Permits Division, provided this update at the BWMTech N.A. conference, 26 September 2018.

During the extended delay period, the EPA is administratively continuing the current VGP (VGP 2.0) until VGP 3.0, enters into force. Vessels which are currently covered by the existing VGP (VGP 2.0), specifically those vessels which have filed a Notice of Intent (NOI) prior to 18 December 2018, and have implemented VGP 2.0, are automatically covered by the administrative continuance with no additional follow-up action necessary.

Operators of new vessels, with a keel laid prior to 18 December 2018, are required to file an NOI prior to 18 December 2018 in order to be covered by VGP 2.0. If an operator of vessel with a keel laid prior to 18 December 2018 does not file an NOI with the EPA, that vessel will not be covered by the administratively continued VGP 2.0, and therefore may not discharge any discharges covered by the VGP 2.0 in US waters until it files a new NOI in accordance with the new VGP (VGP 3.0). Vessels with keel laid after 18 December 2018 will be covered once the new VGP (VGP 3.0) is issued and the vessel files the required NOI.

EPA leadership has also advised that a policy letter will be issued in the very near future addressing the above.