Washington, DC - Today, Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee, released the statement below following the Senate's passage of a measure that would temporarily exempt small commercial and fishing vessels from the requirement to obtain a discharge permit. The measure passed as part of a compromise amendment to, S. 2444, the U.S. Coast Guard bill, following the objection of Senator David Vitter (R-LA) to including Senator Boxer's proposal to provide a permanent exemption. S. 2444 will now go to the U.S. House of Representatives for consideration.

Senator Boxer said: "It doesn't make sense for small vessels that have minimal discharges and do not present an environmental threat to be subject to these discharge permits. I believe a temporary moratorium leaves thousands of boat operators and vessels in limbo instead of providing them with the permanent certainty they need. Some Senators want to attach controversial language to the permanent exemption for political purposes, but I will not let that happen. The three-year moratorium is better than nothing and I remain committed to working toward a permanent exemption."

Last month, Senator Boxer introduced S. 2963 - a bill to provide a permanent exemption for small commercial vessels and fishing vessels. The legislation has 14 co-sponsors including, Senators Mark Begich (D-AK), Bill Nelson (D-FL), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Patty Murray (D-WA), Jack Reed (D-RI), Edward Markey (D-MA), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD), Cory A. Booker (D-NJ), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), and Ron Wyden (D-OR).

Watch Senator Boxer's floor remarks from today: