"In November 2011 the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed two Clean Water Act (CWA) permits to regulate certain types of vessel discharges into U.S. waters. The proposed permits would replace a single Vessel General Permit (VGP) issued in 2008 that was due to expire in December 2013. As proposed, the permits would apply to approximately 71,000 large domestic and foreign vessels and perhaps as many as 138,000 small vessels. This universe of regulated entities is diverse as well as large, consisting of tankers, freighters, barges, cruise ships and other passenger vessels, and commercial fishing vessels. [...] On March 28, 2013, EPA issued a final version of the VGP for large vessels. It took effect December 19, 2013. The permit for smaller vessels is still under review. [...] In 2008 Congress enacted two bills to exempt certain vessels from a CWA permit requirement, thus restricting the population of vessels subject to the VGP. One was a permanent permit moratorium for recreational vessels of all sizes. The other act was a temporary permit moratorium for small commercial vessels and commercial fishing vessels, which has been extended twice by Congress and is due to expire in December 2014. The draft sVGP, still under interagency review, would apply to these vessels, if the moratorium expires. In the 113th Congress, a bill to make that moratorium permanent has been introduced (H.R. 3464)."
CRS Report for Congress, R42142