EPA advances rule on ballast water pollution

By Miranda Willson | 06/20/2024 04:22 PM EDT

A final rule to curb pathogens and invasive species from commercial vessels is now under White House review.

EPA has proposed new standards for ballast water.

The Biden administration is advancing new standards for ballast water. aka CJ/Flickr

The Biden administration is inching toward finalizing long-awaited pollution standards for commercial ships, a key step to curb the spread of pathogens and invasive species.

EPA’s final rule to regulate water pollution from commercial vessels is now under review by the White House, according to a notice this week from the Office of Management and Budget.

The rule was proposed in 2020 during the Trump administration to comply with the Vessel Incidental Discharge Act. The law directed EPA to come up with standards to control and prevent harmful discharges into oceans, bays and freshwater resources like the Great Lakes.


While the agency was supposed to finalize vessel discharge standards by the end of 2020, that never happened. Last year, environmental groups sued over those delays, and EPA revisited and modified the 2020 proposal in the fall of 2023.