2018 Recent Vote
Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) offered S. 1129, the Coast Guard Reauthorization Act, as an amendment to S. 140. This bill included the Vessel Incidental Discharge Act (VIDA), which would leave our waters more vulnerable to aquatic invasive species by exempting the shipping industry from requirements under the Clean Water Act in favor of a new, weaker regulatory scheme. VIDA would shift authority for regulating ballast water away from the EPA and transfer it to the Coast Guard, which runs counter to the pollution discharge regulatory authority given to EPA by the Clean Water Act and would set a dangerous precedent of transferring authority to agencies ill-equipped to handle the responsibility. In addition, VIDA would preempt the states’ ability to protect their waterways from pollution and invasive species by eliminating their capacity to enact and enforce their own ballast water rules. Lastly, VIDA would further jeopardize some of our most iconic water bodies, such as the Great Lakes, by exempting ships in geographically restricted areas from any regulation. On April 18, the Senate rejected S. 1129 by a vote of 56-42 (60 votes were needed for passage) (Senate roll call vote 77). NO IS THE PRO-ENVIRONMENT VOTE.