2018 Scorecard Vote
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) offered S. 1129, the Coast Guard Reauthorization Act, as an amendment to S. 140, the Frank LoBiondo Coast Guard Reauthorization Act. This amendment 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. By shifting the EPA’s authority to regulate ballast water to the Coast Guard, VIDA would set a dangerous precedent for transferring authority to agencies that are ill-equipped to handle the responsibility. In addition, VIDA would pre-empt the states’ capacity to enact and enforce their own ballast water rules, undermining their ability to protect their waterways from pollution and invasive species. Lastly, VIDA would exempt ships in geographically restricted areas -- such as the Great Lakes -- from any regulation, further jeopardizing some of our most iconic water bodies. On April 18, the Senate rejected the McConnell amendment by a vote of 56-42 (60 votes were needed for passage; Senate roll call vote 77). NO IS THE PRO-ENVIRONMENT VOTE.