Jun. 5, 2012 Northwest Marine Trade Association Wins Environmental Excellence Award

Northwest Marine Trade Association (NMTA) has been named a 2012 recipient of an Environmental Excellence Award from the Association of Washington Business (AWB). The award, given to NMTA for Leading Environmental Practices, will be formally presented at AWB’s annual Spring Meeting in Spokane next month.

NMTA, which represents nearly 700 businesses involved in recreational boating, earned the award for its three-step approach to address environmental issues and challenges facing the industry:
  1. By persuading its member boatyards to work collaboratively with Seattle-based environmental watchdog Puget Soundkeeper Alliance and the Department of Ecology (DOE) on the development of a new General Boatyard Permit, establishing a fair but challenging benchmark for boatyards to meet when it comes to stormwater runoff containing levels of copper, zinc and other metals harmful to juvenile fish in regional waterways.
  2. Through taking the initiative and proactive approach in reducing potential copper pollution by introducing and successfully passing legislation in Washington state that calls for a phase-out of boat bottom paint containing copper by 2020.
  3. Establishing the Clean Boating Foundation (CBF), a 501c3 organization which created a new Certified Clean Boatyard program in the state, recognizing boatyards who meet or exceed best practices crafted by a combination of industry and environmental representatives. CBF will also begin educating boaters about the availability and effectiveness of copper-free bottom paint to prepare for the 2020 phase-out.
“The Washington state Boatyard Permit is the most stringent in the country, placing limitations and challenges on our members that are 20 years ahead of other restrictions around the country,” said NMTA President George Harris. “It was critical for NMTA to step in and work this issue on behalf of not only our industry, but boaters as well, to ensure boating continues to grow and thrive in the region. I am proud of the work we’ve accomplished and am confident the path we’ve helped create is the right one for our industry and the environment.”

The Environmental Excellence Award is the culmination of many hours of work contributed over the past several years by a number of NMTA members and volunteer leaders, including Bill Youngsman of Twin Bridges Marina and Jim Brown of YachtCare, current CBF chairman. Youngsman was the NMTA Board of Trustees chairman when the work began in 2010.

“We recognized the real threat to our industry if our boatyards went out of business due to regulatory challenges and environmental lawsuits,” said Youngsman. “Fortunately, paint companies have developed solutions in the form of copper-free bottom paint that work effectively in our region. Our strategy was to bring the opposing groups together and resolve the issues in a rational, effective solution in which everyone wins. Both NMTA and PSA dropped their appeals of the new DOE boatyard permit and NMTA proposed a phase out of copper bottom paint in the state. They were bold and decisive moves and I am proud of all the efforts of our partners and volunteers in this groundbreaking achievement.”

AWB’s Environmental Excellence Awards recognize member companies for exemplary innovations and achievements in environmental protection, conservation and compliance. The awards showcase companies that act to create a better environment, manufacture products that increase environmental quality, conserve resources, and establish processes that improve the environment, including education and business operations.

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