Marine Protection Research and Sanctuaries Act MPRSA of 1972

This act is commonly known as the Ocean Dumping Act. The purpose of this law is to regulate the dumping of all types of materials into ocean water and to prevent or limit the dumping of any material that would adversely affect (a) human health or welfare or (b) the marine environment. The Act specifically prohibits (1) transportation of material from the United States for the purpose of ocean dumping, (2) transportation of material from anywhere for the purpose of ocean dumping by U.S. agencies of U.S. flagged vessels, and (3) the dumping of material transported from outside the United States into the U.S. territorial zone (12 nautical miles). Penalties from breaking laws established under the Act include (1) a civil penalty of up to $50,000 against persons in violation of MPRSA or a permit, (2) a fine of up to $125,000 for the illegal dumping of medical waste, and (3) criminal penalties including a fine and up to five years in jail for knowingly violating MPRSA, its regulation, or an MPRSA permit. In addition, each day of violation is considered as a separate offense. The MPRSA is enforced by the EPA working with the U.S. Coast Guard to monitor and conduct surveillance operations on shipping vessels.

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