| Connect Follow us on Twitter Like us on Facebook
About | Subscribe | Advertise


Download our free ebook on Ultra-High-Pressure Waterjetting

Paint and Coatings Industry News

Main News Page

CA Drops Bid to Ban Copper Hull Paint

Monday, June 4, 2012

More items for Coating Materials

Comment | More

In a huge win for coating manufacturers, a California state senator has abruptly halted her long-fought effort to ban the use of copper antifouling paint on recreational boats in the state.

Sen. Christine Kehoe, a San Diego Democrat, has withdrawn SB 623, which would have prohibited manufacturers from selling recreational vessels with copper-based bottom paint in California after 2014 and recreational boat owners from using or applying copper-based paint after 2018.

 Non-copper hull paints are being tested in the Port of San Diego, where all eight marina basins have been found to have an overload of copper.


Non-copper hull paints are being tested in the Port of San Diego, where all eight marina basins have been found to have an overload of copper. The state has ordered the Shelter Island Yacht Basin to reduce copper loading by 76% by 2028.

Kehoe has been pushing hard on the bill with the support of the Port of San Diego and San Diego Coastkeeper. Marina bays in the area have been seriously impacted by excessive copper, primarily from hull paint.

Kehoe’s measure easily passed the state Senate in June 2011, on the heels of a similar ban in Washington State that was signed into law the month before.

Troubled Waters

However, the California bill ran aground in the state Assembly, fueled by fierce opposition from boating groups and the American Coatings Association, which represents coating manufacturers. Although the ban would have applied only to recreational vessels, ACA feared the measure would set a bad precedent that could affect other marine coatings.

ACA and the boating groups also contend that today’s non-copper-based antifouling paints are not as effective or sufficiently available as copper-based biocide antifouling coatings.

“To say the least, we are very pleased with the results,” said John Hopewell, ACA’s Assistant Director of Environmental Affairs and International Programs, said Monday (June 4).

In August 2011, Kehoe quietly decided to hold off on the bill until this summer, to allow more time for the parties to work out a compromise.

“We are making progress, and we will be ready to move the bill next year,” Kehoe said at the time.

Last month, however, ACA approached Kehoe about delaying the measure yet again, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported.

“(A) number of activities directly related to marine antifouling coatings have begun, which could fundamentally change the discussion, but no resolution on these activities will occur during the California legislative session this year,” Hopewell wrote. “(U)ntil these activities are concluded and results known, ACA believes that it is premature to mandate any legislative remedies.”

‘It Makes Sense to Defer’

Kehoe agreed.

In a letter Wednesday (May 30) to supporters and ACA, she cited studies now underway that could affect the science underpinning the measure. She also noted regulatory actions that could impact the issue.

 The bill’s future is uncertain. Its sponsor, State Sen. Christine Kehoe, must leave office at the end of 2012.


The bill’s future is uncertain. Its sponsor, State Sen. Christine Kehoe, must leave office at the end of 2012.

“As you know, my intent in introducing SB 623 was to develop a statewide solution for those local jurisdictions currently facing stringent Total Maximum Daily Load requirements and for those jurisdictions which may face them in the future,” Kehoe wrote.

“Given some of the outstanding issues highlighted in your letter, such as the near-completion of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s marine Biotic Ligand Model for copper and the hull cleaning study requested of the marine coatings industry by the Department of Pesticide Regulation, I agree with you that it makes sense to defer the bill until some of these essential items are completed in 2013.”

But Kehoe will be long gone by then—under California’s term limits, she must leave office in December. And no other legislator has stepped forward to lead the issue. So the fate of any future legislation remains uncertain at best.

Persistent Problem

Still, the copper problem will require answers. Water quality in coastal waters and marina bays nationwide is being hard hit by copper and other metals in hull paints.

In California, all of San Diego’s eight marina basins have been found to suffer from overloading of copper, virtually all of which is caused by passive leaching of the copper from antifouling coatings and periodic hull cleaning by divers, state and federal officials say.

“It’s a problem that’s not going to go away,” Gale Filter, executive director of San Diego Coastkeeper, told the Union-Tribune.

On the other hand, Hopewell believes that EPA’s Biotic Ligand Model may well show that the copper threat to waters has been overstated. BLM is a relatively recent method of calculating metal toxicity using 10 water chemistry parameters.

BLM “could fundamentally change how we define copper-impaired waters,” Hopewell said.

Filter said he was disappointed that the legislation stalled, but added: “[Y]ou have to make sure what you have is the best science that’s available. It’s due diligence.”


Tagged categories: American Coatings Association (ACA); Antifoulants; Coatings manufacturers; Copper; Laws and litigation; Marine; Marine Coatings

Comment Join the Conversation:

Sign in to our community to add your comments.

International Paint LLC
Rapid cure, high temperature lining

AkzoNobel introduces Enviroline 405HTR, an ultra-low VOC lining. 405HTR offers rapid return to service, and excellent chemical resistance at high temperatures.

Jessup Manufacturing Company
More Traction for Extreme Marine Conditions

Jessup Safety Track® 3800 Military Grade peel-and-stick non-skid tapes and treads provide extra slip resistance for decks. MIL-PRF-24467C Type XI, Black & Gray.

Sherwin-Williams Protective & Marine Coatings

With 4,000 distribution points and 3,700+ years of experience, Sherwin-Williams delivers the products, support and expertise you need, right where you need it.

Armakleen Company, The
ARMEX when nondestructive cleaning is critical

Use ARMEX to clean, remove paint and degrease a wide variety of substrates including metals, plastics, composites and masonry materials like brick, concrete and natural stone.


Temporary climate control equipment. Dehumidifiers,
Heaters, A/C, Power, More…
Call: 866-379-2600

Polyurethane and Polyurea Sprayed-On Protection

Buy POLYURETHANE or POLYUREA coatings and spray equipment for years of proven chemical resistance, water- and weather-proofing, and structural improvements.

New resins from BASF will have metals loving water:

Excellent corrosion resistance, low VOC, high gloss, thin films

US Minerals
US Minerals -
Black Magnum

With nationwide production and distribution capabilities, U.S. Minerals supplies a complete range of coal slag and other abrasives to meet all of your blasting needs.

Wasser High-Tech Coatings Inc.
Wasser Coatings Protect

Wasser Coatings offer a complete range of Moisture Cure Urethane (NEPCOAT approved) systems in addition to Polyurea membranes and linings(NSF).

Minerals Research & Recovery


“Made in the USA!”

Why recycle waste from other countries? Go FASTER, CLEANER, at 1/3 THE COST with MR&R “All-American” Sharpshot®HP!!


Technology Publishing

The Technology Publishing Network

The Journal of Protective Coatings & Linings (JPCL) PaintSquare
Durability + Design Paint BidTracker

EXPLORE:      JPCL   |   PaintSquare News   |   Interact   |   Buying Guides   |   Webinars   |   Resources   |   Classifieds
REGISTER AND SUBSCRIBE:      Free PaintSquare Registration   |   Subscribe to JPCL   |   Subscribe to PaintSquare News
MORE:      About   |   Privacy policy   |   Terms & conditions   |   Site Map   |   Search   |   Contact Us

© Copyright 2000-2015, Technology Publishing / PaintSquare, All rights reserved
2100 Wharton Street, Suite 310, Pittsburgh PA 15203-1951; Tel 1-412-431-8300; Fax 1-412-431-5428; E-mail