Marine Protection, Research, and Sanctuaries Act Law and Legal Definition

The Marine Protection, Research, and Sanctuaries Act (MPRSA) is a U.S. federal environmental legislation passed in 1972. This Act authorized the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to regulate ocean dumping of industrial waste, sewage sludge, biological agents, NBC, radioactive waste and other wastes into the territorial waters of the United States through a permit program. The MPRSA prohibits the dumping of material into the ocean that would unreasonably degrade or endanger human health or the marine environment. Ocean dumping cannot occur unless a permit is issued under the MPRSA. In the case of dredged material, the decision to issue a permit is made by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, subject to EPA's concurrence.

Titles I and II of the MPRSA, also referred to as the Ocean Dumping Act, generally prohibits:

(1) transportation of material from the U.S for the purpose of ocean dumping.

(2) transportation of material from anywhere for the purpose of ocean dumping by U.S. agencies or U.S.-flagged vessels.

(3) dumping of material transported from outside the United States into the U.S. territorial sea. A permit is required to deviate from these prohibitions.

The MPRSA provisions administered by EPA are published in Title 33 of the U.S. Code. The MPRSA provisions that address marine sanctuaries are administered by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and are published in Title 16 of the U.S. Code.