Coalition to Congress: Ballast Provision Undermines Restoration, Economy, Battle against Invasive Species

As reported earlier on this site, the U.S. House Interior and EPA spending bill contains an egregious provision that undermines Great Lakes restoration, hurts state economies and sets back the national effort to stop the influx of harmful invasive species into the Lake and other U.S. waters.

The Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition sent a letter signed by 81 member groups opposing the provision, which would strip states like New York of all EPA funding for enacting laws that are more protective than ineffective national standards. For states like Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin, that amounts to losing tens of millions of dollars annually—not to mention losing ground in the effort to protect clean drinking water, prevent sewage contamination and clean up toxic pollution.

The letter states:

“State leadership has been, and will continue to be, a critical driver advancing the development of stronger standards and timelines, culminating in federal ballast water regulations that are both protective of state waters and unified across the nation. States are creating an urgency in which cutting-edge technologies are developed, verified and implemented for use. Today, we are at a crossroads in efforts to prevent aquatic invasive species introductions to our nation’s waters. As aquatic invasive species are very rarely eradicated, and extremely difficult to control, the cost incurred by more invasive species to taxpayers will be a growing burden the nation will carry forever.”

The Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition is working to oppose the anti-Great Lakes provision—and the House Interior and EPA spending bill as a whole. The nation’s public officials can do better—and need to do better to protect the Great Lakes, one of the wonders of the world that more than 30 million people depend on for drinking water.

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One Response to Coalition to Congress: Ballast Provision Undermines Restoration, Economy, Battle against Invasive Species

  1. ballast pathogen says:

    The problem of ballast water has a long history of being addressed by the Coast Guard with out much accomplished or enthusiasm to protect American waters. The continued problem of ballast water pollution from bacteria, virus, nuclear waste water, oil, tar balls, and other invasive s is still obviously problematic. The concept of state rights being used to protect state waters as a results of the Federal governments failure to act should be respected, but until we have leadership in our country that will address ballast water with comprehensive legislation to address all the issues and quell the state rights issues used by some to curtail enforceable, concise and meaningful plans to create national legislation requiring mandatory installation of technology,(under the guise of stronger state regulations) shipping will not bother to spend the money.
    Legislation with a short time line mandating expenditures by shipping to install technologies, while authorizing the Coast Guard to take on a mission of inspection, testing, and surveillance will be the only way to ensure that short cuts and total compliance will be adhered to by foreign sea captains representing foreign economic interest delivering foreign manufactured products. Legislation creating comprehensive Coast Guard authorization to protect our countries against the use of these systems as a tool to discharge biological or toxic substances as a weapon of terror, destruction, or just the greed of shipping’s economic interest, is the best fix.
    Sadly it looks as though under this commander and chief the Coast Guard will continue to follow the IMO an international organization primarily made up of foreign economic interest and their dilution is the solution plan.
    The following is from a report prepared for congress in DEC 2009 “Although estimates of the costs of ballast treatment may be imprecise and vary from vessel to
    vessel, there is some general agreement on average costs.14 For example, it may cost an estimated
    $400,000 per vessel for modification of container/bulk vessels to use onshore ballast water
    treatment facilities at California ports. More generally, the cost of retrofitting vessels to treat
    ballast water has been estimated at between $200,000 and $310,000 per vessel for mechanical
    treatment and around $300,000 for chemical treatment.15 Most of this expense will be borne by
    foreign shipping companies, as the U.S. flag fleet is a small percentage of the global fleet,16 and
    likely passed along to consumers of products imported on these ships.”
    Our largest employers are providing the largest employment opportunities in America as store clerks selling foreign made goods, and in a election year as Americans are out of work and employment numbers will matter, do not expect much of a “change” in the Coast Guard policy under this commander and chief who has not bothered to address the problem for the last three years. Unfortunately do not hold out “hope” as the continued health risk and destruction resulting from a weak Coast Guard plan will continue to affect Americas economic structure, health and environment long after the election results of 2012.