Exemption to shipping industry foists multi-million-dollar cost of ballast water invaders onto people, businesses, and communities.
WASHINGTON, D.C. (April 17, 2018)—The U.S. Senate is poised to vote as early as tomorrow on eliminating Clean Water Act protections that prevent aquatic invasive species from entering U.S. waters through the discharge of ballast water. Tucked into the Coast Guard authorization bill is the Vessel Incidental Discharge Act—a bill that exempts the shipping industry from complying with the Clean Water Act. The bill puts in place weaker, ineffective standards that will leave U.S. waters vulnerable to future aquatic invasive species that currently cost U.S. businesses, utilities, communities, and municipalities millions of dollars per year in damages and control costs.
Conservation groups are asking U.S. senators to oppose the Coast Guard bill unless the Vessel Incidental Discharge Act is removed.
Conservation groups oppose the Vessel Incidental Discharge Act because it:
- Eliminates Clean Water Act protections over ship discharges including ballast water;
- Establishes weaker, non-protective and ineffective ballast water standards;
- Removes the U.S. EPA from its scientific role in deciding what standards are needed to protect U.S. rivers, lakes, and oceans from new invaders;
- Prohibits states from putting in place more effective protections;
- Abolishes the ability of citizens to take action to protect their waters from invasive species.