H.R. 2830 – a bill to reauthorize the Coast Guard – takes important steps in protecting the Great Lakes and all U.S. waters from aquatic invasive species by creating a Coast Guard program to effectively regulate the primary source of invasive species in the Great Lakes – ballast water discharges. However, there is more work to be done. As Clean Water Action’s Rosie Loeffler-Kemp said to the Duluth News Tribune, “We want to thank Rep. Oberstar for taking the initiative and getting serious about ballast water regulation. But we also want to make sure that what passes is meaningful, that it will really work to protect this resource” (see the full article here).
Improvements to the current legislation could start with faster timelines to install treatment technology on ships, and by mandating the best management practices for ships claiming no ballast on board (NOBOBs). Additionally, an increased EPA role and assurance that states will not be prevented from taking action to protect their waters from invasive species until federal standards are put into place are needed. More details about the areas that should be addressed before the House of Representatives considers this bill can be found here.
Contact your U.S. Representative about your concerns with the bill so that the Great Lakes get the comprehensive protection they deserve!