Action Alert: Tell Your Senator to Oppose Ballast Water Regulation Changes

Invasive species like zebra mussels are introduced from the ballast water of ships and have contributed to the breakdown of the Great Lakes food chain. Photo credit: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

The Senate will vote on its Coast Guard bill next week, which currently includes the Vessel Incidental Discharge Act (VIDA). This legislation significantly changes to how ballast water discharges are regulated nationwide, and would be bad for the Great Lakes.

Please call your Senators TODAY to urge them to oppose this bill if VIDA is included!

 

You may contact your Member of Congress via the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121.

 

VIDA moves us away from the responsible management of ballast water discharges by completely removing Clean Water Act authority over ship discharges. Under VIDA, the Clean Water Act would cease to apply to all ship incidental discharges—including ballast water, nutrient-laden greywater, and chemicals—from commercial vessels. In addition, VIDA would:

  • transfer regulatory authority from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)—the agency with water pollution expertise—to the Coast Guard, whose top priority is homeland security;
  • eliminate the Clean Water Act’s protection of water quality clean enough to protect public health, native species, and the use of waters for municipal and industrial purposes; and
  • remove the Clean Water Act’s function of driving the development of improvements in treatment technology.

 

In addition to undermining federal regulation of ballast water discharges, VIDA would also preempt states’ rights to protect their waters.

VIDA also creates special exceptions for vessels that operate exclusively the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence Seaway. It ignores clear scientific evidence that ships transfer and spread invasive species from one U.S. port to another by allowing the Coast Guard to wholly exempt such ships from any regulation.

Please call your Senators TODAY to urge them to oppose this bill if VIDA is included!

You may contact your Member of Congress via the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121.

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