Here’s a trivia question that is sure to stump some of your wonky friends: How long will it take the U.S. Coast Guard to force freighters plying the Great Lakes to install the most effective ballast water treatment systems?
A. 6 years; B. 11 years; C. 22 years; D. 30 years.
The correct answer is C: 22 years.
“The final standards are very good, but the schedule is much too long, excusing some ships from meeting the final standards until 2031,” said Andy Buchsbaum, co-chair of the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition.
“That’s decades too late for the Great Lakes,” Buchsbaum said. “It’s like giving a patient powerful medicine, but only after he’s dead.”
On the surface, it appears that the Coast Guard rule would require all ships operating in U.S. waters to meet final ballast water discharge standards by 2021.
But there’s a catch: Based on when ships go into dry-dock for repairs, shipping companies could be given up to 10 additional years (until 2031) to meet the final ballast water discharge standards.
To put things in perspective, consider this: It took the United States just 11 years to put a man on the moon in the 1960s — from the inception of research to completion of the mission.
If you think the Coast Guard’s timeline for requiring ships to disinfect their filthy ballast tanks is too protracted, it’s time to speak out. Tell the Coast Guard the Great Lakes can’t afford to wait 22 years for freighters to provide the highest level of protection against invasive species lurking in ballast water tanks.
Here’s how to be heard:
E-mail comments by Dec. 4 to the Coast Guard’s online docket. Click here.
Comments also may be mailed to:
Coast Guard docket number USCG-2001-10486
Docket Management Facility (M-30)
U.S. Department of Transportation
West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE.
Washington, DC 20590-0001.