New ballast water standard proposed to restrict invasive species in Great Lakes

12-01-2011 // Sabrina Eaton, The Plain Dealer

This excerpt is from The Plain Dealer

The federal government on Wednesday issued a proposal to prevent the spread of invasive species through the Great Lakes and other water bodies by establishing national ballast water standards that would mesh with those already approved by the United Nations' International Maritime Organization.

The move won praise from Rep. Steve LaTourette, a Republican from Bainbridge Township, who has warned of damage to the Great Lakes shipping industry if regulations are extreme.

Environmental groups said the Environmental Protection Agency's proposed standards -- which are backed by the shipping industry -- are a step in the right direction, although they wouldn't be strict enough to keep organisms from hitching rides in ships' water tanks and causing environmental damage.

"On the positive side, it sets numerical limits for ballast water discharges and maintains the rights of states to add additional protections," said Andy Buchsbaum, who heads the National Wildlife Federation-Great Lakes Program Office. "But EPA's proposed standard still allows the discharge of invasive organisms into the Great Lakes and the nation's waters at significant levels. That's simply not acceptable."

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