Bad Ballast Water Bill Threatens America’s Waters and Wildlife

The bill weakens safeguards that restrict the release of ballast water from international ships and the invasive aquatic species that are carried within them.

11-15-2011 // Mékell Mikell
Zebra mussels on a stick

The House of Representatives voted to undermine America’s waters and wildlife by including weak and ineffective ballast water discharge standards in the Coast Guard Reauthorization bill. This legislation rolls out the welcome mat for destructive, invasive species to infiltrate our waters.

“In horror movies, strange creatures invade our waters and threaten people and wildlife. But, the real horror is that this scenario happens every day in the U.S., and this bad ballast water bill makes it easier for invasive species to take over our water bodies,” said Josh Saks, senior legislative representative for water resources campaigns for the National Wildlife Federation.

H.R. 2838 weakens safeguards that restrict the release of ballast water from international ships and the invasive aquatic species that are carried within them. The Great Lakes, Chesapeake Bay, San Francisco Bay and Puget Sound are some of America’s iconic and vital water resources that are being harmed by the flood of non-native wildlife that choke waters ways and outcompete and eat native species.

“Fighting invasive species costs this country hundreds of millions of dollars every year,” Saks said. “At a time when lawmakers are trying to cut spending and create jobs, stopping the flood of invasive species that kill fish and wildlife, kill jobs and pollute our waterways is a no-brainer. Congress needs to increase protections against damaging, non-native species to protect our economy and our nation’s waters."

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