The Ballast’s in Your Court
Enviro-backed Great Lakes bill stalls, industry-backed bill advances
Following this summer’s massive Detroit News series on threats to the Great Lakes, a key protection measure is … wait for it … stalled in Congress. Officials from Great Lakes states and conservationists back the National Aquatic Invasive Species Act, which would force shippers to use stronger measures to kill invasive species in their ballast-water tanks by 2011. “It may be the most important bill in Congress to protect the Great Lakes from ecological collapse,” says the National Wildlife Federation’s Andy Buchsbaum. But it’s languished for three years, while a shipping-industry-backed rival, which would give shippers more time to come up with ballast-water treatments, was voted out of the Senate Commerce Committee this year. The attorneys general of six Great Lakes states wrote to the committee in opposition to the bill, saying that it would not only eradicate EPA authority to regulate ballast water but preempt state laws as well. Witness the power of journalism! Sigh.