Ballast Water Bill Would Open Coasts and Great Lakes to Invasive Species Assault

WASHINGTON, DC (February 25, 2015) – The US Senate Commerce Committee reported a bill to the Senate that would exempt ship ballast water—the source of numerous damaging invasive species infestations in the Great Lakes, inland waterways and sensitive waters along the entire American coastline—from the Clean Water Act.

Following is a reaction to S. 373 from Rebecca Riley, endangered species attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council:

“This bill puts a weak, untested standard in place that leaves the Great Lakes and America’s coastline wide open to new invasive species.

“We are already spending more than a billion dollars every five years to deal with species introduced by ballast water like zebra and quagga mussels, round gobies, and bloody red shrimp. We can’t afford to ignore the threat that this bill would cause already stressed ecosystems.

“Every other industry that discharges pollution into American waters must live up to the standards set by the Clean Water Act. The shipping and cruise industries shouldn’t be any different.

“We appreciate Senator Peters’ amendments that improved the bill somewhat and hope that other dramatic changes occur before this bill goes to the full Senate. We want to especially thank Senators Cantwell, Booker, Blumenthal, Udall, and Markey for opposing this ill-conceived measure.”


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