NY State Ballast Water Challenge Decision

June 01, 2009

The New York State Supreme Court, Albany County, dismissed a challenge to permit conditions issued by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation under the Clean Water Act to control discharges of invasive species from ocean-going vessels into the freshwater ecosystems of the Great Lakes. Shipping interests had argued that the State’s restrictions were both illegal under state law and unconstitutional, largely because they were more strict than those in U.S. EPA’s nationwide Clean Water Act general permit. This decision affirms New York’s decision to join California and Michigan as leaders in setting high standards to regulate biological pollution in vessels’ ballast water. Our litigation challenging U.S. EPA’s general permit, which was issued in the final days of the previous Administration, remains pending in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.