The Alliance is urging Congress and the new Administration in Washington, DC to keep existing regulations that limit the threat of invasive species. This is a chief federal priority in the Alliance’s 2017 Great Lakes Action Agenda, which outlines clear action steps for lawmakers to protect the lakes.
Invasive species pose a serious threat to the Great Lakes and cause over $200 million in economic damage to the region every year. Sixty-five percent of these intruders were introduced when ships dumped their ballast water.
Keep Current Ballast Clean Up Programs
Currently, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) work together to set and enforce standards for cleaning up ship ballast tanks.
The EPA establishes water quality standards and ensures the goals of the Clean Water Act are achieved. At the same time, the USCG certifies ballast treatment technologies for safe and efficient operation and is on the front lines of vessel inspection. Supporting these existing regulations is crucial to protecting the lakes and a core part of the Alliance’s agenda.
2017 Great Lakes Action Agenda – Ballast Water Priorities
The Alliance is urging lawmakers to support existing protections by:
- Ensuring that this partnership, which allows each agency to bring its unique strengths to this issue, continues to protect the lakes from aquatic invasive species.
- Opposing efforts to weaken ballast water standards such as the Vessel Incidental Discharge Act introduced in the 114th Session.
- Supporting the continued practice of oceangoing vessels flushing ballast tanks with ocean water before entering the Great Lakes.