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E-M:/ State Officials Fight Bush Administration on Controlling InvasiveSpecies


Environmental groups applaud Attorney General and Governor Fighting Bush Administration’s decisions involving invasive species

Attorney General Mike Cox joins lawsuit opposing EPA decision not to regulate invasive species in ballast water as a “pollutant” under the Clean Air Act

Governor Granholm joins petition urging the Coast Guard to work more aggressively to halt introduction of new invasive species

Invasive species (harmful, foreign organisms that have been introduced to the Great Lakes) damage ecosystems, businesses and communities along the Great Lakes. These species are introduced in large part through specific shipping practices, such as the release of ballast water.

In 2003, the Bush Administration’s EPA determined that releasing ballast water containing invasive species was not regulated under the Clean Water Act, and therefore not regulated by the U.S. EPA.  In response to this ruling, the State of New York filed suit against the EPA to include the introduction of invasive species as a permitted activity. Since then, Minnesota, Illinois and Wisconsin have joined New York in its suit.

“Joining our neighbors in calling on the EPA to protect the Great Lakes from invasive species that could permanently alter their ecology is critical,” said James Clift, Policy Director at the Michigan Environmental Council.  “The failure of the Bush administration to make this a top priority is troubling given the precious nature of the resource.”

The Attorney General joins the States of New York, Minnesota, Illinois and Wisconsin and others in filing an amicus brief against the EPA.

“The Great Lakes have been plagued by invasive species for years – they not only affect the vitality and character of our Great Lakes, they also affect Michigan's critical tourism economy,” said Jeff Irwin, the Executive Director of the Michigan League of Conservation Voters. “I hope that this move by our Attorney General signals to the President the importance of stopping the next zebra mussel or sea lamprey from entering the Great Lakes.”

Submitted by:

James Clift, Michigan Environmental Council, (517) 487-9539

Jeff Irwin, Michigan League of Conservation Voters,  (734) 222-9650