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E-M:/ Citizen victory on ballast water/invasive species control



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Enviro-Mich message from "Alex J. Sagady & Associates" <ajs@sagady.com>
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE April 1, 2005

Contact:  Robert McCann
               (517) 241-7397

DEQ, State of Michigan, Applaud Court Decision

Department of Environmental Quality Director Steven E. Chester and Office of the Great Lakes Director Ken DeBeaussaert today applauded a decision by the U.S. District Court that will protect the Great Lakes from aquatic nuisance species. The court order announced today involved a lawsuit filed by Northwest Environmental Advocates, The Ocean Conservancy, Waterkeepers Northern California and its projects, Center for Marine Conservation, and San Francisco Bay Keepers and Deltakeeper against U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for the federal regulation that exempts ballast water discharges from federal water pollution rules. The court has granted summary judgment to the plaintiffs in the case, and EPA has been ordered to repeal the exemption.

Governor Granholm, on behalf of the State of Michigan, had filed a "friend of the court" brief in support of the plaintiffs in the case.

"The court's decision today is a major victory for the Great Lakes," said Director Chester. "The EPA exemption for ballast water violated the Clean Water Act and created a loophole that allowed invasive species to enter our Great Lakes waters. That loophole is now closed."

Aquatic nuisance species are waterborne, non-native organisms that threaten the diversity or abundance of native species, the ecological stability of impacted waters, or that threaten commercial, agricultural, and recreational activity dependent on waters of the state.

The harm caused by invasive species such as the zebra mussels, Eurasian water milfoil, round goby, and spiny water flea in the Great Lakes is widespread. For example, utilities annually spend tens of millions of dollars to combat zebra mussel infestations, which clog water intake valves. Milfoil chokes many waterways, requiring either expensive "mowing" of the weed or chemical treatment that has unintended consequences.

The EPA has estimated that aquatic nuisance species cost the Great Lakes region $5 billion per year in damages.

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Alex J. Sagady & Associates        http://www.sagady.com

Environmental Enforcement, Permit/Technical Review, Public Policy,
Evidence Review and Litigation Investigation on Air, Water and
Waste/Community Environmental and Resource Protection
Prospectus at:  http://www.sagady.com/sagady.pdf

PO Box 39,  East Lansing, MI  48826-0039
(517) 332-6971; (517) 332-8987 (fax); ajs@sagady.com
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