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



We ran this article today in WIMS Daily/eNewsUSA. Maybe this will help with links to the Earthjustice release and the actual decision...
 
 
Enviros Win Major Ballast Discharge Case - Mar 31: According to a release from Earthjustice, a Federal court has ordered the U.S. EPA to repeal its ballast water exemption under the Clean Water Act and require the NPDES permits for ballast water discharges. The decision comes in response to a suit brought by environmental groups concerned about what they called "the extraordinary economic and ecological consequences of invasive species arriving in U.S. waters through the unregulated ballast water." The groups asked EPA to withdraw a regulation that illegally exempts such ballast water discharges from Clean Water Act permits. The Court?s ruling means that ships arriving in all United States ports will need to obtain discharge permits before dumping their ballast water or be in violation of the law.
    Nina Bell, Executive Director of the Portland, Oregon-based Northwest Environmental Advocates, one of the plaintiffs in the case said, ?Over 30 years ago EPA made a grave error in failing to regulate the indiscriminate dumping of invasive species along the nation?s coasts and the Great Lakes, an error it compounded when it refused to grant our petition over six years ago. As a result, we all bear the very high environmental and economic costs associated with these invasive species. Today we?re extremely gratified by the court?s ruling, which brings the requirements of the Clean Water Act to bear on preventing new invasions. It?s a shame that EPA requires a court order to comply with federal law.? 
    The lawsuit was brought by Northwest Environmental Advocates, The Ocean Conservancy, and Baykeeper, three of the original signers of the petition filed in January 1999. After having been forced through an initial lawsuit to answer the groups? petition, EPA denied it on September 2, 2003, refusing to implement the permitting program and control a threat that has caused billions of dollars of damage. At the time, the Agency admitted that the Clean Water Act ?does not explicitly exclude such discharges from permitting requirements.? The Earthjustice Environmental Law Clinic at Stanford University and Pacific Environmental Advocacy Center at Lewis and Clark Law School in Portland, OR, represent the three organizations.
    In its conclusion, the Court said, "...the Court finds that EPA acted in excess of its statutory authority under 5 U.S.C. § 706(2)(C) in exempting an entire category of discharges from the NPDES permit program and denying plaintiffs? petition to rescind 40 C.F.R. § 122.3(a). See NRDC v. Costle , 568 F.2d 1369, 1377 (D.C. Cir. 1977) (EPA did not have authority to exclude categories of point sources from NPDES permit program). Based on this finding, the Court GRANTS plaintiffs? motion for summary judgment; DECLARES that the EPA?s exclusion from NPDES permit requirements for discharges incidental to the normal operation of a vessel
at 40 C.F.R. § 122.3(a) is in excess of the agency?s authority under the Clean Water Act; and ORDERS the EPA to repeal the regulation." The Judge also ordered the parties to appear back in cour on April 15, 2005, to discuss further proceedings in the case.
    Access a release (click here). Access the complete 19-page decision (click here). [*Water]
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----- Original Message -----
From: "Rita Jack" <rita.jack@sierraclub.org>
To: <enviro-mich@great-lakes.net>
Sent: Friday, April 01, 2005 3:24 PM
Subject: E-M:/ RE: / Citizen victory on ballast water/invasive species control

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Enviro-Mich message from "Rita Jack" <
rita.jack@sierraclub.org>
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Pardon my ignorance!

Obviously - this is a very good thing!  While everyone on this list
understands the massive problems associated with aquatic invasive species
and the need to control ballast water -- is there anyone on the list who can
help us understand exactly what the lawsuit has accomplished? 

Does this now mean that ships will need to get NPDES permits in order to
"discharge" their ballast waters, with some sort of invasives-control
mechanism?  If so - who would enforce the permits?  Or will this translate
directly to ships being required to dump their ballast at some point while
they're still in the sea, before they enter to fresh waters?  Again, who
enforces that? 

How will this actually work? 

~~Rita
 
 
 
 
-----Original Message-----
From:
owner-enviro-mich@great-lakes.net
[mailto:owner-enviro-mich@great-lakes.net] On Behalf Of Alex J. Sagady &
Associates
Sent: Friday, April 01, 2005 2:44 PM
To:
enviro-mich@great-lakes.net
Subject: 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>
-------------------------------------------------------------------------


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.

#####

==========================================
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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ENVIRO-MICH:  Internet List and Forum for Michigan Environmental
and Conservation Issues and Michigan-based Citizen Action.   Archives at
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Postings to:  enviro-mich@great-lakes.net      For info, send email to
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