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E-M:/ Battling Water Ballasts

In the Grand Rapids Press this morning there was a notice about STOPPING THE SALTIES & sterilizing ship ballasts and it talked about a meeting, hearing or court proceeding to be held in Grand Rapids this Monday (tomorrow).   I received the information below just this past Thursday from MUCC but no mention of an upcoming meeting.  Does anyone know of the details of this meeting and if indeed it’s to happen in Grand Rapids tomorrow?



Jan O’Connell




Groups support Michigan's position on ballast water, file intervention against shippers
As shipping interests seek to strike down the region's first law to protect boaters, anglers, swimmers and families from invasive species, the National Wildlife Federation, Michigan United Conservation Clubs and the Alliance for the Great Lakes joined the court battle to slam the door on invasive species entering the Great Lakes.

The groups filed a request to intervene on Monday, April 9 in Detroit federal district court to defend a Michigan law intended to protect the Great Lakes from discharges of invasive species by oceangoing ships.  Members of the shipping industry sued the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality and Michigan Attorney General on March 15 to derail the law.

The No. 1 pathway for non-native aquatic species to enter the Great Lakes is through ballast discharge from ocean-going vessels originating in foreign ports. Since the opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway in 1959, one new aquatic non-native species has been discovered in the Great Lakes every 28 weeks from all pathways. Since 1970, 77 percent of the invasions are attributable to transoceanic shipping activities.  Invasive species such as the zebra mussel, discharged into the Great Lakes via oceangoing vessels, have caused enormous ecological and economic damage. Invasive species out compete native species such as lake perch, whitefish, and others for food and habitat and can also impact people in their daily lives. Recent federal research suspects a connection between zebra mussels and algae, which can have toxic effects on human health. Invasive species also cost the Great Lakes region $5 billion annually in damage and control costs, according to the Great Lakes Regional Collaboration Strategy released in December 2005.

Comprehensive federal legislation to stop the introduction of invasive species has languished in the U.S. Congress, leading the state of Michigan to pass in 2005 a law requiring oceangoing vessels to obtain a permit to discharge ballast water.

The threat of invasive species will not go away on its own.  Inaction will only exacerbate the problem of invasive species and cost citizens more money. The state of Michigan understands this and needs to be commended, not punished - for taking action.