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E-M:/ Wisconsin - DNR can regulate ballast, some say

The shipping industry acknowledges contaminated ballast is trouble for the Great Lakes and agrees that new regulations are needed, but it has fought the idea of Great Lakes states acting on their own. Their fear is that a state-by-state patchwork of potentially inconsistent regulations could cripple an industry operating in so many jurisdictions.

Shipping advocates also say Wisconsin could be put at an economic disadvantage if it follows Michigan's lead.

Dean Haen, president of the Wisconsin Commercial Ports Association, said the Michigan law will have little impact on that state's port operations because so little cargo is shipped from Michigan ports.

Wisconsin is a different story, because oceangoing ships often discharge ballast in state waters when they pick up grain for their return trips.

Haen said ports in Minnesota and Illinois likely would benefit from the business lost at Wisconsin ports if the state on its own starts requiring expensive ballast treatment systems. He said a federal law is the only practical way to address the problem.


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