GREAT LAKES BASIN NEWS©
For Immediate Release
April 15, 2000
Great Lakes Sport Fishing Council
Ballast Bill Needed in Every State
Your help is urgently needed.
Senate Bill SB955 is pending before the Michigan State Legislature that would regulate ballast water exchange in its state waters. But we need you and your state's help too.
Our Great Lakes are within the sovereign jurisdiction of the eight Great Lakes States and those great resources , our tributaries and inland waters are at risk to the introduction of more exotics through transoceanic vessels bringing in noxious and harmful critters. The Feds won't help us protect those resources so we have to do it ourselves.
We need you to contact your local state legislator(s) and urge them to sponsor a sister bill similar to Michigan's SB955 that would regulate ballast exchange in your sovereign state's waters. We can no longer depend on the Feds or EPA to regulate ballast exchange or mandate it through the 1976 Clean Water Act.
We've waited too long.
Our resources are at risk every day that something isn't being done. California recently enacted a law- the first of its kind -that make ships responsible for their ballast. So did the state of Washington. Michigan is the 1st state in the Great Lakes Region. Let's get eight laws enacted - one from each Great Lake State - telling the Feds enough is enough. No more exotics in our waters.
The National Invasive Species Act of 1996 (NISA) specifically authorizes state action in this area of regulation. 16 USCS 4725 states in part: "Nothing in this title shall affect the authority of any State or political subdivision thereof to adopt or enforce control measures for aquatic nuisance species, or diminish or affect the jurisdiction of any State over species of fish or wildlife…." (Boldface added.)
In addition, the U.S. Supreme Court, in Maine v Taylor, (1986) held that a state’s interest in protecting its natural resources and environment is a legitimate local interest, falling well within the traditional police power of the states.The Michigan legislation will provide state regulators with a strong new tool in its battle to control the introduction of new species and, can be used by other basin states as model legislation so that the entire basin can have a coordinated non-native species prevention plan.