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GLIN==> Congress urged to act quickly on new NAISA legislation



Title: Congress urged to act quickly on new NAISA legislation

Contacts: Tim Eder, executive director, Great Lakes Commission, at teder@glc.org, or
Jon MacDonagh-Dumler, regional coordination program manager, at jonmacd@glc.org

Congress urged to act quickly on new NAISA legislation

Calling invasive species the most urgent problem facing the Great Lakes, the Great Lakes Commission is urging Congress to act promptly to enact the newly introduced National Aquatic Invasive Species Act (NAISA).

The legislation (S.725), introduced Thursday by U.S. Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), outlines a broad-based, national approach to stemming the threat from invasive species. Among its provisions are uniform standards for ballast water discharge, an Asian carp barrier system in the Chicago Sanitary and an early detection and rapid response program to head off new invasions.

“The Great Lakes and the entire nation urgently need this legislation,” said Michigan Lt. Gov. John Cherry, chair of the Great Lakes Commission. “Michigan and other states have already decided that they can’t wait any longer and are pursuing their own remedies. But what we really need is a uniform national policy to be truly effective.”

The new legislation is similar to other legislation that was introduced in Congress in previous years, but died in committee or otherwise failed to pass. However, with members of the Great Lakes Congressional Delegation gaining some key leadership posts in the new Congress, there is new optimism for the legislation’s prospects this year.

“Comprehensive invasive species legislation is the number one legislative priority of our Member states in 2007,” said Illinois Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn, vice chair of the Commission. “We applaud Sen. Levin for stepping forward and introducing this legislation early in the 110th Congress and encourage all members of the Great Lake Congressional Delegation to put their support behind it.”

The new NAISA legislation sets forth a broad-based approach to dealing with the many facets of the invasive species challenge. Among them:

• National standards for ballast water treatment and discharge, based on best management practices and available technologies;

• Special standards for vessels operating in the Great Lakes, including those declaring “No Ballast On Board” (NOBOB), until the more stringent national standards take effect;

• Provisions for the completion and operation of the dispersal barrier system in the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal;

• An early detection, monitoring and rapid response program to head off new infestations before they become established;

• An information, education and outreach program to prevent the inadvertent transfer of invasive species among bodies of water by recreational users;

• Standards for restricting the import of potentially harmful organisms for use in trade; and

• Invasive species research, including investigations into more effective means of controlling and preventing their spread.

The new legislation would reauthorize and amend the Nonindigenous Aquatic Nuisance Prevention and Control Act of 1990. Though considered groundbreaking for its time, new developments and improved understanding of the dynamics of invasive species since then have rendered many of its provisions obsolete or inadequate to deal with current threats.

For more information, contact Tim Eder, executive director, Great Lakes Commission, at teder@glc.org, or Jon MacDonagh-Dumler, regional coordination program manager, at jonmacd@glc.org

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The Great Lakes Commission, chaired by Michigan Lt. Gov. John Cherry, is a nonpartisan, binational compact agency established under state and U.S. federal law and dedicated to promoting a strong economy, healthy environment and high quality of life for the Great LakesSt. Lawrence region and its residents. The Commission consists of governors’ appointees, state legislators and agency officials from its eight member states. Associate membership for Ontario and Québec was established through the signing of a “Declaration of Partnership.” The Commission maintains a formal Observer program involving U.S. and Canadian federal agencies, tribal authorities, binational agencies and other regional interests. The Commission offices are located in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Great Lakes Commission

The Hon. John D. Cherry, Jr., Chair; Tim A. Eder, Executive Director

Eisenhower Corporate Park 2805 S. Industrial Hwy. Suite 100 Ann Arbor, Michigan 48104-6791

734-971-9135 Fax: 734-971-9150 Web: www.glc.org

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