The Seaway Channel: http://www.seawaychannel.com/seawayheadlines/2008/7/29/great-lakes-maritime-task-force-takes-swing-at-boxer.html
The Great Lakes Maritime Task Force (GLMTF), a coalition of Great Lakes/St. Lawrence Seaway maritime industry interests singled out Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) earlier this week as the obstacle to passage of language in the Coast Guard Re-authoritzation Bill that had been moving through the Congress this year.
The bill contains an important provision increasing the standards for ballast water regulations and clarifying the federal government's leading role in ballast water regulation rather than leaving the matter to the dictates of individual states and localities. The ballast water language, principally crafted by the office of Rep. Jim Oberstar (D-MN), Chairman of the House Committeee on Transportation and Infrastructure and Rep. Steve LaTourette (R-OH), was added to the Coast Guard Re-authoriztion bill as a high-priority item for the maritime industry on the Great Lakes as the list of states with their own ideas regarding ballast water regulation and enforcment seems to grow every month.
The ballast water language has the support of not just industry groups but also a number of environmental organizations such as the National Wildlife Federation, the Audobon Society, the Nature Conservancy and Great Lakes United. Historically, Sen. Boxer has tended to ally herself with some of the more radical elements of the environmental movement and some analysts suspect that those activisits and groups who oppose some of the provisions of the Coast Guard bill relating to homeland security issues may be influencing Boxer to try to kill the bill.
So far, the legislation has passed the House and is awaiting Senate action. However, the Senate usually only moves legislation to the floor for consideration under a "unamimous consent agreement" meaning that one member registering an objection can place an effective "hold" on legislative action until any problem issues can be cleared up. Sen Boxer has made her opposition to a number of provisions in the Coast Guard bill known to the Senate leadership and the Senate may not take the bill up before the Congress effectively adjourns in September. Bills that do not pass before adjournment are not carried over to the next Congress and the process would have to start all over again.
1st Vice President
OH – Great Lakes interests are urging Great Lakes Senators to take the
lead and enact the world’s most stringent Federal ballast water standards
to end the introduction of non-indigenous species into U.S. waters. Legislation
passed by the House of Representatives and approved by the Senate Commerce
Committee would require vessels entering
The House legislation, H.R. 2830, sponsored by Rep. Jim Oberstar (D-MN), and supported by Rep. Steve LaTourette (R-OH), ranking Republican on the Coast Guard subcommittee, has been endorsed both by the Great Lakes Maritime Task Force (GLMTF), an association of shipping companies, labor organizations, shipyards and ports, and a wide-ranging coalition of environmental groups, including Great Lakes United, National Wildlife Federation, Healing Our Waters Coalition, Defenders of Wildlife, the National Audubon Society, and The Nature Conservancy.
more than a decade Congress has wrestled with this issue, but this year we have
seen a number of breakthroughs,” said
It appeared the legislation would move forward last week, but objections from Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) have stalled approval.
“It is deeply regrettable we lost what may have been the best chance for enactment of ballast water legislation ever,” said Daniel L, Smith, 1st Vice President of GLMTF and formerly National Executive Vice President of American Maritime Officers.
we understand that ballast water and invasive species is a national issue, we
are convinced that nothing will get done unless
of this legislation is critically important to the health of the
strong leadership by many
Lakes Maritime Task Force was founded in
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