Friday, December 24, 2010

Tinkering With Great Lakes Ballast Water Rules

The Great Lakes have been assaulted by invasive species that arrive in the ballast tanks of ocean-going freighters and have decimated native fish populations and introduced voracious mussels that contribute to fetid algae growth along the lakeshore.

Wisconsin is moving towards rolling back its 2010 rule-making to require a very rigorous program with tough standards, says the DNR.

Seems to me that's a misstep - - one leading statewide group had criticized the original state action as insufficient - -  but also highlights how the various Great Lakes states have different practices, though it's a shared water resource under regional management.

Time for a national policy?

I'm interested to hear what others more involved have to say.

7 comments:

Helen Bushnell said...

The federal government can regulate anything that crosses state boundaries, and if the states involved can't take action, the federal government should.

Don M said...

It has been stated by those who favor ballast laws, that do not impose cost on shipping, using the ocean flush, that compliance with the ocean flush has prevented new introductions of invasive s. They talk of requirements equal to drinking water, good idea since our children swim getting water in their mouth, up their nose, etc. Perhaps if compliance is being adhered by the shipping industry, notorious for US tax evasion by registering ships in different countries, they would be willing to drink some of it to save on testing and insure confidence they are continuing to enforce regulations.
The salt water Flush is known to be affective only for some fresh water problems and it is known that sludge, bio films, cysts, etc, still contain and carry virus and pathogens even if the costly, dangerous, ineffective ocean flush is done without short cuts by foreign sea captains while in US waters. How is compliance in third world countries where there is no infrastructure to test foreign flag ships going to be insured so they do not continue to introduce deadly human disease such as cholera, which is not stopped by an ocean flush?

Since 2006 there has been quite a bit of scrutiny given to ships ballast water. Foreign sea captains have been more compliant, but without mandatory technology installation, when the hoopla is over the often dangerous, ineffective, costly ocean flush will again be regarded by industry as a cost, and it will again be business as usual.
Concerns already created in the great lakes should not be mixed through out the lakes. These existing algae problems etc., should and could be contained with mandatory technology installation. The procrastination to equip with technology is about money, not human health and the environment.
If ballast water technology creates an economic hardship for shipping, perhaps stimulus to the part of the shipping industry that will fly the US flag, not trying to avoid paying US tax, would be in order.

Lake Pontchartrain should be the wake up call that these systems are capable of delivering other problems for human health and the environment besides living organisms. Chemicals, drugs, nuclear waste water are all reasons the states need comprehensive Federal protection, as the states obviously have been unable to protect themselves.
The Arctic is historically known as a clandestine dumping ground for governments and industry we have no idea, if as the ice melts, these non living pollutants will be induced into new shipping lanes now opening.

We need comprehensive Federal law but,
unfortunately China and South Korea are the largest ship builders in the world competing with each other and environmentalist efforts may be futile, as this administration may not act significantly on a Federal level, because they need China to keep its legacy of involvement in the Korean war caged, it appears South Korea leads in ballast water involvement, which may have created a scenario where this administration is scared and afraid to act, because of upsetting China.
NY laws are significantly important as they currently are the only way, to force these tax dodgers in the shipping industry, to spend the money required to protect all America's water forever, equally from invasive s, human bacterial pathogens and virus.

Don M said...

It has been stated by those who favor ballast laws, that do not impose cost on shipping, using the ocean flush, that compliance with the ocean flush has prevented new introductions of invasive s. They talk of requirements equal to drinking water, good idea since our children swim getting water in their mouth, up their nose, etc. Perhaps if compliance is being adhered by the shipping industry, notorious for US tax evasion by registering ships in different countries, they would be willing to drink some of it to save on testing and insure confidence they are continuing to enforce regulations.
The salt water Flush is known to be affective only for some fresh water problems and it is known that sludge, bio films, cysts, etc, still contain and carry virus and pathogens even if the costly, dangerous, ineffective ocean flush is done without short cuts by foreign sea captains while in US waters. How is compliance in third world countries where there is no infrastructure to test foreign flag ships going to be insured so they do not continue to introduce deadly human disease such as cholera, which is not stopped by an ocean flush?

Since 2006 there has been quite a bit of scrutiny given to ships ballast water. Foreign sea captains have been more compliant, but without mandatory technology installation, when the hoopla is over the often dangerous, ineffective, costly ocean flush will again be regarded by industry as a cost, and it will again be business as usual.
Concerns already created in the great lakes should not be mixed through out the lakes. These existing algae problems etc., should and could be contained with mandatory technology installation. The procrastination to equip with technology is about money, not human health and the environment.
If ballast water technology creates an economic hardship for shipping, perhaps stimulus to the part of the shipping industry that will fly the US flag, not trying to avoid paying US tax, would be in order.

Lake Pontchartrain should be the wake up call that these systems are capable of delivering other problems for human health and the environment besides living organisms. Chemicals, drugs, nuclear waste water are all reasons the states need comprehensive Federal protection, as the states obviously have been unable to protect themselves.
The Arctic is historically known as a clandestine dumping ground for governments and industry we have no idea, if as the ice melts, these non living pollutants will be induced into new shipping lanes now opening.

We need comprehensive Federal law but,
unfortunately China and South Korea are the largest ship builders in the world competing with each other and environmentalist efforts may be futile, as this administration may not act significantly on a Federal level, because they need China to keep its legacy of involvement in the Korean war caged, it appears South Korea leads in ballast water involvement, which may have created a scenario where this administration is scared and afraid to act, because of upsetting China.
NY laws are significantly important as they currently are the only way, to force these tax dodgers in the shipping industry, to spend the money required to protect all America's water forever, equally from invasive s, human bacterial pathogens and virus.

Helen Bushnell said...

In what way does South Korea lead in ballast water development?

Anonymous said...

Well China may be starting to catch up as a simple google search indicates: "Coast Guard ballast water approval China Korea" Unfortunately procrastination by the Federal government to act mandating technology instalation since Senator Boxer killed legislation in 2008 is taking away the impact strong legislation immediately would have in creating American manufacturing cost competition.
Japans role as one of the top three ship builders should not be ruled out as part of the problem North Korea creates for its mentor China.
Because of the need for a comprehensive plan, including screening for chemicals, drugs, tar balls, etc. filtration may be a better method than chemical treatments.

Anonymous said...

April 2008, 395-7 legislation passed the house for ballast water but, so what if the largest elected legislative voice of the people spoke, it is now Dec 2011 and dead is the thought of US law as we have a new congress and the Coast Guard again delays a plan led by the commander and chief, now saying they may address the issue with their still purposed plan closely resembling the IMO sometime in April of 2011 instead of Dec 2010.
(EPA,Coast Guard,Homeland Security, and 28 different state laws) It dose not take an Einstein to realize we need a comprehensive plan.
Here is the latest update on the Coast Guard delay plan.

"Ballast Water Discharge Standard:We have revised our expected publication date of the Ballast Water Discharge Standard rulemaking. It is now expected to publish in April 2011, rather than December 2010."

Anonymous said...

New Governor in California, looks as though strong ballast water control in California are going bye, bye.
Interesting Senator Boxer of California kills ballast water legislation passed in the house 395-7, back in 2008 that would have protected the whole country equally over her wish for California to be able to enact stronger laws. Now articles are saying California is backing down on its current ballast water laws for being to strict. NY laws will be next to go, making President Obamas week military plan look attractive. Senator Boxers position in 2008 killing ballast water legislation, to allegedly preserve her states rights to stronger laws, (despite president Obama's reported rhetoric voicing support for legislation) was as the sponsor of the bill, former Rep Oberstar suggested "BS" and now it is being proven by California's latest action.
Now after all the wasted money this administration created leaving the states to create useless laws, the Presidents delayed Coast Guard plan will provide a weakened standard with a longer time line and President Obama and the Coast Guard will be praised for creating protection, when the reality will be, that the killing of the legislation the house voted for in 2008 and the delayed weakened plan will favor the foreign shipping industry more than the American environment and human health. Nor will it be of any help createing quick protection, which would level the playing field for American manufacturing cost by ending the free pass given to foreign ships delivering foreign manufactured goods.
It really is not funny how our politicians waste our money to posture their political stature. Odd Paterson, governor of NY, ask by President Obama to step aside created strong ballast water laws- GONE!, Strickland strong advocate for ballast protection- GONE!, Oberstar creator of national ballast legislation h.r.2830- GONE! Granholm strong advocate for national ballast water regulation mentioned for Obama positions,- GONE- PASSED OVER! Governor Schwarzenegger strong environmental advocate for ballast water, GONE!- coinciding with a newly created weakening of California's ballast water laws. Senator Boxer the killer of national ballast water laws RETAINED!, with large show of support from President Obama during elections.