Great Lakes aquatic invasive species: What
Written by Duluth News Tribune   
Monday, 24 March 2008 04:02

There are several orders and regulations in various stages regarding invasive species that have come into the lakes through the seaway.

* A federal judge has ordered the Environmental Protection Agency to begin regulating ballast water as pollution by September.

* The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency is adopting regulations, to be in place by October, to require ballast water treatment of all ships that enter Minnesota waters of Lake Superior. The regulation will require immediate permits but will phase mandatory ballast treatment in over 7 years.

* Another federal judge has upheld a Michigan state law that requires any ballast water released in Michigan to be treated.

* The Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy has filed a state lawsuit against the PCA for failing to enforce existing laws that the groups say require ballast treatment.

* The National Wildlife Federation is mulling a lawsuit against the owners of several oceangoing ships claiming they violated U.S. laws by releasing millions of gallons of untreated ballast in the Duluth-Superior harbor on several occasions. A local chapter of the Izaak Walton League is considering a suit against the Coast Guard and U.S. Dept. of Agriculture for failing to keep invasives out of the Great Lakes.

* Congress is considering legislation that would require on-board ballast treatment on some ships, phasing in the program over 7 years. The House version would prevent states from enacting tougher laws and exempts lakes-only ships.

* Minnesota lawmakers are considering ballast treatment laws that would require treatment within five years, although that legislation has failed to advance.

* Industry officials, scientists and other groups are beginning to test new ballast treatment technologies at a dockside facility in Superior called the Great Ships Initiative, but development of practical ship-board treatment still could be years away.

* There are about 185 non-native species in the Great Lakes, including about 66 in Lake Superior—the least of any of the five lakes.

* The fish-killing VHS virus is as close as Lake Huron and Wisconsin’s Lake Winnebago, but has not been confirmed in Lake Superior.
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