Friday, October 2, 2009

HOW Coalition Says Coast Guard Action On Invasive "Too Slow"

Oct 2: The U.S. Coast Guard is holding a hearing in Chicago, on a proposed rule to protect the Great Lakes and other U.S. waters from the introduction of aquatic invasive species via ballast water discharge. Hearings were also held in Seattle, WA (September 28) and New Orleans, LA (September 30). Additional hearings will be held in Washington, DC (October 8), Oakland, CA (October 27) and New York, NY (October 29). The comment period on the proposed rulemaking for Standards for Living Organisms in Ships' Ballast Water Discharged in U.S. Waters [74 FR 44631-44672, 8/28/09]; and a Draft Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) for the standards [74 FR 44673-44674, 8/28/09] ends on November 27, 2009.

Andy Buchsbaum, co-chair of the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition, commented on the proposed regulations and said, “Invasive species from ballast water have infected the Great Lakes like a cancer. We need strong medicine to stop this disease, and we need it fast. The Coast Guard rule could be that medicine -- but right now it’s too slow and it has too many loopholes. The Coast Guard has set a standard that is as environmentally protective as the toughest state law. That’s good. But the timeline for implementing the standard is weak. Ocean-going ships could avoid complying until after 2020. And there are loopholes that extend the deadline even farther. The Great Lakes will be irreparably damaged by that time.

Access a release from HOW (click here). Access the HOW website for more information (click here). Access the proposed rule FR announcement (click here). Access the draft PEIS FR announcement (click here). Access the combined docket USCG-2001-10486 for both actions for complete background and to submit and review comments (click here).