Today, the Michigan Legislature rushed passage of legislation which removes protections against the introduction of new aquatic invasive species stowing away in ballast tanks, and ignores the threat they pose to Michigan communities and our outdoor economy, heritage and values.
HB 5095 strips away the Department of Environmental Quality’s requirement that ocean-going vessels docking at Michigan ports demonstrate that they will not introduce aquatic invasive species into Michigan waters, or that they use environmentally sound technologies to prevent the transfer of aquatic invasive species if they discharge ballast water. Instead, HB 5095 would require only that ships follow inadequate Coast Guard standards for ballast water to obtain a permit. Moreover, the U.S. Coast Guard technologies are not currently installed on any ocean-going vessels until the ships next dry docking schedule, which could be 3-5 years out from now, thus leaving Michigan waters unprotected from new introductions of invasive species in the interim.
Sea lampreys, zebra and quagga mussels arrived in the Great Lakes through ballast water tanks and cost millions each year in control, habitat and environmental damage. The aquatic invasive species we have in the Great Lakes cost us too much already; let’s not let new ones in by weakening our protections against ballast water invaders!
Michigan United Conservation Clubs and the National Wildlife Federation thank Governor Snyder and the Department of Environmental Quality for opposing this weakening of our ballast standards; please call Governor Snyder at 517-373-3400 and ask him to veto HB 5095 and protect the Great Lakes!
Please call today!