Revisions to permit standard reflects commitment to environment, shippingThe Department of Natural Resources’ recently announced ballast water discharge permit represents the best effort Wisconsin can make at this time to regulate ballast discharge, Senator Bob Jauch (D-Poplar) said.
The Department of Natural Resources’ recently announced ballast water discharge permit represents the best effort Wisconsin can make at this time to regulate ballast discharge, Senator Bob Jauch (D-Poplar) said. Under the proposed permit, ships will be required to meet International Maritime Organization (IMO) standards for ballast water discharge.
“While I believe a higher standard is necessary to protect our great lakes from invasive species, that higher standard is simply unachievable at this time and Wisconsin ports would be economically harmed if we insisted on standards that can’t be met,” Jauch said.
Earlier this year Jauch worked closely worked with DNR, shipping and harbor officials to develop a sensible ballast process that set a higher standard but also enabled the Department to modify the permit if the new standard were not practical or achievable.
“Clearly a national standard is the most desirable solution to the problem, but the Coast Guard will not have a uniform standard until at least sometime in 2011. Until we have a national standard, it is up to Wisconsin and other great lakes states to develop ballast discharge standards, but we must do it in a responsible way,” explained Jauch.
Experts have determined that technology does not exist to reach 100 times the IMO standard by 2014.
“The regulation of ballast discharge is critical to combat dangerous invasive species that threaten our lakes and our economy. However, at this time we can’t insist on a standard that cannot be met. Nor can we insist on a standard that not only isn’t achievable, but would result in forcing shippers to use other great lakes ports that have lower standards.”
Jauch said Minnesota uses the IMO standard. “It defies logic think Wisconsin’s higher standard is protecting our water, when ships can load in Duluth and discharge their ballast water back into our water,” added Jauch.
“No one should disagree with the desire to protect our great lakes, but short of banning shipping to our harbors, this ballast requirement is the best we can hope for at this time” Jauch concluded. The DNR is holding a public hearing on the proposed changes January 26 in Superior.