Ballast water legislation pulled from House's docket
By Todd Spangler
Detroit Free Press
Published February 23, 2008
WASHINGTON – Legislation which would require shippers to more carefully regulate the ballast water they take on and release while heading to American ports has been pulled for consideration next week by the House leadership, according to U.S. Rep. Candice Miller’s office.
The legislation was expected to come to the House floor next week. There was no reason given for its postponement.
It is an important piece of legislation for the Great Lakes, which has seen the damage which can be done by invasive species believed to have been imported through ballast water released by tankers in American waters. Tankers take on the water when the ship is empty of cargo in order to stabilize it, releasing it later before it takes on whatever is being shipped.
In process, the ship can also take in species later released in an area where they are not native – and where they can wreak havoc.
Zebra mussels, for instance, are one such example of a species which has been blamed with crowding out other species and causing vast damage to pipes and other underwater structures.
The legislation would require vessels to exchange water more than 200 miles from shore and in waters more than 200 meters deep. Discharged ballast water would also have to meet a standard 100 times more stringent than the current standard agreed to by the International Maritime Organization.