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Great Lakes Article:

State Senator Hopes To Hold Back Invasive Species
(AP) St. Paul
Posted on on November 22, 2005

A state lawmaker wants to clamp down on oceangoing ships to control the spread of exotic aquatic species such as killer shrimp and zebra mussels.

Sen. Ann Rest, DFL-New Hope, said Tuesday she will push next year to make oceangoing ships get a permit from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency before entering the state's waters on Lake Superior. The bill is modeled after a Michigan law that takes effect there in 2007.

Rest's proposal would make ships prove they treat ballast water to kill invasive species before dumping it into harbors such as Duluth-Superior. Vessels take on thousands of gallons of ballast water to stabilize them after unloading cargo, and then discharge it -- along with exotic hitchhikers such as the spiny water flea -- to make room for new loads.

"You can clean those things out, and you've got to," said Attorney General Mike Hatch, who appeared at a news conference with Rest to back the plan. "It's not that hard. The reason people don't do it now is because it's not required."

Exotic species from Europe and Asia have invaded the Great Lakes on an unprecedented scale in recent years, crowding out indigenous fish and other species and transforming the natural habitat.

The bill would also push for more cooperation between Minnesota, other Great Lakes states and Canada to control the spread of exotic invaders.

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