State Senator Hopes To Hold Back Invasive
(AP) St. Paul
Posted on http://wcco.com 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.