New York state has faced intense political pressure to scrap tough ballast water rules designed to keep invasive species out of Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River.
Canada and other Great Lakes states hate New York’s rules, which require that ballast water be 100 times cleaner than currently required under international standards.
The EPA and the Coast Guard have now released their own proposed rules, but NY Conservation Commissioner Joe Martens says they don’t go far enough.
“In general we do not believe that the [proposed regulations] provide an effective or adequate standard to address the known risks of [invasive species] nor does it reflect the best available technology,” Martens wrote, in a letter dated February 21.
Martens’ position is supported by environmental groups throughout the Great Lakes region, according to a report in the Watertown Daily Times.
In a joint news release, Great Lakes area conservation groups — including Natural Resources Defense Council, National Wildlife Federation, Great Lakes United, Alliance for the Great Lakes and Northwest Environmental Advocates — blasted the EPA Tuesday for “failing to uphold its federal Clean Water Act duty to protect the Great Lakes and other U.S. waters from the introduction and spread of invasive species.”
The EPA rules are likely to draw better reviews from industry groups and from other states, convinced that less stringent ballast standards are adequate and more affordable.