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NEWS: New York State backs down on stringent rules for ballast in the Great Lakes

NEWS: New York State backs down on stringent rules for ballast in the Great Lakes
The Harper government has welcomed New York State’s decision not to proceed with tough new ballast water rules that had been aimed at preventing foreign species from invading the Great Lakes. Parliamentary secretary for transport Pierre Poilievre says, “Canada applauds New York state for withdrawing its unattainable ballast water requirements and agrees that uniform standards are the best way to protect the marine environment. We welcome this action as enforcement of the rules on transiting ships would have stopped commercial shipping on the seaway.”

The Associated Press reports, “The rules, which had been scheduled to take effect in August 2013, would order cargo vessels to cleanse ballast water to a level at least 100 times stricter than international standards before releasing it. …New York’s Department of Environmental Conservation said this week it was postponing the effective date of its rules until December 2013. Because they are tied to a federal permit that expires then, the state rules essentially are being canceled.”

Late last month, Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow as in Sault Ste. Marie warning of the impact of ballast on the Great Lakes, In February 2011, Barlow wrote in the Globe and Mail that, “Since the seaway was opened in 1959, over 185 invasive species have entered the lake in ballast from ocean-going vessels, many doing great damage to both native species and commercial activity. Canada has taken a weak position on fighting invasive species, putting commercial interests above the safety and integrity of the Great Lakes.” That’s at

The Toronto Star reported in 2007 that, “a group of more than 90 U.S. environmental organizations want ocean-going tankers banned from entering the Great Lakes.” A Globe and Mail article on the 50th anniversary of the seaway notes, “the seaway has wreaked so much havoc on the world’s greatest supply of fresh water that some critics now propose that it be abandoned as a route for saltwater ships…” More on those demands at

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