Mich. Legislature votes to roll back ballast standards to control invasive species

bill that environmental groups say would be a step backward in the fight against invasive species in the Great Lakes is on its way to Governor Rick Snyder’s desk.

Snyder has opposed the bill, according to spokesperson Anna Heaton, but has not said whether he will veto it.

The bill would scrap Michigan’s current standards for killing invasive species in the ballast water of ocean-going ships in its ports, and would replace them with federal ones.  Click on the following four links to access the full story.

According to James Clift, policy director of the Michigan Environmental Council, lowering the standards would likely result in new invasive species entering the ecosystem and causing harm to Michigan’s fisheries and recreation industry.

“The Great Lakes are too important to risk on rushing through legislation which abdicates Michigan’s role in protecting its own waters and communities from aquatic invasive species,” said Marc Smith, Great Lakes Conservation Director for the National Wildlife Federation in a press release.

Gov. Snyder has vetoed earlier ballast bills intended to open the gates for foreign invaders. He must do so again. A broad coalition of environmental and conservation groups, from across the political spectrum, are urging him to veto this threat to our environment and economy as well.

The changes made to the bill take away state requirements and revert instead to U.S. Coast Guard regulations. Governor Snyder and officials with the state Department of Environment Quality say they oppose the changes. 

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