Sep 28, 2007

Bad ballast water bill pulled from consideration!

Pressed by environmental activists, the US Senate Commerce Committee has pulled a foul amendment from consideration as part of S 1578: the "Ballast Water Management Act of 2007". The industry supported "Nelson Amendment" would have stripped states of the right under the federal clean water act to prevent invader species from being discharged into their lakes, rivers and coastal waters in ballast water. Recreational boating industry was a major part of the impetus to weaken state powers.

According to a Snowe staffer in Washington, the Nelson Amendment was withdrawn by its sponsor, after Sen Barbara Boxer introduced, then withdrew, her own amendment restoring the primacy of the Clean Water Act. So the bill never came up before the Senate Commerce Committee Thursday and will be worked on into the future. See a recent (August 07) news article detailing the POVs of S 1578's critics and supporters.

Nina Bell of Northwest Environmental Advocates organized marine activists around the nation's coasts into signing a joint letter to Commerce Committee members opposing the bill, and organized a call-in campaign to legislators. Maine's Olympia Snowe "laid low", according to one observer familiar with the hearing, and was neither in support or opposition. Other Senators on the Commerce Committee were concerned enough by the issues raising in the letter and calls to pressure its withdrawal from consideration.


Anonymous said...

hr2830 currently in congress (2007coast guard authorization) sets a goal of zero invasives by 2015 in ballast water. We need the military in charge because ballast dumping is a perfect venue for terrorist. sincerely Don Mitchel

Ron said...

Good point, Don. When one can, with the flick of a switch, discharge millions of gallons of fluid into the water from a ship, the potential for its use as a weapon is real.