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February 24, 2012
Global Water Technologies notes update to ballast water regulation
Move to national standards is good for region's economy and technology adoption
INDIANAPOLIS, February 24, 2012 -- New action this week by the State of New York underscores the need for national standards to address the issue of ballast water treatment, notes Erik Hromadka, CEO of Global Water Technologies.
"In October 2010, we identified ballast water treatment as an area of interest and noted that proposed state regulations may impact shipping and logistics in the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway," Hromadka said. "This week's move to support national standards is good for both the region's economy and also for the adoption of technology."
Hromadka also noted that discussion of treatment continues to focus on non-chemical solutions, which is important in maintaining sustainable water treatment.
In comments filed with the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the state of New York indicated it will pursue a uniform, national ballast water standard that will leave in place the EPA's current standards in New York for the remainder of EPA's current Vessel General Permit through December 2013.
"New York remains concerned about the introduction and spread of invasive species in the state's waterways and we hope that a strong national solution can be achieved," said the state's Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joe Martens. "At the same time, shipping and maritime activity is critical to New York state and international commerce. A technically feasible national standard which recognizes the critical economic role played by our waterways is the only viable way to address the spread of destructive aquatic invaders through ballast water."
EPA's recent proposal for the next four-year term, December 2013 through December 2017, for its Vessel General Permit includes adopting a protocol that was set forth by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) in 2004.
The official comments from the State of New York are available at: http://www.dec.ny.gov/docs/water_pdf/ballastltr022112.pdf
"The EPA proposal can be strengthened to better protect against the harms associated with aquatic invasive species and take advantage of numerous recent, cost-effective advances in treatment technology," Martens said. "A strong, uniform national standard is the preferred approach to ensuring that vessels install and use achievable and cost-effective technology to treat ballast water discharges."
New York intends to continue to work with other states, such as California, Michigan and other Great Lakes states, and stakeholders to advocate that EPA and the Coast Guard adopt a more protective national approach to this widespread problem.
Martens proposed adopting a national standard with the following key elements:
a 100 times IMO discharge standard implemented by June 1, 2016;
a voluntary discharge standard of 10 times IMO by June 1, 2014;
grandfather until 2024 vessels deploying 10 times IMO systems prior to June 1, 2014;
continue to require ballast water ocean exchange and flushing; and
require the use of any reasonable and effective management practices to limit aquatic invasive introductions prior to 2016.
The action drew immediate praise from the Government of Canada.
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, Pierre Poilievre, welcomed the decision to remove a threat to shipping on the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway System.
"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," said Parliamentary Secretary Poilievre. "We welcome this action as enforcement of the rules on transiting ships would have stopped commercial shipping on the Seaway. This could have affected almost $11 billion in business revenue and up to 72,000 jobs in Canada and the United States."
"Canada remains strongly committed to protecting the Great Lakes from invasive species and ensuring the vibrancy of this shared water resource, and looks forward to internationally compatible ballast water requirements that will foster economic growth while preserving our natural resources," the Parliamentary Secretary added.
More information on ballast water can be found at: http://www.tc.gc.ca/eng/mediaroom/backgrounders-b11-hs007-6535.htm
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