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Chitown-Angler
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Post Posted: 08:28am - Apr 18,18 
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Let EPA do its job and monitor Great Lakes shippers to keep invasive species out
Milwaukee Published 5:37 p.m. CT April 17, 2018
636519675067701477-Invasive-mussels-on-ice-fisherman-s-lure-Green-Bay-Jan-2018.jpgBuy Photo
(Photo: Paul A. Smith / Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)
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Let’s get one thing straight: The U.S. Coast Guard isn’t equipped to combat biological pollution in the Great Lakes.

And yet that is exactly what an ill-conceived bill up for a vote in the U.S. Senate this week would have it do. This legislation, one of the worst ideas involving the Great Lakes to emerge from Congress in years, could lead to significantly loosened environmental rules on ballast water discharges for ocean-going freighters using the lakes.

RELATED: U.S. Senate voting this week on looser rules for Great Lakes ships dumping ballast water

Ballast water has allowed dozens of interlopers to infiltrate the lakes, including zebra and quagga mussels, species that have fundamentally changed the ecology of the world’s largest source of freshwater.

Tighter rules are needed, not looser ones — rules that require thorough cleansing of ballast tanks, or even better, that would close the St. Lawrence Seaway to “salties” for good. The idea of protecting a small number of shippers and putting the Great Lakes at greater risk is a cost-benefit analysis no thinking business person would ever agree to.


The Senate must stop this nonsense and insist that the Environmental Protection Agency continue to oversee ballast water. Sens. Tammy Baldwin and Ron Johnson should vote against this bill.

The legislation, which is attached to the U.S. Coast Guard Authorization Act, would give the Coast Guard exclusive authority to regulate the shipping business, including the ballast water that is pumped into ships to keep them steady as they sail. It’s that contaminated water (up to 10 Olympic-sized swimming pools’ worth per ship) that’s the problem.

At the moment, the EPA and Coast Guard share the task of keeping an eye on shippers. Shippers say that hurts their business. The reality is it’s necessary to protect the lakes.

“The objective of the EPA is to protect water quality and health. … Having them work together makes a lot of sense,” Molly Flanagan, vice president for policy for the Chicago-based Alliance for the Great Lakes, said Tuesday at a conference on Great Lakes issues at the Marquette University Law School.

“What doesn’t make a lot of sense is asking the Coast Guard to do something that it doesn’t have a lot of experience with. We risk rolling back environmental protections.”

Consider for a moment the ongoing damage from just one of the dozens of invasive species that have infiltrated the lakes: the quagga mussel.

As the Journal Sentinel’s Dan Egan has written, the mussels, which originated in the Black and Caspian seas, have no real natural predators in North America. If you could drain Lake Michigan, it would be “possible to walk the entire 100 miles between Wisconsin and Michigan on a bed of trillions upon trillions of filter-feeding quagga mussels,” Egan writes in his 2017 book “The Death and Life of the Great Lakes.”

Because of the mussels, the lakes are now among the clearest on the planet. “But this is not the sign of a healthy lake; it’s the sign of a lake having the life sucked out of it,” Egan writes.

Why risk more environmental damage — damage that also carries an enormous cost to fishing and recreational industries?

The Senate must keep the EPA on guard and let the agency do its job.

We encourage you to let Sens. Johnson and Baldwin know where you stand.

Here’s how:

Sen. Ron Johnson

328 Hart Senate Office Building

Washington, DC 20510

Phone: (202) 224-5323

Email form: http://www.ronjohnson.senate.gov/public ... he-senator

Sen. Tammy Baldwin

709 Hart Senate Office Building

Washington, D.C. 20510

Phone: (202) 224-5653

Email form: http://www.baldwin.senate.gov/feedback

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Post Posted: 08:41am - Apr 18,18 
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Thanks for posting.

To quickly and easily email your senators to voice your opposition to the Vessel Incidental Discharge Act, use the link below:

https://greatlakes.p2a.co/3WYBdsv?

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Post Posted: 11:30am - Apr 18,18 
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frisbee3557 wrote:
Thanks for posting.

To quickly and easily email your senators to voice your opposition to the Vessel Incidental Discharge Act, use the link below:

https://greatlakes.p2a.co/3WYBdsv?


Done, tks for the link Fris. It took about 2 minutes including the reply.......Murph810

"You just contacted:

Senator Tammy Duckworth

Senate Minority Whip Richard Durbin"

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Post Posted: 06:32am - Apr 19,18 
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Representative Daniel Lipinski
Senator Tammy Duckworth
Senate Minority Whip Richard Durbin - Sent Thanks frisbee

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Post Posted: 01:28pm - Apr 19,18 
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This morning I got the enclosed email from Senator Dick Durbin..........
April 19, 2018 9:58 AM
Dear Mr.XXXXX
Thank you for contacting me about the Commercial Vessel Incidental Discharge Act (S. 168). I appreciate hearing from you and share your concerns.
The bill, introduced by Senator Roger Wicker of Mississippi, would establish ballast water treatment requirements set by the Coast Guard in 2012 as the uniform national standard governing ballast water discharges by vessels. By 2022, the bill also would require the Environmental Protection Agency and the Coast Guard have more stringent standards if it was determined to be feasibly achievable, detectable, and commercially available.
I share your concerns about the impacts of this bill on the Great Lakes. Commercial vessels often take on significant amounts of water for the purpose of maintaining stability. This ballast water, which is pumped out of the ship during its voyage or at its destination, can contain exotic species that drive out native wildlife and upset the natural balance of a local ecosystem.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that 30 percent of invasive species have been introduced in the Great Lakes through ballast water. The release of ballast water is thought to be responsible for the invasion of zebra mussels in the Great Lakes.
We must address the issue of ballast water and the introduction of invasive aquatic species. Any new legislation should not preempt state laws or vessel discharge regulations in place under the Clean Water Act.
This bill has been placed on the Senate Calendar and may come up for consideration at any time. I will keep your concerns in mind as this bill is discussed in the Senate.
Thank you again for contacting me. Please feel free to keep in touch.



Sincerely,

Richard J. Durbin
United States Senator



I did some mousing around later and found the link below............Murph810

Senate drops measure to exempt ship ballasts from Clean Water Act
https://www.jsonline.com/story/news/loc ... 529421002/

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Post Posted: 04:02pm - Apr 19,18 
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Quote:
By 2022, the bill also would require the Environmental Protection Agency and the Coast Guard have more stringent standards if it was determined to be feasibly achievable, detectable, and commercially available.



The seaway was the biggest boondoggle to happen to the Great Lakes system.

As always, just follow the money. :winker

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Post Posted: 05:40pm - Apr 19,18 
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Thanks for Posting Murph, Good Info ( Read ) along with the attached video that's included in the Link.

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