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News stories tagged with "ballast"

Should the shipping industry do more to stop invasives?  (Source:  USGS)
Should the shipping industry do more to stop invasives? (Source: USGS)

Top EPA official embraces NY's controversial ballast water rules

For the first time, a top official with the US Environmental Protection Agency has publicly embraced New York's tough new ballast water rules. Those regulations, scheduled to go into effect next year, are designed to stop invasions of non-native animals and plants, like zebra mussels and the spiny water flea.

Industry groups, members of congress and some Federal officials are pushing back hard, arguing that the regulations set standards that can't be met by existing technology. The want New York's rules scrapped. And they're lobbying the EPA to create national ballast water guidelines that are far less strict.

But as Brian Mann reports, the top EPA administrator in New York says new regulations should push the shipping industry to do more to help stop invasives.  Go to full article
U.S. Seaway Administrator Terry Johnson (left) poses with other industry leaders as the first freighter of the season enters the St. Lambert lock.
U.S. Seaway Administrator Terry Johnson (left) poses with other industry leaders as the first freighter of the season enters the St. Lambert lock.

Seaway burnishes "green" profile

Last week, the first freighter of the year rumbled up the St. Lawrence River. That marked the 53rd season of the St. Lawrence Seaway, a man-made channel linking the Atlantic Ocean and the Great Lakes.

The Seaway's billion dollars of commerce is mostly an economic conversation between Canada's southern coast, America's Midwest, and the far-flung ports of the world.

But it's caused vast environmental damage in the North Country and across the Great Lakes, largely via invasive species.

David Sommerstein went to the Seaway's opening ceremony last week in Montreal. He sends this report on the Seaway's delicate balance between the economy and the environment.  Go to full article

Jeff Alexander: invasive species "a slow-motion wildfire"

Invasive species - from zebra mussels and round gobies to the bloody red shrimp discovered three years ago - are one of the top threats to the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River. They've done billions of dollars in damage to the region's economy and environment. Most entered the Great Lakes through the ballast water of foreign ships on the St. Lawrence Seaway. Jeff Alexander has reported on invasive species for 25 years. He's also written a book about how most of those critters got here - hidden in the ballast of foreign ships on the St. Lawrence Seaway. The book is called Pandora's Locks: The Opening of the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway. Alexander is the keynote speaker at the Save the River Winter Weekend, Saturday, February 6 at the Clayton Opera House. Alexander told David Sommerstein he first training his reporting in invasive species in 1989, when zebra mussels shut down the municipal water system in Munroe, Michigan.  Go to full article

Seaway picking up ground on invasive species

For decades now, invasive species have been one of the biggest threats to the health and economy of the St. Lawrence River and Great Lakes regions. More than 180 invaders have snuck into the watershed, most hidden in the ballast tanks of foreign Seaway ships. Things like zebra and quagga mussels, the round goby, and the sea lamprey crowd out native species, disturb the ecosystem, and have cost the region billions of dollars. But scientists and shippers are cautiously optimistic they're on the right track to keeping new invaders out of the St. Lawrence and Great Lakes. David Sommerstein reports.  Go to full article
Pseudomonas fluorescens kills invasive mussels
Pseudomonas fluorescens kills invasive mussels

A silver bullet for zebra mussels?

New York researchers say they've found something that will kill invasive zebra and quagga mussels. The mussels got into the U.S. in the ballast of foreign ships. Since then they've spread throughout the country. Rebecca Williams reports.  Go to full article
The <i>Federal Kivalina</i>'s crew chief tests a ballast tank for invasive species
The Federal Kivalina's crew chief tests a ballast tank for invasive species

Seaway tries to close the door on invasive species

The United States and Canada are trying to figure out how to keep new invasive species out of the St. Lawrence River and the Great Lakes. 185 have already snuck in, costing the region billions of dollars a year. Many hitchhiked in the ballast tanks of foreign ships. Both countries want the public to know they're doing something about the problem. So they invited journalists to the port of Montreal to see how ballast tanks are tested for invasive species. David Sommerstein reports.  Go to full article

Two decades of zebra mussels, more invaders

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the arrival of the "poster child" of invasive species - the zebra mussels. Environmentalists took the occasion to call on the U.S. and Canada to do more to prevent more unwanted arrivals. David Sommerstein reports.  Go to full article

Seaway proposes new ballast rules

The St. Lawrence Seaway has introduced a new way to keep invasive species from sneaking into the St. Lawrence River and the Great Lakes. Under a proposed rule announced yesterday [Wednesday], oceangoing ships would have to flush their ballast tanks with salt water at least 200 miles from the North American shore. At least 185 exotic species have been found in the lakes. Many were scooped into ship ballast tanks in foreign ports, hauled across the Atlantic and dumped into the Great Lakes when the ships emptied their ballast tanks to take on cargo. St. Lawrence Seaway Administrator Terry Johnson describes the proposed rule as an interim measure while a tougher bill works its way through Congress. Johnson told David Sommerstein it was time for the Seaway to act.  Go to full article
Assemblyman Darrel Aubertine (D-Cape Vincent) listens to testimony
Assemblyman Darrel Aubertine (D-Cape Vincent) listens to testimony

Panel faults feds on invasive species

The Clayton Opera House was an appropriate setting for a state Assembly hearing on invasive species yesterday. The St. Lawrence River outside hosts zebra and quagga mussels, round gobies, and the fish-killing disease, VHS, some of the best-known invasives. They've caused billions of dollars in economic and ecological damage. And many hitchhiked here in the ballast of foreign freighters that float past Clayton every day. Experts testified that the federal government has dropped the ball on stopping the spread of invasives. But they said New York could be in a unique position to take a stand. David Sommerstein reports.  Go to full article

Fed court okays ballast law

A federal judge has upheld the constitutionality of a state law restricting ballast water on ships entering the Great Lakes. As Rachel Lippmann reports, the ruling clears the way for other states to take similar action to control the spread of invasive species.  Go to full article

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