Late last week, New York State Senator Darrel Aubertine joined representatives from the shipping industry to announce his opposition to New York State’s new regulations that would stop aquatic invasive species introductions into the St. Lawrence River and Great Lakes by cleaning up ship ballast tanks.
We are surprised and disappointed with the Senator’s decision to try to block the most significant step forward in efforts to prevent aquatic invasive species introductions since the first invasive species legislation passed congress more than twenty years ago. The fact is, we need New York’s tough new ballast regulations to prevent further ecological and economic harm to our River communities. (Read Save The River’s letter to Senator Aubertine.)
Aquatic invasive species, such as zebra mussels and round gobies, are one of the most significant environmental threats to the health of the River and Lakes. Invasive species foul beaches, wreak havoc on the fishery, clog water intake valves of cities and utilities, and harm fish and wildlife.
Aquatic invasive species cost the eight Great Lakes states and its citizens at least $200 million per year, according to researchers at Notre Dame University. Our River communities rely on a healthy River for their economic vitality. Tourism in the Thousand Islands Region generates more than $400 million per year and supports more than 8,000 jobs.
Time and again in the history of environmental and public safety, we have seen government regulatory action drive technological innovation. The State of New York’s new regulations are the primary driving force today behind advancement in ballast treatment technology. We have every reason to believe that if these rules are set aside, progress toward cleaning up ship ballast tanks will significantly slow or stop, allowing even more aquatic invasive species to enter the St. Lawrence River and Great Lakes.
Write or Call Senator Aubertine today to express support for New York State’s Ballast Rules!
Let Senator Aubertine know that you’re disappointed that he’s taking the side of the shippers, and not standing up for the health of our River and the economic well-being of River communities. The shipping industry must do its part by adopting—rather than fighting—solutions that prevent the introduction and spread of invasive species into the St. Lawrence River and Great Lakes.
Find contact information and sample language below. Please let us know if you’ve written or called Senator Aubertine’s office and any response you receive.
SAMPLE LETTER LANGUAGE
The St. Lawrence River/Great Lakes is very important to me (explain why…)
I am writing you today to express disappointment with your recent statements opposing New York State’s ballast regulations.
As you know, ship ballast is the primary pathway for aquatic invasive species introductions into the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River system, and aquatic invasive species, such as zebra mussels and round gobies, are one of the most significant environmental threats to the health of the River and Lakes. Invasive species foul beaches, wreak havoc on the fishery, clog water intake valves of cities and utilities, and harm fish and wildlife.
The commercial shipping industry has been allowed to pose a direct threat to the economic and environmental health of Upstate New York communities for too long. I urge you to support the New York State ballast regulations and protect the St. Lawrence River and Great Lakes.
[Insert your name and address]
Send your comments to the addresses or call the number below:
317 Washington Street
Watertown, NY 13601
315-782-3418 (office) / 315-782-6357 (fax)
Thank you for speaking out to protect the health of the St. Lawrence River!