A bill being considered by Congress this week will derail progress on cleaning up ship ballast tanks and stopping aquatic invasive species introductions. Call your Member of Congress today and tell them that the St. Lawrence River needs stronger – not weaker – ballast clean up programs!
Aquatic invasive species, such as zebra mussels and round gobies, are one of the most significant environmental threats to the health of the St. Lawrence River and Great Lakes. Invasive species foul beaches, wreak havoc on the fishery, clog water intake valves of cities and utilities, and harm fish and wildlife. A few invasive species facts:
- More than 60% of aquatic invasive species found today in the River and Lakes were brought in by ship ballast tanks.
- Research shows that the annual cost to Great Lakes states from invasive species introduced by oceangoing vessels may be upwards of $200 million annually.
- Recognizing this problem, in 2005 the Great Lakes Regional Collaboration warned of an impending “invasional meltdown” in the Great Lakes.
Unfortunately Congress is moving in the opposite direction. The House of Representatives is set to vote this week on the Commercial Vessel Discharges Reform Act of 2011 (Title VII of HR2838). This bad bill would:
- Set ballast clean up standards – called the ‘IMO standard’ – that are inadequate to fully protect the St. Lawrence River and our nation’s waters from invasive species;
- Delays even those weak standards by up to 10 years;
- Prevent states like New York from implementing their own strong ballast clean up programs;
- Makes it difficult, if not impossible, to add new protections even if the US EPA or other agencies determine that the IMO standard is not doing the job; and
- Stops citizens from being able to enforce the law through the Clean Water Act.
Bottom line: This bill does not protect the St. Lawrence River or our nation’s waters; it protects the shipping industry. It will derail progress on cleaning up ship ballast tanks and stopping more aquatic invasive species introductions.
Contact your Representative in Congress today to ask them to defeat this bad bill so that our River is protected from aquatic invasive species introductions. (Not sure how to contact your Congressional Representative? Find your Representative.)
Talking Points for Calling or Writing Your Legislator
- I am calling/writing to urge [insert Member's Name] to oppose the Commercial Vessel Discharges Reform Act of 2011 (Title VII of HR2838).
- Aquatic invasive species are one of the most serious threats to the St. Lawrence River. [Insert why the St. Lawrence River is important to you.] We need stronger ballast clean up programs that protect the St. Lawrence River and our nation’s waterways to prevent more damaging aquatic invasive species introductions.
- I urge [insert Member's Name] to delete the bad ballast water amendments – Title VII from HR 2838 – and to vote against the Coast Guard and Martitime Transportation Act of 2011 if those provisions remain.
- Thank you for protecting the St. Lawrence River.
Let us know what you hear! E-mail or call us to let us know how your Member of Congress responds!
Thank you for speaking out for the health of the St. Lawrence River!