Mich Enviro Report: EPA Regs, Native Plants & a Ballast Water Deal

As heard on the March 11, 2011, broadcast of Friday Edition on Delta College Q-90.1 FM
Friday Edition recently won a merit award from the Michigan Association of Broadcasters, so you might say this is the latest broadcast from “the award-winning” Mr. Great Lakes …
photo mab award
1.
Scientists from Michigan universities are part of a statewide effort to oppose what they say are attacks on the authority of the EPA.

More than 150 scientists, including professors from Central Michigan University in Mount Pleasant, have signed a letter to Congress, calling on Michigan lawmakers to resist attempts to weaken the EPA’s authority to regulate greenhouse gases.

The letter asks lawmakers to reject any measure to block or delay the EPA from protecting people from air pollution and human-induced climate change. The scientists assert that efforts to dilute the EPA’s authority will put health, agriculture, the environment and the economy at risk.

According to Stephen Hamilton, a professor from Michigan State University, each year of delay on greenhouse gas regulation commits the US to years worth of severe effects on the climate.

A recent statewide poll showed that Michigan voters support the EPA’s authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from large industrial sources.

2.

Spring officially starts on March 20. It’s time to round up your gardening supplies and ideas.

Using native plants in your yard and gardens can help conserve water. And natives also attract beneficial insects, according to the Saginaw Basin Land Conservancy.

Experts at Michigan State University have created a website on native plants, which explains which ones to choose.

The site lists 26 of the best Michigan native perennials for attracting beneficial insects.

What are beneficial insects? Bug that eat other insects, and provide natural pest control in your garden. These natural enemies are attracted to flowering plants, like many native Michigan varieties.

3.

There’s a new development in the fight against invasive species in the Great Lakes.

A settlement has been announced between the EPA and conservation organizations including the National Wildlife Federation and the Alliance for the Great Lakes.

The bottom line: the EPA will be required to create a new permit system that regulates ballast water discharges from commercial vessels based on numeric limits.

Invasive species introduced to the lakes via ballast water include the zebra mussel and spiny water flea.

The settlement requires the EPA to complete scientific reviews of steps that ships should take to prevent the introduction of more invasives to the lakes.

The hope is that the agreement will prompt the EPA to treat so-called living pollution as aggressively as oil spills and toxic releases. Ships will be required to adopt technologies to treat their ballast water.

A draft of the new permit is due by November 2011. Ship owners will have until December 2013 to comply with the new standards.

The NRDC has more info.

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2 comments

  1. We are still without comprehensive ballast water policy, law,or regulation to address all the dangers of ballast water discharges.
    One can only pray this administration is more concerned about Japan’s nuclear contaminated water in the Pacific arriving in ballast water, than were while watching ballast systems for tar balls going to Lake Pontchartrain. They were warned about both. The administration is obviously following an international approach through the Coast Guard plan relying on the IMO for direction and enforcement. This is obvious by the failure of this administration to coordinate the EPA and Homeland Security, with a Coast Guard plan, (which sadly only follows the IMO). Within a four year term in office under President Obama’s administration despite previously passed legislation in the House 395-7, (killed by Senator Boxer, a political friend of the President) the EPA had to be sued, in order to even address, the need to create a standard. Environmentalist, still only achieved a promise from the EPA to draw up a standard, after the next presidential election, when there may be a new administration policy. This administration has effectively continued the delay created by the military under this commander and chief using the guise of more and more study.
    Regardless of IMO regulations, international law or treaties, each IMO foreign sea captain works for a different economic interest and performs under independent governance while controlling the ships functions to create profit for foreign economic interest. Currently we are protected by only foreign sea captains integrity and ability to perform costly, often dangerous, ineffective ocean flush’s. The Coast Guards historic known disinterest continues, illustrated by their failure to try and protect our country at a higher standard than the IMO an organization of foreign business interests. Sadly they have the only infrastructure to protect with testing and inspection. Standards that require mandatory technological hardware to clean ballast water from all substances are needed along with an infrastructure for enforcement, commanded by a leader who cares.
    We needed a President who will direct Congress to address the issue with legislation authorizing the Coast Guard to protect our citizens health from ballast water. A comprehensive plan of zero tolerance for all types of ballast pollution including the human pathogens and virus now being allowed dumped in our waters. (not a promise for after the next presidential election cycle)

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