Brief for Whitmer, Bill on Ballast Water

For Friday, Nov. 30, 2018

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1 – Gretchen Whitmer will have plenty of environmental issues to deal with when she becomes Michigan’s next governor in January.

A briefing paper prepared by Michigan State University Extension program lays the issues out for Whitmer and other elected officials.

aerial photo of body of water
Photo by Pok Rie on Pexels.com

The paper points to invasive species, the transport of crude oil and water diversions as key issues.

It notes that there are disagreements about how best to address the state’s environmental problems and summarizes various policy debates surrounding management and use of Great Lakes water resources.

The paper has several recommendations for state policymakers, including ensuring that companies transporting oil by pipeline, rail, or vessels adequately plan for and take steps to mitigate environmental and public safety risks.

You can find the Great Lakes Brief for the Incoming Michigan Governor online at canr.msu.edu.

2 – A Coast Guard bill headed to the president’s desk will preserve protections that safeguard the Great Lakes from aquatic invasive species.

This is according to the Alliance for the Great Lakes.

The U.S. House this week finalized a Coast Guard reauthorization act that was earlier passed by the Senate.

boat military coast guard
Photo by Onur Kurtic on Pexels.com

The legislation includes several important improvements that protect the Great Lakes, including the continued regulation of ballast water and incidental discharges from ships under the Clean Water Act, the Alliance says. Previous versions of the bill would have weakened regulations.

But the bill preempts states from adopting standards that are stronger than federal law, which in the past has been an important tool for states in the Great Lakes region.

The group notes that ballast water discharged from ships is the primary pathway for new aquatic invasive species to enter the Great Lakes. Existing invasives have caused significant ecological damage and cost communities more than $200 million a year.

Alliance leaders say they plan to keep an eye on federal regulators as the new standards are developed and implemented.

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– Mr. Great Lakes is heard Friday mornings in Bay City, Michigan, on Delta College Q-90.1 FM NPR. Follow @jeffkart on Twitter #MrGreatLakes

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