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WI Groups Ask for Beefed up Defensive Line Against Great Lakes Invaders

August 8, 2008

Madison, WI – Wisconsin conservation groups have joined others in the Great Lakes region in asking the Environmental Protection Agency to toughen its proposed rules for dealing with ballast water from ocean-going ships.

Andy Buchsbaum, with the National Wildlife Federation, says the EPA proposal that ships discharge ballast, or wash tanks with salt water, isn't new, but instead is exactly what ships do now, and invasive species are still slipping through.

"On average, a new invader enters the Great Lakes once every 28 weeks. The Great Lakes can't possibly recover from that."

Congress is considering new technology standards to protect all U.S. waters, Buchsbaum says, and the EPA should follow that lead.

"Ships have been exchanging ballast water since the 1990s, and still these invaders come in. We know that doesn't kill many of the invasive species that plague the Great Lakes."

Other groups asking for stronger rules include the Alliance for the Great Lakes, Great Lakes United and the Wisconsin Wildlife Federation. They are asking for invasive-killing technologies such as ultra-violet light or microwave treatment. The EPA has rejected those requirements in the past because the agency says the technology is not readily available.

Deborah Smith/Don Mathisen, Public News Service - WI