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PNS Daily Newscast - August 4, 2020 


Despite Trump threat NV Governor Sisolak signs expanded vote-by-mail into law; Trump wants Treasury to get percentage of any TikTok deal.


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Coast Guard Adrift On Ballast Water Regulations

October 7, 2009

LANSING, Mich. - "Muscling" their way into waterways from Maine to California, some say invasive species are taking over natural ecosystems, and that regulations to prevent them are not coming quickly enough. The zebra mussel is one of nearly 200 aquatic invaders known to have infested the Great Lakes, causing problems for boaters and power companies while also competing for food and habitat with native plant and animal species.

According to Andy Buchsbaum, co-chair of the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition, the technology is available to kill up to 95 percent of exotic critters being carried into the Great Lakes. However, he says, the U. S. Coast Guard has shown limited interest in controlling the problem, despite a mandate to develop ballast water rules.

"It's giving ships a pass on putting anything in place until as late as 2020 or even afterward. By that time the Great Lakes could be devastated. It's like a patient who's deathly ill, waiting until they die before giving them the medicine."

This month the Coast Guard is taking public comment on whether some of the rules adopted by Great Lakes states should become part of federal regulations. In the meantime, businesses and cities are paying more than $200 million a year to repair damage from invasive species, costs Buchsbaum says are unnecessary.

"All that takes is the political will to pass a law or enact a regulation that prohibits those ships from discharging those invasive species in the Great Lakes."

As currently proposed, any new federal rules would not be enforced until at least 2020. Buchsbaum believes that will be too late. Every seven months, he notes, biologists identify a new invasive species in the Great Lakes, usually the result of foreign ships dumping the ballast water they've carried from other areas.

Amy Miller/Laura Thornquist, Public News Service - MI