Michigan implements ballast water legislation for ocean cargo ships
Michigan implemented legislation this week that requires permits for all oceangoing cargo ships that dock at the state’s ports.
To qualify for the permits, vessel operators must prove they either will not discharge ballast water or they are equipped to prevent discharge of aquatic nuisance species. Failure to comply with the permits could result in a fine of up to $25,000 per day.
“Requiring ships to prove they pose no threat to our health and safety will help protect our people, our environment and our economy,” said Michigan Gov. Jennifer M. Granholm in a June 6 statement.
The legislation also requires Michigan’s Department of Environmental Quality to form a coalition with other Great Lakes states to implement policies to protect the waters against aquatic pests.
There are more than 160 identified non-native species in the Great Lakes, including sea lampreys and zebra mussels. Damage estimates from zebra mussels alone exceeds $3 billion over the past 10 years.
“Invasive species cost literally billions of dollars to control once they are introduced to the Great Lakes ecosystem, and often, trying to control them is a losing battle,” said Ken DeBeausseart, director of Michigan’s Office of Great Lakes.