2013 Briefing Recap: Ballast Water Regulations in the Great Lakes

On Wednesday, June 12, 2013 the NEMWI coordinated a briefing on the implementation of the U.S. Coast Guard Ballast Water Standard (authorized in the National Invasive Species Act) and the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Clean Water Act-based Vessel General Permit (VGP), both of which cover discharges of ballast water from vessels. Agency representatives provided history on the formation of their respective regulations, including the nature of public input in the final rules. The EPA described the unique role of state certification in their permit. The U.S. Coast Guard provided information on the Alternative Management System, which provides temporary acceptance of foreign type-approved systems, for use in vessels in the U.S, pending U.S. type approval. Additionally, the speakers provided background on their respective requirements to protect the Great Lakes, and how they are avoiding unnecessary overlap or regulatory conflicts. Question and answer period discussion focused on complementarity of the programs, and possible unanticipated gaps. Carolyn Juneman of the Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration, Craig Middlebrook of the St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation, and Allegra Cangelosi, President of NEMWI and Director of the Great Ships Initiative, were on hand to answer questions. The Great Lakes Task Force Co-chairs, Reps. Candice Miller, John Dingell, Sean Duffy, Louise Slaughter and Sens. Carl Levin and Mark Kirk, served as honorary co-sponsors of the briefing. Slides from the presentation are available here.