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Thursday, 21 March 2013 11:08

Lawmaker wants Michigan to mirror Coast Guard guidelines relating to ballast water discharge

(AREA) -- Michigan could benefit from increased shipping activity while continuing to protect the Great Lakes from aquatic invasive species under legislation introduced by State Representative Dan Lauwers. The legislation would require the state to mirror U.S. Coast Guard guidelines relating to ballast water discharge. Since 2005, Michigan has had one of the most stringent ballast laws in the country. Ocean-going vessels currently must obtain a permit from the Department of Environmental Quality and use on-board treatment methods such as light radiation and deoxygenation in order to discharge ballast water into the Great Lakes. Under the legislation, ocean-going vessels would have four options related to ballast water discharge--conduct a complete flushing of ballast tanks at a location at least 200 nautical miles from shore at a depth of more than 2,000 meters, use public water treatment systems in ports, use onboard treatment methods, or hold their ballast water in the vessel. Lauwers serves the 81st House District, which includes most of St. Clair County.