Great Lakes News

Great Lakes News

Bill Looks to Repeal Ballast Water Regulations


After a long battle in state and federal government, a new bill is threatening to roll back rules on ballast water pollution. The shipping and cargo industry is pushing the Vessel Incidental Discharge Act (VIDA) in Congress, which would eliminate the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) authority over ballast water pollution.

In 2008, the federal government required that ships had ballast water treatment systems onboard. Despite this, long timelines to phase in these regulations mean that many ships still do not have water treatment systems installed. These systems are designed to prevent the spread of invasive species, such as zebra mussels, quagga mussels, and round gobies — all of which entered the Great Lakes via ship ballast tanks. Invasive species often disrupt the natural ecosystem and can cause communities hundreds of millions of dollars each year.

The VIDA bill has been proposed a number of times in different forms by the shipping and cargo industry and has currently been tacked on with the U.S. Coast Guard Authorization Act.

Boaters can take action against VIDA by sending an email to their legislators by following this link:

South Shore JUN17