CMC Joins Legal Action, NY Ballast Regs

Monday, December 22, 2008

The Chamber of Marine Commerce, along with a number of other industry stakeholders, are joining forces to take legal action against the state of New York's proposed new ballast water regulations.  The other parties joining in the lawsuit include American Great Lakes Ports Association, Canadian Shipowners Association, Federal Marine Terminals, Canfornav, Polska Zegluga Morska, Port of Oswego and Port of Albany Commission.

During the past few months, four Great Lakes states (New York, Wisconsin, Illinois, and Ohio) have issued new ballast water regulations, joining Michigan and Minnesota, both of whom already had ballast water regulations.  Generally, the CMC contends that most regulatory activity being proposed by these states is relatively consistent with IMO standards for ballast water treatment, i.e. requiring ships to have ballast water treatment systems by 2016.

However, CMC states that the new regulations proposed by the state of New York are neither manageable nor consistent with international standards.  CMC argues that the regulations being proposed by New York are so unrealistic they would be impossible for many vessels - most particularly Canadian lakers - to comply with.  The proposed NY legislation requires that vessels be able to sanitize ballast water one hundred times greater than International Maritime Organization (IMO) standards by 2012, and one thousand times greater than IMO standards by 2013, ...specifications requiring technology not yet even available.

As of 12:00 pm EDT December 18, the CMC was informed that the New York Department of Environmental Conservation (NYDEC) has revised the proposed regulations to provide for an exemption on the most immediate and troublesome condition (re: Condition 1 - laker ballast exchange requirements downstream of Montreal, 200 nautical miles offshore and 50 m water depth) which appears to address industry's most pressing short term concerns as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) prepares to issue vessel permitting later this week. 

(Source: Marine Connections)

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