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GLIN==> NYS Ballast Water Legislation

Posted on behalf of Dana Bobinchek <dbobinchek@nylcv.org>

Contact: Jay Smith 716-826-1878

June 2000

Dick Smith’s Ballast Bill Passes Assembly’s Environmental Conservation

Assemblyman Richard A. Smith (D/C/I Hamburg) announced passage of his bill
(A. 11369) that will amend the environmental conservation law, in relation
to requiring the sterilization of certain ballast water. The legislation is
now awaiting a floor decision from the full NYS Assembly. The purpose of the
bill is to force users of the Great Lakes to decrease the likelihood of
introducing non-native aquatic species and chemicals to our waterways. Lake
Erie has had numerous problems over the last few years with Zebra Mussels,
Round Nosed Goby and Ruffe; just to mention a few exotic species that have
been introduced.

Ballast defined is water and associated solids taken on board a vessel to
control or maintain trim, draft, stability, or stresses on the vessel,
without regard to the manner in which it is carried. This bill will require
vessels to institute techniques that will destroy or remove all biological
organisms before releasing their ballast water.

"The dangers posed to the community with the release of non-sterilized
ballast water are extraordinary," said Assemblyman Smith. "By allowing the
DEC to develop an inspection program, we can add a layer of protection to
the residents of New York State that depend on the Great Lakes."

As a member of the Assembly’s Environmental Conservation Committee and also
as Chair of the Assembly’s Subcommittee on Wildlife Management,

Assemblyman Smith has been concerned about the danger these non-native
aquatic species have introduced to our area. His Committee members have been
supportive of the importance of passing this legislation.

"I am delighted that my En Con Committee colleagues have worked with me in
so timely a manner to place this bill onto the Assembly agenda," said
Assemblyman Smith. "Millions of dollars have been spent trying to combat the
zebra mussel problem in Lake Erie. It’s time to take this burden off the
shoulders of the taxpayers."

"More than 140 different plants and animals have invaded the Great Lakes,"
said Helen Domske of Sea Grant New York. "Some of these, such as the sea
lamprey and the zebra mussel, have had economic as well as ecological
impacts. Millions of dollars have been spent to clean up fouled pipes and
power plant intakes. The Great Lakes have been especially hard hit by the
invasion of exotic species due to the presence of canals and international
ship traffic. "

"I want to thank the members of the environmental community as well as the
outdoorsmen throughout the community for showing their support for this
important piece of legislation. This bill sends a clear message that New
York State will not tolerate the introduction of ecological invaders,"
concluded Assemblyman Smith.


New York State Assemblymember Smith is interested in speaking with any
organization or elected official about bringing similar legislation to all
of the Great Lakes States and Provinces.  Please contact his district office
at 716-826-1878, for more information.

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