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GLIN==> Coast Guard hearing May 9th on NOBOB vessels

Coast Guard to hold public hearing on NOBOB vessels and AIS in the Great Lakes

The United States Coast Guard is taking steps to improve enforcement of the National Invasive Species Act (NISA). Under NISA, the Coast Guard initiated the Great Lakes program in 1993, which requires any ocean-going vessel equipped with ballast tanks entering the Great Lakes to exchange the tank contents in the open ocean, employ an approved alternative to treat hitchhiking organisms, or retain ballast contents and seal its tanks.

So what's the problem? For the past 12 shipping seasons, the Coast Guard has exempted ships that are fully loaded with cargo and declaring "no ballast on board" (or NOBOB) from its regulations. However, NOBOBs do carry invaders in their residual water and sediment. The most recent scientific reports says that over 90% of oceangoing ships that enter the Great Lakes through the St. Lawrence Seaway are NOBOBs.

The Coast Guard recently announced in the Federal Register that it needs to develop a comprehensive program to address NOBOB vessels. The Coast Guard is collecting public comments and will hold a public hearing on “no ballast on board” management strategies on May 9 in Cleveland, Ohio. Vocalizing your concern for the Great Lakes is needed, either through written comment, or through presenting your comments to the Coast Guard in person at the May 9th meeting.

The public hearing is on May 9th, from 9am-4pm and 5pm-7pm at the Anthony J. Celebreeze Federal Building, 1240 East 9th Street, Cleveland, Ohio, 44419.

For more meeting information, the original Federal Register post, and instructions how to submit comments, go to: www.restorethelakes.org/cghearing.html  Make sure you include the docket number in all your communications: USCG–2004–19842


Check the docket, and read comments from others, go to: http://dms.dot.gov click on “Simple Search” and search under “19842”


If you would like more information or an action alert on this issue, please feel free to contact Jennifer Nalbone, Great Lakes United jen@glu.org, 716-213-0408.