Senate Panel approves Ballast Bill (S 1578)

The Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee approved a bill by voice vote that would set national standards for ballast water in an attempt to prevent invasive species from entering U.S. waters. During markup of the Ballast Water Management Act of 2007 (S. 1578), Committee Chairman Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) agreed to continue discussions with Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) to resolve the issue of which federal agency should have lead authority over ballast water. As it stands now, the bill would direct the Department of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and other agencies, to set the standards. Boxer, who chairs the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, said she opposes the bill as written because it would prevent states from imposing tougher ballast water treatment requirements and preempt the EPA from regulating ballast water discharges under the Clean Water Act. The bill still has a long way to go, however, before full passage through Congress.

No comments: