These rules threaten the future of shipping along the Seaway and into the Port of Oswego.
“We all want to protect our lake from invasive species that could impact our fish and wildlife tourism industries, but these regulations go too far,” said Sen. Aubertine, who wrote the DEC immediately after the action was proposed and has been leading the efforts in the Senate to bring the DEC to work with shipping interests and commerce. “The conditions imposed by this action are over-broad, and both economically and technologically unworkable. The end result of these regulations would be equal to shutting down the business that comes into our ports along the St. Lawrence River and Lake Ontario, impacting the jobs we depend on.”
The DEC action, which was not created by legislation but administratively, would require treatment of water discharged by ships to exceed existing standards 100 times greater than International Maritime Organization standards by 2012 and for new vessels constructed after Jan. 1, 2013, the standards would be expected to exceed 1,000 times current standards. No technology exists anywhere in the world to achieve this goal.
“The DEC has overstepped its bounds here and failed in its responsibility to subject this proposal to public comment and legislative oversight,” Senator Aubertine said. “We cannot shut down New York’s maritime economy to satisfy well intentioned but wrong advocates who think they are doing the right thing, but clearly do not understand the impact of their actions.”
This action would apply to all ships, whether or not they discharge ballast water. The marine industry has collaborated with the U.S. and Canadian governments to ensure strong protections against the introduction of invasive species. All vessels entering the Great Lakes region already comply with the most stringent ballast management regulations in the world. Foreign vessels are required to pump out their ballast water while still at sea and flush any empty tanks with ocean water. Since these rules were put in place in 2006, there have been no new discoveries of aquatic nuisance species entering the Great Lakes via ballast water.
“As the first U.S. port of call on the Great Lakes, the implications of these standards are disastrous. The Port directly employs 100 people and has a wider annual economic impact of more than $6 million,” Executive Director Daniels said. “The Port of Oswego is one of the most productive ports in North America with nearly 150 vessels and more than 1.1 million tons of cargo moving through the Port on an annual basis. Thirteen companies depend on the Port as part of their domestic and international logistics chain. International clients and cargoes span the globe from Brazil and the Netherlands, to Russia and Indonesia. The thought of closing the Port because our home state issued these regulations is inconceivable.”