The Coast Guard on Thursday proposed national standards for regulating the release in port of ships’ ballast water, which can introduce new, sometimes detrimental species to U.S. ecosystems.
The plan would establish a limit on the number of invasive organisms that can be released along with a vessel’s ballast water while the ship is in port. That limit would initially follow a formula used by the International Maritime Commission — a standard adopted by some states, but considered weak by many environmentalists.
The goal is to establish by 2016 a national standard similar to California’s, which is considered 1,000 times more stringent than the limits set by the international commission’s formula.
For the first time, the regulation sets upper limits for the number of organisms per unit of ballast water, different from the current rules that only require vessels to make mid-ocean ballast exchanges, a control technique that has frequently been attacked as inadequate in preventing alien species from entering U.S. waters.
The deadline for comments is Nov. 17. The full proposal is available in the Aug. 28 Federal Register HERE