Green announces public hearing on ballast water reform

LANSING, Mich. – A public hearing on ballast water regulatory reform legislation has been scheduled for May 6 at the Detroit/Wayne County Port Authority, announced state Sen. Mike Green.

“Michigan law regulating the discharge of ballast water by commercial shipping vessels has been out of sync with that of other Great Lakes states, nearby Canadian provinces and federal rules because it imposes a completely separate standard for Michigan ports,” said Green, R–Mayville.

“Although we have more ports than any other state in the nation, the statute fails to protect the Great Lakes from invasive species as vessels have simply chosen to use ports elsewhere. This has also cost Michigan workers good-paying jobs and has destroyed economic opportunities for Michigan businesses and farmers.”

The U.S. Coast Guard recently adopted a standard that requires all ocean-going shipping vessels to treat ballast water prior to discharge in ways proven to prevent the introduction of invasive species. Green has introduced Senate Bill 266 to bring Michigan law in line with that standard.

“SB 266 will make Michigan more economically competitive with other states and Canada by permitting ships in our ports if they meet the federal standard,” Green said. “Most importantly, it will help prevent the introduction of new invasive species into our waters.”

The bill is supported by leaders in business, agriculture, the commercial shipping industry and local government who say the move will open up Michigan ports for business.

“For Michigan to compete in the new global economy, we must give our industries the ability to export their products to the rest of the world,” said John Jamian, executive director of Port Detroit. “If this bill passes, it will allow Port Detroit to do exactly that, by offering Michigan companies direct access to the most cost efficient and environmentally friendly transport option available.”  

Monday’s testimony-only hearing by the Senate Natural Resources Committee will focus on the economic impact of current state law and the need for SB 266.

Senate Committee on Natural Resources, Environment and Great Lakes; and
The general public.

Public Hearing on SB 266

Monday, May 6
1 p.m.

Port Detroit
2nd Floor
130 East Atwater