Zebra mussels, introduced to the Great Lakes through ballast discharge, have upended the Great Lakes ecosystem—fueling rampant and sometimes toxic algae growth, collapsing the food chain and bringing native fisheries down with it. Photo by D. Jude, Univ. of Michigan/Creative Commons.

A proposal to weaken protections against aquatic invaders in the Great Lakes has failed in the Senate as most Great Lakes senators stood firm against allowing the bill to even be considered.

Ballast water has been the primary entryway for invasive species into the Great Lakes, including  zebra and quagga mussels, “fish ebola,” and bloody red shrimp. But the industry lobbyists have been pushing legislation to exempt themselves from the Clean Water Act.

The bill would have eliminated regulation of ballast water discharges for vessels operating within a “geographically limited area” specifically including “the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway” and prevented New York and other states from taking any action.

The bill fell short by four votes in a key procedural tally, 56-42.

Diagram showing the water pollution of the seas from untreated ballast water discharges. Cross section of ship diagram view, with marine debris contamination releases indicated.

Source: The Buffalo News