The state of New York is implementing regulations that could cripple traffic through the St. Lawrence Seaway. The regulations pertain to ballast water used by ships to balance their loads. The discharge of ballast water is blamed for the introduction of many invasive species into the Great Lakes. The New York regulations require ships to clean their ballast water to very high standards. Observers say no ship in the world could meet the quality standards that will be applied. Amazingly, the regulations do not regulate the discharge of ballast water, but rather the transit of ships containing ballast water. Ballast water is not typically released from a vessel during transport. The regulatory changes are slated for January 2012. Hopefully, rational thought will prevail well before that time. Many groups are calling for a national uniform standard rather than letting individual states set their own rules. According to the Western Grain Elevator Association, Canada exports approximately seven million tonnes of grain annually through the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway, so the grain industry has a big stake in seeing more reasonable regulations. I’m Kevin Hursh.
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