ANN ARBOR, MICH. (April 18, 2018)—In a major victory for clean water, outdoor recreation, and local economies across the country, the U.S. Senate today rejected attempts to weaken Clean Water Act protections to prevent aquatic invasive species from entering U.S. waters through the discharge of ballast water.
The Senate rejected a motion to limit debate on the Coast Guard reauthorization bill that contained the Vessel Incidental Discharge Act—a bill that would exempt the shipping industry from the Clean Water Act and leave the nation’s rivers, lakes, and oceans vulnerable to aquatic invasive species. The vote was 56 to 42 with 60 votes needed to move forward.
Conservation groups, including Alliance for the Great Lakes, Center for Biological Diversity, Conservation Law Foundation, Friends of the Earth, Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition, National Wildlife Federation, Natural Resources Defense Council, and Northwest Environmental Advocates said:
“This is a huge victory for the millions of people, communities, and businesses who want to put an end to the environmental and economic harm wrought by aquatic invasive species. We thank the members of the U.S. Senate who stood up for our clean water, fish and wildlife, outdoor recreation, and economy. The Clean Water Act offers the most effective defense against non-native invaders. We applaud U.S. Senators who recognized that instead of finding ways to exempt the shipping industry from cleaning up its act, it’s time to let the Clean Water Act do what it does best—and what it has done effectively for more than 40 years—protect U.S. waters that people depend on every day for their health, jobs, and way of life. We look forward to working with the U.S. Senate to pass a clean Coast Guard bill, while ensuring that we uphold the vision of the Clean Water Act to protect all of our nation’s iconic waters for people now and generations to come.”