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Marine Log

February 12, 2007

Federal agencies collaborate on ballast water regs

The Coast Guard will work with the Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) in the continued development of new federal regulations on ballast water discharge standards.

APHIS joins a federal partnership that also includes the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, all of which are contributing technical expertise to the Coast Guard-led federal rulemaking.

The rulemaking is intended to spur vessels to use a variety of ballast water treatment technologies to prevent the introduction and spread of aquatic nonindigenous species. Current regulations primarily require vessels to exchange their ballast water with mid-ocean water. However, the effectiveness of this practice varies and not all vessels are able to conduct exchange.

As part of the rulemaking process, the Coast Guard is evaluating the environmental impacts of setting a ballast water discharge standard.

As the ballast water discharge rulemaking process moves forward, the public and interested stakeholders will have the opportunity to provide comments. Information on the rulemaking can be found at: http://dms.dot.gov. Under "simple search" enter 10486 as the docket number.

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