The original Environmental Protection Act of 1972 banned the release of untreated ballast water from ships into estuaries and bays. Unfortunately, the EPA subsequently also allowed such dumping by exempting shipping companies from this part of the law.
For the last six years environmental activists have been trying to reverse this action by filing a number of lawsuits against the EPA. Their concerns are based on recent studies that prove that the dumping has been causing severe damage to the marine environment of bays and estuaries, especially shrimp beds like those here in Washington State. To quote the PI story:
“Considering this threat, it's difficult to understand why Cantwell is promoting a bill in Congress, S 363, to eliminate Clean Water Act coverage of ballast water just as the EPA is being forced to require permits for ships. In fact, Cantwell's bill was specifically drafted in response to a federal court decision in March holding that EPA's exempting ships from permits was illegal. In other words, S 363 is a pure giveaway to the shipping industry.”
After reading the story I sent an e-mail to Cantwell’s office requesting a explanation. I recommend you do the same. The link is here.
Dear Senator Cantwell, Today's story in the Seattle PI troubles me. Why are you supporting a bill that allows shipping companies to release toxic materials into OUR marine environment?
It's troubling that it appears that you are "selling out" to the shipping companies. Aren’t you interested in fighting for the common man and protection of our environment? Do the corporations so easily compromise you? Show some backbone for god's sake.
Is your office so incompetent that it's doesn't realize it's taking a position that is in opposition to many environmentalist who appear to be well informed on this issue and been fighting to stop the very thing your bill would allow.
I expect this type of behavior from a Republican, Not from a Democrat. Haven't the working people been hurt enough already by the incompetence of Bush and the republican congress.
I'd like a explanation!