Great Lakes threatened by House bill

May 23, 2016

The Great Lakes could become a spawning ground for invasive species under a bill recently passed by the House. It would eliminate federal oversight of ballast water that some ships carry around the world.

The House of Representatives recently passed a bill that could harm the Great Lakes.  A provision stuck in to the National Defense Authorization Act eliminates federal and state control over ballast water used in ships.

Lake Erie could suffer under new regulations passed by Congress.
Credit Chris Caya WBFO News

The change could open the door to invasive species. Rep. Brian Higgins says he's concerned that members of Congress from outside the Great Lakes region are trying to kill the Environmental Protection Agency.

"It's vitally important, as we see here with a cleaned up Buffalo River, we've removed 67,000 truck loads of toxic mud in the last ten years. $75 million in the last ten years alone. We see new development along the Buffalo River where five years ago nobody would anticipate any of this would happen. But all of this is under threat in Congress by members who don't appreciate the great economic and life quality value of the Great Lakes."     

Higgins, a South Buffalo Democrat, voted against the legislation. He says he suspects the provision will be removed when the House and Senate reconcile the bill.