New York drops ballast standards shippers fought

JOHN FLESHER AP Environmental Writer Published:

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) -- New York state officials have backed away from tough regulations for ridding ballast water of invasive species that the maritime industry says would disrupt international shipping in the Great Lakes.

The rules had been scheduled to take effect in August 2013. They would order ships to go far beyond a standard proposed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for cleansing ballast water to make sure it has no live organisms before it's released in U.S. ports.

Zebra mussels and other invasive species have hitched rides to the Great Lakes in ballast water and caused billions in economic losses.

The shipping industry contends no technology exists to meet the New York requirements, although environmentalists disagree. New York said this week it will drop its plan but seek tougher federal standards.