HOLT: New York threatens to ballast Indiana exports (full article)
By: David Holt, Vice President of Operations and Business Development, Conexus Indiana
Posted: April 2, 2011
It's no secret that Indiana's unmatched interstate access and extensive rail network have earned the state a reputation as the Crossroads of America, but Indiana's waterborne shipping industry also plays a vital role in the state's position as a logistics powerhouse.
Indiana ranks 15th nationally in terms of foreign and domestic waterborne shipping, with key ports on the Ohio River and Great Lakes.
However, recently adopted regulations in New York governing the discharge of ballast water-the water cargo ships take on to maintain stability when not fully loaded-threatens to cut off one of Indiana's key gateways, the Saint Lawrence Seaway.
In 2004, the International Maritime Organization (IMO), the maritime arm of the United Nations that coordinates international shipping policy, crafted an international treaty calling for ballast treatment technology on all vessels operating throughout the world. The world's shipping industry supports these requirements.
Because Congress failed to enact domestic legislation implementing the IMO agreement, every Great Lakes state, including Indiana, was left to adopt its own ballast water discharge regulations. Indiana, and the other Great Lakes states, adopted regulations mirroring the IMO requirements.
The new regulations passed by the New York Department of Environmental Conservation (NYDEC) require that by Jan. 1, 2013, all vessels operating in New York waters must clean and treat ballast water to a standard 100 times greater than those established by the IMO-meaning discharged ballast water would be cleaner than the tap water in the average American home.