The state of New York has backed away from plans to impose stringent ballast-water standards that industry officials said threatened vessel commerce to New York-New Jersey container terminals and the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway.
“This action will remove the potential for serious economic damage to the New York-New Jersey port and to commerce on the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway,” said Ed Kelly, president of the Maritime Association of the Port of New York and New Jersey.
The association mustered opposition to the state’s plan to require all vessels traversing New York waters to install technology to make ballast water 100 times cleaner than required by the International Maritime Organization. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation had approved regulations requiring the stringent rules to take effect. Aug. 1, 2013.
Department Commissioner Joseph Martens said Wednesday the agency had decided to drop the requirement and instead will pursue “a technically feasible national standard.”
Kelly said no technology existed to meet the original requirement. He said carriers would have faced penalties for sending ships through New York waters to reach container terminals in the Port of New York and New Jersey or ports on the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway.
Kelly said New York State Sen. Diane Savino, whose district includes Staten Island and Brooklyn, was instrumental in the campaign to persuade state regulators to rescind the original ballast-water rule.
Raymond Johnston, president of Canada’s Chamber of Marine Commerce, applauded the NYDEC’s decision. Governors of three Great Lakes states said in September that New York’s regulation could close the waterway and “imperil thousands of maritime-related jobs in the Great Lakes states and Canada,” if not changed.