The Minnesota court of appeals has affirmed the state agency’s issuance of a new ballast water permit, despite an environmental group’s challenge that the permit does not do enough to protect Lake Superior from aquatic invasive species. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s ballast water discharge permit allows ships to delay new treatment technologies to prevent biological pollution until 2016, leaving Lake Superior vulnerable to more invasive species for another seven years. The Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy filed a legal challenge based on Lake Superior’s designation as an “outstanding value resource water,” which requires the state to protect the lake from “degradation” from new pollution threats. The Minnesota court of appeals, in a decision affirming the state’s issuance of the permit, acknowledged that the environmental group raised legitimate concerns about the general permit and the state’s approach to protecting Lake Superior. However, the court essentially deferred to the state agency’s technical expertise and legal interpretations, concluding that the issuance of the general permit was not arbitrary and capricious or an error of law (the legal standard that courts use in this type of challenge). Despite the legal setback, Minnesota is still putting in place a regulatory system for ballast water discharges in the Great Lakes (it’s just not as strong or as immediate as it should be), putting more pressure on the industry and federal government to finally address the problem of aquatic invasive species.