There’s been some good news/bad news in the fight against invasive species in the Great Lakes the past few weeks. Let’s get the bad news out of the way first – a 19-pound Asian carp was found near the shore of Lake Michigan, past the navigation lock that the Supreme Court refused to close despite a legal challenge by Michigan and most other Great Lakes states. We knew that Asian carp would inevitably reach the Great Lakes unless the Supreme Court ordered the Army Corps to take immediate protective action (which didn’t happen). Now the question is what the Army Corps and other government agencies will do about it. With the federal government’s history of mistakes on Asian carp and the ongoing bureaucratic response mess, it’s hard to be optimistic on this one.
So let’s move on to the good news. The New York Court of Appeals (New York’s highest court) let stand a lower state court ruling upholding New York’s strict new ballast water standard against a legal challenge from the ports and shipping industries. Big kudos to NRDC’s lead attorney on the case, Thom Cmar, who wrote a guest post on Great Lakes Law on the lower court ruling last year. Andy Buchsbaum of NWF (which joined with NRDC on the case) has an excellent post on the huge legal and practical significance of this win, given New York’s position as an entryway for ships to the rest of the Great Lakes system.
And one final piece of good news, perhaps related to invasive species. Lana Pollack’s appointment to the International Joint Commission is now a done deal, following her confirmation by the U.S. Senate. For more on Lana and the IJC, see my prior post. Lana is a dedicated environmental advocate who will push the IJC to take more aggressive action against invasive species and other threats to the Great Lakes. Glad to have her at the IJC, congrats Lana.