LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Rick Jones has introduced a resolution in support of Attorney General Bill Schuette’s opposition to federal legislation that would weaken federal and state ballast water laws protecting the Great Lakes from aquatic invasive species.
“The Great Lakes are the world’s largest collection of fresh water, and we have a constitutional duty in Michigan to protect them,” said Jones, R-Grand Ledge. “Aquatic invasive species are one of the most serious threats to the health of the Great Lakes and the people and businesses that depend on them. This resolution is about taking a stand with the attorney general that we must be able to protect our waters from invasions that could decimate our economy and wreak havoc on the ecosystems of the Great Lakes and all its inland lakes and rivers.”
Senate Resolution 22 says that more than 180 nonnative aquatic species have been introduced into the Great Lakes. Over the last 60 years, most of these species, including zebra and quagga mussels, have been introduced from oceangoing ships discharging ballast water.
Congress is currently considering legislation that would limit Michigan’s and other states’ ability to protect their waters from aquatic invasive species.
“Michigan is a leader in efforts to stop aquatic invasive species and was the first state to require oceangoing ships entering state waters to treat their ballast water to kill any invasive species,” Jones said. “Once these species invade, they are nearly impossible to eradicate and can cause millions of dollars in damage and control costs. The invasive species already in the Great Lakes cost the region more than $100 million per year, and we must fight any effort that weakens our ability to protect our waters and jeopardizes the Great Lakes ecosystem.”
Jones was recently named 2015-16 Great Lakes Champion by the Michigan League of Conservation Voters for his leadership in defending the lakes.
“This resolution is part of a continued and dedicated effort to ensure we take every reasonable and responsible step to protect the Great Lakes for generations to come,” Jones said.