The Michigan Agri-Business Association urged Gov. Rick Snyder to sign HB5095 into law following House and Senate passage of the measure to create commonsense ballast water standards in Michigan. MABA recognized Rep. Dan Lauwers, Sen. Arlan Meekhof and Sen. Mike Green for leading the legislative effort to modernize Michigan’s ballast water regulations.
“For too long, Michigan’s outlier ballast water regulations have isolated our state and hurt our economy, and the bill approved Tuesday promises to bring Michigan’s policy in line with our neighbors in a way that will enhance commerce while protecting against invasive species,” said Jim Byrum, president of the Michigan Agri-Business Association. “Michigan agriculture and many other sectors of our economy will benefit from the passage of HB5095, which is a step forward to open the door for vessel transportation and which will help protect against invasive species in the Great Lakes. We thank those in the House and Senate who worked hard to get to ‘yes,’ and we urge Governor Snyder to sign the bill without delay.”
Under Michigan’s current ballast water regulations, which go above and beyond the requirements enforced by the U.S. Coast Guard and other Great Lakes states, oceangoing vessels are not an option for Michigan exporters. In recent years, agricultural shippers have been limited to using truck and rail transportation to move products to ports out of the state, like the Port of Indiana and Port of Toledo. This adds costs for agribusinesses, and ultimately for farmers.
Byrum said House Bill 5095 is a step forward toward ensuring a level playing field for those who ship products from Michigan, and could bring additional investment to port cities throughout the state.