The DNR holds a public hearing Monday in Milwaukee on regulations aimed at stopping invasive species. Among the speakers George Meyer, Executive Director of the Wisconsin Wildlife Federation , who supports a proposed five-year permit to require international ships to treat their ballast water before discharging into Great Lakes ports. The treatments are designed to curb invasive species which kill native fish.
Meyer says the damage to fisheries by invaders has cost Wisconsin and other lakes' states hundreds of millions of dollars. Other damage includes a billion and half dollars to clear foreign zebra mussels from the intake valves of industries and municipalities according the conservationist.
Shipping companies and ports have often opposed ballast regulation because of the costs of the changes. Meyer says companies would be able to adapt the new regulations, as the proposal involves a phase in period of up to three years.
The suggested standards for the number of organisms in the ballast water would be among the strictest in the country.