US court throws curveball in ballast water treatment debate

US court throws curveball in ballast water treatment debate

The future of ballast water treatment systems has been thrown into further confusion following a ruling from a federal appeals court in New York this week which has ordered the US government to rewrite its rules regulating the discharge of ballast water by ships.

The 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals said yesterday the Environmental Protection Agency acted “arbitrarily and capriciously” when it decided in 2013 to follow an international standard governing the discharge of harmful organisms, though technology was available to adopt a higher standard.

Circuit Judge Denny Chin also said the EPA, using its authority under the Clean Water Act, should have considered onshore facilities to treat ballast water rather than focus on pollution controls aboard ships, where a lack of space might limit their effectiveness.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.

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