Ramsey County judge rules MPCA must regulate ballast water

Fish kill
A fish kill in Lake St. Clair, caused by viral hemorrhagic septicemia.
Photo courtesy of Mohamed Faisal, Michigan State University

(AP) - A judge says the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency must fight the spread of a fishing-killing virus by regulating ballast water released into Lake Superior.

Ramsey County District Judge Kathleen Gearin says in a Monday ruling that the MPCA must require permits for ships emptying ballast water into the lake by Oct. 1.

Gearin's ruling acknowledges that other states and Canada have territory along Lake Superior and have ships that could discharge ballast water into the lake.

However, she say's that's no excuse for MPCA not to act. She also says the MPCA has not handled the issue with the urgency demanded by dangers poised by the virus.

The ruling came in a lawsuit filed last year by the St. Paul-based Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy over the spread of viral hemorrhagic septicemia, or VHS.

The group claims ballast water contains infected fish tissue that could spread the disease to Lake Superior, which is the only Great Lake unaffected by the virus.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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