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Court Rules EPA Missed The Boat On Invasive Species Regulation

Sam Stukel
South Dakota Game Fish and Parks

Some environmental groups are blaming the EPA for not doing enough to control invasive species like zebra mussels.  

This week a coalition of groups won a ruling in the 2nd Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals that calls on the EPA to do more.    The lawsuit deals with regulations for ballast water in large ships that can transport invasive species.

Some invasives can decimate local fish populations, and do millions of dollars in damage to recreational and commercial fishing.  

Marc Smith is with the National Wildlife Federation, one of the environmental groups suing the EPA.

“So, we’re trying to insure that no new invasive species are being introduced," says Smith.   And, one of the biggest ways we’re trying to do that is to get the Environmental Protection Agency,  EPA to regulate the ballast water being discharged by these ships. The courts agreed with our opinion that EPA did not do its job and it failed to protect not only the Great Lakes but our nation’s water from the introduction of invasive species,” he adds.     

Zebra mussels were recently found in the Missouri River above Gavins Point Dam, increasing the worry that the species are spreading.  

Officials in South Dakota say improper washing and care of boats can result in the transport of invasive species from one body of water to another.    

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