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Appeals court backs PCA ballast rules

The Minnesota Court of Appeals sided today with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency's new regulations to control ballast water discharges from ships on Lake Superior.

The Minnesota Court of Appeals sided today with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency's new regulations to control ballast water discharges from ships on Lake Superior.

The Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy had filed suit against the PCA saying the agency was moving too slowly and had standards too lax to regulate ballast water. The group wanted tougher standards on ships imposed sooner than the 2012 and 2016 dates the PCA has called for.

The court's decision upholds the permit system installed by the PCA last year for nearly all ships that discharge any ballast water or carry ballast water through Minnesota waters of Lake Superior.

The environmental group noted that the ruling was not a clear endorsement of the PCA's ballast regulations.

"The court didn't say the PCA did it right and it didn't say our most outstanding resources, like Lake Superior, will be protected," said MCEA lawyer Matt Norton, who argued the case in May. "The court said that under the law, it has to defer to the PCA unless they do something completely irrational."

John Myers reports on the outdoors, natural resources and the environment for the Duluth News Tribune. You can reach him at jmyers@duluthnews.com.
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