Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Invasive Species Protections Struck Down As Harbor District Race Heats Up

You may be hearing radio commercials for Nick Angeloff who is running for Harbor Commissioner for the Second District. He is running on a pro shipping, pro good paying jobs platform and believes the  current board is pro aquaculture at the detriment of good paying harbor jobs. Angeloff believes the port is being poorly marketed as a shipping port.

To be honest, most shipping ports that have a lot of ship traffic also have a railroad which allows for a lot of freight to be loaded or unloaded through the port. Our harbor has no functioning railroad. Another strike against switching the focus away from aquaculture, boating, fishing and recreation is the fact that it was already tried. According to last weeks North Coast Journal the Harbor District almost went broke when the economy tanked in the late 2000's. The pulp mill closed and shipping dwindled. That's when the district started to move in a different direction away from shipping and large industries and more toward other activities and developments for the bay and that seems to have been paying off. The NC Journal has the numbers.

My concern isn't so much about Nick Angeloff himself, he seems like a nice guy. I'm concerned about the idea that we need to move back to a more industrial port. I would like to see better paying jobs at the port but my problem is that the mentality that wants more industry in the port is the same mentality that would let the aquaculture and fishing be destroyed by invasive species. Not that they want the fish and oysters to die but since the EPA rules for ballast water were just shut town by a federal court, they aren't about to impose stricter rules on ships coming into our port than what other ports would impose on ballast water.

If the EPA rules had been upheld, I might be more in line with this new, more industrial oriented shipping port idea, even absent a railroad to make it work.  Without those federal safe guards, I don't trust this new group to both bring us good paying jobs and shipping while also keeping the bay clean enough for aquaculture, fishing and recreation. If the wrong invasive species were introduced into the bay via ballast tanks from China or elsewhere, the destruction could cost millions of dollars in damage to the fishing and aquaculture industries.

Here is the story about the EPA rules from The Hill.

Court rules against EPA’s invasive species rule

Getty Images
A federal court Monday rejected central pieces of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) regulations to reduce the spread of invasive species through ship ballast water.

The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, based in New York City, ruled 3-0 that the EPA’s decision to adopt an international standard for the technology to filter ballast water was “arbitrary and capricious,” among other provisions in the 2013 regulation.

Read More Here


  1. Tom, the groups that are removing "non-natives" have done more damage than
    the non-natives ever could. Have you seen the Spartina removal at Woodley Island?
    Have you seen the results on the fore dune from careless beach-grass removal?
    Dead native trees by the hundreds, erosion out of control, loss of Base Flood Elevation,
    disappearance of wildlife and major loss of wetlands and ponds.
    This war against nature needs an honest assessment, the results are ugly as sin.
    "The pros and cons of introduced plant species are debated in the context of the Galapagos Islands, where biodiversity is worshipped because it was instrumental in Darwin’s theory of evolution. Ms. Vince interviewed the conservationist who has been battling invasive plant species on the Galapagos for 20 years. He recently decided that attempts to eradicate introduced plants are futile and he now calls them native plants. His surrender to this reality is controversial, but he is resolute. He is supported in this decision by scientists who have studied novel ecosystems and find ecological value in them. The rebuttal to such defense of novel ecosystems is that the globalization of ecosystems is homogenizing the world’s biota."

  2. Thanks for the education on invasive plants. I am more concerned here with animals, fish or other critters when it comes to the bay. Plants don't move all that fast but snails, fish and other aquatic species can take over an entire bay and wipe out native species or in our case possibly oysters. That would be a shame if there were logical ways to prevent it. I'm not an expert on this but Patrick Higgins knows a thing or two about the subject. He is in my district and will be getting my vote for Harbor Commissioner.

  3. Very good, Pat Higgins is a good-guy and would have my vote if he were in my district.

    I highly recommend this short lecture in regards to "invasion biology."

    Thanks Tom


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