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August 27, 2009


Dear Sirs, It is important to remember that when addressing the Coast Guard about ballast water , that although sadly the military has found it necessary to intervene to protect America’s water from invasive species, human bacterial pathogens and virus being dumped in our water by domestic and international private enterprise, our country is a democracy. The largest elected legislative voice of the people has already spoken with overwhelming resolve. It was because one Senator, Senator Boxer believes that control of pathogens in water distributed by ballast dumping, capable of spreading to all Americans was a states rights issue. She did not want Federal policy to over ride her states rights. To understand her position you have to look at the time line for new standards that were passed with H.R.2830 vs. her states laws. As no action was taken by the Senate in 2008 and it is now close to 2010 her objections should have less relevance. To believe that because the Coast Guard is asking for public opinion through their forum that their decisions will reflect the wish’s of the American people is to not understand what our democracy is or should be.
Don Mitchel

Dear Sir, Having read dialog from discussion by the house of representatives the day before h.r.3619 passed, it is a bad day for our country when they describe how ballast water was omitted from this bill because they were cognizant, that in the previous Congress the Senate was not able to address ballast water. Scientist know that new microbes will be released from Arctic ice melting and from mining and exploration in the deep Sea Bed, along with the new technologies able to create designer algae s capable of acting as hosts to pathogens and virus. Still our politicians do not mention this as a human health problem. It has been reported that the Senate is going to address the Law of the Sea Treaty soon. To not address these issues before they consider ratification will be locking our country in an agreement that will not protect our health and environment from destruction in the coming generations
FROM the web site of the house- " Last year, I worked closely with Chairman Oberstar to include a title on Ballast Water Management in the Coast Guard bill, which would have created a uniform national standard for ballast water treatment. The goal was to have no living organisms in ballast water discharged by ships after 2013.
Although I would have liked this bill to once again include a provision on ballast water management, I am cognizant that this provision may be one of the reasons this bill has been held up in the Senate."

Please let the Coast Guard know that although we are happy with their interest in ballast dumping, not to portray their forum as being representative of what the American people want. The will of the American people can only be expressed in our democracy through legislative efforts by our elected officials.
Don Mitchel

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