A N A C T
RELATING TO WATERS AND NAVIGATION - BALLAST WATER
It is enacted by the General Assembly as follows:
SECTION 1. Title 46 of the General Laws entitled "Waters and Navigation" is hereby amended by adding thereto the following chapter:
46-17.3-1. Legislative findings. -- (a) The General Assembly finds that:
(1) The waters of the state are a precious, irreplaceable resource essential to the environment, commerce, and recreation of citizens and tourists of the state;
(2) Non-indigenous aquatic species introduced into waters of the United States from ballast water have caused tremendous environmental and ecological damage, displacing native species, degrading water quality, and interfering with commerce, including the zebra mussel brought into the Great Lakes and the upper Susquehanna River;
(3) Ballast water practices of commercial shipping vessels may cause irreversible damage to waters of the state; and
(4) Protective measures against the introduction of non-indigenous aquatic species from ballast water are necessary to minimize exposure of the waters of the state to unwanted contamination and damage caused by these species.
46-17.3-2. Purpose. -- (a) The purpose of this act is to commence the process of developing a ballast water management program in Rhode Island by : (1) calling upon the department of environmental management to investigate and evaluate all relevant state, federal and international laws and policies relating to invasive species management generally and ballast water management specifically; and (2) directing the department of environmental management to report to the general assembly no later than January 15, 2002, regarding the results of said investigation, along with recommended options for establishing a ballast water management program in Rhode Island.
(b) In carrying out the purposes of this chapter, the department of environmental management shall coordinate with all relevant agencies and organizations, including but not limited to: the International Maritime Organization, the U.S. Coast Guard, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the National Oceanographic and Atmosphere Administration, the U.S. Department of Interior, the RI Coastal Resources Management Council, the RI Economic Development Corporation, the University of Rhode Island, commercial shipping interests and environmental organizations.
SECTION 2. This act shall take effect upon passage.