A New York appeals court on Thursday upheld state regulations requiring ships to replace their ballast water at least 50 nautical miles offshore from its waterways to prevent bringing in dangerous, invasive species
The Appellate Division panel rejected challenges from shipping companies and port officials, saying the federal Clean Water Act permits a state to add conditions to federal vessel discharge permits.
The four justices said the coalition of maritime trade interests "fail to allege anything other than economic harm to themselves or speculative ecological injury to the general public."
The midlevel court concluded New York's regulations are neither unconstitutional nor arbitrary, that state conservation officials' scientific evidence supports their concern about protecting against invasive species and pathogens carried by ships from their native waters.
Department of Environmental Conservation spokesman Yancey Roy said the regulations are in effect now. Others will require ballast treatment system upgrades on ships by 2012 and tougher standards for ships built starting in 2013.
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