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Wisconsin wins battle with EPA over ballast water

Wisconsin won a legal battle against the federal EPA Wednesday over invasive species.

A federal appeals court in San Francisco said the EPA exceeded its authority when it said the release of ballast water from ocean-going ships did not violate the Clean Water Act.

Those releases are blamed for bringing dozens of invasive species to the Great Lakes and elsewhere - predators that gobble up native fish and the plants they live on.

Wisconsin and five other states joined environmental groups in challenging the EPA exemption.

A federal judge first ruled out in 2005 that the agency was out of line.

The EPA responded by appealing the decision and by writing new rules that require freighters to dump their ballast water at least 200 miles from U.S. shores. They must also refill their tanks with new seawater to kill whatever invasive species they have.

The new rules would take effect Sept. 30. They come as a congressional effort to clean up ballast water is stalled.