Federal conservation policy has seen a new development recently: the use of the Clean Water Act (CWA) as a tool for regulating ballast water discharges from ships and, thereby, for preventing biological invasions caused by the discharge of nonindigenous organisms in ballast. Some outcomes of this new method for regulating ballast water discharge are obvious, others are much less so. Superimposing CWA regulatory authority on an already existing system of U.S. ballast law and regulation is likely to change the politics of ballast regulation. What do such changes in regulatory politics spell for the future of regulatory protections against biological invasions caused by discharge of untreated or insufficiently treated ballast water, and for the future of conservation?
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