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Advocates Meet Great Lakes Bigwigs

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Great Lakes advocates raise environmental issues all the time. It can be hard to get their message to top bureaucrats, but this week, they’ll air gripes to top U-S and Canadian officials during the International Joint Commission’s Great Lakes conference in Chicago. Chicago Public Radio’s Shawn Allee reports.

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Here’s an issue sure to come up at the Great Lakes conference - ballast water.

It’s inside ocean-going ships that enter the lakes.

If ballast water escapes, it can spread organisms that destroy native wildlife.

Ned Dickmen leads the Great Lakes Boating Federation, which represents recreational boaters.

Dickmen wants to ban ocean vessels from the lakes, not just clean them better.

Dickmen: Unless they have a good measure in mind to scrutinize them, where they come in from outside, to be sure there is no organic material in the ballast tank, it’s a very dangerous proposition.

Of course, representatives from the commercial shipping industry disagree, and they’ll have their say, too.

The Great Lakes conference begins tonight.

I’m Shawn Allee.

Chicago Public Radio.

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