Posted at: 05/21/2013 4:29 PM
MADISON, Wis. (AP) - The Legislature's budget committee has voted to end ballast water discharge fees for Great Lakes shipping in two years.
The Republican-controlled Joint Finance Committee voted Tuesday to end the fees as Gov. Scott Walker proposed.
The state Department of Natural Resources started requiring freighters to obtain ballast water discharge permits in 2010. The permits limit many organisms can exist in discharged water in hopes of slowing the spread of invasive species.
Permit applications cost $1,200. The permits themselves cost $345 annually. The fee structure expires on June 30. The budget committee voted to maintain the fees through the end of 2015 but repeal the DNR's ability to extend them beyond then.
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