WASHINGTON - April 1 - Statement of Carl Pope, Sierra Club Executive Director
In the past few decades, America's coastlines and surrounding oceans have come under increased pressure from expanding oil and gas development along with global warming. At the start of the 21st century, a new threat has emerged on the horizon: the unregulated cruise ship industry. Today we applaud Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Representatives Sam Farr (D-CA) and Chris Shays (R-CT) for introducing the Clean Cruise Ships Act, a visionary bill that will protect Americas coasts and coastal communities from cruise ship pollution.
Cruise ships are among the largest sources of unregulated ocean pollution, yet they are one of the most preventable. Every day a large cruise ship can generate tens of thousands of sewage and hundreds of thousands of gallons of gray water from showers, sinks, laundries, baths and galleys and diesel exhaust emissions equivalent to thousands of automobiles. Sadly, much of this waste is inadequately treated before being dumped in the ocean.
There is a better way. Affordable waste treatment technology is available to address this source of pollution. The Clean Water Act requires cities and industries that generate similar amounts of waste to treat and monitor their discharges, but the cruise industry is exempt from the Clean Water Act's requirements. The Clean Cruise Ships Act of 2004 closes these loopholes and will help protect our nation's coasts and coastal communities.
The Clean Cruise Ships Act of 2004 would prevent discharges in coastal areas, establish uniform pollution treatment standards for discharges in U.S. waters, authorize Coast Guard and the Environmental Protection Agency to develop and enforce these standards, promote the development of innovative marine pollution technology through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and establish accountability within the industry leading to clean coastal waters. We thank Senator Durbin and Representatives Farr and Shays for taking this bold step forward to protect America's coastlines and oceans."