The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Neesha Kulkarni, 202-222-0724,
Marcie Keever, 415-544-0790 x223,

California Congressional Delegation Urges Obama Admin to Let State Protect Its Waters From Ship Pollution

Members of Congress say sewage dumping threatens state; Friends of the Earth praises delegation for taking action


of Congress from California sent a letter
yesterday to Lisa Jackson, Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection
Agency, urging the EPA to allow California
to protect its waters and the public from harmful sewage and pollution
discharges from large ships.

California passed the state Clean
Coast Act in 2005 banning the discharge of sewage, polluted graywater, and
other harmful substances from cruise and large ocean-going ships in all state
waters. In 2006, due to the interaction of state and federal law, California applied to the U.S. EPA for authority to
implement the sewage dumping ban (known as a "No Discharge Zone"),
submitting a 96-page application demonstrating the environmental importance and
sensitivity of California's
coastal waters. Several years have passed but the EPA has failed to grant California's

know how important California's
coastal waters are for our state," said Representative Sam Farr, one of
the members of Congress who took the lead on sending the letter. "Fishing
and recreation rely on clean and safe water, as does our coastal tourism
industry, so protecting these interests is a no brainer. California already
passed a law to apply for this no-discharge zone, and the EPA should give full
consideration to this application."

"The people of California have waited
long enough," said Neesha Kulkarni, Legislative Associate at Friends of
the Earth. "Members of California's
congressional delegation are standing up for their state by urging the EPA to allow
California to
protect its coast from sewage and other pollution from large ships. Cruise
ships and ocean-going vessels are allowed to dump minimally treated sewage into
coastal waters and untreated
sewage just three nautical miles from shore. That's disgusting, and it
threatens public health."

Marcie Keever, Friends of the
Earth's Clean Vessels Campaign Director, said, "The California coastline
includes some of the most unique and productive waters in the world. It is home
to many endangered species and is enjoyed by swimmers, surfers, and water
sports enthusiasts. It's long past time for the EPA to grant California's
application and allow the state to protect its own waters."

The letter to the U.S. EPA from members
of Congress can be found at

More information about California's efforts
to protect its waters:

Friends of the Earth fights for a more healthy and just world. Together we speak truth to power and expose those who endanger the health of people and the planet for corporate profit. We organize to build long-term political power and campaign to change the rules of our economic and political systems that create injustice and destroy nature.

(202) 783-7400