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|October 21, 2009 - Farr Introduces Clean Cruise Ship Act|
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Congressman Sam Farr (D-Carmel) on Wednesday introduced the "Clean Cruise Ship Act," a bill aimed at limiting damage caused by cruise ship pollution.
The legislation will strengthen the Clean Water Act to create coastal zones where cruise ships are prohibited from dumping waste, strengthen current waste treatment standards and increase surveillance to ensure compliance by the industry. The bill was also introduced in the Senate by Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.).
"Big cruise ships make for big pollution, it's an unavoidable truth," Rep. Farr said following the bill's introduction. "Unfortunately, responsible disposal of that waste hasn't always been a given. The cruise ship industry is way overdue to take responsibility for its actions. The Monterey Peninsula saw what happens when things go wrong after thousands of gallons of wastewater were dumped off our coastline. It's ironic that the cruise industry relies on a clean ocean and pristine coastlines for its livelihood, but doesn't put in the effort to sustain them. This carelessness must not be allowed to continue."
Laws currently allow cruise ships to dump untreated sewage three miles from shore, a danger to health, environment and economy. Rep. Farr's legislation would increase the anti-dumping zone to 12 miles from shore and would require waste treatment beyond 12 miles. The bill also creates an observation and monitoring program.
"A recent report on the cruise industry's environmental performance clearly shows that not all companies are making an equal effort to safeguard the ocean waters on which they depend," Rep. Farr said. That report card, issued by Friends of the Earth, ranks the major cruise companies according to their efforts to reduce their environmental footprint. It is available online at http://www.foe.org/cruisereportcard. "If the whole industry followed the positive lead of some of the higher-scoring cruise companies, this law wouldn't be necessary. Since they haven't, Congress must take action to protect our waters."
"The Clean Cruise Ship Act will protect our ocean and coastal waters and the communities that use them by putting a stop to the cruise industry's irresponsible dumping," said Erich Pica, president of Friends of the Earth, an environmental non-profit with a history of working on water pollution issues. "By introducing this bill, Congressman Farr continues his long and substantial legacy as a champion for our oceans."
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