California Targets Cruise Ship Air, Water Pollution

Aug. 22, 2003

Three bills are being proposed in California that focus on luxury cruise ships' practices of dumping waste and polluting air. The cruise industry opposes all of the bills, which already have passed the State Assembly and move on to the Senate Appropriations Committee next week. Despite the cruise lines reportedly dumping millions of gallons of waste into California's waters, costs also must be taken into consideration.

Two of the bills aim to prohibit "the release of treated and untreated sewage, oily bilgewater and "gray water" from kitchens, laundries and showers into state waters or the state's four national marine sanctuaries," reported an article in The Sacramento Bee. The third bill focuses on the cruise lines' fuel and would force any ship within 25 miles of California's coast to use cleaner buring fuel. Also, the bill would ban the use of on-board incinerators within 90 miles, the article stated.

The cruise line industry argued that it is only a small part of the pollution problem and that the "bigger picture" should be looked at instead of focusing on such a small segment. Governor Gray Davis supports the bills, although is concerned with costs as well.

A lobbyist for the cruise lines argued that the wastewater bills were "...too open-ended ... the on-board water treatment systems clean water adequately ... and that large cruise ships were not developed to run highway-quality diesel."

Alaska already has adopted additional cruise ship laws and Florida and Hawaii required cruise ship companies to sign waste discharge agreements as a means of controlling the pollution.

Source:, The Sacramento Bee and AP

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