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Cruise Ship Pollution Law Suit

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  • Potter at Island Resources
    from the Friends of the Earth Web Site Green Groups Sue EPA over Ship
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 12, 2007
      from the Friends of the Earth Web Site

      Green Groups Sue EPA over Ship Smokestack Pollution

      September 05, 2007

      For Immediate Release

      Teri Shore, Friends of the Earth, 415-544-0790 ext. 19 (office),
      707-583-4428 (cell), tshore@...
      Sarah Burt, Earthjustice, 510-550-6700, sburt@...
      Nick Berning, Friends of the Earth, 202-222-0748, nberning@...

      Earthjustice and Friends of the Earth File Citizen Suit under Clean Air Act

      Dirty fuel pollutes port cities, undermine local clean air efforts

      WASHINGTON--Friends of the Earth, represented by lawyers from
      Earthjustice, is suing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for
      failing to meet a deadline to regulate AIR POLLUTION FROM LARGE
      SHIPs. EPA recently postponed indefinitely its commitment to set
      emissions standards for ship engines. The suit was filed today
      (9/5/2007) in federal district court.

      The lawsuit and need for EPA action critical in California where the
      courts stopped the state from imposing new clean fuels regulations on
      ships calling on its ports.

      Ocean-going vessels are among the largest mobile sources of air
      pollution in the world. Smokestack emissions from the global shipping
      fleet are projected to double in North America in the next decade,
      exposing communities to diesel exhaust that contributes to
      respiratory illness, cancer, heart disease, and premature death. The
      ships burn dirty, asphalt-like bunker fuel that is thousands of times
      dirtier than diesel used by trucks or trains, and most operate with
      engines that pre-date even weak international standards.

      "Air quality in port cities like Seattle and Oakland takes a beating
      every time a large ship enters harbors from the sea," said Teri Shore
      of Friends of the Earth (formerly Bluewater Network) in San
      Francisco. "The Bush EPA promised to act months ago to rein in ship
      smokestack pollution, but instead they have delayed regulations. Port
      communities are fed up and suffering, that's why we went to court

      "In Los Angeles alone, the ships in port spew more pollution than the
      metro area's six million cars combined. Residents of nearby
      neighborhoods have high rates of respiratory illness and the region's
      highest cancer risk. We're taking action today to fix this health
      hazard,"said Sarah Burt of Earthjustice.

      Just one cargo or cruise ship in port can pollute as much as 350,000
      cars, and major ports receive hundreds of ship calls a month, yet the
      air pollution from large ships is one of the least addressed
      environmental justice issues facing port communities nationwide. In
      Seattle, Oakland, Los Angeles, Long Beach, and Houston, pollution
      blows into neighborhoods where respiratory illness has become common.

      The Clean Air Act requires EPA to establish regulations to reduce air
      pollution from non-automobile engines that significantly contribute
      to pollution in areas with poor air quality. EPA committed to the
      April 2007 deadline to regulate ocean-going vessel emissions in a
      2003 Final Rule approved by the Washington, DC, Circuit Court of
      Appeals. This was in response to a previous lawsuit by Friends of the
      Earth and Earthjustice challenging lack of agency action on pollution
      from large ocean-going vessels.

      In addition, EPA has failed to regulate pollution from
      foreign-flagged ships, which comprise more that 80 percent of port
      traffic from large ocean-going vessels, exempting them from meeting
      the air quality standards required by U.S. law.

      So far, the agency has relied on weak international standards that
      provide no air quality benefits in U.S. waters, partly because many
      of the ships operating here are registered in foreign countries that
      are not party to the relevant international agreements. A review of
      international standards was recently delayed by nearly two years.

      Senator Barbara Boxer recently introduced the Marine Vessel Emissions
      Act of 2007 (SB 1499) that would require cleaner fuels and engines in
      all ocean-going vessels calling on U.S. ports. Congresswoman Hilda L.
      Solis introduced the same legislation in the House of Representatives
      (HR 2548).

      Background here:

      35 Years of Environmental Service to Small Tropical Islands
      Island Resources Foundation Fone 202/265-9712
      1718 "P" St NW, # T-4 fax 202/232-0748
      Washington, DC 20036 Potter cell: 1-443-454-9044
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