Groups applaud Department of Ecology’s call to ban cruise ship discharges; marine conservation and environmental groups call on the Port of Seattle and Cruise Ship Association for support

Seattle, Washington March 13, 2012

Fred Felleman, Friends of the Earth cell 206-595-3825
Heather Trim, People For Puget Sound, cell 206-351-2898
Chris Wilke, Puget Soundkeeper Alliance 206-297-7002
Jody Kennedy, Surfrider Foundation, cell 206-940-6509

SEATTLE, WASH. Friends of the Earth, People for Puget Sound, Surfrider Foundation and Puget Soundkeeper Alliance announced today their appreciation for the Washington State Department of Ecology’s (Ecology) support of their proposed ban on cruise ship discharges while the vessels are in Washington waters.

Kelly Susewind, Ecology’s Water Quality Program Manager, expressed support for two amendments to the Cruise Ship Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) proposed by the groups in a letter dated 3/2/12 and sent to the Port of Seattle’s Director of Seaport Environmental and Planning Programs as well as the NW and Canada Cruise Association. (The letter is available at:

The two amendments supported by the Department of Ecology are:

1)   No discharge of treated or untreated sewage or grey water in Puget Sound or inland waters.

2)   No discharge while vessels are moored at berth.

The groups support the more protective first amendment for no discharges in the Sound. Most of the cruise ships in Puget Sound already refrain from discharging in the Sound’s waters. This amendment would solidify their leadership on this issue for years to come.

“We appreciate Ecology’s recognition of the advisability and feasibility of sparing the Sound from the voluminous discharges created by these floating cities. We call on the Port and the Cruise Ship Association to join in the effort,” said Fred Felleman, NW Consultant, Friends of the Earth.

“By supporting our proposal, Ecology has made an important first step in advancing the purposes of the Puget Sound Partnership’s Action Agenda calling for the creation of a No Discharge Zone for Puget Sound,” said Heather Trim, Policy Director for People For Puget Sound.

“Pollution in Puget Sound threatens human health, our economy and species recovery. Slowly but surely technological improvements are turning the tide however,” concluded Chris Wilke, Puget Soundkeeper and Executive Director, Puget Soundkeeper Alliance. “We are pleased to see that Ecology now recognizes that current technology aboard Cruise Ships makes discharges to MOU waters completely unnecessary.”.,

“We are very pleased that Ecology supports the No Discharge amendment for cruise ships,” said Jody Kennedy, Washington Policy Manager for the Surfrider Foundation. “Our members recreate in and around the waters of Puget Sound and they don’t want to worry about getting sick every time a cruise ships passes by.”

Over 1800 Washington State citizens wrote letters in support of the discharge ban. In order for it to go into effect, the two other parties to the MOU (the Port of Seattle and the Cruise Association) must concur with the Department of Ecology. The Port of Seattle is scheduled to make its decision at the Commissioner hearing on March 27.