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Ship Shape

Read our bi-weekly column from the Friends of the Earth Environmental Roundup.

London Calling

Clean Vessels Program Manager, John Kaltenstein went to London, England in early October to attend the 58th session of the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) of the International Maritime Organization (IMO). At this IMO meeting, member states finalized and approved revisions to an international agreement governing air pollution from ships and discussing how to effectively regulate greenhouse gas emissions from ships.

Click here to read John’s updates from the IMO! Click here for background on the MEPC!

The Clean Cruise Ship Act of 2008

Congressman Sam Farr, D-CA, recently introduced the Clean Cruise Ship Act of 2008.  The Clean Cruise Ship Act is a substantial but needed change from the currently under-regulated state of the cruise industry. It is also feasible. It seeks to achieve landmark reductions in water-based pollution from the many cruise ships plying our waters. The bill prohibits the discharge of hazardous waste, sewage sludge, and incinerator ash within all U.S. waters. It also prohibits the discharge of raw sewage, graywater, and oily bilge water within 12 miles of shore. Right now, this sewage can be discharged just 3 miles from where we swim and fish.

Fact Sheet | Press Release | The Bill | Learn More about Cruise Ships

Sludge with Your Lunch?

On September 11, 2008, the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW) will hold a hearing on the tragic consequences of disposing of toxic sewage sludge on agricultural and other land.  The EPW hearing is a first step in a long overdue examination of the policies that have led us to this current situation, where our food supply is being contaminated and our health degraded from the byproducts of wastewater treatment.

The "land application" of sewage sludge has been promoted by EPA since 1993 as the preferred method of sludge disposal. Millions of tons of hazardous sewage sludge have subsequently been spread on farmland and parks in the United States.  Many people living near sludged agricultural sites and many farm animals fed on sludged silage and hay have been made very sick.

Visit Sludge News to take action and to find more information on this important EPW hearing.

Sludge News | Give Your Testimony | Press Release

U.S. Lands Endangered by Global Warming, Government Report Says

September 06, 2007

GAO publishes study in response to Friends of the Earth request; companion data about how specific lands may be affected will soon be available

LakeWASHINGTON -- The U.S. Government Accountability Office is releasing a report today indicating federally managed lands and waters are vulnerable to both current and expected impacts of global warming. Further, the report concludes that the ability of federal employees on the ground to address climate change is stymied by a lack of direction, inadequate scientific knowledge and insufficient resources. Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and John Kerry (D-MA) requested the report in response to a request from the Bluewater Network, which is now part of Friends of the Earth.

"Global warming is the greatest threat our public lands and waters have ever faced," said Friends of the Earth Program Associate Kate Horner. "Unfortunately, this report indicates that once again, the Bush administration and its political appointees have impeded efforts to protect our most treasured places by effectively ignoring the impacts of global warming agency planning and management decisions."

The GAO report finds that U.S. public lands and waters are vulnerable to both.

The GAO Report | Original letter from Sens. McCain and Hollings | Press Release

Supreme Court Sides With Friends of the Earth

Denies Petition Seeking Weaker Pollution Limits on River Pollution

In January of 2007, the United States Supreme Court let stand a lower court ruling requiring limits on the amount of pollution allowed in the Anacostia river each day. Earthjustice on behalf of Friends of the Earth obtained a decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals last year requiring EPA to set the daily pollution caps, and today’s high Court action rejected an attempt by the D.C. Water and Sewer Authority to overturn the Court of Appeals’ decision. The Anacostia runs through the heart of our nation’s capital and has been described as one of the dirtiest rivers in the country.


Tell Park Service: Wrong Way on Yellowstone!

snowmobiles are dirtyThree separate studies show that current snowmobile use in Yellowstone is damaging the majestic park, yet George Bush's National Park Service (NPS) wants to nearly triple the use of snowmobiles!

This action would nearly triple nitrogen oxide emissions, double hydrocarbon emissions, and push carbon monoxide emissions up 60 percent in the park.

Fortunately, the NPS is taking comments right now on the rule change for snowmobile use. Tell it to reject the "preferred alternative" to increase snowmobile use and instead go with "Alternative 2," which would phase out snowmobiles and transition to snowcoaches.