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October 7, 2005

For More Information, Contact:
Hema Sareen Mohan at (650) 688-6384


SACRAMENTO – Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger announced today that he has signed SB 771, by State Senator Joe Simitian (D-Palo Alto), a bill to protect California’s coast and ocean by prohibiting the rapidly growing commercial shipping industry from dumping harmful substances into California’s water and air. 

SB 771 prohibits all commercial ships from dumping hazardous waste, sewage sludge, and oily bilge water, and bans them from incinerating garbage on board.  It also prohibits ships that have on-board sewage holding tanks from releasing treated sewage and gray water in state waters.

“I’m pleased that the Governor signed SB 771,” said Simitian. “Even as the shipping industry grows, it won’t be at the expense of our air and water quality.”

“The Governor has put an end to the old ways of dumping overboard in California,” said Teri Shore, Clean Vessels Campaign Director of Bluewater Network, which sponsored the bill.  “Even better news is that our state’s biggest shippers support this no-discharge law.”
SB 771 builds on Simitian’s other landmark measures, AB 471 and 2672, which were signed last year.  AB 471 prohibits cruise ships from incinerating garbage within three miles of the coastline.  AB 2672 bans the release of sewage into state waters.

“We commend the Governor for extending the ban on ocean dumping of wastes from cruise ships to all commercial ocean-going vessels,” said Tim Eichenberg, Director of the Pacific Regional Office of The Ocean Conservancy.  “Initiatives like this make California a leading force in ocean protection.”

SB 771 garnered support from environmental organizations such as the Sierra Club and the Natural Resources Defense Council; shipping companies such as Maersk, Inc. and Matson Navigation; and air and water districts throughout the state including the Santa Clara County Water District and the Bay Area Air Quality Management District.

Simitian added, “This measure is a win-win.  It allows the shipping industry to serve California while still protecting California’s coast.”