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September 24, 2003

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Daryl Savage at (650) 688-6384


PALO ALTO –Governor Gray Davis signed Assembly Bill 121 earlier this morning, Assemblyman Joe Simitian’s (D-Palo Alto) cruise ship pollution bill. 

Simitian’s bill protects the California coast by prohibiting cruise ships from discharging sewage sludge and oily bilgewater into state waters and national marine sanctuaries along the state’s coast. The legislation will require cruise ships to pay $25,000 per violation if they fail to comply. AB 121 makes California the first state in the nation to ban cruise ship dumping as a matter of state law.

“AB121 protects our economy, our environment, and our public health. Our coastal waters and marine sanctuaries ought not be used as a dumping ground,” Simitian said.

California’s cruise ship industry is the 2nd largest in the nation and expected to grow by another 25% this year. “These are floating cities that can generate more than 200,000 gallons of sewage, 35,000 gallons of oil-contaminated water and 2,500 gallons of sludge in a one-week cruise. The figures are staggering,” Simitian said.

Today’s bill signing ceremony takes place at 1:00 in San Francisco at the Aquarium of the Bay (at Pier 39), Embarcadero at Beach Street. Winston Hickox, who is Secretary of the California Environmental Protection Agency, will be representing the Governor at the event, at which Simitian will be present.

Simitian said he was pleased with this first step, “but there’s more work to be done. Next year we need to focus on ‘blackwater’ and ‘greywater’ discharge, as well as the air quality issues associated with current cruise ship practices.”

The bill, which was sponsored by San Francisco-based Bluewater Network, was supported by more than a dozen environmental groups.  Assemblymembers George Nakano (D-Torrance) and John Laird (D-Santa Cruz) are joint authors of the bill. The measure is part of a package of bills signed by the Governor to protect California’s coast.