Court Orders Alaska to Fix Cruise Ship Discharge Permit

Press Release
Friday, August 24, 2012

The Superior Court issued an “Order to Compel” to the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation.

The court order issued to the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation is for failing to address challenges brought by Campaign to Safeguard America’s Waters and Friends of the Earth to the Cruise Ship Discharge Permit that allows cruise ships to dump their wastewater into Alaska’s waterways.

Earthjustice sued on behalf of CSAW and Friends of the Earth because the permit violated key provisions of the State’s pollution law. CSAW and Friends of the Earth won the case in May, 2011, however, ADEC has failed to fix the significant flaws in the permit for more than fourteen months. The Court is now ordering ADEC to act by August 31.

“The cruise ship discharge permit failed to require the ships to use the 'best available technologies' to reduce the levels of pollutants in their discharges as required by the law or to perform any economic analysis to demonstrate why full compliance shouldn’t be required,” said Gershon Cohen, Project Director of CSAW.

“We brought this case to protect Alaska’s water quality because Alaskans depend on clean water to ensure the health and survival of fishery resources,” said Marcie Keever, oceans and vessels project director at Friends of the Earth. “Thankfully the court has ordered DEC to act after its year-long delay.”

Under this Court order, the State must explain why the permit doesn’t require the use of the best available technologies and determine the economic feasibility of requiring the industry to do a better job to reduce the levels of metals and ammonia in their discharges.


 

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