Friends of the Earth 


Friends of the Earth has maintained an active presence in the Northwest for over 30 years covering a broad range of environmental issues. Our most recent efforts have focused on protecting human health, the climate and the marine environment from impacts of the shipping industry and maritime trade. Our Oceans and Vessels Project has won regional, national and international standards for air, water and oil pollution from cruise ships, cargo ships, oil tankers, ferries and recreational watercraft.

Mission Statement
Friends of the Earth fights to defend the environment and create a more healthy and just world. Since 1969, we have worked to protect the rights of all people to live in a safe and healthy environment. Friends of the Earth is a part of Friends of the Earth International, the world’s largest grassroots environmental network with member groups in 76 countries.
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Friends of the Earth
2150 Allston Way, Suite 240 
(510) 900-3144 

Erich Pica 


Friends of the Earth Programs

Friends of the Earth has been working since 1997 to protect coastal communities and marine life from harmful vessel air pollution and the sewage, oil, and other water pollutants discharged from cruise ships, cargo ships, oil tankers, and ferries. Our regional efforts are focused in the Northwest and California; and we also work nationally and globally. Most recently, through our work with the International Maritime Organization, we were instrumental in achieving a North American Emissions Control Area, which prohibits ships from burning highly polluting bunker fuel within 200 nautical miles of the coasts of the U.S. and Canada beginning in August 2012.

We also work nationally and internationally to promote clean energy and solutions to climate change, to keep toxic chemicals and risky technologies out of the food we eat and the products we use and to protect marine ecosystems and the people who live and work near them.

Friends of the Earth is also engaged in a multi-faceted program to achieve key Arctic protections. We are working to establish crucial environmental protections through the ongoing Polar Code process at the International Maritime Organization, seeking safety mandates to prevent accidental oil spills, and stringent requirements to minimize harmful pollution from ship smokestacks and routine discharges of oily bilge water and sewage.

Recent Successes and Current Challenges

Our most notable successes in the Northwest and beyond include:
  • Achieving a ban on cruise ship wastewater discharges in the Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary, which completes a comprehensive ban on cruise ship discharges in west coast sanctuaries, and gaining a similar ban for cruise ships docked at the Port of Seattle;
  • Creation of the Cherry Point Aquatic Reserve and management plan;
  • Development of the Puget Sound Partnership Action Agenda including recovery plans for herring and orcas;
  • Gaining industry funding for a year-round rescue tug in Neah Bay to respond to oil spills and vessels in distress;
  • Realizing the activation of two shore-side electrical power hook-ups at the Pier 91 cruise ship terminal; and
  • Issuing a Cruise Ship Report Card that grades the environmental pollution impacts of ships operating in U.S. waters.
New Challenges:
  • Cataloging, preventing and mitigating the risks from the significant proposed increase in fossil fuels exported by ocean-going vessel from Northwest waters;
  • Improving the Cruise Memorandum of Understanding and gaining additional cruise shorepower at the Port of Seattle;
  • Protecting Puget Sound and the Salish Sea from oil spills through state, federal and international efforts;
  • Attaining strong Clean Water Act protections from the BP oil refinery at Cherry Point;
  • Supporting the creation of a ship sewage No-Discharge Zone for all of Puget Sound; and
  • Achieving strong protections for the Southern Resident Killer Whales from Navy sonar and other vessel discharges and noise pollution.


Friends of the Earth (FoE) vessels work in the Pacific Northwest was developed to extend their successful California and Alaska cruise ship and vessel pollution reduction achievements into Washington State, with a particular focus on the people and environment of the Puget Sound Region—which has been severely impacted by fast-growing cruise ship traffic and increasing port development.

Use of Best Practices
They are committed to assisting the Port of Seattle in meeting their goal of becoming the cleanest & greenest port in the nation. As well as the Puget Sound Partnership in its mandate to clean up Puget Sound by 2020.

Puget Sound Oil Spill Response Project will work with the Port of Seattle to improve its oil spill response capability.

Proven Success
Cruise ship traffic continues to increase. In 1999 there were 6 ship calls and 7,000 passengers and in 2010 there will be 218 ship calls and 800,000 passengers. They estimate that cruise ships operating in Puget Sound produce about 6 million gallons of sewage and 50 million gallons of gray water each cruise ship season. This data compels FoE to continue working to protect Puget Sound from ship pollutants.

Approximately 600 oil tankers and 3,000 oil barges travel through Puget Sounds’ ecosystem annually, carrying about 15 billion gallons of oil to Washington’s five refineries. FOE has worked to reduce the risk of oil spills and the volume of vessel discharges in the Sound, yet despite some gains, the state and federal protections can be improved to protect waters more.

Grant History with The Seattle Foundation:

Grants Awarded through The Seattle Foundation Grantmaking Program:

6/10/2010 $5,000.00support general operating expenses of the Puget Sound Green Shipping Project.


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