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.
- 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.