With an apparent hat-tip to Saddam Hussein's post-Gulf War strategy, George W. Bush continues his scorched earth policy on the way out the door. Earlier this month his EPA announced a new last-minute rule allowing mining companies to dump their waste into mountain streams. Last Friday, he continued to take his dump on America, by issuing a permit to allow cruise ships to dump "untreated graywater" --- including oil, grease, metals, pesticides, viruses, fecal coliform bacteria from human sewage, medical and dental waste, detergents, and cleaners --- just one mile off shore of coastal U.S.A.
"A large cruise ship on a one-week voyage can generate one million gallons-which would fill 33 large swimming pools-of graywater," say Friends of the Earth in a press release issued last week (posted in full below) following the EPA announcement.
Hope you folks in Florida will remember to thank the Republicans in 2010...
December 19, 2008, 2:26 PM
Friends of The Earth (FOE), Nick Berning, 202-222-0748
Pollution a Mile from U.S. Shores
WASHINGTON - December 19 - The Environmental Protection Agency today published a permit that will allow cruise ships to dump unlimited quantities of untreated graywater-a harmful pollutant-into the ocean just a mile from U.S. shores.
"The Bush EPA is ignoring its own scientific findings by issuing this permit, which will allow harmful pollution near U.S. shores," said Marcie Keever, Clean Vessels Campaign Director at Friends of the Earth. "The Environmental Protection Agency knows that pollution from cruise ships and other vessels is out of control and getting worse. This permit will not protect the health of our oceans or the people who use them."
The permit issued today was a final Clean Water Act General Permit for vessel pollution discharges. The permit allows ships to dump untreated graywater one nautical mile from U.S. shores if they are travelling at speeds above six knots. The permit also requires ships to monitor their graywater discharges only once every three months, leaving them free to ignore malfunctioning systems the other 361 days of the year.
Cruise ship graywater contains contaminants such as oil and grease, metals, pesticides, viruses, fecal coliform bacteria from human sewage, medical and dental waste, detergents, and cleaners. A large cruise ship on a one-week voyage can generate one million gallons-which would fill 33 large swimming pools-of graywater.
The EPA finds in an assessment report to be finalized this month that untreated graywater from cruise ships is above safe levels. Despite this finding, the permit issued today continues to allow cruise ships to discharge such graywater. Significantly, the EPA has also found that it would cost cruise ships only $7.09 per passenger to treat graywater using the best water treatment technology, and yet the permit fails to require treatment of polluted discharges beyond one nautical mile.
The EPA developed the permit in response to litigation from environmental groups. Their lawsuit overturned an erroneous EPA regulation that for the past 35 years exempted all vessels from the permitting requirements of the Clean Water Act.
The EPA permit is available online at http://cfpub.epa.gov/npd.../home.cfm?program_id=350.
Friends of the Earth is the U.S. voice of the world's largest grassroots environmental network, with member groups in 77 countries. Since 1969, Friends of the Earth has fought to create a more healthy, just world.
Were it not for the 28 days this idiot still has left in office, we'd say this might be his final dump on our nation. But we've finally learned not to misunderestimate him. Lord only knows what else he'll still have time to fuck up in his final 28 days...