At the beginning of this year, representatives from six California state agencies were selected to form a Cruise Ship Environmental Task Force to investigate the cruise industry’s impact on California’s environment. The task force was created as a result of a bill that Bluewater Network shepherded through the California Legislature in 2000.
The task force will oversee the management of all wastes from cruise ships that operate in California. In addition, the task force will monitor emissions from cruise ship smokestacks and analyze the impact of these releases on California’s environment and public health. The task force also will recommend new regulations to strengthen the management of cruise ship wastes.
At two public hearings held earlier this year, Bluewater urged the task force to closely follow Alaska’s cruise ship monitoring program and to target for special scrutiny any ships cited for violating Alaskan standards once they enter California’s waters.
Bluewater also recommended that the task force closely track all hazardous waste generated on cruise ships in California to ensure proper handling and management. In addition, the task force needs to conduct sampling of cruise ship sewage and wastewater discharges, and to ensure that adequate enforcement actions are taken for any violations of waste management laws.
Under the Bush administration, many of former President Clinton’s public lands policies are either being reviewed or rescinded. Unfortunately, several National Park Service (NPS) regulations regarding off-road vehicles (ORVs) such as snowmobiles, jetskis and all-terrain vehicles are also coming under scrutiny. Department of Interior (DOI) Secretary Gale Norton ordered a review of jetski bans at the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area and at three National Seashores: Cumberland Island, Indiana Dunes and Cape Lookout. While the DOI conducts these reviews, Norton barred the NPS from enforcing the jetski bans.
Snowmobile and off-road vehicles rules are also being reviewed. At Yellowstone and Denali National Parks, Bush administration officials are meeting behind closed doors with industry lobbyists to find ways to scuttle ORV regulations designed to protect these two magnificent parks from snowmobile damage. Meanwhile, at Big Cypress National Preserve, Department of Justice lawyers and industry representatives are hammering out terms of a settlement that will gut the NPS’ ORV management plan.
Bluewater is fighting these rollbacks. Environmental groups have successfully moved to intervene in industry challenges regarding ORV restrictions at Yellowstone, Denali and Big Cypress. This will allow the environmental community to appeal any settlement worked out between industry and the Bush team. Bluewater has also filed papers challenging the NPS’ ORV management at Big Cypress National Preserve. Our complaint charges that the NPS is violating the Endangered Species Act by allowing dispersed ORV activity in the preserve.
Finally, Bluewater’s Sean Smith traveled to Washington DC this spring to meet with ORV opponents from all across the country. While in Washington, Sean met with congressional and DOI personnel to deliver the message that the American public wants its national parks protected from ORV damage.
Bluewater Network caused a media sensation on May 23 when it invited drivers to pick up five free gallons of biodiesel fuel at a San Francisco filling station.
“We challenge oil companies to give motorists a genuine green fuel choice by investing in biodiesel,” said BWN director Russell Long. “It’s time to move away from fossil fuels, which cause global warming, air pollution, oil spills and damage to public health and wildlife.” Biodiesel reduces toxic diesel emissions by up to 90 percent and cuts CO2 emissions by 78 percent. Biodiesel is made from soy, other vegetable oils, or recycled cooking grease and sells for around $3 a gallon.
The San Francisco Olympian filling station is the first public station in the country to offer 100 percent biodiesel.
In the past century, humanity has unknowingly embarked on a collision course with an environmental disaster of planetary proportions. It is called global warming. Global warming is no longer a theory; it’s a reality. And it’s worse than we thought. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change recently predicted that this century will see the average global temperature rise between 2.4 and 10.4 F – much more than the 1 F change we saw in the 20th century.
The US, which holds much of the blame for global warming, has taken no serious steps to curb it. Among his first actions as president, Mr. Bush recklessly rebuffed international negotiations to reduce greenhouse gases through the Kyoto Protocol. His flip-flop on his campaign promise to reduce CO2 emissions from powerplants and his subsequent slashing of budgets for conservation and renewable energy research further drove home the message that he had no intention of taking the problem seriously.
This makes state action all the more important. Bluewater has launched a campaign to make California a leader in reducing greenhouse gas emissions from its largest source – transportation – and to do so in an economically sustainable way.
California is a natural place to address global warming emissions from transportation. Transportation accounts for more than half of the state’s CO2 emissions (versus one-third nationally), and nearly 2 percent of global CO2 emissions. The problem is too many cars on the road driving too many miles, compounded by poor fuel economy (due to the spectacularly increased market share for gas-guzzling SUVs).
There are a variety of reasonable ways to reduce greenhouse gases from on-road vehicles, including driving more fuel-efficient cars, displacing fossil fuels with ethanol or biodiesel (both of which produce smaller amounts of CO2) and simply reducing the number of miles driven.
Bluewater is working to advance these solutions by educating legislators, agencies, industry and the public about solutions to transportation-related greenhouse gas emissions. Bluewater is encouraging new vehicle technologies, securing state-funded incentives for biomass fuels and sponsoring AB 1058, a precedent-setting bill authored by Assemblymember Fran Pavley, that requires cost-effective reductions of CO2 from passenger vehicles.
What You Can Do: Write Congress to demand passage of CO2-reducing legislation. In California, AB 1058 will come before the State Assembly early in 2002. Ask your representatives to support AB 1058.
For $15 you can get four issues of the magazine, a 50 percent savings off the newsstand rate.