The hearing was held in the multipurpose room of the Port of Los Angeles, San Pedro, CA. The hearing consisted of an afternoon and an evening session, which were chaired by the EPA.
Approximately 40 people attended the hearing. The EPA made a brief presentation on the EPA's regulations and programs that involve cruise ships, the reasons for the EPA's cruise ship assessment, and what the EPA hoped to achieve during the hearings. The U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) made brief comments about a recent U.S. Government Accountability Office report on cruise ships, noting that the USCG had taken action on the recommendations to look more closely into graywater and blackwater, and increase the number of overflights.
Eight members of the public spoke during the hearings, including representatives from environmental organizations, the cruise ship industry and a representative of California Congressman Nakano's office. There were many topics of discussion, including cruise ship practices of legal and illegal discharges and the environmental effects they cause. Suggestions for strengthened regulatory control over cruise ship discharges, included:
- rethinking the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) exemption
- regulating sewage beyond 3 nautical miles
- requiring monitoring and reporting
- spending more time and money on monitoring and enforcement
Other speakers pointed to cruise ships' current voluntary environmental protection activities and partnership initiatives (with generally binding requirements) with states, USCG and ship classification societies. Lastly, several speakers voiced concern over reports of unexpectedly high fecal coliform counts in graywater and blackwater, and the need for further study.You may need a PDF reader to view some of the files on this page. See EPA’s About PDF page to learn more.