It’s time to protect Puget Sound from scrubber pollution. Ban it!

March 13, 2021

Submit a comment to protect Puget Sound and endangered orcas from fossil fuel waste dumping scrubbers.

How does toxic, fossil fuel wastewater end up in the ocean? Via a device called “scrubber.” Although scrubbers have been touted by the cruise industry as a solution for treating toxic ship engine exhaust, in reality, all it does is convert air pollution into water pollution and dump this fossil fuel combustion wastewater straight into the ocean. In high traffic inlets like Puget Sound, the build up of scrubber dumping is compounding and has serious implications on endangered species like killer whales.

But we have an opportunity to ban scrubbers and secure permanent protection for Puget Sound and its ecosystem.

Right now, the WA Department of Ecology, the Port of Seattle, and the cruise trade industry organization are renegotiating a voluntary anti-dumping Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in the Puget Sound and an amendment to ban the discharge of scrubber wastes is on the table! And they have opened a public comment period for amendments to the MOU. This is our chance to ban scrubbers for good in order to maintain a healthy ecosystem needed for the survival of threatened orcas and Chinook salmon.

Are you ready to roll up your sleeves and submit some unique comments? Let’s get into it.

1. Click here to go to the public consultation website. (You might want to have that page, and this email, open in different tabs so you can keep switching back and forth).

2. Scroll down to the ‘COMMENT’ box to start writing your comment. (Don’t know what to say in your comment? Scroll down below these instructions for some tips on what to say!) And once you’ve written your comment, hit ‘CONTINUE.’

How to submit your comment

3. You will be redirected to a page where you can review your comment and hit, ‘SUBMIT.’ And you’re done! Bravo, my friend.  

Now what to say in your comment.


Hot Tip: We want the MOU organizers to get enough comments supporting amendment #2 to ban scrubbers in Puget Sound, so your comment can be as simple as, “Ban scrubbers.” But it will be more impactful if you write in your own words and relay your own experience and personal reasons why you want to protect this precious inlet. I’ve included some helpful talking points and resources to guide you below.

Point #1: Ban scrubbers. There is a yawning loophole that allows cruise ships to burn one of the dirtiest fossil fuels on earth – heavy fuel oil – by ‘scrubbing’ the exhaust and discharge the toxin-laden wastewater directly into the ocean. That’s why I support amendment #2 to ban scrubbers.

Point #2: This is a huge opportunity for the cruise sector to show that they are committed to changing their polluting ways by agreeing to end the dumping of all scrubber wastes in Puget Sound. Please approve amendment #2 and ban scrubbers.

Point #3: Marine ecosystem needs a healthy home to survive. The COVID-19 pandemic has been an ongoing tragedy on a global scale, but the resulting cessation of cruise vessel traffic in the Puget Sound has been a welcome reprieve from the water pollution these ships create. That’s why scrubber dumping cannot return to the Sound. I support amendment #2.

Whew, that was a lot! If you just read all this and wrote in your comments using the topline messages – amazing work. Can I ask that you do one more thing, and let us know that you did it by adding your details to this short form?

Frankie the otter thanks you for submitting comment to MOU

Thank you for taking the time to submit your comment and speaking up about the health and environmental hazards of cruises using scrubbers to get away with burning ultra-dirty fuel and dumping toxic and carcinogenic substances into this sensitive ecosystem. Frankie, the otter thanks you for your public service. 😉

I’m so glad you’ve joined this campaign and are part of the online community. Over the past few years, we’ve been building a powerful movement of people who love our oceans and are ready to fight for them. Together we’ve been campaigning for cleaner shipping fuels and cracking down on serial polluters like Carnival Corporation cruises. And we’re only just getting started! In the coming months, we’re going to be ramping up the pressure to make sure that Puget Sound is free from scrubbers and dangerous wastewater.

I can’t wait to see what we can achieve when we take action together.

For the oceans,

Kendra Ulrich

Shipping Campaigns Director