21 organizations submit letter to Port of Seattle opposing cruise terminal expansion

November 12, 2019

Global climate impacts, threats to orcas, human health risks from ship exhaust cited in opposition

Traditional Puget Sound Salish and Duwamish Lands (SEATTLE, WA) — Twenty-one organizations submitted a letter to the Port of Seattle opposing the Cruise Terminal 46 expansion proposal during the Port Commission meeting earlier today, Tuesday, November 12. Led by environmental groups Stand.earth and 350 Seattle, the letter cites the project’s global climate impacts, threats to orcas, and human health risks from ship exhaust. 

In addition, Stand.earth submitted an additional document titled “The case against cruise ships” that outlines issues with Exhaust Gas Cleaning Systems (EGCS, or scrubbers), equity impacts from the Port’s proposal, and the criminal record of one of the project’s bidders, Carnival Corporation.

Read the documents: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1YmECMq0UY6-HAzdSVxJGRxWzW9pmoW8Z?usp=sharing 

“Expanding port infrastructure to support more cruise ships of ever-increasing size is incompatible with the climate leadership this State is striving toward and the spirit of the [Port of Seattle’s] motion passed last year to reduce climate emissions,” reads the letter. “We call on you to suspend the Terminal 46 cruise ship terminal selection process and direct Port staff to develop and issue a revised Request for Qualifications (RFQ) and Request for Proposals (RFP) that aligns with the goal of zero-emissions, zero-discharge cruising.”

The Port is currently seeking Requests For Proposal (RFP) from three groups, including Carnival Corporation, to co-invest in the expansion proposal. Carnival Corporation is currently on criminal probation in the U.S. following seven felony convictions for illegally dumping oily waste into the ocean for years and falsifying records to cover it up. The company recently pleaded guilty to violating its probation, by illegally dumping wastewater and plastic into the ocean, burning dirty fuel where it wasn’t allowed, and other serious violations. 

Holland America, which is headquartered in Seattle, is a subsidiary of Carnival Corporation. Several Holland America cruise ships travel from Seattle and Vancouver, B.C. to Alaska, including a ship involved in Carnival Corporation’s egregious criminal behavior for illegally discharging gray water into Alaska’s Glacier Bay National Park and failing to report it immediately to the Coast Guard. 

Organizations that signed the letter include: 350 Seattle, Stand.earth, RE Sources for Sustainable Communities, Legal Rights for the Salish Sea, Food & Water Action, Mosquito Fleet, Our Climate, Sunrise Movement Seattle, Native Daily Network, South Seattle Climate Action Network, Salish Sea Whale Sanctuary, 350 Tacoma, Protectors of the Salish Sea, Climate Reality Project Seattle/King County Chapter, Water Warrior Movement, Climate Action Families, Redefine Tacoma, Puget Soundkeeper Alliance, Seattle Citizens Climate Lobby, People for Climate Action-Seattle, and Faith Action Climate Team.


Seattle residents join other port communities around the world fighting cruise terminal expansions, including a London proposal withdrawn in 2018 due to community opposition; a Charleston, South Carolina expansion that now faces a challenge in the State Supreme Court; a move by Italy’s transport minister to ban big cruise ships from docking in Venice’s historic center; and other cities including Dublin, Santorini, Barcelona, and Cannes that have limited cruise ship visits.

Last week, environmental activists with Stand.earth and 350 Seattle protested the cruise terminal expansion proposal outside the Cruise Connections industry event in Seattle, expressing their concern for how the proposal would impact local air quality and water quality, and calling out the Port for considering doing business with companies like Carnival Corporation that have a decade-long criminal record of felony violations. The event was co-sponsored by the Port of Seattle and Cruise Lines International Association.

In October, 350 Seattle submitted a letter to the Port of Seattle asking for a supplemental RFP process that considers Carnival Corporation’s criminal record for its environmental crimes. The letter also requests a comprehensive Life Cycle Assessment to better understand the pollution impacts from the expansion. 350 Seattle is also asking the port to consider a broad range of environmental impacts during the scoping process for the cruise terminal expansion, which runs through November 13th. 

About Stand.earth

Stand.earth leads the international Clean Up Carnival coalition calling on Carnival Corporation to clean up its environmental practices, including ending its use of heavy fuel oil. In January 2019, Stand.earth released a study commissioned from a Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health faculty member showing that air pollution on the decks of Carnival ships can be as bad or worse than some of the world’s most polluted cities.

About 350 Seattle

350 Seattle works toward climate justice by organizing people to make deep system change: resisting fossil fuels; building momentum for healthy alternatives; and fostering resilient, just, and welcoming communities.


Media contact: Virginia Cleaveland, Communications Manager, virginia@stand.earth, 510-858-9902 (US) or 778-984-3994 (Canada)