SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed two bills aimed at stopping cruise ships from polluting the air and water near the California coastline, but left unsigned a third bill that would ban the dumping of sewage within state waters.

One law bans the discharge of “gray water” from cruise ship kitchens, laundries and showers into state waters, which extend three miles from shore. The other prohibits luxury liners from burning garbage in on-board incinerators while they are in state waters.

Schwarzenegger took no action Thursday on the measure banning the release of sewage, both treated and untreated. The legislation, which is opposed by the cruise industry, automatically becomes law if the Republican governor does not sign or veto it by Sept. 30.

The new California laws go beyond federal law, which prohibits cruise ships from dumping untreated sewage in state waters, but allows the discharge of treated sewage and gray water anywhere, including ports and harbors.

Environmentalists praised Schwarzenegger’s signing of the two bills, which go into effect Jan. 1.

“It’s a great victory for our coastline, and it sets the bar higher for cruise ship pollution around the country,” said Teri Shore of the San Francisco-based Bluewater Network.

Shore and other environmentalists urged the governor to sign the third measure.

Michael Crye, president of the Arlington, Va.-based International Council for Cruise Lines, said the industry opposes the sewage bill because ships already use advanced wastewater purification systems that “discharge water that is close to drinking water quality.”

Alaska has some of the nation’s strictest cruise ship pollution laws, allowing the discharge of sewage and gray water only if the effluent meets state standards. Maine has adopted similar legislation.

In some states, such as Florida, Hawaii and Washington, cruise companies sign agreements promising not to discharge waste into state waters, but environmental groups say such agreements cannot be enforced.


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