Say goodbye to the mothball fleet

Settling litigation brought by environmental groups and later joined by state officials, the US Maritime Administration has agreed to remove the mothball fleet (also known as the ghost fleet) from Suisun Bay near San Francisco. The fleet consists of 52 obsolete warships that have been stored in the Bay for decades with little or no maintenance. Over time, as the paint peeled from the deteriorating ships, they have spilled tons of toxic metals into the water. In January, US District Judge Garland Burrell ruled that those discharges violate the Clean Water Act, and the accumulation of toxic paint chips on the decks of the ships violates California’s hazardous waste law.

The settlement calls for the US to clean up those paint chips within the next few months, get the worst ships out of the Bay by the middle of 2012, and remove all of them by September 2017. NRDC’s Michael Wall offers more details at Switchboard.

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Reader Comments

3 Replies to “Say goodbye to the mothball fleet”

  1. OTPR,
    Thanks for asking. The NEPA / ESA question is a fascinating one. I wrote a little bit about it here: http://legalplanet.wordpress.com/2010/02/18/pumps-politics-populations/ The short answer is that the Bureau of Reclamation ought to do NEPA analysis up front on the various alternatives for operating its projects, including alternatives that would protect listed fish, rather than being expected to do so when it’s deciding whether to implement the Reasonable and Prudent Alternatives in a BiOp. But its an issue that deserves more than a couple of sentences explanation. I’ll try to find the time for a longer post.

  2. I would read a longer post on this with great interest. But (of course) you should blog as you see fit.

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About Holly

Holly Doremus

Holly Doremus is the James H. House and Hiram H. Hurd Professor of Environmental Regulation at UC Berkeley. Doremus brings a strong background in life sciences and a comm…

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