The Cruise Lines International Association released the following statement in response to the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) new Vessel General Permit (VGP) rules effective today under the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES):

The EPA's action today significantly expands the regulation and oversight of vessel discharges and as a result, all operational discharges from commercial ships into U.S. waters are now subject to regulation. The cruise industry appreciates the EPA effort and is committed to the rigorous and ongoing work required to comply. Indeed, since the EPA issued its first draft of these regulations in June 2008, the cruise industry has been working to develop and implement compliance plans to help ensure that our industry is doing its part to protect not only U.S. waters, but all waters where our vessels sail.

The cruise ship industry's commitment to the environment has never been stronger and through comprehensive rules like these from the EPA, combined with the many voluntary initiatives undertaken by cruise lines, we believe that we can continue to help protect the environment and reduce the impact of our ships on vital natural resources throughout the world.