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Rule to ban cruise ship discharge in Washington sanctuary

Cruise ships will be prohibited from discharging wastewater into a protected marine sanctuary off the outer coast of Washington state's Olympic Peninsula under new rules taking effect next week.

The National Ocean Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says the rule address its concerns about large volumes of sewage and wastewater potentially affecting marine resources in the Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary. The sanctuary covers 2,408 square nautical miles of marine waters. It provides habitat to many valuable species of fish, seabirds and marine mammals.

Environmental groups applauded the move but are pushing for a similar ban on cruise ship discharges into Puget Sound and other Washington waters.

The new NOAA rules take effect Dec. 1.

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