Friends of the Earth in California cautions that the condition of the ocean environment should be a factor in developing a marine highway system.
The environmental organization published a report Thursday that focused primarily on the prospect of a proposed marine highway service between the port of Oakland and inland ports at Sacramento and Stockton, Calif.
While domestic waterborne commerce is touted as a way to reduce congestion and save energy in surface transportation, FOE said those factors don't take into account possible damage to marine life.
The report recommends the use of low-emission engines aboard vessels and on shoreside cargo handling equipment to reduce air pollution.
FOE also said marine highways projects should reduce underwater noise from propeller cavitation, the formation of gas bubbles, and from onboard machinery to minimize disruption to marine mammals' navigation system. In addition, the report said vessel operations should take into account whale migration patterns to avoid harmful or fatal collisions with vessels.
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