And U.S. District Court Judge Garland Burrell ruled Thursday that the agency was breaking the law by continuing to allow paint from the obsolete vessels to flake off into the bay. Jason Flanders is with the environmental group Baykeeper which filed the lawsuit.
“We were incredibly thrilled although not surprised. These ships were clearly violating our clean water and hazardous waste laws for a decade. So we are looking forward to moving on now to getting these ships cleaned and disposed of.”
Even before the ruling, the Maritime Administration had started removing ships from the fleet. Flanders believes the suit helped break a years-long regulatory impasse that blocked any action.
The fleet of nearly 60 World War II era cargo ships can be seen from a distance while driving along Interstate 680 in Benicia.