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Viewpoints: Letters / Opinions

Passage of HB 80 by Alaska Senate
By Michelle Ridgway


February 20, 2013
Wednesday PM

Despite the rush to move this bill, many legislators were developing a deeper understanding of the technological potential for ships to meet water quality criteria at the pipe and the scientific implications of not doing so.

I was impressed by some lawmakers’ comprehension of the scale of the discharges, chemical components of the effluent and vast ocean footprint of the expanding cruise ship routes through Alaska.

Yet in the final surge toward moving HB 80, a handful of senators seemed to put their heads down and proceed to vote for the cruise ship companies despite the recognized effects on fish and marine life – not to mention their constituents’ expressed will on this issue. Others were compelled to follow suit.

If Governor Parnell signs this bill into law, we Alaskans need to take a pen to a nautical chart and map out our most important or vulnerable marine habitats. In order to spare the razor clam beds, king crab nurseries, and herring spawning grounds the stresses of four months per year of cruise ship effluent pollution, I suggest we identify those places throughout state waters and request that ADEC delineate them in regulation as ZERO DISCHARGE ZONES.

With the state pressing hard for allowing ships to discharge along their routes in multiple ship moving mixing zones in state waters, we have no choice but to launch a citizen’s marine spatial planning effort to protect our most important sites from wastewater discharge –whether important for biological or cultural heritage reasons.

If we cannot control the contaminant level of the billion or so gallons cruise ships discharge annually by meeting water quality criteria at the pipe, we are left with few options but to insist the State develop this network of marine protected areas so there are some ocean refuges from this significant pollution source.

Michelle Ridgway
Auke Bay, AK


About: "Michelle Ridgway, Marine Ecologist serving on ADEC Cruise Ship Waste water Science Panel "

Received February 19, 2013 - Published February 20, 2013

Related News:

Cruise Ship Waste Water Bill Goes To Governor; Regulations relaxed on cruise ship waste water discharge - By MARY KAUFFMAN - House Bill 80 is now headed to Governor Parnell for his signature after the measure passed the Senate on a 14-6 vote Tuesday. - More...
Wednesday PM - February 20, 2013



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