Cruise lines lobby Alaska to repeal pollution rule


How much waste water should cruise lines be allowed to discharge off the coast of Alaska?

That’s the issue to be debated today in the Alaska legislature as it considers a bill to repeal a water pollution rule scheduled to take effect in 2010.

The Anchorage Daily News reports the cruise industry has been lobbying in favor of the bill, noting that many of its ships will be unable to comply with the new rule. Indeed, the industry is hinting it could pull vessels from the region if the rule is not changed. The Daily News says the Alaska Cruise Association sent legislators a letter last week reminding them the industry soon would be making its ship deployment decisions for 2010 (already one line, Royal Caribbean, has announced plans to pull a ship from Alaska in 2010).

The bill under consideration would nullify a part of a voter-approved cruise law that will prevent state regulators from granting mixing zones to cruise ships. Mixing zones are areas where a pollution discharge can exceed state standards.

The Daily News notes that no other industry in Alaska is banned from using mixing zones, and the state routinely approves them for sewage plants, seafood companies and mines.