Some of Juneau's first cruise ship passengers were greeted by balloons, cheers and requests to support ship discharge regulations at the downtown dock Tuesday.
A crowd of about 70 well-wishers waved and cheered as the Norwegian Sky - the first large ship of the season - pulled into port. Penny Tripp was holding one end of a "Welcome to Juneau" banner.
"I wanted to say hello to the ship and welcome it to Juneau. And show that Juneau has nice friendly people here," she said.
Anne-Lise Cadigan Hagevig said she showed up to support tourism because her family owns four downtown stores. "It's vital to my family's livelihood," she said.
Juneau was the first stop in Alaska for the 2,000-passenger Norwegian Sky. Visitors who walked off the ship were met by supporters of cruise ship discharge legislation who were carrying signs reading "Beautiful Alaska Keep It Clean" and "Clean H20 = Great Trip." More than a dozen people handed out fliers directing passengers to the state Capitol for a free tour and a visit to Rep. Eldon Mulder's office.
"Tell them about your trip thus far, and that you agree that YOUR ships should be held to high standards for clean air and water discharges. We sure could use your help!" the fliers said.
Mulder, an Anchorage Republican, introduced discharge legislation last week that was criticized by Democrats. He put out snacks and drinks for passengers Tuesday, and when asked how many showed up, he formed his thumb and forefinger into a zero. The House approved a compromise bill Tuesday night.
Robert Reges of Cruise Control said the activists would be asking passengers if they were interested in a vacation to Alaska that doesn't pollute, and to let legislators know. He said he wasn't sure what sort of response they would get, but hoped some people would visit the Capitol.
Kim Metcalfe said activists might greet other large cruise ships in the waning days of the legislative session until legislators pass "a good bill." Cruise lines pay attention to their customers, Deborah Vogt said.
The cruise was the first for Bea Rodriguez of Albuquerque, N.M., who said she is concerned about pollution, but probably wouldn't visit Alaska's legislators to discuss the problem.
"Where there's people, there's pollution," she said.
Joan Howard of Dayton, Ohio, said she had heard a little about the issue and is very concerned about ecology in general. With limited time in Juneau, she said she probably would not visit legislators, either.
Joanna Markell can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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