I was able to attend a tour last week on the Island Princess. It was an impressive enlightenment on how serious the cruise industry is in compliance with state regulations.
The systems in place were better than any sewage treatment plant I have ever seen; better than the one in Girdwood. Their processes for dealing with solid waste would be models for our shoreside communities. The very small volume of hazardous wastes, such as AAA batteries, are stored in a locked compartment for proper shoreside disposal.
The voter initiative has flawed standards that need to be addressed. The current standards for sewer treatment, which are not attainable with current technology, could not be met by most of our coastal communities' drinking water systems, let alone by their sewage systems.
The Ocean Rangers are wasting our money. It would be a little more palatable if the they were Alaskans, but most are from Florida.
The cruise industry has made giant strides in the last five years toward cleaning up their act. Let's let the professionals at Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation set standards that are responsible standards for compliance that can be met and monitored in a reasonable manner. And let the legislators make an informed decision.
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