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Alaska Considers Relaxing Wastewater Limits for Cruise Lines

AlaskaAlaska lawmakers may temporarily lower standards for wastewater discharge limits for cruise lines to give them more time to comply, reports Juneau Empire. Lawmakers already allowed interim limits when cruise lines complained that the limits were too tough to meet, according to the article.

Alaska’s 2006 law is one of the strictest environmental standards in the industry, reports Juneau Empire. The rules set limits on the amount of pollutants, such as ammonia, copper, nickel and zinc, that can be in wastewater discharged from cruise ships, according to the article.

A recent report from environmental group Oceana indicates that pollution from cruise ships is a growing problem, producing 168,000 gallons of sewage daily.

The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation is taking public comment until March 3 on the proposed temporary rule, which will allow for less strict limits than those passed by voters in 2006, but is slightly higher than limits set for the past two years, reports Juneau Empire. The temporary rule would be in place for three years in order to give a science panel the time to determine which technologies might improve the cruise industry’s environmental performance, according to the article.

However, industry watchdog Gershon Cohen told Juneau Empire that the cruise industry has done nothing to change its performance since the initiative passed, despite reports that showed the industry was trying to improve wastewater discharge quality.

Cohen’s invitation to become a member of the science panel was revoked when the cruise industry complained he helped write the law containing the original limits, reports Juneau Empire.

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