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Alaska Backs Off On Environment

Environmental issues can often be complicated. The latest one — this week in Alaska — is definitely complicated.

If you're interested in protecting the environment (duh!) and the part that cruise ships play in it, read on…and if you want to read this in more detail, Richard Mauer of The Anchorage Daily News has it all here at the paper's website: www.adn.com.

There was a vote in the Alaska legislature in Juneau this week lowering specific environmental standards for cruise ships. Our initial reaction was shock. In this day and age, can such a thing be possible?

Well, there's more to it.

One, since the election the 49th state is ruled by one party (Republican) for the first time in years, and we all know that Democrats are more strongly associated with environmental issues. The bill to allow cruise ships to dump ammonia, copper and other contaminants into Alaska waters passed, easily.

Two, the standards of the still-existing bill are technologically impossible to meet.

Three, one of the reasons the bill passed is that cruise ships were being held to higher standards than local ferries, municipal systems and fishing vessels.

Four, the treatment facilities on cruise ships have been improved to the point where by the time it's dumped it is allegedly harmless to the environment.

Environmentalists see it as sacrificing the fishing industry for the cruise industry. Proponents who were democratically elected by the people of Alaska see it as heaping unfair standards on an industry that has long paid serious attention to being that good corporate citizen.

Costa Atlantica
7 nights
April 5, 2013
Dubai (return): Khasab, Muscat, Fujairah, Abu Dhabi
Inside: $499
Cost per day: $71

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