Opinion: If you see something, say something

Together we can fight to preserve this pristine place we live.

  • By Karen Severson
  • Tuesday, August 2, 2022 3:19pm
  • Opinion

To all boaters on the water whether for commercial or recreation, if you see cruise ship discharge of any kind report it to the National Response Center at 1-800-424-8802.

Summer 2022, the cruise industry is bigger than ever. They are offering incredible deals for tourists to visit for that once in a lifetime Alaskan adventure, and who can blame them.

However, the cruise industry has decades of violations and fines for illegal behavior. It is up to us to be aware and hold them accountable for illegal discharge pollution to our water ways.

The governor vetoed funding for the Ocean Ranger program in 2019. Without these highly qualified Ocean Rangers on board, acting as watchdogs, the ships are free to cut corners and dump their waste in our waters whenever and wherever they can get away with it.

Many ships use cheap bunker crude to cut costs and then flush it directly into our ocean with open loop exhaust scrubbers, negatively impacting our fish and wildlife.

Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve in Southeast Alaska started its own cruise ship monitoring program this July. The Park Service would prefer that the state program be re-established, calling it an essential component to the park’s oversight of cruise ship concessions contracts.

With the program still in state law our hope is the Legislature will vote to bring back these Ocean Rangers, to be on all ships, all of the time.

We must all be watchful to keep these mega ships from polluting our beautiful state, for the future of all Alaskans who call this place home and for those who love to visit it.

Call the National Response Center. Give them a description of what you saw, the latitude and longitude if you have it, or the close demographical area where you saw it. Also what ship you think it might have come from.

Together we can fight to preserve this pristine place we live.

• Karen Severson resides in Petersburg. Columns, My Turns and Letters to the Editor represent the view of the author, not the view of the Juneau Empire. Have something to say? Here’s how to submit a My Turn or letter.

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