Alaska to Allow Cruise Ships to Pollute Its Waters

There are a number of communities throughout the country, such as genteel Charleston, S.C., who are struggling to balance the economic benefits of cruise ships against their environmental impact.

Yesterday, Alaska chose money.

As reported in the Anchorage Daily News, the Alaska Senate voted to roll back 2006 cruise ship wastewater standards.

What does this mean?

It means the 36 cruise ships that navigate Alaska's waters each other -- almost all of them coming from Seattle and Vancouver, Canada -- can indefinitely discharge ammonia, a product of human waste, and heavy metals, dissolved from ship plumbing.

Those discharges would have been banned in 2015 under a 2006 citizen initiative.

The legislation also ends, reports the Daily News "the work of an advisory panel on cruise ship wastewater created in a 2009 law that had been tasked with investigating whether the technology exists to meet the standards."

Amonia contributes to algae blooms and harm shellfish, while copper, one of the heavy metal, plays havoc on salmon's honing sense and its ability to smell in freshwater.

The bill passed easily in the state House, where it was debated for a total of just four hours.

"That's really unconscionable," said the Democrat's House Minority Leader Beth Kerttula.

The measure takes effect immediately.

No huge surprise here. As residents of the Last Frontier like to say, "We don't give a damn how they do it Outside."

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