Gov. Sean Parnell is proposing changes to the way the state regulates wastewater from cruise ships - drawing criticism that his proposal would roll back provisions of a 2006 citizen initiative that required cruise ships to meet state water quality standards when dumping wastewater.
Chip Thoma, President of Responsible Cruising in Alaska opposes Parnell's bill. He says the cruise industry needs tough oversight.
"In the 10 years that I've been involved in this aspect of it, they have gone from unregulated, dumping raw sewage to very, very controlled, we're having good results from most of the ships."
SB29 got its first hearing Wednesday in front of the Senate Resources Committee. Larry Hartig, commissioner of the state Department of Environmental Conservation, said the proposal would align the rules for cruise ships with those for others who get discharge permits from the agency.
"The waste that is discharged from cruise ships is treated to a much higher level, than other municipal domestic facilities," said Director of the DEC's Division of Water Michelle Bonnet Hale.
According to a sectional analysis, the measure would require that cruise ships discharge wastewater in a manner consistent with applicable state or federal law.
It would strike the more stringent requirement that discharges meet state water quality standards at the point of discharge.
Contact Adam Pinsker