Warning of higher shipping costs for Alaskans, the state has filed a suit challenging Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's acceptance of new Environmental Protection Agency fuel standards for cargo ships and cruise ships.
Attorney General Michael Geraghty says the revised EPA standards will require all cargo ships and cruise ships operating in Alaska to use hard-to-obtain, specially blended low-sulfur fuel beginning in August.
“There are reasonable and equally effective alternatives for the Secretary and the EPA to consider which would still protect the environment but dramatically reduce the severe impact these regulations will have on Alaskan jobs and families,” Geraghty said in a statement.The regulation’s costs, Geraghty cautions, will go further. Starting in 2014, cruise ships, and presumably cargo ships will also have to install special equipment on board to meet the new EPA regulations.
Alaska Cruise Association President John Binkley says the cost to comply with the new regulations will likely cause an increase in cruise ship ticket prices of about $60 per person.
“It’s going to raise the price significantly for people traveling to Alaska on cruise ships,” Binkley says. “And then that makes us less competitive with other destinations around the world.”
Ticket prices, according to Binkley, would likely increase further if the 2014 regulations are able to stand.
The state also says one of Alaska’s largest shipping companies, Totem Ocean Trailer Express or TOTE, estimates moving to low sulfur fuel will result in an increase of about 8 percent in TOTE’s total shipping costs.
In addition to Clinton, the EPA and EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, the suit also names the Department of Homeland Security and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, as well as theU.S. Coast Guard and its commandant, Admiral Robert J. Papp Jr, as defendants. It seeks to block federal agencies from enforcing North American Emissions Control Areas in Alaska.
Neither TOTE nor the EPA returned Channel 2's requests for comment on this story.
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