For Immediate Release: February 13, 2013
Senators Wielechowski, Gardner, and French Offer Amendments to Protect Alaskan Waters
JUNEAU – Senate Democratic legislators introduced four amendments on the Senate floor today that would respect and protect the intent and will of a 2006 voter initiative which placed increased regulation on the cruise ship industry in order to protect the Alaskan environment and the branding of Alaskan seafood.
Senator Wielechowski (D-Anchorage) introduced an amendment that would prohibit the discharge of cruise ship waste water in or adjacent to areas established by the legislature as state game refuges, game sanctuaries, critical habitat areas, and marine parks.
“What a disappointment today,” said Senator Wielechowski, “Science lost, salmon lost. The environment we as Alaskans treasure took a back seat to an industry that is ironically prospering from our pristine wildlife, but can now degrade it under reduced scrutiny. I hope the Governor ultimately pulls out his veto pen, respects the will of the voters, and stands up for Alaska. This bill belongs in a garbage can, not statute.”
Senator Gardner (D-Anchorage) proposed two other amendments, one to enforce monthly monitoring on cruise ship discharges and a coinciding amendment to then publish those results on the internet, for public awareness.
“Regular environmental monitoring of the floating cities passing through our waters is just common sense when so many Alaskans depend on our waters for subsistence and recreation, not to mention livelihoods,” stated Senator Gardner.
Senator French (D-Anchorage) offered an amendment putting a 2 mile ban on discharge off the state of Alaska’s coastline, with an added stipulation that dumping areas not be normal traffic routes for critical marine wildlife such as salmon, as advised by Alaska Fish and Game.
“Alaska’s fisheries are our most valuable renewable resource, and one that we all rely on for food for our own tables. If cruise ships discharge any amount of contaminants that should be done well away from state shores and salmon migration paths,” said Senator French.
Having already passed the House, HB 80 now goes before the Senate for a vote on February 19th.
For more information, contact Michelle Sydeman at (907) 465-6881 or firstname.lastname@example.org