Alaskan lawmakers seek repeal of cruise ship waste rule

A quarter of the members of the state House are co-sponsoring a bill to repeal a water-pollution provision in the cruise-ship law that voters approved in 2006.

Rep. John Harris, R-Valdez, and 10 co-sponsors introduced legislation that would remove a provision from the cruise law that prevents state regulators from granting mixing zones to cruise ships. Mixing zones are areas in a water body where a pollution discharge can exceed state standards. No other industry in Alaska is banned from using mixing zones, and the state has approved them for sewage plants, seafood companies and mines.

The cruise industry says that many of their ships traveling to Alaska would not be able to comply with the mixing zone ban based on existing pollution-control technology. The new rules take effect in 2010. The group Responsible Cruising in Alaska, which supports the new rules, sent a letter to lawmakers Monday saying the bill is "premature and unnecessary." The group said that the industry will be able to find the technology needed to comply with the mixing zone ban by next year.

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