The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation has reported 49 violations against Alaska air pollution regulations from multiple cruise lines and the Alaska Marine Highway System.
ADEC statute 18 AAC 50 states that visual emissions may not reduce visibility through the exhaust of a marine vessel by more than 20 percent within three miles of the Alaska coastline. To constitute a violation, visibility must be reduced by 100 percent for more than three minutes in any one hour.
Areas affected include Skagway, Tracy Arm Fjord, Juneau, Haines, Ketchikan, Anchorage, Auke Bay and Alaska waters.
ADEC Environmental Program Specialist Jason Olds said each of the 49 violations, spanning between 2010 and 2014, were at least 7.5 percent above the emission standard.
Olds said the violations were a backlog of pending cases, and added that none of the cruise ships were in continuous violation of the standard.
“If a cruise ship is in Alaskan waters for four and a half days, [the violation] is a small amount of time that they’re here,” he said.
Forty-eight of the cases remain open, with only the Alaska Marine Highway System correcting the problem with the M/V Columbia.
“They went head over heels to correct the issue and return to compliance swiftly,” Olds said.
[quote_right]“They went head over heels to correct the issue and return to compliance swiftly,” Olds said. [/quote_right]
Olds said violations are determined by visual opacity – observing the emissions outside of the ships smoke stack.
To determine what harm the violations may have caused, Olds said each case would need to be evaluated separately.
“I wouldn’t want to breath exhaust emission in any case,” he said, adding that though small, a violation is a violation.
The 48 cruise line cases remain open, with ADEC investigating further action.