International Ship Pollution Rules Opposed By Alaska
Alaska has sued to block enforcement of rules intended to limit pollution from large ships, saying the rules will result in higher freight rates and pricier cruises that will hurt the state’s economy.
New rules set to take effect Aug. 1 will require that cargo carriers and cruise ships use a low-sulfur fuel within 200 miles of U.S. and Canadian shores. While the rules, initiated by the U.S. and agreed to by dozens of other nations as part of an international treaty, affect much of the North American coast and Hawaii, officials in Alaska say they will have a disproportionate effect on the state and want to keep them from being enforced in waters off Alaska’s coast.
About 90 percent of the commodities entering Alaska are delivered through a single port — the Port of Anchorage — and many southeast Alaska communities rely heavily on revenues from the cruise trade to survive. The state, relying on industry estimates, said the rules could increase shipping costs to the state by 8 percent and cruise passenger costs up to $18 a day, potentially leading to a 15 percent decline in visitors.