September 22, 1999
The Associated Press

JUNEAU - More than a dozen ships violated air quality standards while visiting Juneau, Glacier Bay and Seward this summer, a federal inspector said. John Pavitt, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's air coordinator for Alaska, declined to name the vessels.

"We have not served them official notice of violation, and we're evaluating all the information we have," Pavitt said. "At this point we're still evaluating, and I'd hate to make a goof by disclosing names that with further review we couldn't follow upon for some technical or legal reason."

With the cruise ship season coming to a close, a decision should be made within about a month on what action will be taken, he said.

The National Park Service has also observed violations in Glacier Bay, Pavitt said.

State regulations require that the view behind a plume of smoke from a cruise ship not be obscured by more than 20 percent.

Inspectors are trained to tell when ships are violating that standard, which is intended to protect the public and the environment from pollutants.

Cruise ships can exceed the 20 percent standard for no more than three minutes out of an hour while docked or sitting at anchor, Pavitt said. While maneuvering in and out of port, they can exceed the standard for nine minutes in an hour.

The state dropped its cruise ship smoke monitoring program in 1996 due to budget cuts.

This is the first year EPA has done cruise ship inspections in Juneau, said Steve Torok, EPA senior representative in Juneau.

"We recognize that this has gotten out of hand," Torok said. "We're concerned about the effects on the ambient air quality."

Torok said the agency would also like to see the city and state work together on installing air monitors to measure the combined effect of several ships' emissions.

Related Links
  • Anchorage Daily News-- Anchorage Daily News Website
  • EPA-- The Environmental Protection Agency Website


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