There's been a strange turn of events at the state's cruise ship wastewater treatment science advisory panel. That's the newly formed group that will advise the Department of Environmental Conservation on how the ships can best meet strict pollution discharge limits by 2015. The panel will have 11 members, with a cruise industry representative and experts in naval architecture, marine engineering and wastewater treatment. In a letter of Dec. 23, 2009, Lynn Kent of the DEC invited environmental activist Gershon Cohen to join the advisory panel. Cohen sponsored the successful 2006 cruise ship initiative that imposed a passenger head tax, stringent wastewater discharge limits and the Ocean Ranger program to monitor cruise ship compliance.
The newly formed Alaska Alliance for Cruise Travel has raised $25,000 among its members for a booth at the cruise industry's largest trade show in Miami next month.
Princess Cruises will be returning one of the ships to Alaska that it pulled after the state's voters in 2006 adopted a passenger head tax and other cruise industry regulations.
This tourist season's depleted passenger loads have taken their toll on several downtown businesses.
Gov. Sean Parnell gathered Thursday with tourism-industry leaders to sign a bill rolling back the cruise ship head tax, which was unpopular within the industry.
Sitka businessman John Litten said something has to be done about the loss of cruise business in Alaska.
Gov. Sean Parnell's decision to reduce the cruise ship head tax as a way to encourage cruise lines to move their ships back to Alaska was one of the most heartening statements Alaskans have heard in years.
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