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October 1, 2014

Legislature Takes Dump on Alaska

Despite massive public outcry, and good efforts by Democratic lawmakers, the legislature has voted to pass a bill that will loosen restrictions on the cruise industry, and lower water quality standards for coastal waters. HB80 now heads to the Governor’s desk.

None of the Democratic amendments which would have required dumping at least 3 miles offshore, not next to marine parks or game refuges, public notification of the location of dump sites, and water monitoring passed. The bill was voted through as it was, and zipped through the senate with a vote of 16-4. The yes votes included Democratic Senator Dennis Egan who represents Juneau, where this bill hits closest to home. Egan decided to caucus with Republicans this legislative session.  After that and this vote, if he’s not hanging his head in shame, or getting smacked upside of it by constituents, he should be.

But if you look at the list of Republicans who took money from the cruise industry this past election, suddenly it comes into clear focus why representatives on that side of the aisle, who are supposed to have our best interests at heart seem to have a different priority.

This bill actually overturns the will of the people of Alaska, and undermines a citizens’ initiative passed by the voters in 2006.

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Senator Lesil McGuire (R-Anchorage)

Senator Lesil McGuire (R-Anc) was asked what she thought of that.

“…actually when you sit back and look at voter psychology, when people go into the ballot booths, it’s not clear that voters always understand what they’re voting on, to be honest.”

I’m not quite sure on this… Is that dripping contempt, or just oozing contempt for the voters?

Gee Senator, us dimwitted Alaska folk, why we didn’t even know we was votin’ fer clean water! Do tell? Well, thanks a bunch fer settin’ us straight. Now we don’t have to worry about tryin’ to think no more, or about clean water. Thanky, smart lady!

But Senator Bill Wielechowski, D-Anchorage, said there’s strong opposition to the bill. “Mr. President, we’ve heard from shellfish farmers, salmon trollers, Native tribes, fisherman, United Fishermen of Alaska, hundreds of Alaskans. I got emails on this. And I got emails from people who work with the cruise industry who said vote yes on this bill, and overwhelmingly people in my district said vote no on this bill.”

The Legislature originally enacted tougher water-quality standards for cruise ships in 2001, following several criminal convictions of cruise lines for pollution in the 1990s.

A Ketchikan fisherman named Steve Schrum gave testimony to the legislature about stressed salmon, cruise ships dumping waste in the middle of fishing areas, long brown streaks of water with strips of toilet paper in fishing locations, and frothy patches of soap in open water.

cruisedump

The pictures alone are sobering. Above is the water Schrum is fishing in, covered with bits of sewage, toilet paper and other waste. And, of course, the heavy metals which are arguably the most damaging and toxic byproduct from the ships are invisible to the eye. You can see what he sent the legislature HERE.

But hey, he’s only a fisherman. Why heck, he probably didn’t even know what he was saying, right Senator McGuire?  You know best. And he probably didn’t stuff the coffers of Republican candidates this past fall. Just a guess.

Please take note of the roll call:

YEAS:  15   NAYS:  5   EXCUSED:  0   ABSENT:  0 

Yeas:  Bishop (R), Coghill (R), Dunleavy (R), Dyson (R), Egan (D), Fairclough (R), Giessel (R),
Hoffman (D), Huggins (R), Kelly (R), McGuire (R), Meyer (R), Micciche (R), Stedman (R),
Stevens (R)

Nays:  Johnny Ellis, Hollis French, Berta Gardner, Donny Olson, Bill Wielechowski (all Democrats)

The bill now heads to Governor Sean Parnell for his signature. I wonder if he’ll sign it? I bet the $60,000 in campaign contributions he got from the cruise industry could buy a really nice fountain pen.

Comments

comments

Comments
26 Responses to “Legislature Takes Dump on Alaska”
  1. mike from iowa says:

    When do rethuglicans take away your right to sue cruise lines when polluted salmon make you and yours sick,or deprive you of your livelihood?????

    • mike from iowa says:

      Algae blooms look like what the Gulf of Mexico gets every year from phosphorous fertilizer run-off. They claim iowa is a major culprit and I have to agree. This past year there was no algae bloom because drought precluded run-off and/or flooding of the Mississippi and the Mighty Mo rivers.

  2. Bick Pentameter says:

    The nasty Ms Geissel who allegedly represents me, voted to support corporate interests. That record and her arrogant attitude makes her a contender for Don Young’s seat if he ever dies.

  3. polarbear says:

    How many Alaska jobs are lost and how many Alaska businesses are impacted if the cruise ship dumping restrictions are not lifted? In parallel consider the near-term impacts of sequestration. I checked Sen Begich’s home page, Sen Murkowski’s homepage, ADN, and Mudflats, and cannot seem to find any stories about the impact of sequestration on Alaska. The relevance is, take the sum of jobs lost in visitors’ industry due to not relaxing the dumping restrictions, the sum of jobs lost in the visitor’s industry due to renewed national recession due to sequestration, and the sum of federal jobs lost in Alaska directly due to sequestration. That sum is the human impact to our state, and that is what we ought to be preoccupied with right now. We, the citizens of Alaska, are about to be dumped back into the Great Recession. With respect, our fellow citizens ought to be our primary focus right now. With respect, if the Alaska Democratic Party hopes to be politically effective in the future, then we need a steady unswerving primary focus on our citizens and neighborhoods. Alaska Democrats are not doing the environment any good by being powerless.

    • Alaska Pi says:

      Actually- very few jobs or businesses would be impacted UNLESS 1-the cruise lines decided to do what they did during the recession and reposition their ships, It was touted as a we-can’t-do-the-head-tax-and-make-a-profit move but really was a way to keep their stranglehold on a market here which serves about 1 million of their about 20 million customers a year, and 2- the Leg and DEC didn’t work out a deal to address the facts that at present no economically viable means exists to implement the law seems to exist and offer exemptions based on that.
      Trading what we had for flawed relation to point source effluent doesn’t protect jobs in other aquatic industries which are arguably of more year round value than tourist based ones to Alaskans here in Southeast. of which fishing tops the list.
      The idea that any job loss is bad , without looking at a number of other things, is not sufficient to the questions posed by allowing large businesses to succeed without full accounting of social costs all around.
      As someone who lives in a destination port, where most of these ships visit once a week through longer and longer “summer seasons” , it is off putting to see how many of the summer jobs are low wage and /or rely on non Alaskan hires. as well as how many businesses who cater to the ships are run by snowbirds.
      There are definite and clear exceptions to that and there is a definite value in what these visitors bring to my community but there are downsides too. We want to be able to keep plugging away at all of it, not just what the cruise companies want to deal with.
      Job creation and retention can and do remain priorities but conflating retention of too many poorly paid seasonal jobs with political effectiveness has multiple problems, not the least of which is the set of problems surrounding cost of living here.

  4. AKKelly says:

    Email sent to Mr. Egan. Phone calls made to Mr. Parnell. I am assuming neither of them eat fish.

  5. mike from iowa says:

    Playing nice gets you absolutely stomped on. Burn a few of the SOBS at the stake to get their attention and then read them your constitution,since they don’t have a clue as to what is in the damn thing!

  6. akbright says:

    If anyone is interested, this Saturday, there will be a public meeting at Loussac, with some members of our legislature:

    WHAT:

    Community Meeting with Anchorage Caucus

    WHEN:

    Saturday, February 23, 2013
    9:30 am to 1:00 pm

    WHERE:

    Loussac Library, Assembly Chambers
    3600 Denali Street, Anchorage

    The co-chairs of the Anchorage Caucus, Representative Charisse Millett (R-Anchorage) and Representative Chris Tuck (D-Anchorage), announced that Anchorage legislators will hear from the public and three invited guests on Saturday, February 23, from 9:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. in the Assembly Chambers of the Loussac Library.

    Anchorage Mayor Dan Sullivan and Anchorage School Board President Jeannie Mackie will give remarks, and Susan Duck, special assistant to the Mayor, will discuss the upcoming Anchorage Centennial. Public testimony is scheduled to begin before 10:00 a.m., following the three presentations. The agenda is attached.

    For more information, contact:

    Mark Gnadt
    Press Secretary, House Democratic Caucus
    W: (907) 465-3842; C: (907) 209-7006

    • akbright says:

      Here is the agenda:

      Saturday, February 23, 2013
      9:30am to 1:00pm
      Loussac Library Assembly Chambers

      AGENDA

      9:30

      Call to Order
      – Introduction of Caucus Members and distinguished
      guests
      9:35
      – Anchorage
      Mayor Dan Sullivan
      9:40
      – Anchorage
      School Board President
      Jeannie Mackie
      9:45

      Susan Duck
      , Special Assistant to the Mayor –
      Anchorage Centennial
      9:50

      Public Testimony
      – 3 minutes per person
      1:00

      Adjourn
      *Due to time constraints, the meeting will begin promptly at 9:30am. We have the
      chambers available until 1pm. The speakers will be
      kept to a strict time limit

  7. Cedar Mulligan says:

    The perception of a pristine environment in Alaska is invaluable. For those of us in the seafood industry who are customer facing, how do we respond to consumers who see this headline and then question us about it? People who have been willing to pay a premium for quality, non-farmed Alaskan products, may find it harder to justify it to themselves once this comes to their attention. Perception is hugely important.

  8. GBurnstein says:

    Thank you for the detailed list…. We must now elect those in the next election who will fight to protect a CLEAR mandate delivered by the Voters and reverse this special interest crap

  9. fishingmamma says:

    Time for another initiative?

  10. David Otness says:

    “Despite massive public outcry, and good efforts by Democratic lawmakers, the legislature has voted to pass a bill that will loosen STOOLS on the cruise industry, and lower water quality standards for coastal waters. HB80 now puts the Governor’s desk in the ship’s head.”(That’s the shitter for the non-nautical).

    I need time to wind up and hurl my ultimate disgust at these sycophantic poltroons in the Legislature and Governor’s Office. Assuming cruise indy honcho Randy Ruaro is still glued to Parnell’s pantaloons in some quasi Alaskan bureaucratic prostrated position I’m hardly surprised trite sonsabitches like Binkely and Shively before him overcame the Will of The People after our passing of the initiative that meant so much to all of us.

    These sell-out and greasy money grubbers are the Death of all that is good about our waters and the living and food they provide for not only us but Alaska’s reputation as well.
    BOYCOTT THE CRUISE SHIP INDUSTRY.
    Let’s get it going on with all of our contacts world-wide and make these sneering, smarmy and duplicitous bastards start to pay immediately!
    Then, we’ll apply the real ‘head’ tax they so ignominiously created for themselves.
    Let’s do it!

  11. Mill says:

    This makes me sick to my stomach and assuredly WILL make people sick to their stomachs after they eat the fish etc. from these areas. Dennis Egan should be ashamed of himself especially with coming from that area. And, as to Liesl McGuire, isn’t she a proven alcoholic? Her decision making process is clouded by booze as well as receiving money/support from the cruise industry.

    Alaskans do need to be more careful as to whom they elect to serve in their Alaska Legislature. The government appears to be so corrupt and filled w/Republicans that need to be voted out of office next go around! No doubt about it!

    • fishingmamma says:

      McGuire is my Senator, I am sorry to say. I went to a restaraunt this last summer to pick up my take-out order, and there she was, with two ‘gentlemen’. It was a disgusting display of “oh, my, God, please get a room, you are making my eyes bleed” I was thankful to take my dinner home. I really wish we had more lawmakers that we could respect.

  12. Bill says:

    I wonder who put this exclusion into the bill and whose boat or boats are affected?

    Sec. 2. AS 46.03.462(c) is amended to read:
    11 (c) The owner or operator of a small commercial passenger vessel may submit
    12 a plan for alternative terms and conditions of vessel discharges [IF THE KEEL OF
    13 THE VESSEL WAS LAID BEFORE JANUARY 1, 2004].

  13. John says:

    “actually when you sit back and look at voter psychology, when people go into the ballot booths, it’s not clear that voters always understand what they’re voting on, to be honest.”

    Well, that explains how Lesil McGuire keeps getting re-elected. That and her daddy’s money.

  14. Moose Pucky says:

    Arggh. Even Egan???

  15. Mo says:

    Well, that’s it for fishing and crabbing in the channel south of Juneau. I imagine it’s gonna be one long shitstain this summer, as the ships will hardly be underway before starting pumping and dumping, just because they can.

    • David Otness says:

      ADF&G Area biologist Dave Cantillon warned me off the clam beaches over at Youngs Bay on Admiralty Island back in the 1990’s for just this reason.
      I am so effin disgusted by these irresponsible children to allow this backslide as they slither away and put it out of their pretty little heads.

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