Officials concerned budget cuts will take away Ocean Rangers
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) – The state official overseeing Alaska’s cruise ship monitoring program is concerned about losing independent environmental inspectors on cruise ships.
CoastAlaska reports the inspectors, known as Ocean Rangers, could be eliminated. Gov. Mike Dunleavy has proposed scrapping the program as part of a budget now being reviewed by state lawmakers.
The state Department of Environmental Conservation’s top budget official, Jeff Rogers, laid out the Dunleavy administration’s case for removing inspectors from cruise ships.
But those that work in Alaska’s cruise ship program note that without onboard inspectors, the state’s authority to monitor pollution from ships would be limited.
The head of DEC’s cruise ship monitoring program, Ed White, says the Ocean Rangers have been a “critical part” in the permitting process.