Dear Friends and Neighbors,
My office has been busy setting up shop in Anchorage for the interim. Some of the topics on my mind these days have been improving local infrastructure, sound environmental management, resolving our fiscal issues, and, of course, abating crime in our fair city.
Cruising through Alaska
Last week, I went to the Port of Alaska (formerly called the Port of Anchorage) to have a look at our infrastructure and get a glimpse into cruise ship environmental practices, thanks to the Zaandam’s hospitality in offering me a tour of their vessel.
The State of Our Port
Some quick facts about the Port of Alaska:
Touring the Zaandam
Given how popular Alaska cruises have become, it’s important that we strive for minimal environmental impact to ensure that this industry remains viable. The Department of Environmental Conservation has emission guidelines for air and water discharges, and so I decided to see first-hand how these ships meet our state requirements. Their recycling systems are high-tech and impressively efficient.
Of particular concern are ship emissions. MARPOL (the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships) Annex IV has established limits on emissions of nitrogen and sulfur oxides; in North America, we use Emission Control Area standards of 0.1% sulfur content. Given that most ships are unable to meet this standard—on account of older technology and retro-fitting is extremely expensive—cruise ships have mostly adopted the use of “scrubbers”.
An exhaust scrubber basically adds water to the exhaust fumes, which “scrubs” out much of the sulfur. However, this sulfur is then absorbed by the water and discharged into the ocean, rather than into the air. There remains debate on whether this is a viable solution, or if it’s merely transferring harmful pollution problem from air to water. Sulfur compounds can increase ocean acidity and negatively impact many sensitive aquatic species—ocean acidification is a growing global marine issue.
To see photos of the Zaandam, inside and out, check out this ADN article.
The Crime Bill is Signed into Law
Last week, the Governor signed the crime bill, HB 312, which I co-sponsored, into law. This bill will improve public safety, provide safer neighborhoods for Alaska’s families, and protect the state’s medical professionals.
Here are the key takeaways from HB 312:
Upcoming Meetings & Events
Dowling/Seward Highway Interchange Reconstruction Open House
This project will complete the reconstruction of the Seward Highway over Dowling Road, and replace the current Dowling Road/Seward Highway interchange. The goal is to improve safety, serve both motorized and non-motorized travelers, be cost-effective, and be easy to maintain.
When: Wednesday, 27 June, 2018, 4-6 PM
Where: Dimond Center Hotel, 700 E Dimond Blvd
For more information contact Anne Brooks, P.E., Public Involvement Lead.
Community Councils are a great way to get involved and stay informed about issues going on right in your own neighborhood. If you’re interested in attending the community council meetings, you can find more information on the Anchorage Federation of Community Councils’ website.
If you have a topic or event that you would like to see in my next newsletter, feel free to get in touch with me or my staff. Please make note that my office will be based in Anchorage until session starts up in January.
I look forward to hearing from you.
I answer to you!