|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
|Date:||July 24, 2001|
|Contact:||Andrea Keller, National Parks Conservation Association, 202-454-3332
Chip Dennerlein, National Parks Conservation Association, 907-229-9761
Cruise Ship Kills Endangered Whale in Glacier Bay
"This is a tragedy," said Chip Dennerlein, Alaska Regional Director of the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA). "Increasing cruise ship traffic without careful planning and knowledge of the impacts on park wildlife is dangerous and irresponsible."
Senator Stevens' amendment, offered last week, would allow an increased number of cruise ships into Glacier Bay National Park without including environmental protections and would overturn a February court mandate reducing cruise ship traffic to pre-1996 levels until completion of an environmental impact statement (EIS) on ships in the park. The Stevens amendment effectively raises the level of traffic without initiating protections for humpback whales.
"The Stevens amendment sacrifices park resources and endangered species in favor of an industry that has demonstrated repeated environmental insensitivity and disregard of U.S. pollution laws," said Kevin Collins, NPCA's Acting Director of Government Affairs. An article yesterday in the Anchorage Daily News reported that the Alaska State Republican Party Chairman confirmed that the cruise ship industry has given the party $75,000 in the past month.
Thirteen states recently brought litigation against the cruise ship industry for practices that harmed the marine environment, including criminal violations involving dumping and discharge of human and chemical wastes. The State of Alaska recently launched its own major initiative, including new state legislation, after tests by the Department of Environmental Conservation confirmed that cruise ship visits have caused pollution and other negative impacts on Southeast Alaska's fragile marine ecosystem.
The fiscal year 2002 Interior Appropriations Conference may debate the Glacier Bay rider later this week.