On the port side – Steering clear

Editorials & Opinion:

Monday, April 03, 2006
The Seattle Times
Letters to the editor

Our nation’s ports are among the few places where the public can have a voice in the global marketplace, as the Dubai debate attests. Moving the cruise-ship terminal from Terminal 30 to Piers 90/91 offers local opportunities. The Port of Seattle will not profit from the $120 million spent on this development and without strong environmental protections, significant human-health and wildlife impacts may occur. [See “Port project costs questioned,” Business & Technology, March 29.]

The Port Commission’s decision not to defer to the port executive on these lease negotiations is applauded. Now the commission needs to assure financially sound leases requiring cleaner fuels for all ships, dockside plug-ins for cruise lines and no discharges into the harbor.

California has banned all discharges from cruise ships and ocean-going vessels in state waters and requires ships to use much cleaner fuels in their backup engines. Main engines will be next. Mitigating air- and water-quality impacts has facilitated port growth.

No need waiting decades for international regulations, as shippers have sought. Under the Clean Air Act or through lease agreements, we can adopt similar measures.

The infusion of corporate campaign contributions during the past port election and the commissioners’ opposition to contribution caps underscores the need for public involvement in these decisions.

— Teri Shore, Bluewater Network, San Francisco, Calif.; Fred Felleman, Ocean Advocates, Seattle

~ by fredfelleman on April 3, 2006.

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