Archive for November 2012

Nov. 30th Letter to Micky Arison, CEO of Carnival Corp

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On November 30, 2012, C4 Executive Director Carrie Agnew mailed the following letter to Micky Arison, CEO of Carnival Corp with copies to Gerry Cahill (CEO, Carnival Cruise Lines), Stuart Subotnick (Presiding Director), Sir John Parker (Chairman HESS Committee), Lanie Morgenstern (Director of Public Relations Carnival Corp/Carnival Cruise Lines), Mayor Joseph P. Riley (City of Charleston), James Newsome (President & CEO SC State Ports Authority)
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Mr. Micky Arison
CEO Carnival Corp
3655 N.W. 87th Ave.
Miami, FL 33178-2428
Via Certified Mail; Return-Receipt Requested

 

Dear Mr. Arison:

The controversy in Charleston over cruise ship numbers, size and the proper location of a cruise ship terminal is not going away.

In contrast, concern is increasing.

The enclosed Op-Ed of November 9 in the Charleston Post and Courier and Letter to the Editor from November 14 printed in the Charleston Mercury make the points. The affected residents of Charleston will not accept an unregulated cruise ship industry at an inappropriate location, in spite of assurances you may have received from our Mayor and the SCSPA.

Charleston Communities for Cruise Control continues to press the issues. For example, our first in a series of billboards read “Save Charleston. Support Cruise Control.” The second asked the question “How many are too many?” The third may ask “How big is too big?” Another might ask “Why not a better location?” We have made statements at public hearings on required permits. Our “no soot” flags fly throughout the historic district. We regularly alert and update a long list of supporters. We maintain a website of growing resources.

We look forward to the international conference on cruise ship operations in historic cities planned to be held in Charleston on February 6-8, 2013. The conference is sponsored by The Preservation Society of Charleston, the World Monuments Fund and the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Issues of appropriate size, number and location must be addressed in order to protect historic sites and maintain the very characteristics that attract visitors to Charleston. The short term objectives of cruise line companies cannot be allowed to have a negative effect on these historic districts and residential neighborhoods. Companies with a sense of social responsibility will respond to this, take action and become welcome.

Stephanie Meeks, Executive Director of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, spoke in Charleston on November 15 on the NTHP’s recent efforts to support a study of the true impact of cruise ship visits and support regulation of cruise ship operations at Union Pier. Charleston continues to be on the Watch list for the 11 Most Endangered Places.

Walmart showed significant social responsibility in January 2011 when it agreed, after discussions with the National Trust for Historic Preservation and other groups, to seek a different location for a Superstore originally planned to be built within the Civil War Wilderness battlefield. Perhaps Carnival as the main user of the planned new cruise ship terminal at Union Pier could support the determination of an alternative cruise terminal site and avoid the congestion, noise, pollution and inappropriate ship scale at an historic site?

Since Carnival expects a world class cruise ship terminal, we’re sure you will agree that the rebuild of a derelict shed on Union Pier into a cruise ship terminal at a cost of over $35 million is not a mere “maintenance” project. This is what the SCSPA asserted in its permit application to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in order to sidestep reviews of historic and environmental impacts under the National Historic Preservation Act and National Environmental Policy Act. A federal lawsuit brought by The Preservation Society of Charleston and the Coastal Conservation League challenges the granting of this permit. We expect your Board of Directors would want to know that all required terminal siting considerations have been appropriately reviewed for a facility of which Carnival will be the principal user?

Your refusal to respond to our seven simple questions in prior letters will not result in these issues going away.

We hope you will pay more respect to the legitimate concerns of residents affected by your operations and to the long list of advocates for reasonable limits. For operations at Union Pier, express limits on size and number of cruise ships are a must, in addition to shore power and low sulfur fuel. Our health, our quality of life and the preservation of the nation’s heritage are of vital importance to us—and we would hope of enough importance to you to merit comment and seek solutions.

You state in your corporate Sustainability Report 2010 that “the viability of our business and our reputation depend on being more sustainable and transparent.” The same Report says that “The health of our business is inextricably linked to the health of our communities”. Your HESS Policy says that you will “identify the aspects of our business that impact the environment and take appropriate action to minimize the impact”.

Now is the time for transparency and action with respect to Carnival’s operations in Charleston. Please respond to our seven questions!

Additionally, Carnival Cruise Lines recently announced plans for a new 4,000 passenger ship, and you were cited as saying new ships could replace existing capacity after the possible sale of older ships. The Fantasy may be Carnival’s oldest ship. What are your plans for the Fantasy? The SCSPA has pledged that the city will not see cruise ships larger than those currently visiting Charleston.

 

We continue to look forward to your responses.

 

Sincerely,

Carrie Agnew

Executive Director

Charleston Communities for Cruise Control

 

Encls

 

cc: Gerry Cahill, CEO Carnival Cruise Lines

Stuart Subotnick, Presiding Director

Sir John Parker, Chairman HESS Committee

Lanie Morgenstern, Director of Public Relations Carnival Corp/Carnival Cruise Lines

 

Mayor Joseph P. Riley, City of Charleston

James Newsome, President & CEO SC State Ports Authority

 

How Can So Many Experts Be Wrong About the Detrimental Effects of Cruise Ship Air-Borne Emissions?

Original article can be seen here.

Could so many doctors and scientists be so wrong about the ill effects of diesel emissions on people’s health?

It would be tempting to read today’s commentary by Rep. Jim Merrill, R-Berkeley, and breathe easy about cruise ships emissions. But to do go there, you’d have to ignore the Charleston County Medical Society; the South Carolina Medical Association; the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment; the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health; the Air Resources Board; the New England Journal of Medicine; the Journal of the American Medical Association; and the World Health Association.

Mr. Merrill argues that air quality in Charleston is fine, and that moving the State Ports Authority’s passenger terminal upriver 300 yards will make it even better. He says that the air meets state and federal requirements, and that cruise ships in port aren’t an issue for concern.

What he doesn’t say is that Carnival Cruise Lines, which has up to 104 cruises a year initiating in Charleston, is working to weaken federal air quality standards. Or that Carnival has helped other ports it calls on mitigate emissions by installing shoreside plug-in power. Someone there must see merit in using electricity and thus allowing cruise ships to turn off their diesel engines while docked.

The SPA contends that the cost of installing shoreside power does not justify doing it. Government standards, and a port in compliance with them, are enough to protect people who live nearby.

But the state medical association felt strongly enough about the matter to pass a resolution promoting shoreside power.

And numerous scientific research efforts have concluded, among other findings, that people who work around diesel driven equipment are more likely to develop lung cancer than those who are not exposed to diesel emissions; that diesel exhaust is associated with eye, nose, throat and lung irritation, headaches, lightheadedness and aggravated chronic respiratory problems; that fine particulate air pollution leads to an increase of lung cancer deaths and cardiopulmonary mortality; and that particulate matter is related to an increase in the risk of infant deaths.

Perhaps on Daniel Island, where Mr. Merrill lives, people don’t see it. But residents who live close to the passenger terminal complain that their porches and cars are black from the emissions. They don’t feel they can breathe a sigh of relief.

Not yet.

C4 Continues to Seek Assessment of Size, Number and Frequency of Cruise ships in Charleston

Original article can be seen here.

How many is too many? How big is too big? And at what cost does it all come?

Charleston Communities for Cruise Control (C4) has repeatedly raised issues of number, size and environmental impact with respect to cruise ships on its website, at public hearings, in letters to Carnival and on billboards along I-26.

Our current billboard poses the question “How many is too many?” One alarming statistic, recently precisely calculated (and vetted by the Environmental Protection Association), is that the Carnival Fantasy idling a single engine while at Union Pier for 10 hours spews sulfur dioxide emissions equivalent to over 34,000 idling tractor-trailers for the same amount of time. And that is after 2015, when the new cleaner fuel standards are fully in place. It should be noted that Carnival and its trade association have been lobbying hard to eliminate this improvement.

We recall initial assurances that cruise ship visits would be about two per week, which then became an average of two per week, then no more than 104 per year. We have seen those visits concentrated in the already active and crowded months of October and April, with up to four per week. We remain concerned that the dock length and parking planned for the new cruise terminal at Union Pier could accommodate more and bigger ships.

Why else construct a terminal that can handle far greater activity?

With respect to the proposed cruise ship terminal at Union Pier, we were disappointed that our State Ports Authority obtained a necessary permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, sidestepping reviews of impacts on historic sites and the environment as required by the National Historic Preservation Act and National Environmental Policy Act. The SPA was able to do so by characterizing the $35 million rebuild of a dilapidated shed into a new cruise ship terminal as a “maintenance” project.

C4 is heartened by the challenge to this permit now pending in federal court and looks forward to participating in an appropriate future review process.

Likewise, it is curious that the SPA has never addressed several questions posed by the state’s Office of Coastal and Ocean Resource Management in connection with its piling permit application.

Specifically, what other potential terminal sites were studied?

What are the potential impacts on adjacent neighborhood property values?

Where is their “proof of coordination” with the State Historic Preservation office?

A permit should not be considered without these questions being answered.

Other billboards could pose the question “How big is too big?” The new generation of cruise ships has 13 to 15 decks and carries 5,000 passengers and crew.

We might also ask “Is there a better terminal location?”

A cruise ship terminal at Union Pier is in the heart of historic districts and residential neighborhoods. Other locations would provide more distance from residents and easier access to ship passengers and provision trucks.

Other cities, notably Boston and Hamilton, Bermuda, have located new terminals farther from historic areas. Venice, Italy, is suffering greatly from having cruise ships dock in the midst of its historic sites.

We are glad to read of the port’s recent reports of favorable developments with respect to cargo business. C4 is pro-port, pro-business and pro-tourism, as well as pro-quality of life and for perpetuating the very characteristics of Charleston that keeps tourists coming.

The balance between the two aspects of life and work in Charleston has been carefully managed in the past with great success, resulting in Charleston recently being voted “Best Tourist Destination in the World.” After so much work by so many, it would be sad to put that designation at risk by allowing the cruise industry to grow unregulated here.

We join with the National Trust for Historic Preservation, World Monuments Fund, Charleston Preservation Society, Historic Charleston Foundation, Historic Ansonborough Neighborhood Association, Wagener Terrace Neighborhood Association, Charlestown Neighborhood Association, Committee to Save the City, Coastal Conservation League, The Post and Courier, Charleston Mercury and local real estate and hospitality professionals in calling for a reasonable, enforceable regime addressing number, size, frequency and emissions of cruise ships calling in Charleston.

Carrie Agnew is executive director of Charleston Communities for Cruise Control (www.CharlestonCruiseControl.org).

Vetted Air Emissions Analysis Shows Flaws in SPA Data

After several months of research and calculation, with substantial assistance from Friends of the Earth, the California Air Resources Board, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Coastal Conservation League determined that every time the Carnival Fantasy docks in Charleston, idling its one auxiliary engine for ten hours, the sulfur dioxide pollution invading the community is equal to that of more than 929,000 trucks idling for ten hours.

When the cleanest fuel regulation is phased in by the year 2015, every time the Fantasy docks in Charleston idling its one auxiliary engine for ten hours, the sulfur dioxide pollution will be equal to that of more than 34,000 trucks. That is when the ship’s fuel is at its cleanest!!

 

Fuel sulfur level

Grams of SO2 at berth for 10 hrs

Number of trucks idling for 10 hrs equivalent

Heavy Fuel Oil (HFO) 2.7%

780,397

929,044

0.5%

144,518

172,045

0.1%

28,904

34,409.5

 

We highly recommend the installation of shore-side power for home-ported ships at the cruise terminal in order to address this serious problem.

The SC State Ports Authority (SPA) says the following regarding air pollution from cruise ships, and the potential of shoreside power:

  1. The SPA “evaluated shore power for its new cruise terminal. The engineering cost estimate was $5.6 million for on-terminal improvements alone. Additionally, the location for a new substation that would be needed to supply the power has not yet been identified or planned.”
  2. Shoreside power’s “cost is astronomical for the relatively small environmental benefit.”
  3. The tricounty area is in compliance with federal air quality standards, so there is nothing to worry about.
  4. Only one port on the U.S. east/gulf coasts has shore-side power.

 

What is wrong with the above statements from the SPA?

  1. In a Post and Courier article from last year, reporter Robert Behre asked SCE&G about the topic and wrote the utility “would have to enlarge its electrical service to the port site, and the utility would consider doing so, if asked.” There is currently a substation adjacent to the Columbus Street Terminal.
  2. The Coastal Conservation League submitted a Freedom of Information Act request to the SPA in March 2012 for any and all information the port had about the investment and implementation of shoreside power, including studies and research. Nowhere in the responsive documents was there a fact-based evaluation by the SPA for shorepower for its new cruise terminal, any engineering estimates, or identification of substations, locations, etc.
  3. In contrast, the Southern Environmental Law Center submitted a Freedom of Information Act request to the City of Charleston, and obtained communication from a shorepower company sent to Mayor Riley, in which the author explained he also contacted port representatives on the matter to provide them with a solution.
  1. The Port of New York/New Jersey conducted an analysis of shoreside power, and installed it based on the fact that the citizens near the cruise terminal would save $9 million in health costs per year.
  2. Other cities have shoreside power even when they are meeting federal air quality standards. For 2012, the cities of Juneau, San Diego, and Seattle are in PM 2.5 compliance. San Diego and Seattle, as well as San Francisco and Brooklyn, are meeting PM 10 standards. All of these cities, plus Los Angeles, are in compliance with sulfur oxide standards.
  3. Localized impacts from air pollution occur regardless of whether an area is in compliance with National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS). Thousands of peer-reviewed studies have proven this over the years.  The closer people are to the source of the pollution, the greater their risk for serious health problems stemming from the particle pollution in diesel soot. Particle pollution causes things like asthma, asthma attacks, heart attacks, and premature death. Soot from diesel may be more toxic than particle pollution from other dangerous sources—studies indicate that particulate pollution from mobile combustion sources increases daily mortality three times as much as the particulate pollution from coal, and it is probably because fresh diesel exhaust is comprised of particles so small they invade lung tissue and enter the bloodstream, causing effects like cardiovascular inflammation or blood clots.
  4. The World Health Organization in 2012 officially classified diesel as a carcinogen.
  5. When it comes to the implementation of shoreside power, Brooklyn is so far the only east coast/gulf coast port in the United States that has completed installation. However other ports, such as Port Everglades, are considering it. Other cruise ports in North America that have implemented shoreside power are Seattle, Vancouver, Juneau, San Francisco, San Diego, and Los Angeles. Tacoma has invested in shorepower for cargo ships. In Europe, several Italian ports have invested in the technology for cargo ships, and the press recently announced a pilot project for onshore power supply facilities at terminals in the Ports of Immingham, Gothenburg, and Ghent. The State of California has mandated the phasing in of shorepower at all terminal facilities over the next few years.

 

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