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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) — Charleston City Council is debating whether it should pass a resolution supporting shore power for cruise ships. The measure would require ships to use electricity while docked instead of its onboard diesel engines.
A group of supporters is pushing to make it a reality.
“We want people to still want to come here. We don’t want them to be overwhelmed,” said Carrie Agnew.
She loves Charleston, but she worries about its future as a tourist destination because of pollution from cruise ships.
“If you’re going to be doing something, you want to be doing the most advanced thing as possible. And I think Charleston deserves no less,” said Agnew.
She’s executive director of Charleston Communities For Cruise Control, also known as C-4. Her group wants city leaders to push for shore power at a proposed passenger terminal at Union Pier.
“We just think it makes much more sense when you’re building a new cruise terminal to be fiscally responsible and environmentally sensitive and do the right thing,” said Agnew.
Carnival has already promised to install exhaust-gas cleaning technology on its Charleston-based “Fantasy” next year. It’s already begun using low-sulfur marine gas oil.
Officials from the State Ports Authority say more than $16 million has been spent in the last ten years to reduce the environmental impact of its operations. They support Carnival’s efforts to do the same.
Still, advocates of shore power say more needs to be done to protect the environment and people.
“The amount of soot on my porch increased significantly,” said Gil Baldwin.
He lives near Union Pier. The retired doctor is also a medical advisor for C4. He, too, is concerned about pollution from cruise ships.
“We know that plug-in power reduces these harmful, very carcinogenic materials to virtually zero,” said Baldwin.