Posts Tagged SPA

Charleston-based Fantasy cruise ship to get new pollution scrubbers, port says

Cruise ship emissions are talk of the State Ports Authority board meeting today.

SPA chief executive Jim Newsome announced the Carnival Fantasy will be outfitted with air-pollution scrubbers in October 2015.

Also, the ports authority will add an air quality monitor at its Union Pier Terminal, where the Fantasy is home-ported.

The ship’s emissions have become a focal point in a movement to limit cruise visits in downtown.

Right now, the Fantasy must run its engines to generate power while in port, triggering calls for the SPA to invest in so-called shoreside power.

Newsome said the Fantasy’s exhaust comprises 0.05 percent of total pollutant emissions in Charleston County.

Also, Charleston Mayor Joe Riley is making a rare appearance at the SPA meeting.

It wasn’t immediately clear if Riley came to discuss a City Council member’s plan to introduce a resolution next week supporting of the use of shoreside power for cruise ships.

The meeting started at 1 p.m.

The Post and Courier was first to report on the resolution today.

The SPA has been opposed to investing in shoreside power. Riley has mostly supported the maritime agency’s on issues involving its cruise operations.

The installation of a shoreside power source would enable cruise vessels to get electricity by plugging into outlets that would have to be installed at Union Pier Terminal.

The SPA has said that isn’t cost effective. It also has said it’s been looking at other alternatives to address air emissions from ships tied up at Union Pier.

Maintain pressure on cruise pollution

Posted: Friday, January 24, 2014 12:01 a.m.

Four years ago this month, hundreds of people gathered for a forum to address Charleston’s “delicate balance” between livability and tourism. Cruise ships emerged as a key concern because of the emissions, crowding and noise they create, and the ships’ oversized profiles.

Since then, a stalwart segment of the community has pushed for reasonable limits on the cruise industry but has achieved little traction with elected officials.

Until now.

State Reps. Jim Merrill and Leon Stavrinakis last week announced their plan to authorize up to $5 million for the State Ports Authority to install plug-in power for cruise ships idling at the dock. The move adds momentum to a debate that needs to be resolved.

And while the S.C. Supreme Court Wednesday dismissed a lawsuit filed against Carnival Cruise Lines, the defeat isn’t as devastating as the cruise line and port have insisted.

Indeed, the ruling did not even consider the substance of the lawsuit, which charged that the Fantasy is injurious to the people of Charleston because of the emissions, noise and congestion it creates. Rather, the case was dismissed on a technicality

And that certainly will not deter advocates of enforceable regulations for cruise ships from continuing to push their case.

The Legislature, when it considers the proposal presented by Mr. Stavrinakis and Mr. Merrill, needs to look beyond this court decision and focus on the very real problems caused by cruise ships that run engines the entire time they are at dock, emitting particulates that are bad for the environment and for people’s health. They will get confirmation from both local and state medical associations who are on record lamenting emissions for medical reasons.

The SPA is not interested in providing shoreside power, saying better technology is expected to be forthcoming. Charleston Mayor Joe Riley and City Council have stood shoulder-to-shoulder with the SPA.

The move by Mr. Merrill, R-Charleston, and Mr. Stavrinakis, D-Charleston, is an indication that momentum is finally shifting in the right direction. At last, an elected body might actually consider a solution to the most serious cruise issue affecting Charleston residents.

It is a pity, however, that the SPA hasn’t stepped up to do the right thing as have other ports around the country, sharing the expense of upfitting for shore power with utilities, local municipalities and cruise lines.

Relying on a state budget allocation has more than its share of problems. The SPA’s lack of interest in plug-in power is certain to discourage legislative support for the proposal. So will the SPA’s rather incredible assertion that it could use the funding elsewhere. Indeed, an SPA statement said, “We anticipate utilizing the industry’s most modern and efficient technologies at the new passenger terminal at Union Pier and applying these proposed funds, if appropriated, to implement these practices.”

No mention of plug-in shore power. Of course, the Legislature could designate an allocation specifically for shoreside power.

Even the Supreme Court ruling concedes that there’s a problem: “In short, these allegations are simply complaints about inconveniences suffered broadly by all persons residing in or passing through the City of  Charleston.”

Mayor Riley, who has aligned the city with the SPA and Carnival from the start, called the recently dismissed lawsuit “almost laughable.”

But to many of his constituents it is a crying shame that the mayor and council are so cavalier about cruise ship problems – including emissions and the potential hazard they pose to the health of people living, working and visiting Charleston.

The cruise ship debate is not over by any means. Some individuals represented by groups in the now-dismissed lawsuit are interested in filing lawsuits about, among other things, their exposure to particulate emissions.

Further, the city of Charleston is scheduled to begin revisiting and possibly updating its tourism management plan. This is a good opportunity for those people who object to the various problems caused by cruise ships to make their case to their elected council representatives.

And it is a good time for officials to start paying attention – and not dismiss residents’ very real concerns as somehow “almost laughable.”

http://www.postandcourier.com/article/20140124/PC1002/140129705/1021/maintain-pressure-on-cruise-pollution

Letters to the Editor for Wednesday, Dec. 11

Clearing the air

Commendations are due the State Ports Authority and its CEO, Jim Newsome, for supporting removal of unhealthy air pollution from trucks at the SPA docks by promoting more eco-friendly trucks that haul cargo to and from its terminals. Incentives are given for short-haul drivers who travel back and forth from SPA terminals.
And the SPA’s new Clean Truck Certification Program requires trucks serving the container yards to be equipped with engines manufactured in 1994 or later. As a result, 84 trucks were replaced with more efficient ones at a cost of $1 million paid with support from the SPA and state. The goal was reduced diesel air pollution.

However, my commendation is tempered by the SPA’s refusal to require shore power for cruise ships which berth at Union Pier, right next to neighborhoods, causing far more air pollution than those trucks.

Why is the SPA not installing shore power to protect the health of Charleston residents and visitors?

And for shame that the City of Charleston is not requiring shore power for the same reasons. Why are Mayor Joe Riley and City Council not supporting shore power?

J. Kirkland Grant
Mary Street
Charleston

http://www.postandcourier.com/article/20131211/PC1002/131219932/1021/letters-to-the-editor-for-wednesday-dec-11