SB180 would permanently strip the Ocean Rangers out of Alaska law!

Written by Aaron Brakel

March 15, 2022

Heads up, folks — we have incoming cruise ship industry legislation.

And you can help. We have some action items for you below, but first, some background.

So maybe you watched in dismay in 2019 when Governor of Alaska Mike Dunleavy defunded the Ocean Ranger Program and yanked Alaskaʼs ocean watchdogs off of the cruise ships traveling through Alaska waters. I know I did.

In 2006, we Alaskans voted to put marine engineers and other qualified personnel on board the cruise ships as our trained eyes and ears. We did this because of the atrocious and criminal history of illegal discharges the industry had racked up in Alaska and elsewhere. For us, as Alaskans, it was time to shine a spotlight and put some fear into a system that viewed the clean ocean water we depend on as a handy place to pad quarterly income statements by avoiding treatment costs.

Well, guess what? The cruise ship industry bosses hated the Ocean Ranger Program and they worked behind the scenes to undermine and eliminate the progress Alaskans had made.  And they’re not done. Nope, defunding the Ocean Rangers and kicking our eyes and ears off the ships was not enough. The industry is back, and itʼs not just a second bite — this time they want the whole apple.

In the Alaska legislature, Senate Bill 180/House Bill 303 would permanently strip the language empowering the Ocean Rangers out of state law. Bye, bye, gonzo, sorry Alaskans, your interests are not important. No soup for you, Alaska.

But it’s not a done deal!

SB180 is going in front of the Senate Resources Committee this Friday, March 18, at 3:30 p.m. We need your voices. Our legislators need to hear that we Alaskans want the Ocean Rangers kept in the law this year and eventually restored and improved.

If you commercial fish in Southeast Alaska, please jump in on this open letter started by a group of commercial fishermen in Petersburg.

If you want to support Indigenous communities in Southeast Alaska in the call to leave the Ocean Rangers statutory framework in state law and protect their waters, please sign this petition started by a local leader.

If you take these actions and are not yet done, well that hearing in Senate Resources is on Friday, March 18, at 3:30 p.m. Your legislators need to hear from you that keeping the Ocean Rangers in state law is a top priority. Email the Senate Resources Committee supporting the Ocean Rangers at Senate.Resources@akleg.gov.

Let’s keep our waters clean together!

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