Lawmakers weigh whether to keep Ocean Rangers program

    Royal Caribbean's Ovation of the Seas.

    Juneau, Alaska (AP) - State lawmakers are weighing whether to eliminate Alaska's onboard cruise ship inspectors program.

    Alaska's Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Jason Brune recently told state lawmakers that the cruise industry is over regulated and that the Ocean Rangers program doesn't do much for the state.

    But a series of public records requests by CoastAlaska found that Ocean Rangers have documented a pattern of potentially serious water pollution in the form of foamy, oily sheens discharged by cruise ships.

    The state Department of Environmental Conservation's public reports show the inspectors actually logged 373 potential violations over the past two years.

    Ocean Rangers will be on the job for Alaska's cruise season, which begins at the end of April. But whether they'll remain in place after that depends on the legislature.

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