BAR HARBOR — The Cruise Ship Committee is set to work with Town Manager Cornell Knight to develop an air monitoring program. The committee was directed by a unanimous Town Council vote last week to come up with a proposed air monitoring program, and report back to the council.
“I’ve been hearing from a lot of residents that are concerned about the impact of cruise ships on the quality of the air,” said Councilor Gary Friedmann at last week’s council meeting. “They say that you can see the black smoke coming out of the stacks. When the wind is right … you can smell it in town.”
Friedmann said he had proposed to Carnival Cruise Lines representatives that they should pay for air monitoring, since the company has been in the news in recent years for alleged illegal dumping and falsifying of records while on court probation.
“I thought, here’s a convicted environmental polluter,” Friedmann told fellow councilors. “Let’s get them to pay for air quality monitoring in Bar Harbor.”
Carnival’s Vice President of Public Affairs, Tandy Bondi, discussed the issue with Friedmann and told him the company did not want to pay for an air quality study at a port where their cruise ships made up only 36 percent of cruise ship traffic. She suggested the town pay for a study out of cruise ship fees, according to Friedmann.
“Even if the recommendation is that there be a percentage fee increase across all cruise ships … to cover air monitoring, I am in favor of this,” Councilor Matt Hochman said during discussion.
Councilor Judie Noonan added, “I would want air quality monitoring to be done by an independent firm. Not the cruise ship company.”