BAR HARBOR — The town’s Cruise Ship Committee weighed in on plans to test air quality around visiting ships last week, as directed by the Town Council.
Town Manager Cornell Knight said he is in discussion with the Department of Environmental Protection. Knight will meet with Andy Johnson (Division Director of Ambient Air Monitoring) in September to find out how much it will cost to have the DEP test air quality.
Once he knows the details, Knight said he can approach Carnival Cruise Lines to pay for it, as proposed by Councilor Gary Friedmann earlier this month.
“The council’s directive is that Carnival should pay for it,” Knight told the cruise ship committee.
“Carnival thinks this is punitive,” committee member Amy Powers of MaineCruisePro told the group. She said that while Carnival would be happy to help, company representatives have said the cruise ship industry as a whole should pay for the testing.
Resident Jim O’Connell addressed the committee during a public comment period, accusing Carnival Cruise Lines of burning fuel “in gross violation of the 200-mile emission control area,” during a conversation he said he had with Michael Kaczmarek, senior VP of marine technology for Carnival, at a meeting earlier this month with Cruise Lines International Association.
Cruise ship committee members also at the meeting told O’Connell they did not remember that conversation.
O’Connell had also taken a video of cruise ship tender boats “smoking at the pier all day, using powered-up engines to pin the tender up against the dock.” Powers told O’Connell at the meeting that his one-minute, 43 second video had been shown to Kaczmarek, who agreed to change the policy that allows tender boats to idle at the dock.
O’Connell wrote in an email to the Islander that he considered this a success, “but only on one small front.”
The 17-member cruise ship committee is feeling the effects of a recently passed citizens’ initiative requiring only registered Bar Harbor voters to vote on committees.
There are only 12 voting members at this time, with three vacancies, and two non-voting members. Non-residents Sarah Flink, CruiseMaine representative, and harbor pilot Skip Strong, maritime industry representative, were reappointed to the committee after the citizens’ initiative passed.