Terminal pollution

To the editor:

Do we, the voters of Bar Harbor, want a cruise ship berthing facility for large cruise ships at the ferry terminal property? Let’s think about the air pollution produced by these cruise ships.

When a cruise ship is tied up at a dock, or berthed, that ship needs to generate electricity for thousands of people, and its power needs are too demanding to plug into our electrical grid. The electricity is used for lights, internal power systems and the production of fresh water by desalination of ocean water.

To make the required 13 MW of electricity, a large cruise ship at berth will use 320 gallons per hour of 1,000 parts-per-million [ppm] sulfur diesel fuel. Two large, berthed, cruise ships would use 640 gallons of diesel per hour.

On land, the EPA allows the use of diesel with a max of 15 ppm of sulfur for semi trucks and buses. It recommends laws that restrict the idling of semis and buses for no more than five minutes because of the noxious chemical compounds that are produced. All of California is covered by this five-minute law.

A semi truck, at idle, uses one gallon of 15 ppm sulfur diesel per hour.

The cruise ships’ 1,000 ppm sulfur fuel is 66 times more toxic than the semi trucks’ 15 ppm sulfur diesel fuel. So, multiply the 640 gallons of fuel used by two cruise ship times 66. The result equals thousands of idling semi trucks. The smoke from two large berthed cruise ships is as dirty as the smoke from thousands and thousands of idling semi trucks sitting at the ferry terminal for 10 hours.

We have a municipal code in Bar Harbor that says no motor vehicle is allowed to idle more than five minutes anywhere downtown. Not just diesel vehicles but the cleaner gasoline powered vehicles too.

The Michigan Dept. of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, Diesel Exhaust Gases says, “The toxic chemicals of most concern in diesel exhaust are the oxides of nitrogen (nitric oxide, nitrogen dioxide), sulfur dioxide, aldehydes, primarily formaldehyde, acetaldehyde and acrolein and various hydrocarbons particles … . Prolonged exposure to diesel exhaust can increase the risk of cardiovascular, cardiopulmonary and respiratory disease and lung cancer.

In June, 2012, the International Agency for Cancer Research (IARC) classified diesel exhaust (including diesel particulate matter) as a known human carcinogen (Group 1).” It should be noted that a human being can only withstand 150 ppm sulfur dioxide for three minutes.

There are times when the diesel exhaust from these berthed cruise ships will be blown on a west, northwest wind across the land into Bar Harbor as a fumigating plume. Sometimes the exhaust will follow a sea breeze up Duck Brook up into the Eagle Lake basin of Acadia National Park. It is going to end up somewhere, and that will always be a problem.

Do we, the voters of Bar Harbor, want a cruise ship berthing facility for large cruise ships at the ferry terminal property? Do we want the exhaust from the equivalent of thousands of idling semi trucks blowing into our town and park?

There are many things in the future development of the ferry terminal that call for further consideration by the town’s people. Not only is air pollution a major concern, there is water pollution, visual pollution and traffic concerns.

Article 12 creates zoning that allows for a large-scale cruise ship terminal to be developed. So we will be voting “no” on Warrant Article 12.

We will be voting “yes” on Warrant Article 13 to give the citizens extra cruise ship control. Passing 13 means everybody will have a say, after careful review and discussion, as to the scope of development at the old ferry terminal.

Please vote, “no” on 12, “yes” on 13.

Jim O’Connell

Carol Chappell


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