Alaska governor takes aim at cruise ship monitoring program

JUNEAU, Alaska — A program that monitors Alaska’s cruise ships could be restructured by the governor’s administration.CoastAlaska reported Thursday that the future is uncertain for the Ocean Rangers program.Republican Gov. Mike Dunleavy vetoed line items equaling $444 million in reductions to Alaska’s operating budget in June.The cuts blocked the Ocean Rangers budget, but the state Legislature restored the program’s $3.4 million in passenger fee funding.The program was approved by voters in 2006 and advocates say the independent monitors have been instrumental in protecting Alaska from pollution.The Department of Environmental Conservation commissioner says the program is unnecessary and burdensome to the industry.He has proposed an automated monitoring system that does not rely on inspectors.The program’s head has resigned from the DEC and declined to be interviewed.The Associated Press read more