Alaskan Congressman Don Young, a lifelong supporter of the maritime and cruise line industry, today addressed the Cruise Lines International Association Caucus in a wide ranging speech, encouraging cruise lines around the world to continue their Alaskan presence while also criticizing the Obama administration for new environmental rules and regulations that could stifle cruise line growth around the country.
"The impact of the cruise line industry on the Alaskan economy cannot be understated, as over half of all tourists visiting Alaska each year come via a cruise ship. Often times, these trips to Alaska are years in the making, and these visitors not only get a glimpse of the natural beauty that Alaska has to offer, but they also visit our small towns and communities and stimulate the local economies," Rep. Young said. "As the former Chairman of the House Transportation Committee, I have long advocated for the cruise industry's increased presence in Alaska, and as we look toward the Arctic as a possible future tourist destination, it is our job to help ensure that the infrastructure and support mechanisms are in place to ensure travelers' safety."
As more people turn toward cruise vacation getaways, the cruise industry is not without obstacles. Proposed environmental rules and regulations from the Obama administration could have severe impacts on operating a cruise vessel in U.S. waters, including Alaska.
"As the Obama administration continues its environmental crusade, we must fight back on the crippling rules and regulations like the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Emission Control Area (ECA) that could raise cruise prices dramatically, leading to reduced bookings, and devastate our Alaskan communities that rely on tourism. I support a phased in approach to ECA, and continue to work with my colleagues in the House on legislation to allow for cruise lines to use alternative methods to comply with ECA standards."
Congressman Young currently serves as a senior member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, which has jurisdiction over cruise industry related matters.