Cruise Ships Still Choking Brooklyn, Not Plugging In, A Year Later

Almost a year ago, Brooklyn’s Red Hook cruise ship terminal was to become the first East Coast cruise operation with the capability to let ships “plug in” and access power off the grid. Now, almost a year later, ships have still not plugged in to cleaner, shore-side electric power and continue to spew fumes.

Cruise ships annually bring 1,500 tons of carbon dioxide, 95 tons of nitrous oxide and 6.5 tons of particulate matter when they park and burn their diesel engines.

Last April, Gadling reported that the $15 million project would be funded with $12 million from the Port Authority, nearly $3 million from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency grant and Carnival Corporation would spend $4 million to retrofit their Princess Cruises and Cunard Line ships that dock in Brooklyn.

Now, costs have shot up another $4.3 million and the Environmental Protection Agency has not paid the extra money, according to local elected officials.

“It is critical that this project not fall by the wayside,” said Rep. Nydia Velasquez (D-Brooklyn) in an article appearing in the New York Daily News.

Apparently, the cruise ships are ready to go but the system is still not in place for them to plug in, even though West Coast cruise terminals have had the ability for quite some time.

“It seems fairly pathetic that all of these things are in place but the Port Authority are twiddling their thumbs,” Adam Armstrong, 48, a blogger and father of two who lives on Pioneer Street near the terminal, told the Daily News. “I thought it was quibbling over a small amount of money considering the impact of the emissions on people’s health.”

It has been almost three years since Carnival Corporation, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal Port Authority first agreed to enable cruise ships to plug in to green shore-side power.

Last year, community leaders applauded the move to shore-side power. This year, not so much.

Flickr photo by j_bary

New York cruise port wants green power… two years ago

It’s been two years since Carnival Corp, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Brooklyn cruise terminal port authority agreed to enable cruise ships to plug in to green shore-side power. West coast ports are doing it already with San Diego going online just last month.

All parties agree that it’s a good idea and are ready to move forward. But an agreement on maintenance and operating costs just can’t be reached.

Environmentally angry diesel fuel burned by cruise ships idling while docked can spew a ton of pollutants into the air, about the same amount as 1000 idling cars.

Nearby neighbors of the port are angry, tired of it all and want action.

“The emissions are invisible but get in people’s lungs and cause all sorts of damage,” said activist Anthony Armstrong, who lives with his wife and two children just two blocks from the cruise terminal. “It’s a huge concern around here.” reports the New York Post.

Carnival Cruise Line is ready to go and knows what they need to do. Sister-lines Princess Cruises and Holland America Line already have ships outfitted with the new green power technology and are plugging in on the West coast. They know how to do it.

The EPA and port authority have set aside $15 million to make it happen. All that remains is an agreement on who will pay ongoing costs of maintaining and operating the system.

“We need a comprehensive shore power agreement now,” Councilman Brad Lander told the Brooklyn Daily Eagle. “We’ve had two years of idling ships and idling negotiations. We have a tremendous opportunity to make a real difference in the health of our communities, and the sustainability of our port.”

Here we have the cruise industry, sometimes criticized for its polluting ways, stepping up to do the right thing. The cruise port wants green power. Neighbors are all over it and no one can figure out how to make that happen.

Wouldn’t it kind of make sense that whoever uses the power from the new system would pay for it?

I’m just sayin’

Flickr photo by postopp1