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Cruise Line Offers Powerful Proposal

October 08, 2000

In what it calls an "unprecedented move" in the industry, Princess Cruises is offering to turn off its ships' engines and plug their power systems into the electric grid in Juneau, Alaska, during port calls starting next summer. The move was announced amid a government crackdown on Alaskan cruise ships for allegedly polluting the air.

Princess said it would invest "several million dollars" to design and build equipment to allow it to run on-board services from surplus hydroelectric power supplied by Alaska Electric Light and Power Co. It said it signed a letter of intent for the arrangement with the company but that it was subject to approval by Alaskan officials.

In August, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recommended fines of $110,000 against Princess and $55,000 against Norwegian Cruise Line for allegedly exceeding limits on smokestack emissions, and Alaskan officials issued notices of violations to seven cruise lines.

Although stating its plan to use electric power was "demonstrating its commitment to clearing the air" in Juneau, Princess, as of last week, was still negotiating with the EPA over its fine, citing its "concerns about the validity" of the emission readings.

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