- Associated Press - Saturday, May 16, 2015

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) - The head of the South Carolina Ports Authority says low-sulfur fuel and scrubbers in cruise ship smokestacks negate the need for electric power provided from shore while the ships are in port.

The Post and Courier reports (https://bit.ly/1e6YozR ) a new Charleston city tourism plan says the ports will continue the dialogue on bringing shore power to the city. Opponents of the expanded cruise industry want ships to use shore power instead of burning fuel while in dock.

But Jim Newsome, the president and CEO of the Ports Authority, says the low-sulfur fuel and scrubbers have made the air quality improvements promised by shore power obsolete.

He says it will cost an additional $20 million for shore power at a planned cruise terminal that itself is expected to cost $35 million.

“Shore power has really been rendered as a last-generation solution at most major ports,” Newsome told the city council last Tuesday before the tourism plan was adopted.

Newsome said that ultra-low sulfur fuel is mandatory for ships in and visiting the United States and scrubbers in cruise ships’ smokestacks help reduce emissions and trap soot.

The Carnival Fantasy, which is based in Charleston, is expected to have the scrubbers installed this fall. The Carnival Ecstasy, which replaces it next year, already has the scrubbers.

But environmentalists say using shore power will make the air cleaner.

“Shore power is a proven way to reduce air pollution from ships, and would deliver more reductions for Charleston than Carnival’s scrubber proposal,” Katie Zimmerman of the South Carolina Coastal Conservation League told the newspaper. “The best combination would be shore power and scrubbers.”

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