In early July, the Alaska Governor, Mike Dunleavy, announced he would eliminate funding for the Ocean Rangers program that monitors cruise ship traffic in the Alaskan waters. The Department of Environmental Conservation commissioner says the program is unnecessary and burdensome to the industry and is proposing an automated monitoring system that does not rely on inspectors. Voters approved the program in 2006.
Meanwhile, Alaska's ferry system was shut down for a second straight day last week, due to 420 members of the union taking strike action to protest stalled contract talks amid big budget cuts imposed by the Governor. A tentative agreement has since been reached. The Governor vetoed line items equalling $444 million in reductions to Alaska’s operating budget.