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Santa Barbara Harbor Commission voted to establish process for public evaluations of cruise ship program

Santa Barbara Channelkeeper

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – As the return of cruise ships to the Santa Barbara harbor polarizes community members who are for and against the city's cruise ship program, the Santa Barbara Harbor Commission on Thursday unanimously voted to establish a process that allows the public to participate in an evaluation of the cruise ship program.

The commission approved the formation of a new Cruise Ship Subcommittee as the first step in the assessment, said Laura Sanchez, spokeswoman for the Santa Barbara Channelkeeper.

"The Harbor Commission’s decision to create a Cruise Ship Subcommittee to help evaluate the cruise ship program will provide a significant opportunity for community members to voice their opinions and provide input on this important issue.," Sanchez said.

"Community input will help guide the future of cruise ship visitation in Santa Barbara."

After two years of absence due to the COVID-19, Santa Barbara Channelkeeper welcomed back the cruise ship monitoring program and has worked with the Waterfront Department.

It also recently presented the Harbor Commission with additional recommendations for the cruise ship program, which included the establishment of a subcommittee.

The subcommittee will host a public process to re-evaluate the program as it relates to the city's economic, environmental, and community goals, as well as develop recommendations regarding the future of the program, Sanchez said.

"While some community members support the financial contributions from cruise ship tourism, others oppose the ships’ visitation because of their harmful environmental impacts and record of legal violations," Sanchez said.

Benjamin Pitterle, Channelkeeper's science and policy director, said that the committee will help provide people the opportunity to look at all of the pieces that go along with the cruise ship program in order to make more informed and intentional decisions moving forward.

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Jade Martinez-Pogue

Jade Martinez-Pogue is the Assignment Editor and web journalist at News Channel 3-12. To learn more about Jade, click here

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