Yakutat Tlingit Tribe

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Yakutat is moving ahead with a $1.50 per passenger cruise ship tax its Assembly approved in January, despite efforts by the cruise industry to avoid it. John Hansen of the North West Cruise Ship Association called the tax a terrible precedent considering the industry's worldwide vulnerability to similar measures. Ships do not dock in Yakutat. Hansen said litigation is possible without a compromise. Paul Wescott, the city manager, said it's possible the Assembly will rescind the tax after a June 6 meeting, but he speculated civic leaders would be unhappy with two recent illegal wastewater discharges by cruise ships in Southeast Alaska. In separate negotiations, the cruise industry and Yakutat Natives are deadlocked over possible injury to the subsistence seal populations in Disenchantment Bay, home of the popular Hubbard Glacier. The tribe wants the ships to stay roughly four miles from the glacier during pupping season, said tribal environmental planner Bert Adams Jr. The cruise industry resisted, promising to stay a half-mile from the glacier, keep 500 yards from ice floes bearing seals and avoid a seal-pupping area between the mainland and what's called Egg Island. It also would fund a study to measure the effect of cruise ships on seals, Hansen said.