I believe the State Ports Authority (SPA) has shown a lack of candor throughout the controversy over the location of the proposed cruise ship terminal. Consider the following:
1) While SPA officials say they have already conducted a site location study which determined that Union Pier is the best location, what they don’t say is that the company conducting the study was instructed by the SPA to consider only Union Pier and not any of the several other potential SPA sites.
2) While citizens have asked repeatedly to see this study, SPA has steadfastly refused to make the study available for review. That’s not how legitimate researchers conduct business.
Putting a research study out for scrutiny is the only way that results can be checked for proper scope, data analysis, and possible bias. It’s pretty telling that the SPA refuses to let this report be seen. Shame on City Council and Mayor Riley for not requiring a true study of alternative sites.
3) When BMW exports were moved to Columbus Street Terminal, the SPA claimed there was no room for possibly locating the cruise ships there. However, since the recent announcement that Volvo will be building a plant in South Carolina, suddenly the SPA now says that there is room after all for Volvo shipping, but not cruise ships.
4) The SPA and Mayor Riley assert that the limit on the number of ships will not be exceeded, but they refuse to sign a legally binding document to assure this. Don’t most business agreements require a signed, binding document?
5) The SPA and Mayor Riley assert that ships will have scrubbers added. Again, there’s no binding document that guarantees this, and what the SPA doesn’t say is that the use of scrubbers is in a trial period, and they have been found to present different pollution problems to the environment.
With all this refusal to be transparent and to commit to binding agreements, why in the world should citizens have any confidence in the SPA’s trustworthiness? All the law- suits against the SPA suddenly become understandable.