Editors, Vineyard Gazette;

I recently participated in a Ferries Now event focusing on the possibilities for electrification of the Steamship Authority’s ferry fleet. Approximately 100 Falmouth and Vineyard residents attended.

Morning presentations examined newly implemented electrification projects around the country and in Europe while afternoon sessions presented more negative and skeptical views on electrification.

Based on comments from the Steamship Authority, the SSA approach falls more squarely in the afternoon point of view, reflecting the fact that the SSA has yet to seriously embrace electrification. This is demonstrated in the absence of either a clear vision for electrification or concrete progress in that direction.

It is noteworthy that the SSA has purchased three used ferries from the Gulf of Mexico that were deployed in the oil industry. Powered by 15-year-old diesel engines, these “new” ferries will continue to pollute our air and water. Audience members at the Ferries Now program expressed anger and frustration with these plans, their ballooning cost and the SSA’s lack of vision for future electrification.

One can only hold out hope that the SSA’s newly appointed chief operating officer Mark Higgins will help change the SSA’s current course. Otherwise it is almost impossible to imagine how the Steamship Authority will begin to reduce its diesel boat emissions and help Massachusetts to meet its fast approaching climate goals.

Nat Trumbull

Woods Hole