EPA Targets Pollution From Large Ships

By Susan Jones | July 6, 2009 | 11:31 AM EDT

(CNSNews.com) – The Environmental Protection Agency is targeting “harmful emissions from ocean-going vessels.”
The agency has proposed a new rule under the Clean Air Act that sets tough engine and fuel standards for large, U.S.-flagged ships.
“These emissions are contributing to health, environmental and economic challenges for port communities and others that are miles inland,” EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson said in a July 1 news release.
The new rule follows an agreement last March between the U.S. and Canada to designate thousands of miles of their coastlines as “emission control areas.”

The two countries have asked the International Maritime Organization, a United Nations agency, to approve a 200-mile “emissions control” zone around the U.S. and Canada that would apply to ships from all countries.
“Building on our work to form an international agreement earlier this year, we’re taking the next steps to reduce significant amounts of harmful pollution from getting into the air we breathe,” Jackson said. “Lowering emissions from American ships will help safeguard our port communities, and demonstrate American leadership in protecting our health and the environment around the globe.”

According to the EPA, air pollution from large, diesel-powered ships, such as oil tankers and cargo ships, is expected to grow rapidly in coming years. EPA says its emission-reduction plan “would yield significant health and welfare benefits” extending beyond U.S. ports and coastlines to inland areas. 

The new rule would require ships to switch to low-sulfur fuel beginning in 2015 and to adopt “advanced” emission control technologies beginning in 2016.

The EPA has scheduled two public hearings on its latest air pollution rule to be held in New York City on Aug. 4 and in Long Beach, Calif., on Aug. 6.