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EPA Adopts Strong Standards for Large Ships to Curb Air Pollution

Posted on December 22, 2009

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has finalized a rule setting tough engine and fuel standards for large U.S.- flagged ships, a major milestone in the agency’s coordinated strategy to slash harmful marine diesel emissions. The regulation harmonizes with international standards and will lead to significant air quality improvements throughout the country.

Air pollution from large ships, such as oil tankers and cargo ships, is expected to grow rapidly as port traffic increases. By 2030, the domestic and international strategy is expected to reduce annual emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx) from large marine diesel engines by about 1.2 million tons and particulate matter (PM) emissions by about 143,000 tons. When fully implemented, this coordinated effort will reduce NOX emissions from ships by 80 percent, and PM emissions by 85 percent, compared to current emissions.

This rule, under the Clean Air Act, complements a key piece of EPA’s strategy to designate an emissions control area (ECA) for thousands of miles of U.S. and Canadian coasts. The International Maritime Organization (IMO), a United Nations agency, is set to vote in March 2010 on the adoption of the joint U.S.-Canada ECA, which would result in stringent standards for large foreign-flagged and domestic ships operating within the designated area.

The rule adds two new tiers of NOX standards and strengthens EPA’s diesel fuel program for affected ships. Further, EPA worked with stakeholders and Members of Congress to ensure that the emission reductions are achievable without compromising safety or the maritime economy. According to EPA, this action represents another milestone in the decade-long effort to reduce pollution from both new and existing diesel engines under the National Clean Diesel Campaign.

For more information: www.epa.gov

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