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EPA Pushes For Reduced Coastal Emissions

Posted on March 30, 2009

The United States became the first country to ask the International Maritime Organization to create an emissions control area (ECA) around the nation’s coastline, the EPA announced today at a joint news conference with the Coast Guard and New Jersey elected officials.

According to the EPA’s data, the creation of an ECA would save up to 8,300 American and Canadian lives every year by 2020 by imposing stricter standards on oil tankers and other large ships that spew harmful emissions into the air near coastal communities where tens of millions of Americans live, work, play and learn. The United States is proposing a 230-mile buffer zone around the nation’s coastline in order to provide air quality benefits as far inland as Kansas.

Under this program, large ships such as oil tankers and cargo ships that operate in ECAs will face stricter emissions standards designed to reduce the threat they pose to human health and the environment. These standards will cut sulfur in fuel by 98 percent, particulate matter emissions by 85 percent, and nitrogen oxide emissions by 80 percent from the current global requirements.

To achieve these reductions, ships must use fuel with no more than 1,000 parts per million sulfur beginning in 2015, and new ships must used advanced emission control technologies beginning in 2016. The IMO, a United Nations agency, will begin reviewing the proposal in July. Approval of the proposal could occur as soon as next year.

For more information: WWW.EPA.GOV

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