Environmental Groups Petition EPA to Regulate Pollution from Ships

A petition has been filed with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency asking the agency to set rules regarding pollution that comes from the large ocean going ships, both cargo and cruise ships. The petition is a joint effort of several environmental groups, namely Oceana, Friends of the Earth and the Center for Biological Diversity and it was filed in their names by Earthjustice, the leading U.S. public interest environmental law firm.

Read the petition filed by conservation groups. Read the petition filed by the State of California.

An additional petition has also been filed by the Attorney General of California, Edmund G. “Jerry” Brown, Jr. also fi to U.S. EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson on behalf of the state of California today.

They require the EPA to assess how the ships are contributing to global warming as well as to seek public comment and then make rules for the purpose of reducing the pollution, or if that cannot be done, to explain why they either cannot or will not comply.

A decision of the U.S. Supreme Court that has handed down in April of this year says that the Clean Air Act gives the authority to address global warming to the EPA.

The petitions that have just been filed are just the beginning of the process of imposing mandatory regulation on the marine transportation industry. They ask the EPA to respond back within 180 days.

While the shipping industry is a major source of greenhouse gas emissions – world wide they are responsible for 3% of the carbon dioxide, which is the same amount as the whole country of Canada – as well as nitrous oxide and black carbon, ships are not regulated by the United States government nor are their emissions limited under the Kyoto Protocol or any other international agreements that address the issue of global warming.

Some of the suggestions from the groups include slower speeds, cleaner fuels and better ships.

The petition is specifically asking the Environmental Protection Agency to:

Require marine vessels to increase their fuel efficiency, which would result in lower levels of carbon dioxide and other pollutants and to require then to use cleaner fuels, which would lessen the emissions of black soot.

They want new regulations to be extended to all marine cargo vessels that operate in U.S. waters, no matter what country they are registered in, so that ships that are registered in the United States are not put at any disadvantage.

Source; Earthjustice http://www.earthjustice.org

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