Monday, March 30, 2009

EPA proposes to clean up dirty ocean-going ships -- a reaction

The US EPA proposed today to protect air quality in port communities by cleaning up pollution from dirty diesel ocean liners.

Here is a reaction from my friends with the Clean Air Task Force, who have participated in international negotiations on this issue:

For release, 12:01 pm EDT Contact: David Marshall: 603-568-2968
March 30, 2009

Clean Air Task Force Hails US EPA Proposal
To Clean Up Dirty Ocean-Going Ships

(Newark, NJ, March 30, 2009) -- The non-profit Clean Air Task Force hailed a proposal announced today by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to protect the air in port cities and US coastal areas by requiring cleanup of dirty ocean-going ships.

The federal agency has proposed creating clean-air zones – known as “Emission Control Areas” – that would extend 200 miles from the coasts of the lower 48 states. Ocean-going ships travelling in these zones would have to meet strict clean-air requirements.

“The world's marine shipping fleet is a global environmental menace of the first order,” said David Marshall, of the non-profit Clean Air Task Force, an environmental organization that has participated in international deliberations to forge the ship pollution accord. (See more on that at )

“This EPA initiative would make the air much cleaner in port cities and coastal areas– and prevent thousands of premature deaths a year,” Marshall added.

In today’s action, announced in Newark, NJ, the EPA is officially requesting that the International Maritime Organization (IMO), the international body that regulates ocean ship pollution, designate the 200-mile area off our coasts in which stringent international emission controls would apply to ocean-going ships. Diesel ships entering these zones would have to use cleaner, lower-sulfur fuel, and new ships would have to meet strict standards for smog-forming pollution.

The IMO is slated to consider this issue at its next meeting in London in July.

“The Clean Air Task Force, as part of the Friends of the Earth International delegation, will be there to urge quick approval of this vital US plan,” said Marshall.

The EPA has noted that the diesel engines on oceangoing vessels such as container ships, tankers, bulk carriers, and cruise ships are significant contributors to air pollution in many of our nation’s cities and ports. Their emissions are expected to increase even more in the future, as our trade with other countries increases, and ship emissions will represent a larger share of our national emission inventories.

A study commission by the Clean Air Task Force estimated that ship emissions cause approximately 60,000 premature deaths worldwide each year.

More background on the US proposal is available in the accompanying fact sheet and at


1 comment:

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