This is the latest maneuver in a campaign by the cruise ship industry to evade clean fuel requirements for ships operating within 200 miles of the US coastline.
The US EPA previously has noted that the so-called "weighted averaging" scheme cooked up by the cruise industry would mean higher emissions and more public health damage. Please note this letter for a little background:
Here is the new gambit, buried deep within spending legislation for EPA and other agencies:
EMISSIONS CONTROL AREA PILOT
SEC. 440. (a) The Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, in consultation with the Commandant of the Coast Guard, shall carry out a 48-month pilot project for the North American Emission Control Area under which—
(1) subject to paragraph (2), the owner or operator of a vessel opting into the pilot project is deemed to be in compliance with United States sulfur content fuel requirements if—
(A) the vessel meets requirements under the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, 1973/78 (MARPOL), Annex VI, Regulation 4; and (B) the Administrator determines that compliance with the requirements described in subparagraph (A) provides a degree of overall protection of the public health and welfare (based on fleet averaging, weighted averaging, weighted and unweighted emissions averaging calculations, and such other measures as determined appropriate by the Administrator) that is equivalent to the degree of such protection provided by compliance with United States sulfur content fuel requirements; and
(2) the owner or operator of a vessel opting into the pilot project continues to be subject to United States sulfur content fuel requirements while at berth or anchor.
(b) For purposes of evaluating the results of such pilot project, the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency shall complete atmospheric modeling and actual ambient air testing to determine the environmental and economic effectiveness of United States sulfur contentfuel requirements, in combination with the requirements described in subsection (a)(1)(A), particularly as such effectiveness relates to Alaska and Hawaii.
(c) In this section:
(1) The term ‘‘North American Emission Control Area’’ means the North American Emission Control Area designated pursuant to the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships.
(2) The term ‘‘United States sulfur fuel requirements’’ means the requirements under Federal and State law applicable to the sulfur con content of the fuel used for operation of the vessel.