Below is an article from Bunkerworld that covered the conference.
Revised Annex VI ‘not enough’ for California
25 Apr 2008 15:46 GMT
Hopes are fading that the stringent new ship sulphur emission standards approved by the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) will stave off other regulatory efforts.
EPA’s Nastri spoke about the emissions challenge in Long Beach last year.
Industry stakeholders have always stressed the need for a global regulatory regime for shipping emissions, rather than a patchwork of regional, state or even local set of variable rules.
The European Union has sent a strong signal that the revised Annex VI will probably be enough satisfy European regulators with regards to future limits on sulphur oxide (SOx), nitrogen oxide (NOx) and particulate matter (PM) emissions from ships.
But there have been few clear signals yet as to whether it would be enough to satisfy regulators in the United States, and in particular in California.
This was the question on most peoples mind at the 29th International Bunker Conference (IBC) in Copenhagen on Friday, when a panel of US representatives spoke about the country’s air quality regulations for ships.
Moderator Frances L Keeler, a lawyer, first explained how there are a number of different agencies regulating air pollution in the US. The Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA), state bodies like the California Air Resources Board (ARB), Air Quality Management Districts, and even ports all have a role to play.
In the US, it is states that have the primary responsibility for assuring air quality standards defined by the EPA, Keeler said. The authorities with jurisdiction over mobile sources, such as ships, are the EPA and state ARBs.
Speakers on the panel gave insights into why California has been pressing ahead with its own sulphur reduction initiatives.
“California, of the US states, has the worst air quality problems,” explained Wayne Nastri from the EPA.
Although shipping is global, it has created very real local problems in California with regards to air quality due to a concentration of large and active ports.
California has a history for leading the US in developing strategies to reduce air pollution, so its determination to address ship emissions is perhaps not surprising.
ARB has been in a legal battle initiated by the Pacific Merchant Shipping Association (PMSA), which challenged the auxiliary engine fuel rules that came into force on January 1, 2007.
The regulations require that ships use low sulphur marine distillates in auxiliary engines within 24 nm of California ports and while at berth.
Court rulings on the case have declared that the ARB regulations are ‘standards’ that require federal approval from the EPA.
Panelists today said they were convinced that ARB would probably tweak the language in the regulation to make sure it will surpass this legal challenge.
It may be achieved by deleting references to alternative compliance methods, which makes it an ’emissions standard’, and make it an ‘in use’ fuel regulation.
Nastri from the EPA told IBC that he thought MARPOL Annex VI looked good on the federal level, though he said US accession to the IMO convention was complicated by the fact that there are two competition Bills before the Senate.
One is the bill titled H.R. 802: To amend the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships to implement MARPOL Annex VI, the other, Nastri referred to as the ‘Senator Boxer Bill’ (see story links).
But even if Annex VI gets ratified in the US, opening the opportunity to create an emissions control area (ECA) along the US west coast, Nastri said it would probably not be enough for California.
ECAs under the revised MARPOL Annex VI would have a sulphur limit of 1.00% from March 2010, dropping to 0.10% in January 2015.
2015 is not soon enough for California to get to a significantly lower sulphur limit, panelists predicted.
It is thought ARB will press ahead with its main engine fuel regulation, which could see sulphur limits for all fuels used in Californian waters drop to 0.1% as early as 2010, or possibly 2012.
It would probably be a ‘fuel rule’ and not an emissions standard to avoid federal limitations on ARB’s jurisdiction. That means alternative compliance methods such as gas exhaust cleaning technology, allowed under MARPOL Annex VI, would not be an option.
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