Environment Committee Approves Bill to Clean Up Air Pollution at America’s Ports
May 21, 2008

“Marine Vessel Emissions Reduction Act” Would Cut Smog and Soot from Ships Using US Ports

Washington, DC - U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA.), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, cheered the Committee's approval of The Marine Vessel Emissions Reduction Act of 2008 (S. 1499). The panel approved the measure by voice vote, and it now goes to the full Senate for consideration.

Senator Boxer said: "It is long past time to tighten controls on pollution from ships in our harbors. For too long, people who live near our busiest shipping facilities have paid a price with their families' health. This legislation will speed the process of clearing the air at America's ports."

S. 1499 will cut air pollution from ships and other marine vessels that contribute to dangerous smog and soot pollution around America's ports. Emissions from ships' engines are among the major causes of persistent air-quality problems at California's ports, including the Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles, and at other ports around the nation.

Large ships, particularly foreign-flagged vessels are among the largest polluters in Southern California. Foreign-flagged vessels emit almost 90% of all vessel pollution. The high sulfur content of marine fuels causes ships to emit over 50 percent of the sulfur oxides (SOx) pollution in Southern California - one of the major components of smog and soot pollution.

The Marine Vessel Emissions Reduction Act targets pollution from trans-oceanic vessels, and requires the US Environmental Protection Agency to limit the sulfur content of fuels for both domestic and foreign flagged ships using US ports beginning in 2010, and to set tougher emissions standards for marine engines (based on technologies used for similar engines in on-shore applications).

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